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!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I am starting to believe that spring is never coming. So many days where it has been too cold to ride, even indoors! We've had more days in the single digit temps than I can ever remember, and it all started when I got back from Florida in January. Punishment for actually taking a vacation, I guess!

I spent some fun time with the horses today, free-longeing and then working showmanship with both of them. Corky is a pure joy to do showmanship with. She responds to the lightest touch and the slightest movement. Tango, on the other hand, is a lot like trying to move a cement block with a thread - about impossible! I don't think this class will ever be in the cards for him.

Friday, March 7, 2014

HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY PRETZEL!!! Yep, I made him a cake! ~~(See recipe here)~~ After work, we headed to our besties' house to have a small canine birthday party.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Here we are, at the big Louisville, Kentucky AKC trial! I am thoroughly excited, it is HUGE! 3 big agility rings and tons of awesome dogs. we might be a bit overfaced, but I never let that stop me.

The morning started off with FAST class and Time 2 Beat. We started off with FAST, and I made a huge boo-boo. The ending/final jump was about 4 feet from the arena fence (the divider between my ring and the ring next to us). I ran Pretzel towards that jump from the side, asked him to jump it but did not turn my body or my feet...he heard the command jump and saw the direction of my body and assumed I meant the arena fence! He jumped into the next ring while another dog was on course. LUCKILY we did not interfere with that run, and I called to him and he immediately jumped back in. That turned our potential "Q" into an "NQ". I was so so so embarrassed. I went back and hid by the crate for a while!

Time 2 beat was a mess, which I knew it would be. It was an upper level course that everyone runs, I do this class mainly for the practice. Later that afternoon came our Novice Standard class. I made a plan, stuck to it, and OMG we actually had a CLEAN RUN!!!!

Our last class of the day was Jumpers With Weaves. Pretzel didn't run perfectly clean, but he really did well, and we ended up with another "Q"...a DOUBLE Q DAY!!! Who would have thought this would happen to me here in Louisville...and to think just a few weeks ago I was really regretting entering this show because I thought we weren't ready! It feels so good to have this under my belt - a clean run in a huge, crazy venue means that just maybe my training is actually working on Pretzel. I am proud and thrilled!

Video of our CLEAN RUN

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day two of the Louisville trial started off bright and early with a couple bobbles in FAST and Time 2 Beat that gave us "NQ's". However, Pretzel stayed in our arena this time, so that is a step forward!

In Standard he took the dog walk waaaay too fast and he slipped and fell off the top. He was OK, (thank goodness he didn't get hurt) but this NQed us. He was a bit scattered in that class anyways - wasn't paying very close attention to me so we racked up quite a few run-out faults.

Our last class was Jumpers, and I spent a lot of time before the class working on his focus - getting him to pay attention to me and follow my direction. This is always a challenge for us. We went into the class well-prepared. It started off with a bang...we hit the first 6 jumps in a row like clockwork and he was doing awesome! Then I heard the crowd yell, and I wondered why - we didn't go off course and Pretzel was still working with me...then all of a sudden I saw TWO grey dogs running in the arena! Apparently someone else with a Weim was waiting to go and her Weim slipped her leash and jumped into the ring to play with Pretzel. they had a grand time, the judge blew the whistle, and everyone caught their dogs. I felt really badly for the other Weim's owner - the judge reamed her out and made her leave. The judge then came to me and told me I could restart, I had to start from the beginning so she could time me but she wouldn't start judging me until after the 6th jump since I had completed those perfectly. That was a good thing, since Pretzel was so jazzed up he ended up missing a bunch of the first jumps and we had to go back and repeat them. After the 6th jump, we did end up with two run-outs, but that still enabled us to get a "Q"...a miracle Q!

We celebrate at the end of our Jumpers run, what a relief!

After the class, I went and found that other Weim owner. She apologized to me a bunch, but I reassured her it was no big deal and wanted to make sure she wasn't too upset. Like I told her, this is dog agility, not brain surgery...no harm done!

Pretzel gets a visitor in Jumpers With Weaves...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Last day of the trial started off with a bang and a "Q" in FAST. I made a simple plan that would gain me just enough points to qualify without adding a bunch of difficulty, and it worked. The rest of the day we had a bobble or two in each class that kept us from qualifying, but overall it was a pretty good day! This weekend was probably the most fun I've had all year, what a rush it is to go out there and do a good agility run. I can't wait to do it again...and I am sure Pretzel can't wait either!

See all the photos from our Louisville weekend HERE!

Monday, March 17

It finally got a bit warm enough to ride. Tango was a bit sticky in his canter today, both directions. By sticky, I mean that he just felt a bit awkward and disjointed, without much flow. It took a lot of riding and body-manipulation to get him to move correctly without getting strung out and 4-beaty. I am sure he has lost a lot of body condition this winter...his exercise program is definitely lacking due to the bad winter we've had. I keep reminding myself that it's not a big deal, that we have plenty of time (and possibly better weather) to get back in shape and on track. It just seems sometimes that I am overwhelmed - job, dog stuff, riding, etc. Of course, most of that I bring on to myself, but I just can't help it. That's my nature - to do things 110% (and suffer the consequences!). Patience...it will all work out eventually!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Well, Tango felt a lot better under saddle today. His canter was pretty darn good, so maybe last week was just a bad day? He was really really wild tonight, he and Corky ran around like crazy horses. Of course, he ran out a lot of his energy before I ever saddled him, and I found that was a good thing - it took ALL of the fight out of him. Actually, there rarely is any real "fight" in him, but lets' just say he was way more agreeable to what I was asking. I likey!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

I have been working a little bit on showmanship with Tango, and although he is still a cement block, he actually has a pretty decent 360 pivot. Even though I don't intend on ever showing him in showmanship, I think it is good to know how to respect my space and move with me and away from me.

I found that if I do a LOT of bending at the start of my ride, he is much better for me with his head and neck. Corky was the opposite - she hated bending and it usually made her mad. Tango is more willing, and when I do spend a significant amount of time bending and suppling him he rides a lot better. I need to remember to always do that and not get lazy (or hurried).

And on another good note - he is finally shedding!. Even though it is in the mid-20's still and another snowstorm due for Wednesday...there is hope for spring!

Monday, March 24, 2014

I now have a set of twelve weave poles in my back yard. I bought a dozen driveway marker posts and pushed them into the ground and slid PVC poles over to of them. Every day when I come home from work we practice all 12, with speed. He is at about 45% success rate - completing all 12 correctly. usually he misses one of the last few for some reason. I will keep plugging away at it and wait for improvement. Our next trial is the first weekend of April, in Columbus.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I rode Tango and Shelby rode Corky last night and this morning. Tango rode well, we had one small battle when he decided to invert his head and be silly, but he got over it. Today, Corky was being a real butt for Shelby. She was visibly angry at the work (ridden two days in a row, the most she's been worked in years!). What surprised me the most was that she absolutely refused to canter for Shelby. Over and over again, Corky just broke into a super fast trot and wouldn't canter. Yet when I got in the saddle (keeping the stirrups short where Shelby used them) Corky cantered right off for me perfectly, multiple times. She was really being bullheaded today. I think I am going to have to get her back into work mode before Shelby can show her this spring.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Pretzel has such a great time playing with his bestie Brennen. They are true best friends, because they argue almost as often as they play. They are actually more like brothers.

I am trying to set a schedule of agility trials for the next few months. It's so difficult to plan that far ahead! If I want to go to some trials in May, I have to be entering them now. This is going to force me to really plan out my free time. Every waking moment LOL!

I am also looking at the horse show schedule and trying to figure out what shows to hit with Tango. Of course, the biggest question is where do I show him? AQHA? APHA? Open shows? It's hard to say where his best place will end up being. We will probably start small this spring, and work our way up if he starts achieving some successes.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tango tried another head-invert-escape tactic tonight and I had to get after him. Strange, after not having a single fight with him all winter, we have two in the past two rides. Oh well, I guess it is to be expected - you can't have perfect rides every single day. Sure would be nice, though!

I think tomorrow I will work Corky. Won't she be surprised! I am hoping Shelby can show her in walk-trot this spring.

On to April...