Training TANGO and CORKY ~ Training PRETZEL

Friday, August 2, 2013

For the past 2 days I have been painting fences to earn money, and finally got close enough to my goal money to get my new saddle! I got a really good deal, and they threw in the $90 set of adjustable gullets plus $109 Bates stirrup leathers. Woo-hoo!

Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Look what was in my mailbox when I got home today - Pretzel's official Champion certificate from the AKC!!! It really is official and true, this is exciting! Pretzel wasn't totally impressed, he swatted the certificate with his paw and put a nice crease in it before I could get it into the frame. My pup really is a champion!

Unfortunately, the horse show today was rained out YET AGAIN! It is so frustrating, Tango is doing so well...we NEED another show and soon! Unfortunately my weekends are taken up until the end of the month. Now I am considering the Paint futurity show on August 31st. I heard there were 2 solid huntseaters showing at the paint show in Ohio yesterday, so maybe that will be a good show to aim at?

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I am really liking this new saddle. It is SO different from the saddle I am used to riding in every day - a Dover Circuit Event saddle (I don't believe they even make that saddle anymore). The flap is a bit more forward than I am used to, but I love the knee rolls and thigh blocks, plus the deep seat. Best of all, it fits Tango really well (I have the medium gullet in). I didn't realize how ill-fitting my old Circuit saddle was until putting this new one on him - it sits much higher off of his spine and withers.

I had a great great great ride outside today. It was gotgeous weather, and Tango was sooooo cooperative. He was completely quiet - I didn't even need to longe him before riding outside. I have a little video of us in my new saddle. I can tell my stirrups need to be lengthened a hole. That's the one thing I hate about new stirrup leathers, finding the exact right hole is always difficult.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I started back to work, slightly on Monday with summer band practice several hours each day. Apparently Pretzel doesn't like me being gone for several hours, because he started fussing with this sore on his leg that appeared suddenly yesterday. From my research it appears it is a lick granuloma and he is expressing his separation anxiety by licking that patch of skin over and over again, making it raw. ugh...and right before a show weekend too! I hate that he is upset, but I have only been gone 3-4 hours each day. Apparently that really bothers him.

Today I took him to band practice with me, he is such a good observer while I work! Of course, he is very popular with the kids (and it is great experience for him to be around crowds of noisy people with loud instruments).

Friday, August 9, 2013

We left for Lorain this morning - spending the day visiting my parents and then heading to the Lorain Kennel Club grounds for a dog show this weekend. I took this beautiful picture of Pretzel in front of my mom's St. Francis of Assisi statue (the patron saint of animals).

We headed to the show grounds that evening only to find it a terribly MUDDY mess. People were stuck in the mud, motor homes were buried in the mud, ick! I called my friends that were on their way and we decide to camp out at a local campground rather than the show grounds and just drive over each day to show. Good decision, I think!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Today is our first official show as an AKC champion! It was strange going directly in to Best of Breed without having to win our way out of the classes first. It was pretty exciting when the judge pulled Pretzel and another dog out of the line up to go around together for the best of breed judging. The other dog (an older bitch) won, but we were awarded Best of opposite Sex, and earned two points towards our grand championship! Awesome! Pretzel showed really well, like he didn't have a month and a half off from showing!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Today we had a judge from Chile, it was interesting. We didn't get any placement today, but Pretzel showed well and it was a lot of fun because everyone in the class was a friend of mine. Showing with all of your friends is a blast!

All my friends in the line up with me!

Pretzel curls up with his pal Shelby after the class

Showing is so exhausting!

Monday, August 12, 2013

I headed out to the barn for a morning ride outside. What a gorgeous morning it was. I LOVE riding outside! I am taking advantage of these great rides outside to work on long straight lines at the trot and especially the canter. The more we canter, the better Tango gets at holding his frame on the long straightaways.

Today I got one of the nicest canter transitions (to the right) I have ever gotten from him. His transitions are getting better, but his response time is not. I seriously have to pre-cue, cue, beat with a spur, cue again, jab with both spurs before I get a response. That is irritating.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I had another great ride outside this evening. It is so odd - I do not have to even longe this horse. I literally pulled him out of his stall, saddled, went outside and rode. they were even cutting hay in the field next to me while I rode, and although tango kept wanting to look at the tractor he never once spooked or acted upset. I LOVE that!

Our canter transitions were decent, but very very sticky to happen. I think my next ride will have to be in the bigger spurs. I need to fix this issue. No more excuses! He is plenty strong enough to canter, he is juts being bullheaded and lazy. I wish I knew how to train him past this, but I am a bit lost. How do you force a lazy, unflappable horse to MOVE?

I still love my new saddle, but the breaking-in process is rubbing my legs raw. It definitely is a secure-feeling saddle.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Today was a busy day - spent all day with band and got home in just enough time to grab a bite and head to agility class with Pretzel. This is what happens when Pretzel is too hyped up to focus....:

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I haven't updated in a while. I have been riding Tango outside pretty consistently. here's a synopsis of how it has been going:

  • Rode Tango, he was great! Cantered right off, easy-peasy!
  • Rode Tango, he was SO dang lazy, he would NOT move off my leg, I practically had to beat him into a trot...ugh!
  • Rode Tango, canter transitions were TERRIBLE. He is so stinking lazy. It takes him a quarter of the arena do actually get into a canter after I cue him (and cue him and cue him)
  • Rode Tango, he rode great today! Cantered right off with no problem!!!
  • Rode Tango, he would NOT canter off on cue and was so lazy at the trot I had to spur him every stride just to keep him from walking. FRUSTRATING!

You get the picture! He is so inconsistent. the only consistent thing is that he is always quiet and always lazy. Some days I can force him into a decent canter transition, and some days I can barely get him out of a walk and into a trot. Some days he moves relaxed and with a level topline and I have to do nothing, and other days he is giraffing all over the place and I have to work for every decent stride. I am thinking I need some serious pro help may be time to haul in for another emergency lesson.

Anyways, today's ride was more of the same. the canter transitions were sticky, but not as sticky as they were all of last week. What I don't like is how lazy he has gotten at the trot, dragging his feet (and thus tripping over dirt clods), with no impulsion or suspension unless I really get after him. Hopefully being at a big indoor show will spark him up a bit (I can't believe I am actually hoping my horse "sparks" up!!! What a novel concept!). My plan is to haul him to the Ohio Paint Futurity in Swanton this weekend. We may be the only solid huntseater there, but by golly we are going to go and hope for the best. I only show on Saturday. This means I will be up all night washing, braiding, and getting ready since I have a football game the night before. yep, back to those days where I pull the after-game all-nighters to get ready to show. Oh the crazy things us show people do!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pretzel spent the last 3 days having a great time playing with two of his Weimaraner best friends while I painted fences at a friend's house. Unfortunately, he is continuing to lick at the spot on his leg. It isn't as raw and bloody as it was, but it has remained hairless and looks terrible. I think I need to make a vet appointment and see if there is something we can do to stop this behavior and help that spot heal.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I got Pretzel an appointment this morning with my vet. It seems the spot on his leg is indeed a lick granuloma caused by him licking it due to anxiety. I got some antibacterial spray, and she recommended that I buy some Bitter Apple spray at the pet store to spray his leg (as long as the sore is dry and not open or oozing) to discourage him from licking. We went to the pet store today (Pretzel loves it when he gets to shop in the store with me!) and I bought some spray, and also some large hollowed-out bones to stuff with peanut butter and freeze, to give him something positive to lick other than his leg. My first day back to school is tomorrow, so he will be alone all day...a good chance to test out all this stuff.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Today I had a Cadillac ride on Tango! Wasn't I just ranting about how inconsistent he was??? We rode outside, it was rather hot and sticky, and I put on my new longer spurs. Not sure which factor played in our success but it was a GREAT ride. Our canter transitions were the best ever! I won't say they were automatic on cue, but when he did take them, they were low and rounded and pretty...and his canter both ways (even his bad way) were wonderful. The longer spurs helped, I was able to encourage him to trot out more and use himself better.

I found that encouraging him to really move forward when cantering to the left helps him not only lengthen and smooth out his stride, but he is able to balance better when keeping his frame level. I am working on pushing him for more forward motion when cantering, it takes a lot of leg and spur rounding of his back (lifting his belly) to achieve this, but we are making a lot of least we did today!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Another great ride on Tango this evening! It was especially hot, so I waited until later to ride outside. Because of the extreme humidity, we did a lot of walking in between gait work. Once again, his canters were so much better, and the forward motion to the left is really working. His canter transitions to the left weren't quite as good as yesterday, but they were still great to the right. I feel very ready and prepared for our show this weekend. I really hope other solid huntseaters show up, or it will be a wasted effort.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Well, Pretzel made it through his first day alone. It appears that he left that spot on his leg alone, so I feel better about the situation today.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today's ride was OK - transitions to the right were pretty good, but Tango was balky to the left and I had to really get after him to listen to me. Another up-and-down week!

After my ride, I washed Tango and packed the trailer for the show. Since I have a game tomorrow, I will get up around 4:30am Saturday morning to braid and prepare for the show. Fun! Horse people are crazy!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I woke up long before dawn, braided, loaded Tango in the trailer, and headed to the show about 2 hours away. I got there none too soon - I didn't have a lot of time to sit around and relax. When I got there, I longed Tango for a bit out on the grass as he was really wound up. I then took him to the arena and longed him a little bit there, and walked him around in the indoor so he could take in the sights. The indoor was huge, but the footing was very good.

When it got closer to show time, I saddled him up and warmed him up for a bit in the make-up arena. I did a lot of warming up, then standing and relaxing, warming up, standing, etc. This kept him relaxed and loose. It was a great plan, because he was really ready by show time. Unfortunately he was the only solid paint that showed up, so we had our classes to ourselves. Very disappointing! Going in to the first class, he was a little frightened of the big machinery in the corner, but the most he did was lift his head and give it a good look a few times. I was very proud with how relaxed he was in the ring. His trot was wonderful, plenty of motion and suspension. Our canters were OK, the canter to the left was a tad more elevated tan I like to see but it was relaxed and he listened to me. Transitions were somewhat icky (we had one really ugly bad one). My number one concern always is behavior, and Tango's was stellar!

On the plus side, we won the circuit award for both classes so we got two nice camp chairs, and a photo! It was a good experience overall, I am glad I decided to go.

Moving on to September, 2013...