Training TANGO and CORKY ~~~~ Training PRETZEL
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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year! I started the new year off with a farrier appointment at 9am. *yawn*! I decided to pull Corky's hind shoes off. She really doesn't need them with such little riding she is getting, and it looks like she probably won't really show at all this year. I fully expect to see her ouchy and dead lame on her back feet for a few weeks until the soles toughen up. She has had hind shoes on year 'round since her late 3yo year!'s that icky time of year again. Time to write down my horse goals! Let's see if I can make them a bit more realistic so that I have a bit more success this year!

2013 GOALS

Short-Term Goals
  • Show Tango in Hunter Under Saddle this year
  • Show Tango in the 3yo non-pro at Congress, or another good 3yo futurity
  • Find a way to make breeding Corky in 2014 possible - find a place to board her that can accommodate her, or some other alternative
  • Win a HUS class with Tango
  • Earn at least 1/2 point on Tango

Long-Term Goals

  • Earn a Congress Top 5
  • Breed another great HUS prospect for myself
  • Win a Circuit Championship on Tango

  • OK, I think a lot of these are doable. Maybe not some of them in my long-term goals, at least not this year. However, I will start off 2013 the same way I do every year, by saying the same thing: 2013 is going to be MY year!

    No one ever regarded the First of January with indifference. It is that from which all date their time, and count upon what is left. It is the nativity of our common Adam. (Charles Lamb)

    Tuesday, January 1, 2013

    Pretzel got to ring in the new year with two of his favorite dog show buddies! We went to Columbus last night and hung out with some dog show friends, and Pretzel and the dogs ran all over the house and yard all night long. He is now passed out in a coma on the couch, and wasn't even interested in following me to the bathroom just a bit ago. Shocking! It's hard to believe that just a year ago I was researching breeds and trying to decide what type of puppy to get in the spring, and from whom. Amazing. I can't imagine life without him any more. There could be no other dog for me!

    Well, since this is my first full year of dog showdom, I feel like I should set some dog training/showing goals also. So, here we go, my very first dog goals!

    2013 GOALS

    Short-Term Goals
    • Start training Pretzel (seriously) for agility
    • Earn our first official AKC point
    • Finish Pretzel's UKC championship
    • Attempt at least one sanctioned agility trial
    Long-Term Goals
    • Finish Pretzel's AKC conformation championship
    • Earn an Agility championship
    • Have fun for the next 10 years with Pretzel!

    Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. (Carl Bard)

    Wednesday, January 2, 2013

    I forgot to post this picture at the end of 2012! This was fun - I posed Pretzel by all of his ribbons he won this year. Of course, a lot of them are "default" ribbons being the only 6-9 month old Weimaraner dog in the class, but hey...we showed up and did it! That should count for something, right? The funny thing is I have taken SO many pictures of Pretzel that he knows the whole routine - I place him where I want him and he freezes for the ten million photos I shoot of him, and waits patiently for the release command. He must feel like a rock star! I can't help it, I am a photo hound. I have my eye on a brand new camera I desperately want but cannot afford...going to work extra to see if I can save up enough money for it this winter. If so, then watch out! Photos will be tripled LOL!

    If you want your life to be a magnificent story, then begin by realizing that you are the author and everyday you have the opportunity to write a new page.

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Poor Corky is incredibly footsore on her hind feet due to us removing her shoes 2 days ago. It hurts to watch her hobble around the arena. I made her move around a bit - slowly, at her own pace. The only way her soles will toughen up is time, and use. After a while she started looking a lot better. Today was too cold to ride, the temperatures hovered close to the teens by the time I got out of work, so the horses just got free-longed. Tomorrow - we ride, no matter what!

    Thursday, January 3, 2013

    Well, today was my first day back to work after almost 2 weeks off. I guess Pretzel didn't take it too well. Kevin had to put him in his crate when he got called out for a second alarm fire. When he got back, he said there was blood everywhere...coming from Pretzel but we don't really know what happened or where the blood came from! He has no cuts (other than the top of his nose he keeps constantly scraping), but he managed to dislodge the floor of his crate, and also get a hold of his cool sparkly zebra print collar that was sitting on top of the crate and of course chewed it up. I wonder if maybe he lost another tooth? Is 9-10 months to old to still be losing puppy teeth? I have no idea. Pretzel doesn't like having me gone all day, but unfortunately it's a part of life he is just going to have t get used to again.

    Ironically, the very fire that Kevin was working at made the news today. A local animal hospital (Delphos Animal Hospital - Dr. Jones is the one that did all my ultrasounds and breedings that resulted in Taylor, Allegro, Moe, and Corky!) donated animal oxygen masks to the fire department, and they were first put into use today! What a coincidence! I love that they were able to save the dog.

    On the training front, things are slightly progressing on our attempts to start learning the weave poles. I am still only doing the pair of poles, Pretzel has a terrible habit of always wanting to enter the weave with his right shoulder at the pole instead of his left, which is backwards. I ended up blocking that direction slightly with a chair, and we got some nice weaves around the two poles. I am not sure if I should block the 'wrong' path like that, but I feel somehow I need to make going the correct direction into a habit for Pretzel.

    We start our beginner agility class next week...can't wait!!!

    Friday, January 4, 2013

    The temps hovered around 20 degrees by the time I got to the barn tonight. It was tempting to just free longe them and go home, but I am determined to put my time in this winter to help the possibility of success this spring! Corky looked really gimpy again, but started looking pretty good by the end of our free-longeing.

    My ride on Tango was pretty good. he started off a bit rocky, but I did a lot of bending and reminding him of what my legs were asking, and things got better. The slightly bigger spurs definitely do help! I swear, though, his canter transitions took a massive step back and were worse. He is taking the canter pretty well when asked, but he is really giraffe-ing up at the transition. If I try to take a hold of his head a bit to ask him to round up on the transition, he won't go. Not sure what to do, I am stuck at an impasse. I need Darla! I need the dang snow to melt so I can get my trailer out and haul to a lesson. But then I also need a weekend free without work so I can actually go...*sigh*. It's so hard to be a full-time working amateur, it seems like money, time, and weather are a constant struggle (in that order!).

    You've got to get to the stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing. (Arthur Ashe)

    Saturday, January 5, 2013

    Pretzel is slowly getting the hang of weaving between the two poles. His biggest problem was sometimes entering the weave from the left side of the poles instead of the right. Slowly but surely he is getting it!

    Sunday, January 6, 2013

    Only a couple of Catholic high schools would schedule a varsity basketball game on a Sunday afternoon! That shot my day, but afterwards I did go out to the barn to ride. Gotta get those rides in when I can! It is frustrating to me, working all weekend, working all next weekend, and I am behind on my artwork orders, AND Pretzel ate an entire pencil this evening so now I am on poop patrol.

    I Decided to longe Tango with the side reins first before riding. I did a ton of transitions with the side reins on. When I got on to ride, I did put a set of draw reins on with my regular reins. Yep, not a fan of draw reins, but I would never ever use them without using a set of regular reins with them. I rode with the regular reins, but I had the draw reins there (on my pinky) to use during the canter transitions. All I wanted was Tango to not fling his head upward so violently at the transition from trot to canter. It definitely did get better. I wouldn't call them level transitions, but they were not forehead-in-my-face transitions.

    Overall - a good ride. I have been doing lots of of circles per Darla's instructions. They are getting better, I think. I need another video to see if I am rounding his back better.

    With all the mass confusion going on with AQHA's new leveling program, I looked at the spreadsheet put out by AQHA in regards to exhibitor and horse points. I found a lot of mistakes on other peoples' listings, I pulled mine up but unfortunately I am out of money to see if mine are even correct! Oh well...just for fun, here is Taylor's listing (Tango's mom). Not sure why they have her listed, AQHA has her papers stamped "deceased" :-(

    When I looked up exhibitor points, I found another Janet Hare!!!! Amazingly enough, this Janet Hare also has the middle initial "M". How confusing is that? I would love to meet her or talk to her. It says she lives in Palm Coast, Florida. Looks like she is more of a western person. I wonder what she is like?

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Today's ride went downhill fast - finally out of frustration I got off and grabbed the draw reins again. It helped a LOT in getting Tango to round a bit into the canter. I think I am just going to have to do a lot of this so he develops a little more muscle memory. I actually did a canter transition from the walk - one each direction - and he did great for not having done them in a few months!

    Corky looks a lot better today. The weather is warming slightly and it looks like we might have a warming trend later in the week...the snow might melt! This is good news - this means I will soon be able to get my trailer out...lesson time!

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Look what came in the mail today? Our Canine Good Citizen certificate! Starting in 2013 AKC is awarding this designation as an official title. So now Pretzel's official name is Poet N Arokats Pretzels For Breakfast CGC. Might be the only title we ever earn, so we will enjoy it and be proud!

    I have started up the conformation and stacking practice, we are heading to a show in Michigan next weekend. I am taking Friday off of work so I can go show 3 days. Hopefully we will have fun...I am really looking forward to just getting away for a weekend.

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    Do you ever have those days when you have an unbelievable amount of patience? Today was one of those days. If I could be like this every day I could be the world's greatest horse trainer! Too bad I have a zillion other moods. Today I rode Tango and I was super patient. I didn't get mad when he did stupid stuff. I rode right through his spook (when the ice came off the roof) and didn't react. Interesting - his reaction was far less. Duh! Of course he feeds off of me. I did have the draws on again for the canter transitions, and I was able to get several that were really decent with very little rein pressure. I even got a few from a walk that were really nice. From a walk he had a LOT of trouble getting the left lead. He kept naturally going off on his right lead, then pausing in mid-air and switching. I appreciate the gesture, but I really wish he would give his shoulder like I ask and take the correct lead from the start. Sure would make life a lot easier! Today I threw a couple poles on the ground to change things up a bit. We walked and trotted randomly over them. He is semi-sloppy...not as perfectly careful as Taylor was, but not as who-cares sloppy as Corky is. I think he will get better in time. It still takes him a while to find his stride and know where his legs are.

    Corky is still ouchy today, got better with exercise but doesn't really look any different than she has the last few days. the hind shoes have been off one week, so I just have to give it time.

    I started perusing showbills during lunchtime today. I see that the Ohio paint horse shows have an amateur SPB (solid paint bred) HUS along with an open SPB HUS. That gives me two classes to try, if I decide to try an APHA show. I probably will try a few and see what they are like compared to AQHA. That is...if I ever get Tango broke and fully trained!

    Wednesday, January 9, 2013

    Tonight was Pretzel's first beginner agility class. Right away when we got to the training center I could feel him vibrating with excitement. Immediately he tried to play with every dog he saw, and this continued all evening. I could NOT get him to focus, all he wanted to do was play with the others, and he whined NON-STOP the whole class. Frustrating!!!

    The first obstacle we learned was the teeter-totter. The instructor held the end so it wouldn't slam down suddenly when the dogs walked across. Pretzel wasn't really afraid of it, but he kept losing his footing and slipping off because he would not slow down or pay attention. This would be a recurring theme all evening.

    Next was the plank - it simulated a dog walk only it was about 2" from the ground. Again, Pretzel kept slipping off because he was training on his leash trying to run. Same goes with the little tire ring jump. We were supposed to just hand walk them through the ring, but Pretzel took off running, ripped the leash out of my hand, and continued running up on top of the table top, off the table, into the tunnel, out of the tunnel and around the corner and through the chute. Funny? Yes. Frustrating and slightly embarrassing? Definitely yes.

    Obviously he had NO problems with the tunnel or chute. I was making his sit at the mouth of the tunnel and wait for my command to go through. This was helping a bit, it was forcing him to pay attention to me and wait for the 'go' signal. The things I have to work on is to keep my body facing the direction we are going, do not turn around and face him, and make sure I signal with the hand/arm closest to the obstacle (not cross my arm over my body to signal). Honestly, that is the least of our worries. If I can't get him to pay attention and stay under control, we are doomed before we ever get started.

    My plan next week is to rush home from work and get him out to the barn and have him RUN while I free-longe my horses. I will kill two birds with one stone, and hopefully see an improvement in his activity level and hyperness.

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    I rode Tango the past 3 days. He still has problems getting his left lead right away. he always pops into the right lead no matter how I set him up, then he breaks down after one stride and switches. This is getting frustrating!

    Other than that, I feel like we are progressing. I also feel like we are spinning around doing the same old thing day after day. Tango has to be bored with it. I need to find some things to do under saddle to liven things up and give him something new to focus on. His trot is stellar, his canter is coming along, and we have been drilling circles and transitions until we both are sick of them! I did throw a couple poles down on one day and that was different. Maybe tomorrow I will throw a slew of poles down and work over them.

    Corky is looking good. As soon as I have a spare moment, I am going to ride her and see how she reacts to the work.

    Sunday, January 13, 2013

    We have been touching on some stacking and gaiting practice for our show coming up this weekend. It looks like it is going to be a big show! On Saturday and Sunday there will be a live webcast from the show HERE. I am not sure if the camera will be anywhere near my ring, but it's worth a look just to watch the show. I can't wait to sit all afternoon and watch the agility runs. I plan on taking notes, and asking a LOT of questions.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Tango was really good today! I see definitely improvement in the transitions. Of course, this could all change tomorrow, but today they were halfway decent. We did a couple even from the walk and those were better. Left lead is still very sticky, but today from the trot he got the correct lead every time. From the walk he was about 50/50. I had free-longed Tango and Corky yesterday and for some reason they were both revved up and ran like maniacs. Today both horses were a lot more mellow. I guess everyone needs a day to blow off steam every now and then.

    I am starting to look at futurities to see what we could possibly enter. of course, fall futurities are all on hold until I get my 2013 football schedule...*sigh*. I just hope the same thing doesn't happen to us like it did when Taylor was 3 - I wasn't able to show her in the 3yo non-pro at Congress because the finals were on a Friday night when I had a football game. Things worked perfectly when Corky was a 3yo, so my fingers are crossed that the stars align for another year.

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    I was smart this time, and I planned out my exercise/wearing-down program for Pretzel before our agility class. Pretzel came to the barn with me after school and he ran like a maniac (as usual) while I free-longed Tango and Corky, and ran some more like a maniac (also as usual) while I rode Tango. We went straight from the barn to agility class. He was MUCH more mellow this week! He still wanted to play a lot (he has a favorite - a Great Dane puppy named Gunner) and he whined when he was excited and wanted to run, but he was much better behaved and actually listened to me.

    We got to do two different mini-courses, on-leash, of course. He was great! I think he was somewhat listening to me when I was signalling the obstacle. I actually was able to signal the chute and the table and DOWN without holding the leash. It was totally FUN! Much less frustrating when I don't have a spastic crazy puppy on my hands. I can tell that once he is trained, the principal object of concern will be me and my inherent clumsiness. I tripped over a pole and about fell on my face just doing this little course!

    We got home, and I spent the rest of the night packing, packing packing for our trip to the Michigan Winter Dog Classic show. We leave tomorrow after work (after I pick my purple truck up from the mechanic's again!). This will be fun, plus they are also having agility classes so we can watch and take notes. You know me - the great over-thinker. I will probably sit there like a zombie and watch run after run and ask people a million questions and annoy everyone around me. Oh well...gotta learn somehow!

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    We loaded the truck after work and headed north into Michigan. Pretzel, as usual, was the perfect traveling companion. He sat quietly looking out the window, agreed with everything I said in conversation, and had no issue with me keeping the NPR station on the radio all the way to Novi.

    We checked in to the luxurious Motel 6 (nope, no bedbugs, folks!). It actually was pretty decent. It was clean and simple, no frills. Unfortunately we were on the 2nd floor which meant a long walk up and down the outside stairs every time Pretzel needed to potty. Michigan is ridiculously cold in January! Pretzel definitely enjoyed the two double beds in the room - he found that leaping from bed to bed was a very fun activity!

    There were tons of dogs staying at this hotel for the dog show. In order to let Pretzel sleep and not be on high alert to noises all night, I downloaded a white noise app on my Ipad and played that by his crate all night. We both slept like babies.

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Weimaraners showed at 9am so we were up bright and early. The place where the show was held was HUGE, and a madhouse! Pretzel was beyond excited. Just as I expected, he was wired! We haven't been to a show since November, so being around all these dogs was a bit overstimulating for him. We showed in the 9-12 month puppy dog class (first time moving up to the older puppy class!). he was a bit wiggly and I was really rushed and out of practice, and it showed. We got 2nd, so we were done for the day.

    Later that evening, Kayleen (my pro handler mentor) gave me an intensive lesson in stacking, keeping Pretzel's head up while gaiting (a problem for us), and my running style. She videoed me and I watched to see what I was doing and that was extremely helpful. We decided to switch Pretzel to the fine chain collar rather than the nylon cord collar to help keep his head up.

    Kind of depressing, when talking to a couple of the handlers they expressed the opinion that Pretzel doesn't really have enough leg, may not become tall enough to make it as an open dog (12 months or older classes). He is quite a bit shorter than the other dogs in his class, and even some of the 6-9 month puppies are taller than him. He has a ton of muscle and looks really fit, but just not tall. This worries me, and makes me a little sad. I was just getting in to this dog show stuff, and it looks like we may not be able to pursue it in the future after all.

    Back at the hotel, a friend of mine and her 6 month old Weimaraner bitch joined us as roommates. Pretzel had a LOT of fun playing with her!

    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    We showed at 8am this morning. I had 180 degrees in my confidence today, thanks to the practicing I did last night. I even practiced in the hotel room with gathering up my leash in one hand. Sounds kind of silly, but yesterday I fumbled and bumbled around with the leash and looked discombobulated. Today will be a lot better!

    We were first up - 9-12 month puppy dogs. My gaiting was good, stack was awesome (yes...front legs were finally STRAIGHT!), and the judge pointed at us to win it!!! After a couple more classes, we went back in for winners dog (the boy winners of all the other classes). I felt really good about everything, and even gathering up my leash felt smooth. I was very excited when the judge pointed at me and gave me the Winners Dog ribbon! Being the complete novice that I am, I didn't even realize what everything meant until I came out of the ring and Kayleen told me that not only had I finally won our FIRST points, but this was a MAJOR! I teared up...which horse show people know to be typical of me when something big like this happens (big to me, anyways), I think it kind of surprised people. Yep, that's me, overly emotional at the Hallmark moments of life!

    Next was Best of Breed, back in the show ring we go! The judge ended up awarding us Best of Winners (meaning best of not only the boy winners, but the girl (bitch) winners also). What a phenomenal moment!

    Pictures from a friend's Facebook page!

    Showing our 9-12 month puppy class

    Gaiting for the judge. His head still could be a little higher...

    Winners Dog Class (I am in the far left corner of the picture)

    Best of Breed (I am in the corner of the ring, dressed in all black)

    Of course we had to take our usual photo with the ribbons! I got some cool new colors to add to my collection - the all purple and the blue and white. What meant the most to me was the reactions of my friends, both at the show and on facebook. A lot of people have been watching me struggle. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who congratulated me! Even people that I don't was a very nice feeling. A friend of mine on Facebook posted this picture of her Weimaraner named James wearing a sign congratulating Pretzel. That really touched me, I love that! Of course, being the Hallmark sap that I am, I printed all this stuff out to put in my scrapbook. I do save everything!

    After we were done showing, I had to do some shopping. Most of the list ended up being new dog toys for Pretzel. He deserves them! I even bought toys with stuffing. I know they will last maybe a day, but he does enjoy gutting them so I bought some ultra-cheap ones for him to kill.

    By that evening, the results from the show were up on Infodog. My celebration increased as I found out it wasn't a 3-point major, but a 4-point major! Not sure how all this point stuff works, but everyone told me this was a good thing, so I will celebrate! Time for some Italian food at Carabbas!!!

    I spent a large part of the afternoon watching the agility classes. WOW does that look like fun! I loved how much fun both the dog and the handler were having, even the judges looked like they were enjoying themselves. It was nice to see how relaxed people were - when the dog would screw up and do the wrong obstacle, the judge and the handler would laugh. No drama or stress here, everyone was having FUN. I am so so so excited to do this some day. This will be a goal of mine that I will definitely pursue.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    I felt a little better about Pretzel's show future after our big day yesterday. Maybe height won't be that important??? I just don't know.

    We didn't show today until 11am. I got to the show by 9am so that I could go over to the agility area to do the "My Dog Can Do That" thing where an agility trainer has you try your dog on the obstacles and they give opinions as to ability. Pretzel, of course, had ZERO fear with the obstacles. They really liked him, of course they all said he has a big amount of talent. I knew that...the thing we are lacking is obedience...and that's the hard one!

    This was the first winter indoor dog show I have been to. How convenient is this - pens with plastic sides and sawdust set up so your dog can urinate inside...porta-jon for pups! Pretzel got the idea very quick and it was SO convenient. the minute I would put him in there he would do his playing around like he does in our backyard. Makes me think I need to set up one of these at our new house!

    I forgot to mention that last night I was working with Pretzel in the aisleway of the grooming area, gaiting him and trying to keep his head up. The new chain collar I bought (which was the SECOND one I bought!) slides way too much and doesn't hold his head. A random handler happened to see me struggle, and walked over with a braided leather collar and leash for me to try. I tried it, and the leather was a bit "stickier" and was a lot easier to hold the head. He told me to just keep it and use it tomorrow and bring it back when I was finished. How incredibly that is - he didn't know me at all but was willing to loan me a collar and beaded leash to show in! THIS is why I love dog shows!

    Well, today's show was pretty good. We started off with another 'bang' by winning our 9-12 month puppy class. We went in to Winners Dog, and ended up getting Reserve (which means no points, but still a good accomplishment!). The judge stopped me on the way out of the ring and asked me how old Pretzel was. She then told me that she loved his angles and his movement, but he needed to hit a growth spurt soon or he would end up being too small. ARRRGH! So this IS a concern...and I am concerned. Figures, just when I taste a little success and start getting really in to dog shows, I find out my dog may not be able to cut it. I keep reminding myself that his smaller size will be a benefit for agility. Until then, we will keep plugging away at the conformation shows and see what happens!

    More pictures coming soon!

    Wednesday, January 23, 2013

    Agility class day! Right after work I took Pretzel out to the barn and let him run while I free-longed Tango and Corky. It was bitter cold today, temps hovered around 10 degrees so I opted not to ride. Agility class went well. We did a couple simple courses consisting of the tunnel, chute, a-frame, dog walk, teeter, and a few low (6") jumps. Pretzel did everything eagerly, as usual I spent a lot of time keeping him from playing with the other dogs. We didn't really do anything new today, I have been hoping we would talk about weave poles some time soon!

    I have been working each day on gaiting with pretzel and keeping his head up. he hates having that collar under his chin like that, he is doing really well with it but I can tell he doesn't look forward to our practices anymore. I need to make it more fun for him, maybe break out the really good treats (semi-dehydrated hot dogs!) and bribe him into having fun.

    Saturday, January 26, 2013

    I FINALLY got to ride Tango today. It's bee over a week and a half! That's a long time for me to go without riding, I was starting to get withdrawal symptoms. This week has been bitter cold with lows near zero degrees, way too cold for the horses to do much exercise. Today it reached the mid-20's, a heat wave! I fully expected our ride to be a bit sketchy, but Tango was good. No, Tango was awesome! Not kidding you - his canter transitions were about the best I have ever gotten out of him. We did a bunch from the walk, and to the right he is awesome, to the left it takes him a bit to figure out where his legs should go but even then it was pretty darn good (considering where we were a month ago). He had a lot of forward motion today. His trot was super! For the first time ever, I actually had to ask him to slow down a bit at the canter. this was very confusing to him, because every other time I am pushing my leg on him to constantly keep him moving. Today I had to keep my leg on him but ask him to slow down at the same time...this will take some time to teach as we haven't run into this problem before.

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    I am feeling pretty confident today. Tango's transitions have taken a big turn for the better, and today we did even more walk-to-canter transitions and they were pretty darn good! It takes a lot of spur to get him into the left lead canter (and it takes him a while to actually lift up and go into it), but the right lead transition was really smooth today. He had a LOT of forward motion again today. I have spent so many months speeding him up that now we have to learn how to slow down, and this is harder than I thought!

    So now I am starting to look at the show schedule for early spring. Yes, you know me, the ultimate planner! I want to pick out a show that will be my tentative goal for our first show under saddle, and aim for it. Looking at the calendar I realized how much more complicated I have made my life by getting into this dog show thing. It's going to be tricky to schedule the two events. I think that tango probably needs to take priority this spring, as it will take a lot more practice and training to get him show broke as opposed to Pretzel, who is pretty much there.

    Speaking of Pretzel, I worked on gaiting (with his head up) some more today and he was GREAT! I feel like today he finally "got it", and basically I held the leash right under his chin and he lifted his head and hardly put any pressure on it at all. Because of this, he had a much more pleasant experience with the gaiting and we ended a lot happier today!

    Monday, January 28, 2013

    It was a decently warm evening - in the high 30's. I was ambitious and rode both horses tonight! Tango lost all of his great forward motion from this weekend. I wonder if it was because I didn't bring Pretzel out with me tonight? Pretzel inspires him to MOVE! I ended up having to grab the dressage whip on the wall and enforce my 'forward motion' request. It worked, because we got better movement and better upward transitions.

    I actually rode Corky tonight! How long has it been? Way too long! Dang, she is fat, stiff, and luggy. This is Corky on a long extended vacation - ugh! She was really stiff, dropping her shoulders badly even at the trot (especially going to the left), heavy in the bridle, and really really wide under the saddle. Altogether a very different ride from my narrow, bendable Tango. I do love how I cue so lightly and she just floats into the canter. I do hate how she chomps her teeth in anger at being made to work. *sigh*...what a beautiful horse with zero work ethic. I am pretty sure her showing days (under saddle) are over with. She needs to retire and become a champion momma...I wish!

    I just finished my graduate course in photoshop, and here are a couple things I played with just for fun. Be sure and click on them to enlarge!

    Head on to February!