Wednesday, May 31, 2017

All the Recaps: Schooling Show in Spokane

Our first show of the year was decided to be the schooling show in Spokane. They offered everything from dressage tests to show jump rounds and cross country schooling on Friday, to a full one day show on Saturday, plus a steeplechase clinic on Sunday. I signed Bacon and I up for xc schooling and a training level show jump round (our first ever) and then the one day. I was nervous, but excited and we rolled on up there with our regular event crew without much issue.

Bacon seemed to enjoy the quiet barn that she got to be stabled in this time. I don't know if it was because she wasn't directly next to all of the parked rigs or if it was the classical music, or Jose the awesome stable hand, but she just seemed all around calmer in the stable. I wish she would have taken that out under the tack. Whenever I would tack her up, or untack her, or graze her, she was as calm as could be. But riding was a different story.

First was xc schooling. The goal was to warm up over some small stuff and then try to tackle some training level questions, since we hope to get there at some point this year. Lord have mercy. I was out in the field first, and all I wanted was for her to go forward. Something she is generally good at. But I had fussing, threats to rear, sideways nonsense and lots and lots of head flipping. I tried to figure out if any of my tack was bothering her, and I just couldn't find anything. I thought she was in heat, but most hos have to work while in heat to, so I kept at it. My friend E finally entered the field and asked if I wanted to try and long trot a lap around the big field to get her mind in the right spot. That seemed to help some, but Bacon did her best to try and rip my arms out of their sockets the whole time.
Bacon, that is the wrong side of the corner!
We popped over some of the smaller stuff. Er, I mean galloped and skipped over it. My attempts at a half halt were either ignored or were the devil and resulted in a tantrum. Maybe the bigger jumps would back her off, I thought. Pah. We strung together a little  training course. E popped over it first. Over the training logs, to the training cabin, over the trakhener, around this training drop log thing into the water with a ditch out and two strides out over a roll top. Have no fear, Bacon doesn't care what the hell I point her at or what she is feeling, she will jump it all. We jumped the water combo a few different times because she continued to haul ass and jump too flat coming in, ignoring me to the ditch and screwing up our distance over the rolltop. Once more over the jump, I used all my strength to SLOW HER ASS DOWN in the water, and we finally had a nice jump out of there. And moved on.
Um, yeah, I think you cleared it horse.

That's better

Dang, my stirrups are long
We played around with the double up bank. And then I went down it. And then made it into an Irish bank. And then jump a skinny prelim house thing for funsies while E schooled her horse. Next we checked out Bacon's chops over the training corner. It was at the top of the hill, where they were also trying to clear out a bunch of debris and trees with multiple construction equipment. Do you think that was a problem for Bacon? No. Neither was jumping the fat side of the corner. Damn horse, it is not a table. Around the back, everything was still bogged down from all of the snow melt, so we skipped that to save legs and land and ended back around to the front.

We came back to the same area that we started and schooled the training level trahkener and brush fence. I let Bacon pick up a little more speed, which I think she thoroughly enjoyed, and then called that good for her because we would be show jumping later that afternoon. She was totally covered in froth and I thought for sure she would be settled down for later. I was wrong. When I got her out again for sj, we basically had free rein of the arena for a good 30 minutes. So we popped around the jumps at novice height first, and then raised them up to training. Horse was blasting through my aids again though, rushing the fences and putting in some very ugly jumps. I was so tired from hanging on for dear life and just trying to get her off of my hand and to use her back end. It was not the pleasant experience I was hoping for.
You are not a mare, are you?

Yeah, this isn't so good.

This is better
The next day was the show. We were signed up for novice. When I got up in the morning to hand graze the Bacon, I saw that her knee was quite large. My heart sunk. She had hit one of the jumps pretty hard the day before, but I did not realize it was with her knee. I took her out and walked and jogged her. She was totally sound. I consulted with those around me about what to do. They said to throw the dressage saddle on early and see what we had. Her knee went down significantly when I rode her and the on site vet did not seem alarmed, so I continued with out dressage test. It was very conservative and tense, but she did all of the right moves in the right spots. I cannot remember my exact score, but I want to say it was probably a 38 or something.  I was fine with that.
First time riding in this saddle. I liked it a lot.

It doesn't fix everything thoug.
I went and iced the pony and tried her out for show jumping. Still totally happy and fine, and a little less exhubherant (finally) than the day prior, but still not great. The course was a little tricky, in that it had a sharp 90 degree left hand turn in one spot, and a one stride to seven stride, but Bacon got it done easily. We quickly got changed for xc and headed out for warm up, minus my watch. I am pretty sure they got my time wrong, as they got a bunch of people's times wrong, but there was no way to protest and it was just a schooling show, so I just shrugged my shoulders at that part. I did my best to pick up speed this time, and Bacon and I had a pretty good xc ride. She was still tossing her head a lot, and speedy at the jumps, but never hesitated at a thing. It is always a good feeling knowing she is going to jump everything.
Cleared this one too
We got 8th overall, but I was happy we made it through the weekend and first show/outing. There was definitely something weird about Bacon, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I thought maybe it was just first outingitis or hormones. I still don't really know. But I know she is a xc machine.
Looking like a marshmallow

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

All the Recaps: Goodbye My Moo

Oh, how I hate that I have to write this post. I cannot tell you how much I was dreading that day. I had been watching my girl decline over the past year and knew that the last few months of her life were, indeed, her last. I tried to soak up the days, but watching her struggle to get up and to walk were heartbreaking.

My husband kept thinking that she wasn't ready to go. She still had her Moo sparkle in her eye, still ate her food and still tried to make a playful move at you (even though she would fall down). I tried to warn him that I am with her all day long, and that he only sees a snippet of it all. I would have to help her stand up, and sometimes she would fall right back down on the hard surface. She never moved from her spot for fear she would fall. She began to lose control of her bladder and bowels, and never knew it had happened because she couldn't feel anything back there. Her appetite dwindled, even with the addition of all kinds of flavors of canned foods.

Picking up her 90lbs was also hard on me, but I did the best I could. Giving her a bath was especially hard, but was needed frequently because of her accidents. One day, she had an accident in the kitchen, so I was able to put her outside while I cleaned it up before bringing her back in for a bath. When I went to call her in, I did not realize that she had fallen, twisted like a pretzel stuck in the pouring rain. I shrieked and somehow was able to carry her inside. She looked up at me in the tub and I knew that she was ready. I just needed to have Blake on the same page.

I expressed my heartbreaking decision to him and he agreed. I felt sick to my stomach, scheduling her appointment a week from that day. I knew I wanted to take her to the park one last time, so we took her on a sunny day. She struggled to make the short walk to the awakening rose garden. But, she posed beautifully, as she always did. The sun warmed her and she looked happy to be out once more. But by the end of our visit, she was very visibly tired and ready to go back home.

On her last day, I laid on the floor with her until it was time to go. She adored it and wrapped her head around to keep it on my lap. I just didn't want to forgot the feeling of petting her or her soft short fur fluffing through my fingers. Hubs met us at the clinic with a hamburger and a ice cream cone. Never allowed to have people food, she was thoroughly pleased to have these all to herself. She was not able to finish the cone, but that was ok. I was welcomed with hugs from all of my old coworkers and held my girl tight and told her that I loved her. I do believe that she also had some heart issues going on after the procedure happened. She looked at peace, but I kept stroking her arm as hubs and I hugged and bawled. I had forgotten that he had never seen a euthanasia before and I don't think he knew what to expect. But I do believe that was the most I had ever seen him cry, and that does not happen often.

My home still feels empty without her here. I just keep waiting to turn around and see her watchful eye. She always knew when I need a cuddle and she was the best and sneaking a kiss in. Meaty is still sad, too. I did have her cremated and hope to take her ashes up to a mountain meadow to spread them soon. I miss you, my Roxy-Moo.

My flower girl

The best at loving your brother

My smiling runner

My sun soaker

My goat protector

My heavy metal dog

My lounger

My face maker

My girl

Thursday, May 25, 2017

All the Recaps: Bacon Goes to the Vet

Mom NOOOOOOO WHY oh look dancing barn cats with sombreros. 
First in our in depth recap is our vet visits from back in late March. I knew it was time to get the mare ready for the season, so we had to check the basics off of the list: vaccines, teeth, coggins and health certificate. I also threw in a brief lameness evaluation in there because I had a feeling that Bacon would benefit from possible hock injections and a re-injection of that funky right front foot.
Chocolate covered Bacon?
At that point in time, Bacon had just gotten her fresh spring clip, albeit a bit late. It garnered some attention though, and the vet and his assistant loved it. The other vet that helped with Bacon's neck cellulitis back on New Years made sure to stop by and say hi to her again as well.
I did not do an even job on both sides. Whoops.
 We started with the lameness exam. It showed a little bit of ouchiness in that foot on the pavement, but that isn't too unusual for a sensitive girl. But we still thought she would benefit from another injection in the navicular bursa of the right front. We then moved onto the hocks. She definitely showed us some discomfort there, more so on the right hock, so we planned to come back a week later to do the three injections.
More dancing barn cats. One poked a fajita in foot. Fajita juice in my foot. Whoa drugs.
Next we moved onto teeth and vaccines. Her teeth weren't too bad, but there were a couple of sharp points and even an ulcer developing near the back of her mouth. That made me feel like a bad horse mom, but its not everyday you drug your horse up, throw a speculum in their mouth and shine a flashlight in there. While she was out, I mentioned her hairy little squirrel ears and the vet asked if I wanted to use the clippers to just trim the large hanging bits off. I evily giggled, grabbed an ear, turned on the clippers and Bacon magically was awake in 0.2 seconds. The vet and I wrestled the sedated giraffe for a good 10 minutes and we still didn't get all of that floofy ear hair sprouting out of her brain. Lots of ear bonnets for us, please.

They even put a purple wrap on it. It's like they know.
We came back a week later for our injections with that same vet, but being that it is a hospital and that two other vets have worked on Bacon, they saw us on the schedule and had to come say hi. Dr. Wahl would stand back and eye my horse up and down, give her a good scratch and just say "she is such a nice horse. I like her so much." Yep, that's right you do. He doesn't have to feed her or watch her weave, but she is very polite and seems happy to visit the hospital and the vets were always happy that she has manners. We stood next to the surgery room, but unfortunately no surgeries were going on. I am sure Bacon appreciated that. They got her sedated and scrubbed, more people came by to see her clip, she got poked, and put on a weeks of stall rest. And I cried a little at my bill.
There's no crying in baseball.
After her stall rest, she came out swinging. She had a lovely forward trot, was not nearly as heavy as she had been in my hand, and had this bigger canter that I couldn't really figure out how to ride. But, she was also starting to rub her face bald, flip her head like crazy, and then after a week of feeling lovely, she wasn't anymore. Was it her heat cycles starting up? Allergies? I had tried a different dressage saddle and thought maybe that was the cause, because she was showing some pain in her back after that. Was it ulcers? I started her back on omeprazole and ranitidine. Maybe I could figure it out. Or maybe not.

This saddle is incorrect. I do not approve. The outfit is ok though, it makes me look like a dark lord.