Tuesday, December 20, 2016

So, How Did We Fair With Our 2016 Goals?

It is that time of the year again. Did we finish our goals? Looking back, we had some fun ones, as well as practical and I feel pretty good coming out of this year. I know I have a couple things in mind for next year, but first we better check and see how we did.

1. Compete at a USEA sanctioned event- YES

Look at that cute little husband in the background videoing.
Although I had my heart set on competing at Aspen only to have that idea crushed, Bacon and I were still able to make it out to our first recognized event this year. Stanton Farms turned out to be the perfect starting place, as it was small, quiet and I had great support with me to help me out. There was some bad news though. I had too much fun and immediately wanted to go and play in the next one, which my husband made happen. We made in to Spokane Sport Horse Farms in October, too!

2. Become a better dressage rider- Yes
Some day this will be a pretty picture.
This was a pretty vague goal, because how does one measure this exactly? I want to say this was accomplished though. Would I call myself a dressage rider? Absolutely not. But I read, studied, watched videos, practiced on Bacon, and finally was able to do my first couple of lessons. I tried to better myself as a rider, and I can see progress was made. We had our best dressage score to date, in Spokane with a 32.8. So that was also exciting.

3. Get Bacon's feet in good order- Yes?
Ha! Well. Success? Yes, she had bad frogs and contracted heels. But we also discovered that bipartite navicular bone in the front right too. After the first set of frog support pads and magic cushion showed incredible frog growth, we knew we were on a good path. Her heels are still expanding currently and everything is looking better. We now know to keep that foot in mind and my farrier and I work hard to keep her happy.

4. Be less of a passenger while jumping- Yes
Look at me looking where I want to go next.
This will probably always be a work in progress. I still struggle with seeing distances and making the best decisions. But I have been planning my routes and counting strides better than I have been. And remembering how I want to ride a specific line, and that is BIG for me. Mostly I just hang on and point the horse. So, I will take this progress.

5. Play with more reining stuff on Pandora and Vegas- fail
Panders, you little turd.
Well, that didn't pan out as planned. I sold miss Vegas in June and rode Pandora mostly bareback. We did have one jump school on Pandora where she had to have to a little discussion with the whip about manners, but I had fun on her. She is definitely a cutter and smarter than me.

6. Jump and answer some training level questions- Yes!
I have only one photo of the training level jump. And you've already seen it too many times.
One of the funnest parts of the year! Bacon and I checked this off of the list in April at Tulip Springs. We jumped our first corner, trakhener, and coffin ever, and they all happened to be training level or above. Bacon did it with ease and I had an absolute blast. Most everything we jumped the second day was training level, and I had the most fun I have ever had horseback. I was so proud of my horse.

7. Try to fight through the sickness- Yes
Goats will make you feel better. And piss you off sometimes.
Well, I am still diseased. What else is new? I was able to eat all year though, and able to finish all of my chores every day by myself (mostly). I still struggle though, that is no lie. Currently, my tremors are getting worse and I am getting more sensitive to noises and even worse with sleeping. I get dizzy and lose my balance easily, so I am amazed I am not falling off all of the time. I will have to see how next year goes.

8. Go hiking! -Eh?
One cool view!
We went on two hikes this year, which was not enough. We had a great hike with my grandma in June, and I thoroughly enjoyed that hike. In July, we tried to hike to a waterfall with my brother and hubs. Actually two waterfalls. And we found one, from afar. We wanted to get closer to it, so we crossed a deep creek (bad idea when you have no extra pair of shoes or socks) and tried to hike up the side of the mountain. Only, this sucker was steeper than hell and I was dying trying to get up there. We only made it up about half way before I waved my white flag. I just couldn't do it. Plus we still had to make the hike back down and across back to our starting point. I was too weak. But we did also make it out on a little hike with the goats too, so that was kind of fun.
Also not a regular view
I'm on a rock!

Bonus Goals

Horse Moto/video: still thinking of ideas and ways to make this happen. Bacon is able to be led by Blake on his motorcycle, and rides next to him on his big or small bike with no problems.

Musical freestyle: Ha! Nope. Still a dream.

So there you have it. Not a bad progress report at all, given all of the weirdness that happened at the beginning of this year. What are we aiming for next year? Well that will have to be for another post.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Year End Recap Part 2

Let's continue this shindig.


Whoops. Looks like I didn't post at all in July. Which is kind of sad, but ok. Bacon got some time off while I traveled to Leavenworth, WA for a wedding one weekend, and then hauled my butt over to Rebecca Farms with Lindsey the next! It was my first time witnessing a recognized event, and I was overwhelmed and so excited. But, to my horror, I realized that I had forgotten my camera. I was so so sad about that. But there was also SO MUCH WALKING though. But I had help from drugs that kept me going. Hopefully Bacon and I will be competing there next year.


Part of the reason I hadn't been posting was also to not jinx actually making it to our first recognized event. My first post back was a recap of Bacon and I's adventure at Stanton Farms, where we had a rough start in dressage, but moved up enough to finish for fourth place after a clear show jumping round. We had so much fun, and I was so happy to finally be able to check a off a dream from my check list. I also talked about a few of the things I discovered from our first big show experience, including hobbles, Horse Quencher, and my FOAL competition coat.


I again failed here. No posts for September. This was when Bacon and I went out and had our first couple of dressage lessons, conditioning rides with friends, and a few jump schools. We were finally able to use our trailer that had been sitting around for over a year, because we got a new truck! Yay for trucks and trailers and freedom! And I got to sit and enjoy three days of Tik Maynard and Sinead Halpin at a clinic. There were amazing.


I returned to blogging after completing our second recognized event. This time, the weather didn't cooperate quite as well, and we got a LOT of rain. Which made for a very hot horse, who despite being hobbled, just couldn't deal with all of it very well. Dressage was again tense, but better than the first one. Our dressage schooling the day before was perfect, so I was a little bummed about this, but we still came away with a 32.3 and a spot in 9th place. The next day, as I prepared for xc, I received a devastating text that my grandpa had passed away while I was tacking up. I bawled my eyes out, but threw a leg over anyways, and Bacon carried me around the course totally perfect. I was so thankful for that. Show jumping saw us come away clear again, which kept us in 9th place. Despite the rain, losing my grandpa, and a neurotic horse, I had a very fun weekend. We ended that month with one of my favorite things, scary jump night! Bacon and I dressed as escaped insame asylum patients, and made it to the final three in the high jump competition. We cleared 4'6" but took down the 4'9". But I was pretty damn happy.


This month was kind of boring, because I was sick for most of it. I was able to go out and do another conditioning ride and a couple of jump schools, which turned out quite nice. Bacon is still awfully hot to trot, even with two treatments each of omeprazole and ranitidine. I posted about her transformation thanks to Cathryn's blog hop, and about the most awesome stock ties to ever (whatever stock ties do) the land. You can purchase yourself some here! Also, they are currently buy two, get one free!


And here we are. Still not doing much, but we did get out for one more jump school before it snowed and got all gross out. Right now, I spend most of my time huddled with a blanket on our new giant couch, and dealing with Bacon's nutt brains. Plans are in the works for more lessons next month, more jump schools, and me trying to art my way through some stuff to help fun our show season for next year!

So there you have it. There were some downers in there for sure, but we had some really great things happen too. Like having frogs, watching my husband be the most badass horse show hubs ever, and fulfilling one dream. Two, if you count the truck! I am excited and nervous to see what next year will be like. But I know I will share it with all of you wonderful people.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Year End Recap Part 1

Oh, the glorious recap post. One of my favorite posts to read in blog land, and one of the funnest to write, in my opinion! Bacon and I had an interesting year, to say the least. I am not entirely sure how I feel about it, though that recovery at the end of the year probably saved it for me. So, without further ado, let's dive in.


The year started off with me winning a Back on Track saddle pad from a written contest held by Horse Nation. You can read my essay again here if you so choose. It was definitely a nice start to the year! The ponies also finally got to enjoy the pasture again. I also came up with my crazy horse/motocross video with my hubs, but that is yet to have panned out. Don't worry, we are still working on it!


This month saw me headed back to my homeland, Arizona, to visit my mom and grandma down there. Though I had a great time and enjoyed/melted in the hot weather, I was itching to get back home. I also discussed the battle with Bacon's weight and trying to find that magical formula to make her look her best. I did a happy dance, because at last Bacon had FROGS after epic hoof battles. And I finally had my first ride on my pony at the end of February, which was also exciting because I got to try out my new Premiera Equestrian bridle and FUN bonnet! It turned out to be a nice ride.


I posted the most this month (a whopping 11 times). You could say I slacked on blogging this year. Anyways, I started to ride a bit more but discovered it was harder for me than previous years. I would get tired very fast and be so cold once I was done. Bacon was also much more "up" than she used to be as well, so that didn't help. I discussed by saggy breech syndrome that I had been having. We busted out some trot poles for our first day back in jump tack, and even jumped a "suspicious" cross rail. I made one of the hardest decisions ever when I decided that I would be selling Vegas this year and cried when I posted about Booger being gone for 9 years.


We hit up our first and only local show of the year. Bacon had been quite dragon-y for all of our jump schools, so I was a bit nervous. The dragon remained for the horse show and it was a bit tense, but we survived. I was pretty dissapointed when we had our worst jump round ever, and after watching the video, realized maybe it was because MY SADDLE WAS ON MY DAMN HORSE'S NECK. Whoops. We did our first xc schooling of the year too, at Tulip Springs in Kennewick, WA. The first day was a little rough, because dragon, but the second day was amazing. We jumped mainly training level things that day, even throwing in some prelim stuff. This included our first corner, trakhener, coffin, and drop into water. Although it took me a week to recover from the trip, it was totally worth it. And I signed up for my first recognized horse trial, which was supposed to be Aspen.


May started out ok. But then it wasn't fast. I was still trying to figure out handling Bacon's new love for being hotter than normal. I signed up to go to a jumper show a couple of hours away because it had the opportunity to school xc the day before. While I enjoyed the company and Bacon proved to be awesome out on xc, she came out super lame the day of the show. I thought it was due to a bruised foot from the rocky footing, but I was wrong. We tried a different pad set up that following Monday after we got home, but it still wasn't right. I gulped and put a call into our Equine Hospital. I wanted answers. And boy, did we get them. Our wonderful new lameness vet found the problem. A bipartite navicular bone in Bacon's right front foot. We drained the excess fluid from inflammation out of her coffin bone area, and injected her navicular bursa. After four days of rest, I was to see what I had. Thank God Aimee came with me that day.


I had only two posts in June. I think I felt pretty meek after Bacon didn't immediately recover from her injection. Though, I think most of that was due to my farrier being unable to come back out and re-shoe her as soon as we would have liked. No fault of his own! I had to scratch from Aspen, which made my heart sink. And then I sold my blonde unicorn, which really really made it sink. Part of the other reason for the silence on the blog was my mom and grandma came out for a visit. We had a great time, did a great hike, and I even rode Bacon for the first time after her injections. And she felt great! She even let my brother and mom ride her. I was pretty happy.

Keep your eyes peeled for part two ;)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Dreaming

Presents for me?
Although I always have a very current Google Doc labeled "Present Ideas", I thought it was fun to do the Christmas blog posts. As in, I tell you all of the crap I want that I probably won't get. A girl can dream, and lord can I dream. So, here we go:

A new magical dressage saddle. Like this:
Heart eyes.
Black with purple piping Devoucoux Mendia dressage saddle. Made for my sad ass and a perfect fit to Bacon. Will magically turn me into a dressage pro and make me look wildly cool. Need.

And to go with the black and purple saddle:
It's like they knew.
Majyk Equipe's dressage boots. Coming soon to an Alyssa near you. Hopefully. Some day.

Super cool eventing top with matching helmet cover. Can't choose between a purple top and white breeches or a grey/white top with purple breeches. Either way, if you saw me coming, you would know you would be in the presence of a badass. Or a Barney warrior.
Not lightning bolts though. Chevrons please. Or maybe even diamonds. OR SPIDERS.

Amanda had to go and show me these. Damnit ho. Now I need them.
Supposed to be a golf glove. But looks like a riding glove to me. Also need in size carny.

These DeNiro dressage boots. In size carny feet.
I mean, come on. 

How about this Keiffer dressage bridle too? With patent leather noseband and grey padding. Ooo, can you feel the sexy?
This would complete our outfit.

A magic weaving potion. To make me and Bacon stop weaving. Oh, and a Bipartite Navicular Bone BeGone! potion.

And these.
Everyone needs jellyfish socks.

Monday, December 12, 2016

What We've Been Up To

Sitting on pockets, sitting on pockets
So, these past couple of months have been the most exciting for Bacon and I, in general. It has also been exciting in other ways (mom in hospital, water line breaking in house, husband passing out in bathroom, crazy old Romanian man hitting my little truck, and learning something about my past that really really haunts me, husband's little truck breaking down AGAIN) but we will just ignore those. More importantly, Bacon and I took our first couple of dressage lessons.
Uh oh, not sitting on pockets
Unfortunately, I have not been able to take any since after our show in Spokane, but I can't wait to get back to them. I chose a nice older gentleman from Switzerland who has had a successful career training dressage horses and pupils. He is firm, yet kind, and very understanding if I need a break (damn you Lyme). Lindsey has spent a great deal of time riding with him, and after watching a couple of his lessons, I thought I would give it a go. I was terrified.
Second lesson. Helping Bacon bend.
Not only was I worried about our lesson, it was also my first time driving our new truck. Oh, and my first time pulling a gooseneck trailer, which also happens to be ours. I had pictured myself destroying all the things, but we all arrived in once piece. I haven't told trainer E that I haven't taken any dressage lessons yet, but he caught on to us right away. First off, why was I moving so much? In his words: "You look like you are trying to out walk your horse. Don't do that." Ok, check. Guess what. That is really hard to do. I always imagined keeping my hips loose, but apparently I was in ho-status, not dressage status. Secondly, sit on my back pockets. I like to arch my back to pretend to sit tall, but that is causing me to brace in my back and stick my sad ass out. He said that that style of riding probably doesn't help my stamina either. Nope, probably not.
Bending. Trying to not pull with left hand.
We worked on Bacon having a more correct, slower, walk. Staying soft in the elbows. And we worked on turns on the forehand to help activate her hind end a little more. In the trot it was much the same. Quit moving. Tuck your ass in and place a small curve the opposite direction in my back. Don't stay tense, but stay strong in my core. We even worked on sitting trot, which was terribly difficult for me, but it got so much better with him in a short amount of time. Most of our time was spent at the trot. Bacon was a pretty good girl for her first visit there, and I felt a little dumb after our first lesson. My instructor did not cause that feeling, I just felt like I had let him and Bacon down with my poor riding. But that just made me more determined to get better.
Uh oh. Left hand got crazy.
Our second lesson was in the indoor. Which was good and bad. Good because Bacon needs more time in indoors and to learn to deal with distractions. Bad because there were so many distractions. You know, like tractors putting hay in the barn right next to the indoor, a horse getting a floating on the other side of the wall, pressure washing of the aisles, etc. She was pretty tense and heavy, but we still got some good work in. We did a few of the same things from the previous lesson to warm up, but then right to work on doing more. When Bacon is distracted, we can no longer bend. So we worked and worked and worked on that, trying to push her body out with keeping her head in the direction it should be going. She is a master at looking at whatever and still somehow going in a circle. He also discovered my demon left arm. It constantly wants to grab a hold of the rein and not let go, which doesn't do anything. We ended with leg yields against the wall and some cool down time for my lungs.
First time I have ever felt her get that tired! She is not used to jumping so many jumps in a row.
We have also been adventuring off to do some jumping with friends. We have done a couple of grid sessions, added a few random jumps, and even did two conditioning rides. One of those may have involved watching a friend fracture her femur, so that day was a little rough. But I have really been enjoying riding Bacon elsewhere to really allow her to just go forward instead of going in circles over and over. She has been impressing me with her willingness, even though she has been extra snorty and spooky and I enjoy every chance I get to hop on her. Which may not be for a while now because my whole street is a sheet of ice. But I am really hoping to get out more next year. I really love having my own big truck!
Good girl Bacy!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Them Thoroughbred Genes

You would think she is part giraffe. But no.
I really love reading all about everyone's pony genes. Thanks Emma for the non-formal blog hop! Some of you may remember way back when I use to do a Throw Back Thursday: Bloodline edition on some of my horses. I would pick a horse out of their lines and give some history on them. I always enjoyed sharing about Bacon's lines in particular, because I love thoroughbred racing. I am still trying to dip my toe in to the sport horse world, and I am slowly learning which thoroughbred lines show some sport horse promise. So let's have a look at Bacon.
Baby 3 year old Bacon.
Bacon was trained at the track for 2 years, but was never raced because her race owner never registered her. Her trainer had confiscated her, her brother, and her dam because she did not pay him, and by the time he found out, her registration would be quite spendy. Enter me!
Handsome Sought After. I see where the short back comes from.
Bacon is by Sought After, a Kentucky bred stallion who was unraced. He is by the awesome Seeking The Gold, out of Smolensk (a Danzig daughter). Sought After was based in California, but was euthanized last year due to laminitis. Upon some digging on USEF, it looks like he has five horses registered their. Four are decent eventers, with one dressage pony.

Seeking the Gold is a winner of $2.3 million, and grabbed wins in the Super Derby-G1, Dwyer Stakes-G1, Peter Pan Stakes-G2, and the Swale Stakes, as well as placed second in the Breeders Cup Classic-G1, Travers Stakes-G1, Haskell Invitational Stakes-G1, Wood Memorial Invitational Stakes-G1, Metropolitan Handicap-G1, and the Gotham Stakes-G2. He was a tough cookie, and just recently passed away this year. And, according to USEF, has produced anything from hunters to jumpers to eventers! But mostly hunters.
I really hoped I would get to meet him some day. But that was probably not going to happen at age 31. Sorry, Seeking the Gold.
Smolensk was a multiple French group winner, and earned a nice $227,806 out of 12 starts. She produced two stakes winner, grade II winner Can The Man (Into Mischief) and listed stakes winner Martha's Moon (Malibu Moon).
Red mean momma queen and baby Paul!
If we take a look at Bacon's damn line, you will see that she is out of The Borg Queen, one mean ass giant red mare. She earned herself $186,340 out of 26 starts. She placed in one stakes race, but spent most of her time in the claiming races, winning 7 of them. She is by Fruition and out of a mare by Olympic Native. 
The red and mean comes from this dude. Fruition.
Fruition showed a lot of promise. He won his debut impressively at Hollywood Park earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 105, one of the highest ever earned by a first-time starting 2-year-old. Fruition was injured when kicked in the shoulder by another horse a few weeks later, and despite two long layoffs,and was able to return to his best form. He started 10 times and earned $69,380.
Throwing Danzig in here cause I can.
If we look at Olympic Native, we will see that he did fairly well, bringing in $138,050 and setting a new 7 furlong track record at Del Mar. I was unable to find anything else on him though. 
Oh, that's where the giraffe comes in. Thanks Buckpasser!

Further down the line, you have greats like Buckpasser (2x), Tom Fool, Mr. Prospector (2x), Native Dancer (3x), Blushing Groom, Raise a Native (all over the place), and Woodman. Now I am not sure how she looks from a sport horse perspective, but I do know that Mr. Prospector was not known for great feet ( I can confirm that) and the owners of her brother, Bruisyard Hall, really like those by Fruition. And with her brother currently competing successfully in some CCI 2*, they probably know what they
Her super cool bro. Link to article when you click on his name!
So, there you go. Some of the Bacon lineage. You can explore more if you would like via the graphic below!