Welcome to Rabbit's world - 2014 edition!

Follow my journey through the twists and turns of 2014 - training my horses, training my dog, attempting new things, attempting to improve on some old things, and attempting to have bucketloads of FUN!

Click on any photo on the page to enlarge

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Well, big changes are in store for Tango (and for me!). I have been debating for months about getting him some jumping training and having him evaluated for his fence potential. I decided to take the plunge and just do it! Very accomplished rider Alisa Bernhard has moved to Ohio and is training out of a barn near Columbus. I went over there today to talk with her and check the place out. It seems like a decent place, not a fancy show place but a very workable barn and arena. I am going to bring Tango to her on the 21st (weather permitting) and he will spend 30-60 days there getting ridden and started over fences. Hopefully we will know after a month or two whether this is a good career move for him or not.

It's pretty exciting...I've wanted a horse to show over fences for forever, but it seems every horse that I have owned that had talent I ended up selling. Tango's mom Taylor had some wonderful talent over fences, but the stress of it was a bit too much for her sensitive mind. Yeah, well you can't exactly call Tango "sensitive", that's for sure! So hopefully he inherited her talent...coupled with his carefree attitude, we could have a winner! I'll never know if I don't try, so I am scraping together my pennies, tightening my belt, and am going to go for it. Stay tuned, because I am sure as the weeks go by I will have plenty to update!

Monday, December 8, 2014

I set up a low crossrail and trotted Tango over it tonight. He was so easy! I am really hopeful about this...he went around the arena with his ears up and seemed interested. I hesitate to do much more than just trot him over the rails, I want to watch and see how Alisa will start him, and learn from her.

It's funny, the things I learned from dog showing and dog training. When training for agility, you have to be 100% positive. Since you don't have reins, or a direct handle or connection wiht your dog, you have to use motivation and a mental/emotional connection to convince the dog to do what you want. I find myself lately being a lot more positive with my horses, trying to make every ride a positive experience. I guess I am less of a perfectionist, I am more accepting of mistakes. That's definitely something Pretzel taught me!

Breeding Corky....

Well...it all starts here - with the breeding culture and ultrasound.

Corky was in heat on November 13, so I had the vet out to ultrasound her and take a culture to check for infection. The ultrasound was good news - she was producing a nice large follicle on one side and a smaller one on the other. Good news as that means she didn't shut down for the winter but is continuing to cycle. I just received the results from her culture in the mail last week - her culture was clean! All systems are go!

Here is Corky's match: Full Medal Jacket

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Crown Classic AKC Agility Trial - IX Center, Cleveland, OH

I have wanted to go to this dog show and agility trial for many years, and this year I finally was able to do it! Crazy person that I am, I entered agility AND conformation! Of course, the classes were stacked on top of each other with loads of conflicts. Today I managed to squeeze everything in. I ran Time 2 Beat first (Pretzel ran wild, especially when he saw the Weimaraner class dogs in the ring right across the aisle from the agility ring!). Then I raced over to the conformation ring to show in Best of Breed. It was a good-sized class. It came down to Pretzel and another dog for Select Dog, the judge looked at us back and forth for the longest time trying to decide which to choose. Unfortunately, Pretzel got bored standing there, and started to relax. The judge chose the other dog. Darn...so close!

Next we ran back to the agility ring to do Jumpers with Weaves. Pretzel did much better in this class, but he jumped sideways and knocked an entire jump over, thus automatically getting an NQ.

I had a whopping 8 hour wait until my last run - Standard. So....when you have a lot of time to kill, what else is there to do but shop the vendors??? Since it is Christmastime, I decided Pretzel needed a new toy as a present - so I bought him a stuffed warthog. Nope, he doesn't already have a warthog, so he needed it! It makes a grunting noise when squeezed. Man, I love dog toys!

Standard agility was another NQ - lots of running around, missed contacts, you name it. At one point in the run, Pretzel decided to zig when I clearly asked him to zag, and he ran square into me!

Oh well...there is always tomorrow, right?

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Crown Classic AKC Agility Trial - IX Center, Cleveland, OH

The second day of an agility trial always goes better...right? Well, yes and no.

Once again we had a jam-packed morning, starting off with Time 2 Beat. The judge allowed me to do my run before the actual class started, so I could get to conformation in time. I learned a valuable lesson today - Make sure you get your dog's focus on YOU and not on friends who are playing with him before the run...especially when said friend is videoing my run for me! OK, I'll let you watch and see what happens....

Well, that didn't take long! Off I went to the conformation ring. This time I was armed with plenty of bait to keep Pretzel interested. I managed to keep him "up" throughout the whole class, and this time we were awarded Select Dog...yay!

Back to the agility ring we ran, to do Jumpers. The class went fairly well, I had some trouble getting him into the weaves correctly (at one point he just sat down and itched his collar LOL!). We had too many mistakes to Q, but the run was a bit better than yesterday. Hey, improvement is always a good thing!

We didn't have quite as long of a wait this time to do Standard, maybe around 5 hours. My cool sister came up in the morning to watch, and she spoiled him with another new toy - a Woody Woodpecker doll that makes that annoying Woody laugh when squeezed...guaranteed to drive people crazy (but not me - I just laugh when I hear it!!!). Standard went pretty well, I was smart about things and had my friend/videographer hide behind a crowd when videoing. It was fun doing agility in front of a big crowd of spectators. Pretzel got a little distracted, and did a couple tours along the fence line to check out the people. Unfortunately, although we did well on keeping our faults to the minimum for qualifying, we were a bit over time and incurred a time fault, resulting in an NQ. I can't be too upset - we had a really nice last half of the class where I sent him to a jump and chute from quite a distance and we made it...plus got ALL of our contacts (I shouted "Pretzel WHOA!" over and over again while he negotiated each contact obstacle, and it worked in slowing him down enough to touch the yellow). So close to a Q, but no dice. The only ribbon I took home was my Select ribbon from the conformation ring. Hey, that's better than nothing, right? The trial was a blast, and I can't wait to go back next year.

Pictures, bloopers, and whatnot...from Saturday

Streeeeeetching over the Broad jump. No, he didn't end up clearing it, he knocked the last panel over.

Great butt shot flying over the jump!

Random run around the ring, can't be too mad because at least he came back to me!

Literally FLYING to the table...he skidded off to incur a table fault.

Nice sit on the table!

Butt shots of both of us, turnin' and burnin' to the tunnel.

They had some great Christmas decorations set up to take pictures with your dog.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Well, it's almost time for boot camp for Tango! I rode him on Thursday, he did pretty good. Corky was free-longed and looked really good until halfway through the longeing session she started limping hard on her right front foot. She didn't want to put weight on it. There didn't seem to be any heat or swelling. When I got her out today and free-longed her, she looked 100%, sop who knows? Darn horses!

Today Tango rode wonderfully - very light and easy. Big contrast to the beginning of the week (Tuesday) when he rode horribly. He is just so up and down, I never know for sure what kind of ride I am going to get. I notice he is much more inconsistent because my riding schedule is so inconsistent. I am hoping when he gets into a "program", that he gets better at being the same horse each day.

So, I am pretty excited about taking him to Alisa Bernhard's tomorrow. Hopefully he behaves, hopefully she likes him enough to want to spend some significant time training him. She doesn't know me very well, so she doesn't know how single-minded I can be when deciding to pursue a goal. If this whole jumping thing works out with him, no telling how far we will go! If it doesn't work out, I hope at least she improves his hunter under saddle to the point where he is a bit more competitive.

On another positive note...Pretzel and I are leaving again on Christmas Day to head to Florida with our Weimaraner pals. I am excited...I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really need to get away. Yes, I really need to get away!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I loaded Tango in the trailer and headed to Granville, Ohio to start Tango's training with Alisa Bernhard. It was about a 2 1/2 hour drive, not too bad. He hauled great, like he usually does. It really is nice to have a horse without any issues when it comes to trailering or going to new places. Wen we arrived, I longed him for a little bit in the indoor and then hopped on. He was a little more alert than normal, but not too bad. Alisa got on him and worked him a little to get a feel for him. I like the way she rides - she is very soft, and slow with her movements. She agreed with me that Tango is a bit dull and needs "sharpening up". I am very excited for our future. I never did like having to work completely alone with my training, and I am happy to see that although he has work that needs to be done, he wasn't trained with a ton of holes. It was cool to watch Alisa ride him. No one has been on him since Darla rode him a little bit when he was 2. I was amazed that he listened so well to her.

I didn't think it would be too hard to leave him there, but it was a little tough. He hasn't left my side, ever...every time he stayed in a strange stall I was right there with him. I hope things go well...

A short clip of Alisa's first ride on Tango

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

I got an update from Alisa about Tango.

He's very inquisitive of everything and a little hard to keep focused but that's just an age thing, pretty harmless. I would like to tighten everything up, his movement, transitions and his general response to cues. I made him do some galloping on the left lead and it felt a ton better. He is so narrow and leggy it's hard for him to know how to self balance so he does lean a bit and slow down as he does, and that's when he takes the shorter steps behind. It's a cycle. So my recipe is to straighten, balance and move him forward so he takes full fluid strides. He needs to push from the hind, then follow through in the front. Easier said than done. But I felt I already made progress today but holding up his shoulder and kicking him extra forward. He's just so gosh darn dull to the Spurs it's like a delayed reaction when I send him faster. He seems like a harmless goober, but I will definitely sharpen him up

I knew I picked the right trainer for him! She figured out his downfalls after one ride. I can't wait until she starts putting him over some jumps...I am getting really really excited!!!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Well, happy to say I have been in Florida since the 26th...Pretzel is loving the beach! I have tons of pictures and videos, will post them on the January 2015 page. Today I want to review my 2014 goals and see how I did! Sooo....here's what I had posted on January 1st of this year:

  • 1. Show Pretzel in an AKC agility trial - Did it! Did quite a few AKC agility trials...more than i can count ofhand!
  • 2. Earn a QQ (double qualify) at an AKC trial with Pretzel - YES, actually did it in Louisville in Novice Preferred standard and jumpers back in March.
  • 3. Win a HUS class with Tango (against competition) - Well, yes, we did win a class or two. The broad definition of "competition" is hard to determine, but I'll take what i got.
  • 4. Show Tango in more than 3 shows this year - Oops. Not MORE than three, actually I think we only went to three shows total this year. Other things took precedence, I guess.
  • 5. Win a showmanship class - Nope! Um, what was I thinking...with WHO?
  • 6. Get Corky back in the show ring - Nope

  • 1. Earn a Congress Top 5 - Oh, not even close yet...but I have plans...
  • 2. Breed another great HUS prospect for myself
  • 3. Earn an Agility title in AKC - YES! Actually, I earned FOUR - novice standard, novice preferred standard, novice jumpers, novice preferred jumpers.
  • 4. Earn a CPE Agility title - Yes, I've earned several certificates as i've moved up the level.
  • 5. Earn a group placement with Pretzel - I got a Group 4 in Owner handler competition, I am counting that, so YES!
  • 6. Compete at the WCA Nationals in agility with Pretzel - Not yet, but plans are in the works...
  • 7. Breed Corky - Not yet, but breeding fee deposit is paid and plans are in the works!
  • 8. Earn an AKC grand championship with Pretzel (in conformation) - Getting closer....

So, my year was surprisingly successful! I really had no idea how many goals I actually had accomplished. I feel pretty good! Now, it's time to set new goals for 2015, but they will be posted on tomorrow' training diary, a whole new page!

On to 2015!!!