Monday, February 29, 2016

First Ride

A nice day for a ride
Bacon and I had our first ride of the year last week. That was a little depressing to say out loud since it is the end of February, but between the weather and footing and my Arizona trip, this is just how it happened. Part of that difficulty is having someone there while I ride because I am not allowed to ride alone anymore (thanks evil health). I convinced our friend, Ross, to come over for an afternoon and I was so excited to climb back on my giraffe.
Trying to not ride like a clown
Part of the added excitement was using all kinds of new toys. That all entailed: new bandage liners and polos, back on track saddle pad, FUN bonnet, Premiere bridle, Ariat boots, and Success equestrian pad. Ross rushed me through the getting ready process, so as you will see in the photos, Bacon only had front wraps on.
Bend around thy leg, Bacon. Stop tilting, Alyssa.
It felt so nice to swing a leg back over the pony. We stayed mostly in the walk and worked on stretching down and out. She has been faking the stretch and instead curling in and going more on the forehand. It is definitely a work in progress (isn't everything?) but she actually had a couple of really nice stretches, especially after trotting.
Still a little curled in, but not bad for her.
We kept the trot work to fairly easy. The biggest issue I have with her is bending around my leg. I need to get her to loosen up all over and be a flexible giraffe! But every bit of it brought me some joy. I am really hoping to get some dressage lessons this year and hopefully my horse and I will be less laughable during our tests.
Yeah, she is wearing a western bit. Need to find a copper eggbutt to try!
She actually quite liked the western bit though!
After some more use, I hope to do a review on the new bridle. So far I am pretty impressed with it, especially given the price. I will probably also do a review on the Success dressage half pad and Ariat V Sport boots. And then you can tell me whether or not you think I should try to dye the tops purple...
Good girl Bacon!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Ladies and Gents, We Have FROGS

Fresh clip job and fresh toes!
Remember when I posted pictures of Bacon's feet (and I died inside) and then you gasped in horror, but then wrote kind things in the comments because you all are angels? No? I will refresh you.
Almost an inch of concavity. Oh, my heart :( October 2015
Bacon had epic battles with thrush throughout last winter and spring. It cleared it, but resulted in the loss of her frogs in her front feet. And she dealt with lameness off and on (I would too if I had to stand on my toes for months) as we tried to find the best solution for her. We know she needs shoes because of her crazy weaving. We tried just shoes to allow concussion from the ground to help stimulate the frog to grow. She was really uncomfortable with that option.
View of left front. So gross. October 2015
We then tried the pour in epoxy pads (EquiPak) completely level with the shoes. It seemed to help a little, but did not stimulate growth and she was still sore. We also tried to use the EquiPak designed with a frog and traction support. She was very comfortable with this option, but this setup makes you unable to use the mesh to help hold the EquiPak in and it fell out in 3 weeks. Sighs. Sighs all around.
Filling the void with hopes and dreams and chemicals.
Farrier recommended we try regular frog support pads nailed on with the shoe. I brought up using Magic Cushion as the filler and he thought that was worth a shot. We put those on and I crossed my fingers and toes but worried that there wouldn't be enough stimulation to the frog area for there to be growth. Boy was I wrong.
Feets today! Feb 23 2016
The day before my farrier was to come out, I hymed and hawed and thought about what else I could do to stimulate growth. All horses react differently to frog pressure. Some need more, some less, and it can be hard to determine which is most comfortable while still doing a good job stimulating the frog. I rushed to the dollar store to buy thick foam just in case we needed it. And when my farrier took off her pads, I was so pleasantly surprised to see a FROG. Not even a little frog. A decent sized frog!
Look look look! JOY. Feb 2016
Now I feel slightly less like the worse owner ever and I am so glad that my horse has that important cushion on the back of her feets again. I didn't know what to expect but I didn't expect that. I ran into the house to grab my phone and take a picture of it and my farrier was pretty happy with my excitement. We went ahead and shod her the same way again and we will see what we have at the end of that cycle. But, I think we have found the right solution. Yay!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Last of the Homeland and Traveling Hell

One of my mom's nicknames is "Gibbon". It is fitting.
The last couple of days with mom and grandma were mostly lounging around and avoiding the heat, but it did include one more fun trip. To the zoo! It was 93 degrees, but I hadn't been to the Reid Park Zoo in Tuscon since I was around 12 and I was ready to hear the gibbons with their musical morning howls and the peacocks chilling near the giraffe pen.
Eeeee anteater!
Grumpy sisters
I sent my husband a pic of a giraffe. He asked me how I got home already and took a picture of Bacon.
So that's how they do it...
Much of the zoo was just how I remembered it. Coloring posters for kids to purchase were the exact same, and the tiger was there to greet you at the entrance. I could hear the gibbons before we even made it into the facility. We made sure to visit every animal and though it isn't the largest zoo, it is still pretty great.
Blending in
Beautiful girl
Hello handsome
My last night included one more ride in the dune buggy during the sunset.  I'll give Arizona one thing, it has awesome sunsets. The mountains were turning purple and the sky painted fiery as we hauled ass through the sandy terrain. It kept the sadness of knowing I would be leaving my family members the next day hidden in the blurry cacti and tire tracks.
Don't worry, my uncle is kinder than he looks
The next morning was rough, but I held it together until we got to the airport. I was checking in and was told that my flight was cancelled but if I wanted to make it to Idaho that night, they would rush me onto the next and only flight out that was leaving in 15 minutes. I took that option and had the most rushed goodbye to my mom and grandma ever (which I absolutely hated) and tears flowed as I hobbled through the security.
I'm the tallest! At 5'2"...
I made it to my lay over destination in San Francisco around 2:30pm. I was already pouting because I would have to wait until 6:45pm to go to Boise. My phone started to notify me that my flight had been delayed until 8:30pm. And then 9:03pm. And then...cancelled.
My face upon finding out that info.
DAMNIT. Stupid United Airlines. All I wanted to do was go home. I wanted to bury my face in my husbands arms and be able to be sad without weirdos watching. I didn't drink anything that whole day, so I finally tried to sit down with a water and some soup. It wouldn't have been as bad if I wasn't alone, but I was. Whenever I had to go to the bathroom, I had to carry everything with me. And I would lose a coveted seat next to a plug in. Everything was expensive and I was freezing cold. It was as if time stood still. Later on, I was able to snag a dining table with a long booth to try and sleep on. I thought I had at least 2 hours of sleep (which made me excited about helping the time pass by) but it was only 30 minutes. The earliest flight I could get was at 10:40am and it couldn't come fast enough. Fortunately, that plane actually left and I was finally able to go home.
What my hair resembled when I got off the plane.
I felt like a zombie. I looked horrible. I did learn that since I have a cane, I get to preboard, so that was kind of nice. But they didn't even have a SkyMall! Fail. My husband had also had a crash on his motorcycle and hurt his back, so the house was kind of a disaster when I got home. I went outside right away to see all of my critters and was immediately bummed out when I saw that a storm had hit while I was gone and had destroyed the paint girls' shelter. And some super dirty pens.
I tried to clean them, but got in trouble with the husband and was told to go rest. But this had arrived while I was gone...

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Homeland Visit: Day Two

Grandma, uncle, and Holly.
Soooo, yeah. You saw how the trip started. Thankfully, it got into a smoother rhythm from there. I had a great sleep and recovery day the next day and after that, we went looking for tack stores. Much to our demise, we only had two places to check out and neither carried english supplies. We drove to two different locations but discovered that they were no longer in existence. Boo! I did score a pair of bell boots for the almighty destroyer, and a mini Bacon Breyer ornament. Thanks grandma!
Will have to pain that sock, but looks like the Baconator!
Grandma and I also hit up a gem show (they are everywhere along the freeways). There were so many pretty and sparkly things. Since Arizona doesn't have cool things like grass, they have to have cool rocks. And they do. And stupid cactus. We also went to the Desert Museum. I highly recommend going there if you ever have the opportunity. We always go when I am visiting. This time we checked out the birds of prey program and it was very informative and very cool. They showed us a variety of birds, as they flew over head (some wings even grazed my head). But I started to get weak feeling and we didn't get to stay as long as I would have liked.
Cactus and pokies as far as the eye can see.
This beautiful girl was my favorite.
A Prairie Falcon

This one wears the right colors.
As a group of crazy animal loving women, we are quite entertaining to watch when things like dog shows are on tv. Fortunately for us, the Westminster Dog Show was on. Ever since I was a wee one, we use to watch the dog shows together (and yell at the judges for picking the wrong dogs). Our favorite groups are the working and sporting, but they never pick our favorite breeds. This year's show had a pretty great line up though, even if we were super pissed off about them picking that damn Skye Terrier again. Fortunately, the Best In Show judge agreed with us, and picked the German Shorthaired Pointer as the winner and the Borzoi as the reserve champ.

No Bedlington Terriers allowed either.
We made another trip back up to Phoenix to hang out with our favorite trainer again. He had two in that day, Nibbles (Outrageous Deal) and Albert (Alpine Gathering). I felt right at home again getting the horse's ready for their races. Mom and grandma loved on all of the other ponies (one tasted grandma's flesh) and headed up with Nibbles first. She came in a super game second place!
Peanuts and momma.
Be nice to grandma, Albert!
Aww, pretty Nibbles.

Go Nibbles go!
Galloping out strong.
Albert was next. It was his first race on the turf and he showed off his class as he held off the rest of the competition down the stretch. His handsome nose crossed the finish in first. Grandma and mom were sooo happy and we headed down to the winner's circle to greet our trainer and horse. That was a super fun afternoon.
In the mix going into the first turn.
Two beautiful ladies.
We got to spend some time and my aunt and uncle's house too and that included some loving on Cheyenne, my aunt's horse. My mom and her had a little grooming session. That went both ways. Their two Boxers kept us on our toes as well, and I had a quick ride in my uncle's creation: THE dune buggy. It was kind of bad ass.
Soaking up the sun.
Puppy play.