Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Review

One of my favorite times of the year in blogland is now. I love reading people's recap's of their year, although I know a few of you have had quite the rollercoaster ride. I was lucky this year in that I got to experience so many new things with Bacon, travel and compete all over, and enjoy the company of my friends as well as cheer them on, near or far. And, with the help of a LOT of you, you made that possible (even though I still have two paintings left, sigh. I am the slowest person on Earth). So thank you, thank you all so much.


In the heated hospital stall
After I brought her home

 Bacon rang in the new year by getting a bizarre case of cellulitis in her neck and scaring the hell out of me. She spent the first few days of 2017 in the hospital, but quickly recovered and I took her home, thankful that it didn't get worse. She likes to keep things interesting.

Tackless riding in the winter
We waited and waited and waited for snowpocalypse to pass here, so riding was done fairly infrequently and we trekked to local indoor arenas to do it. Blake's great grandma passed away, as well as my friend's mom a few days later and I found out that my mom needed a double lung transplant. Good times.
A weird partial shave job.
Feeling spicy and forward
Look at that cut.
Things finally started to thaw and Bacon went to the vet to get all of the things done. All of her vets gushed over her and she got compliments on her new haircut, which was drawn on her coggins. We let out some steam in a giant outdoor arena and went on our first conditioning ride.

I miss you Moo

Riding a spring
We said goodbye to the sweetest Moo dog ever after 11 years. Bacon and I headed up to Spokane for a spring schooling and derby, where we wildly flew over most of the training fences and I became frustrated with her hormones, allergies and wild behavior. She started to become very difficult to ride, but I likened it to springtime sillies. We also pick up a 1 year old Great Dane that we name Skully while up there and she joins our family.
Skully woo

She looks good. She was not.

Her favorite
 A couple weeks later, we came back for our first recognized HT of the year, running novice. There was a lot of head flipping and temperamental behavior from Bacon, but we finished in 9th. I was concerned and scheduled an appointment with the vet. We determined that there was a lot of pain located near her SI and haunches, but her muscles were very very tight. We decided to do a course of muscle relaxers followed by chiro work and Osphos.
My favorite

Trying to remember my test.

We jumped prelim things!

With gusto!

A good girl for show jumping
The combo of meds proved to be very helpful and I started to get my old horse back. We loaded up and headed towards California for the HT at Camelot. I was really really nervous because it was Bacon and I's training debut. Bacon hated the stalls and broke free twice, but was an angel out of them. We had out best dressage test ever (with cool blogger friends watching even) and though I worried about the drop and coffin on the xc course, Bacon laughed at it. Everything went to poo when our friend M had an accident in warm up and crushed her pelvis, with us having to leave her in the hospital. She demanded that we bring home ribbons, and Bacon and I did just that when we finished in 3rd place with a double clear round in show jumping. After, we got to school xc and did some prelim stuff, which she ate up. Eventually M made it back home to Idaho (and is now gearing up for her first show in Feb!!!) but wow, what a trip.

Schooling this prelim table at Spokane
No matter how crazy we are, we always have a good outfit

The month started out bad. I had to bring in my dad's dog, Mack, to be put to sleep from bladder cancer and it was horrible. I had been looking forward to going to Rebecca for a long time. I was not sure how Bacon was going to do in that wild atmosphere, but I swallowed my fear. We stopped in Spokane first to school xc (and we jumped a intermediate chevron out of the water!) and my friend competed in a dressage show. The husbands found "Smoke-ane" and came back stoned from a water park adventure amungst all the dressage people. On our way to Montana, E's truck broke down on a mountain and thought about going backwards with the horse trailer. I tried to not think about dying, the boys figured it out and we made it to Rebecca. Bacon did surprisingly well with all of the commotion until we got into the dressage ring. The whole dressage thing was a mess. XC day was a blast, although I thought the jumps could have been better, but Bacon came in with some fluid above her knee. We iced and wrapped and it was gone the next morning, but it reappeared in the show jump ring and my normally clean girl took down three rails. I still wish I would have withdrawn her, but we live and learn.
Look at that thrilled pony

She looks a little less thrilled here. And I look turtle-y.

My husband's work had been bought out by a different company and we were supposed to go on their health insurance place. There was a mixup, and I ended up unable to get health insurance, which meant I was unable to get my prescriptions. That led to a rough month. We went up to Deary, Idaho for the Stanton HT in the wildfires. I had a full body tremor attack while schooling the day before dressage and my wild mare stopped her antics and held still for the whole process. Bacon was great in the dressage warm up, but the second she hit the ring it all went out the door. Our xc course was dry slick and all of the ditches were filled with tan gravel, which caught Bacon by surprise at every single one. She was very distracted (not normal) and we almost had a stop at the double down bank into the water. We continued our bad rail mojo from Rebecca and took two rails this time in show jumping, but that double down bank got a lot of horses so we still got 4th. But her behavior raised another flag. Out came the vet again. Oh, and she dislocated my thumb when backing out of the trailer (on accident) and it hurt like a mofo.

Probably one of my most favorite pictures.

Everybody wants to jump a ship!
 Bacon got SI and coffin injections. I had decided to enter the championship division at Aspen and thought about withdrawing. Fortunately, Bacon seemed to feel great again and we left towards the raging wildfires in Washington. Bacon was a little wild in the stalls here and we had a very rough schooling ride the day before dressage. I did not feel like we belonged there at that point in time. Fortunately the next day, she came out to play and was much more cooperative than the day before. We made it through there and I was pleased that she held it together. I tried not to crap my pants about xc and even though we got lost on course for a good 20 seconds, Bacon had a complete blast out there. And so did I. Show jumping day brought a fierce mare who was still happy to be jumping things. I could tell something was wrong with me and halfway through our course I had an asthma attack. She finished out the course like the great horse she is and then stood like a rock again with I tried to breathe on top of her and the medics came over. In regular Bacon fashion, we pulled another grey 9th place ribbon and a smile was plastered across my face for our victory gallop. Aspen became my favorite venue to date.

Vacation and now rooming with Pandy-Lou
Also cheered on my friends at the Spokane HT and the jump behind my friend was dedicated and built in memory of her mom who passed. She was a farrier.
After getting back home, I tried to focus on lots of long and low and lighter work since our season was coming to a close. But as the weeks passed by, I noticed that Bacon was starting to feel ouchie yet again. Up until this point, we had: navicular bursa injections, hock injections, coffin and SI injections, Osphos, Pentosan, generic Adequan, muscle relaxers and regular chiro, regular stretching and massaging, teeth done, etc. I spoke with my vet and farrier and we decided that the next best course of action was to just let her have time off in a bigger space and pull her shoes.

I captured the cutest feral kittens ever.
I could almost compete Meaty.
Much of this month was getting Bacon ready to move to the in-laws and just hanging out. I also decided that if Bacon wasn't ready to come back to work in the spring that Pandora would be my new focus. I am still struggling with this. Hubs has grand visions. I have other visions...

New house living. And getting beat up by her new roomies (BASTARDS).

But she had plenty of kisses for meeeee!

Bacon moves to the in-laws. I cry. And now husband is trying to get me to bring a mini horse home that is currently getting beat up by the other horses it lives with. Bad things happen with my mom and addiction is a horrible disease.

Sooo we had some pretty banging things happen in there. It kind of poops out at the end, but it can't all be sunshine and rainbows. This next year is really really up in the air. There is something I would like to do with the Baconator, but we will see. We need a new house with more land. I could use some more medical answers, if possible. Once I finish these last two paintings, I will try to open up for commissions again but will probably only do 5 at a time so I don't feel overwhelmed and get too behind. My vision and tremors are getting worse, so I don't know if I will be able to keep them up and may have to try to turn to photography to help fund the pony stuff. All I know is that next year my be filled with surprises.

And Bacon. She is a firecracker. But how can you not love her? She always takes care of me and always makes cross country a blast. She is just an incredible partner. And she gives the best damn kisses.

Friday, December 1, 2017


I am not even sure where to start. I've been sitting in my own little turmoil type situation lately and I feel like I have no one to talk to, so I will just lay it out on the blog in hopes that will help me feel a little better.
Here are some kittens to make this seem less horrible.
 This morning I came stumbling out of the bedroom, off balance and using the wall to get to the bathroom. This happens every morning. It takes about 10 minutes for my brain to get calculated to upright position. I wake up in pain and go to bed in pain. I blink a lot in hopes that it will get my eyes to refocus. I am nauseous and get anxious about food frequently. More and more hair keeps falling out. And I can't do anything about it until I get insurance at the beginning of the year. But even still, that hasn't helped me in the past. And so, I am worried.
I really wanted to keep her. I called her Pixel. Because she was pixelated.
I am also worried that my friends and family are getting upset with me. I get worse with the colder weather, but this feels slightly different. The pain makes me not want to do anything or go anywhere. I feel like they feel I am ditching them or being a homebody. I don't want to be this way. And I know they don't want to hear about me not feeling well because they don't understand that either. So, I am feeling pretty lonely.

I know that in the next couple of weeks that Bacon will move to the in-laws and I won't have the ability to see her every day and know the ins and outs of her day for at least the next few months. I don't know what her future looks like and that is not the best feeling. Last year at this time, I had just finished my first couple of recognized events and I was planning my season and hoping to get to training level. Right now there is just a giant question mark. If I don't get to compete my girl, I will hopefully be busting out Pandora. But going from a 16.3h thoroughbred that's raging to go through that xc course to a 13.3h stubborn reining trained midget hopefully making it around a tiny course is not something I am doing a happy dance for. And that is if the funds pan out.
Brother on Bacon. Me on the midget.
Because the other big stressor is buying a house. Currently, our selection is small. We did put an offer on a house that had many amazing things (3.55 acres, no wasted space, big barn to park small trailer and big truck and motorcycles in with hay storage on outside and covered stalls in a big dry lot plus an area for the goats, beautiful pasture, 400sqft porch, giant daylight basement, down a private drive in an area that will soon be worth $$$, fully fenced, turkey neighbors, sprinklers, etc). But it had some things going against it too. It was built in the 1920's and needed some things updated, and at the price they had it listed for, we wouldn't have been able to fix those things and make the house payment. They did not like our offer. And so far, we have not liked the other houses we have seen. Hopefully there is something for us out there in our price range. And I really wish people would quit wasting space on giant driveways with trees and big ass yards and stupid layouts.
It had a great view
Well, I feel a little better. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but at least I said it somewhere. I don't know how anything is going to go. What is my health going to do? Will Bacon be on the road to recovery, or has she entered retirement? Will I have fun on Pandora, if I get to compete her? Or just in general? Will we get a new house, the right house? Will I end up unable to do art next year and will that make me feel worthless? Will I be able to get my pet turkey? I guess we will find out.
And the turkeys were so happy to see me when I pulled up.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Oh, Decisions.

So, I didn't post much of Bacon's medical journey through the year on here. Mostly because I am a bad blogger this year. But let me tell you, it hasn't been easy keeping that girl feeling happy and now we are at a bit of a cross roads. But let's start at the beginning.

Some of you might remember that she has a bipartite navicular bone in her right front foot.
Oh, hello extra bone. You asshole.
After discovering that last year and getting her navicular bursa injected, all seemed well and we were off having all kinds of fun at our first recognized events without any issue. We paired her injections with shoeing that included regular shoes with frog support pads and magic cushion as the packing. This seemed to be the magic recipe for a happy and sound horse. And a happy Alyssa.
I bring all the vets to the yard. But they really do love me.
When spring came about, it had been almost a year since Bacon had received those injections. Every once in a while, when she would hit a rough spot in the pasture, she would have an ouchie step, so I knew it was time to inject again (or do whatever the vet recommended). I also thought maybe her hocks were bothering her, since she usually had a hind leg cocked at rest at all times. She was also acting like a more "intense" version of herself. Normally overzealous in the spring, I didn't think much of it, but she just couldn't seem to settle or go to work like she could in the past. I brought her into the Equine Hospital, and they agreed with the idea of injecting her navicular bursa and hocks, as well as all of her other routine maintenance. She had ALL THE THINGS done spaced out over two different weeks.
Bacon and her feelings. 
Though her foot seemed to be back to normal, Bacon was not. I continued to worry when she wouldn't go forward in warm up for xc and even threatened to rear, and especially when she didn't want to play at all in our recognized dressage test in Spokane. I couldn't touch her at all, and even still, she would throw her head around and her back felt empty as she balked here and there. I cried when I got back to the barn, not because of our awful test, but because that wasn't my horse. Back to the vet she went.
Realizing that it's xc and oh yeah, it is the best. P.S. Why are my stirrups so long?
I had brought up to the vet that I thought maybe her SI was bothering her, or her lower back, and she agreed. Before resulting to injections, we wanted to test and see what muscle relaxers would do for her, as well as a dose of Osphos (typically given to navicular horses, but now starting to show that it can help with overall bone pain as well) and switch her from Pentosan to generic Adequan. I started to give her the muscle relaxers and noticed a pretty big difference right away. Also, with the muscle relaxers on board, the chiro could really work on her and gave her an amazing adjustmend with a giant POP and big sigh a day before we were to leave for Camelot. I was worried about how she would do down there, and being off the meds while competing. But she felt amazing and pulled out our best show of the season. Maybe it was because she escaped twice. Maybe it was the California air. I don't know.
Oh yeah, remember this bad assery?
We did another round of muscle relaxers once we got home, but with a lesser dose. But in my mind, I knew we were just masking a problem and not treating the cause. Bacon continued to see chiros, but they weren't doing the trick all the way for her. I started to also realize that because she points with her bad foot so much, she rests the diagonal hind. Causing her body to be balanced unevenly pretty much at all times. After Rebecca, I contacted a different vet, as my regular vet does not do SI injections, and I gave her my thorough history on Bacon and why I thought she needed a look at her SI. She came out and agreed with me (and was perhaps overwhelmed with my obsessive knowledge on my horse). It seemed as though her foot was starting to be a problem again as well, but this vet thought that maybe injecting the SI would give her enough relief that she would be comfortable on that front. I went along, but had a feeling we would be revisiting the fronts again shortly. Bacon's SI joints were both clearly causing her pain. Even just getting her scrubbed while she was sedated, Bacon would kick out and shift in discomfort. My heart sank knowing I had made her wait that long.
And this bad assery too? 
After two weeks, I relayed that Bacon was feeling a lot better in the hind, but that her RF was still not 100%. Up until this point, I had been able to extract money from the horse show fund for Bacon's vet bills, but fortunately I have a forgiving husband who let me pull from savings for the SI and coffin injections. Because they weren't cheap. I had really really liked the vet that did her SI injections, but at $700, I was feeling a little queezy. When she said she could come out to do coffins and I asked the price and $500 came up, I had to decline. Though she was amazing, I could not see how coffin joint injections could be that much. I contacted my regular vet, and she happily came out, agreed that they would be appropriate, and finished that up. With her doing the injections, plus a giant bottle of Bute, it was around $200. That was something I could live with, and something I could look my husband in the eye and tell him the cost of.
Not a good shot of the incredibly long needle.
Bacon had some time off, and then I tested her out. She felt great! We prepared quickly for Aspen, and you all know how that played out. Now having her home since then, I have noticed that she gets very ouchie with that damn foot if she is a wild pogo stick in the pasture and gallops in the rough footing. Those last injections were in August. I will not pump more injections into those joints at this time, and the vet agrees. Our new plan is to let Bacon live in my in-laws nice 2+ acre pasture for the winter with a new shoeing setup (or no shoes, haven't quite decided yet what will be best for her). Every time I think about it, I want to cry. I know it will be terrific for her mentally, and I hope it will be as well physically. I am hoping that the ability to constantly move forward in an open space will help her body relax and her foot recover, as they have a safe flat pasture and two friends for her to be with.
Destroying that championship course.
This has been quite the year. I have been blessed to have done with her what I have, as I know many aren't so lucky with their bipartite horses.And thanks to many of you, you funded our path this year through the vet bills and horse shows (I am working on my last paintings, HOORAY!) We are also in the middle of looking into moving, so that is a whole other chapter. My goal is to find a place slightly closer to my husband's work, with more land so that Bacon can continue to live in a nice pasture. This will be a big shift for me, to not have my number one girl at home. My whole schedule revolves around her, my dreams and my goals. I hurt almost everywhere, but I can do things for her. And if she needs a winter off, that is fine, or a year, or forever. She owes me nothing because she has given me so much.
Currently enjoying time with her roomate, Pandora. Who also smiles.
So, next year looks scary. I don't know where we will be at, or what we will be doing or where we will be living. But I do know come spring, we will re-evaluate my girl and see how she is and go from there. And I will continue to demand kisses and smiles from her until she leaves to go to the in-laws, and perhaps change up the dream.
My heart.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Aspen Farms: Grand Finale

If you think I was ulcering up for xc, you would be surprised to find that my stomach had turned into just a ball of acid by the time show jumping had rolled around. Saturday night, after returning late from the show party, we saw that the course was set up and proceeded to walk it in the dark. I probably should have just waited to walk it until the morning because I just laid awake thinking about the course all night long. This bending line to that bending line. Would she lock onto one of the other jumps while going through the bending lines? Could I get her to the base of the triple bar? Could I get her to ride that first line in six? What about that vertical to oxer in the last combo?

It was taxing. My friends' say I am a lot like Bacon and sometimes I don't see it. But thinking about that, and seeing how I worry about any and everything like a certain bay mare, I can see where they get that idea from. We walked it again in daylight, this time with E's trainer, and I tried to keep up and listen for the pieces that would fit Bacon and I's ride. We watched the advanced riders go, who all made the course look easy, but almost all took the same vertical down, and I went off to braid my horse. E got to watch a couple of the prelim riders go and stated that a certain oxer was also getting a lot of horses because they weren't being ridden forward to it, so I put that in my memory bank as well. Soon it was time to tack up and head over.

Bacon warmed up like a dragon in heat. I figured she would be a tad tired by now, but I guess not. She was jumping fairly well, but was strong and her haunches were doing a special dance going all directions. I was struggling, as my body began to radiate pain weirdly throughout. Not just my normal joint or muscle pain. I don't even know how to describe it. I just knew it wasn't happy. But it was time for us to go in. I did not ride to the first jump totally forward, which screwed up our distance to the second jump. I buried her at the second fence, causing a rail. That flustered me for a second, body getting heavier and more painful with each stride as I shook it off and tried to get us in balance for the triple bar.

As we went around the course, I could tell things were getting worse. I remembered to ride forward to the oxer at four and Bacon jumped it well. She jumped cleanly over the vertical that everyone was taking down, which took me by surprise and then caused me to pick a poor line to our first combo and she jumped it awkwardly, but clean. Right at jump seven, my chest squeezed tight, I gasped and my body stung. Bacon hit the rail hard, but it stayed. I don't remember much of the course from here. I just basically steered her towards the rest of the jumps and she did what she was supposed to do. She finished the course off nicely, and we ended with our four jump faults. She calmly walked out of the ring, a totally different horse from warm up as I looked around for help.

E asked how the course rode as we walked by and I couldn't answer. I was still fighting to catch a real breathe. The lady handing out plaques noticed me struggling. I told her I needed my inhaler. Blake had it, but he was videoing E's round, who was a ride or two after me, and to not disturb him until he was finished. My body tremors started to kick in and apparently that scared her because she ran off to grab the EMTs and I heard them announce for them on the loud speaker. I was horrified. I did not need EMTs. I just needed to rest, catch my breath and my inhaler. But tremors, they don't look friendly, and people don't believe you when you tell them they are normal. They arrived and gathered around me, all the while Bacon is holding completely still, and wanted me to get down. I told them I would like to stay on please, it is worse for me to get down. My body just kind of turns into putty, so, I am more comfortable sitting on my horse. She wasn't going anywhere, she knows the drill. Blake arrived with my inhaler. I drank some water. Everything started to calm down.

I was pleased to find out that Bacon and I had made it into the ribbons. We were called into the arena with everyone, and I laughed when I found out we were ninth place. Another grey ribbon to add to our collection. Our fifth one (three ninths, two fourths). I was just tickled to have gotten some satin. Bacon was a good sport about not being able to see out of her left eye for her victory gallop too, due to her ribbon. She seemed like an old pro for her victory gallop, which cracks me up.

Overall, I really loved Aspen. We got lucky with the weather, it only sprinkled a little bit one night. But it is an excellent facility and the vibe was just great. I hope to be back there next year. But this means our season has come to a close. I am very grateful that I was able to go to as many shows as we did. We saw a lot of new places, went to new states and moved up a level. My horse carried me over jumps I never thought I would do in a million years. Challenged me in new ways, both as a rider and in my general horsemanship, and she took care of me more times than I can count. It was a great year with my best girl!