The 2015 edition of Jan Hare's life

Hop on 2015 and join me on the roller-coaster ride of training - training horses, training dogs, training humans, and attempting to establish order in my life.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

FINALLY I had a chance to ride Tango today. I have been so incredibly swamped with moving from Lima to Pickerington, Ohio. HUGE move, another huge life change for me. 2015 has sure been a crazy crazy CRAZY year!

Amazingly, Tango picked up where we left off a month ago. Granted, he was a bit more out of shape, but he really rode well. I was expecting some stupid-ness, but got very little from him. Just one iffy moment when he reacted to Pretzel jumping after a cat in the hayloft which sent Tango bucking for a bit...good times.

What was interesting to me is that his lateral work (sidepassing, etc.) was MUCH improved. The last few times I had worked these exercises with him I got a lot of resistance ("It's just SOOOOO hard!!!") but today he was very willing, and moved his shoulders and hips willingly. Maybe he needed a month for that lesson to sink in. I will call it "Training through time off" LOL!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Well, this week has finally arrived! We leave for Florida tomorrow, heading to the National Owner-Handled Series finals (Friday), the Eukanuba National Championships (Saturday), and an all-breed dog show for warm-up (Thursday). My number one main focus is Friday's NOHS finals. I have worked HARD for this all year (well, at least since June!). My goal this year was to end up in the top 10, and I ended up finishing in second place...a huge accomplishment!

I have to stay focused, and I have to keep telling myself that the most important accomplishment was the journey, and not how we end up placing at this show. They are only awarding best of Breed, and Best opposite. the odds are very good that I will leave the ring without a ribbon. I just don't want myself to get disappointed when I leave empty-handed, because this was a HUGE journey for me and Pretzel. Look how far we've come! In just 3 years we went from knowing NOTHING about dog shows to being ranked 2nd in the nation in owner-handled Weimaraners.

OK, and I am a crazy fool and am wearing an all-white suit! People are taking bets to see if I can keep it clean. I guess we shall see...

So here we go, off to Florida! After the show, we head further south to Goodland and a week boating to our favorite islands where Pretzel and I will run the beach and love the sunshine. Stay tuned....

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

AKC Eukanuba Nationals - We Arrive!

We made it to Florida! Pretzel is such a good traveler, he stretched out in the back of the Explorer and slept pretty much the entire 15 hour drive, minus all the rest stops and one overnight in a motel. Pulling in to the orange County Convention Center was pretty overwhelming. The place was HUGE and beautiful. Seeing the big Eukanuba sign was thrilling...we actually made it here! The sign had a Weimaraner head on it, a good omen, I think. I am working hard on not getting nervous, but I must admit I am pretty jazzed up to be here competing with the best Weimaraners from around the country.

We went inside, found our reserved spot, set up the crate and chairs and took a look around. The rings are nice and big (over 20 of them) and they have the signature Eukanuba bright blue carpeting. And the noise...oh the noise! Thousands of dogs, tons of vendors, and hundreds of people talking. A cacophony of sound, I sure hope I can hear the judge's instructions this week.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Eukanuba - All-Breed AKC show

Today was our "warm-up" day. There was a regular AKC all-breed show going on, and nearly everyone was using it as a warm-up for the big show. There were 31 Weimaraners entered. Thankfully, we were not the first dog in, but the second. Right away I encountered a problem - the bright blue carpet was SO slick, even with applying the Show Foot spray I could not keep Pretzel from sliding during his stack. He had a lot of trouble holding his feet still, they kept slipping. I had a small moment of excitement when at the end of the class, the judge had myself and the eventual Opposite Sex winner gait around the ring together to compare, but she gave OS to the other dog and picked another male out of the lineup for Select. To top off a ribbon-less day, she awarded Owner-Handled BOB to another dog. So today was a big losing day for us, but it was a good warm-up and a chance now to figure out how to fix the slipping problem before my biggest day - tomorrow - the Owner-Handled National Finals. Time to do some research!

Friday, December 11, 2015

National Owner-Handled Finals

Well here it is, the day I have worked ALL year towards - the National Owner-Handled Finals. Top 10 Weimaraners in the country were invited, 5 entered. We had ended the year in 2nd place, and 1st place male Weims. My goal here was to try and get a ribbon, any ribbon. A tough goal since only 2 ribbons are awarded - Best of Breed and Best of Opposite Sex. I got some good advice from friends about Pretzel's foot-slippage issue, and a friend referred me to her handler that was at the show, who gave me some tacky creme to put on his paw pads. It actually worked!

Pretzel started the class by gaiting really well for me. He had a lot of energy and was pretty charged up by the atmosphere, which I liked. However, his stack on the inspection was less than perfect - the judge gave me almost no time to stack (I was first, as usual), and I had to correct his stack a couple times as he moved a little bit. Our down and back was really good, and we had a moment of a good free stack, then he jumped up at the bait. I managed to pull him in to a decent free stack for a millisecond before the judge sent us on.

I think what saved us was that at the end, he held his stack like a rock. he got his brain together and really showed well at the end, and I was THRILLED when the judge called us in for Best Opposite. After our rocky start to the class, I didn't know if we had a chance at all, so this was awesome!!!! A goal achieved, I am so proud and excited. So in points, and at the national finals, we ended up #2 Owner-Handled Weimaraner and #1 male owner-handled Weimaraner in the country. I am amazed - after only a little over 3 years of showing I managed to accomplish this. What a dream, and what an awesome dog I have!

Oh, and by the way - I kept that white suit on for 6 hours and there wasn't a mark on it when I took it off - it doesn't even need to be cleaned. Go me! Take that, all you anti-white naysayers! ;-)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

AKC Eukanuba national Championship Show

Today was the National Championship day. I entered as a lark, I haven't got a chance in the world, but I am here, so what the hey? Besides, I never let that stop me. So we showed today against the best of the best. Pretzel was, shall we say, not at his best? the class was huge, and the judge took her time and was very thorough with her judging, which made the class go loooong. Pretzel, by the end, was so DONE with showing, he would not stand well, kept slumping and looking around. I can't fault him, I was pretty much done myself. So, as expected, we didn't get a look, but it was OK by me. After this class was done, we were loading up and heading to Goodland for a week on the beach, and a break for pretzel that was well-deserved!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Well, I have no goofy dog-wearing-antlers pictures for you, because my dog antlers are in a box I haven't yet unpacked. Yes, I still haven't unpacked completely from my big move. To my defense, I did spend 2 weeks traveling to Florida, and then I turned around and went to Lorain for my family Christmas. Slowly but surely, I am getting settled in my new home. Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my new house? Pretzel loves it also. It's really a dream come true for me. Now, if only my ghetto house would sell before the snow hits.

Today I rented the ARF agility building to work Pretzel a bit. I blocked all of the contact obstacles (A-Frame, Dogwalk, and Teeter) so we could just concentrate on jumps, tunnels, and weaves. I suspect that the hard landing on the downside of the contact obstacles is what made Pretzel's should er sore, so I am not going to do those yet.

He was, shall I say, over-enthusiastic...OK a better term for that would be wild. A lot of our distance training went completely out the window. I shouldn't be surprised, we haven't had class since the end of September. I have to admit I am a little bit disappointed to see how easily he lost his focus. Am I going to have to start completely over again??

That is all irrelevant if he doesn't end today sound and healthy. We had a pretty good workout, so I will watch him like a hawk tonight and tomorrow for any signs of soreness. If he doesn't show any soreness, then I might consider entering him in a few Jumpers classes at the dog show in Novi next month (they have agility in the same building as the conformation). I am hoping and praying hard...

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I finally got to ride Tango today! You know, once again he had a long break and he came out of the stall and rode like a champ. Granted, he was a little bit stiff, but he was very willing and did everything I asked. It helps that we are having unseasonably warm weather this December (today was around 60 degrees), the horses are shedding and acting like it is spring.

Next on the horse agenda is to have the vet out to get a culture on Corky and ultrasound her to see if she is cycling (I hope, but I have yet to see any signs). Time to start adding fuel to the ol' horse dreams...

On another good note, Pretzel shows NO signs of soreness today after his agility workout. YES!!!!! I think I will enter Jumpers at the show in Novi, Michigan since I am already going to be there for the conformation part. That means I will probably be running in a skirt suit again, oh joy.

On yet another good note, it looks like (barring any complications with the home inspection) the ghetto house sold. That's a good thing, since I am already settled and living 2 hours away. I am still hoping and praying that it goes smoothly. Cross your fingers for me!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Later that night....

"Old age is fifteen years older than I am." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I am in an introspective mood tonight. This quote strikes me tonight, because it is a phenomenon I just noticed recently. What was old to me 10 years ago is not old anymore. Heck, 10-20 years ago, my current age was viewed as ancient by myself. It seemed this age was so darn old. I would be washed up by this age, just watching life and reliving memories rather than acting out new ones. Wow, how wrong I was. The funny thing is, that the age I was 20 years ago seemed ancient to me 30 years ago. I guess it really is true when they say age is all in the mind, and just a matter of perspective.

I hope I never get too old to continue setting HUGE goals for myself. I hope I never get too old to try something new, to throw myself into a new project, or to so something waaaaay out of the ordinary. Age is starting to scare me just a little. What if I run out of time before I finish everything I want to do? I guess that's why I always feel like I am in such a hurry.

Well, I joined a fitness gym, went and ran a couple miles there tonight in hopes of staving off becoming decrepit. we'll see how this goes.

I will leave you wiht one more quote, and oldie but real goodie...

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Can we say inconsistent??? I went out to ride Tango today, and while 2 days ago he was a champ, today he was a turd. First of all, I longed him before I rode and he was WILD. He bucked, and bucked, and bucked, and bucked....and bucked some more. I finally gave up and just got on him (I never had much patience for long longe sessions). He rode OK, I had to ride every moment and keep him focused. Pretzel was running around the arena, and there were two other horses also...lots of reasons for Tango to act like he's never been out of his stall before.

But you know what they say... "Even a bad day on a horse is better than a good day on foot" . They do say that, don't they?

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 I did another agility training session with Pretzel today. I only did jumps, weaves, tunnels, and added the teeter to our courses (still no A-Frame or Dogwalk). Pretzel was pretty fired up again, but I had some really really good success with some distance work today! I was able to send him to the weaves with very little guidance and he nailed it each time. I really feel we could be ready for Novi in a few weeks...provided he stays sound. Now I watch him like a hawk for the next 24 hours to see if there is any sign of soreness from all that jumping. I expect I will be paranoid about this for a very long time. I have some real hope about coming back to agility...this time things will be different! I will not accept mistakes, we will both be held accountable when things go wrong. I will sacrifice the Q for training when needed. I am really determined!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Well, it's THAT time of year again! Goal check time!!! This will be an interesting re-cap of the year, because really my goals changed completely midway through the year due to circumstances. So, here they are!

  • 1. Earn a Q in an Open Agility class - Nope, didn't even compete in open agility for the most part in 2015. Stopped doing agility in June to re-train, and then injuries made me lose the entire fall season.
  • 2. Finish Pretzel's Grand Championship in conformation - YES! Mission accomplished on September 4th!
  • 3. Breed Corky sucessfully - Well, that depends. I DID breed her successfully, but she didn't carry the foal to term successfully. So, It was and wasn't a successful breeding. Ugh.
  • 4. Earn an Open agility title - Nope, kind of hard to do when you didn't earn any open Q's yet LOL!
  • 5. Show Tango in a new event - No, sadly he never got to be shown all year. My jumping/fence dreams came to a crashing halt in March.
  • 6. Get to Level 4 in at least one CPE category. - YES! We managed to do that in several categories - Fullhouse and Jumpers. Yay!

  • 1. Earn a Congress Top 5 - Not yet, it's always a work in's up to Corky to produce, now.
  • 2. Breed another great HUS prospect for myself - Well, can't say i didn;t try! Trying again in 2016, will hope and pray for a healthy foal and mama.
  • 3. Have a healthy foal out of Corky - - Ditto on the above statement, trying again in 2016
  • 4. Compete at the Excellent Level in AKC agility
  • 5. Earn a group placement with Pretzel in open AKC competition - YES! Not only did I earn two regular sorting group placements with Pretzel this year, one of them was a GROUP ONE!!! I smashed this goal!
  • 6. Compete at the WCA Nationals in agility with Pretzel - Well, I did...rather unsuccessfully, but we went, tried, and had a great time.
  • 7. Earn a CATCH in CPE agility - Not yet, it is a work in progress

My goal list doesn't even apply very much to my 2015 year - I changed goals about halfway through the year. Once May hit, Tango was diagnosed with his bone disease and my dreams of jumping him were finished. Also in May, I had a disastrous agility trial at the WCA Nationals and it made me realize I needed to step back away from trialing and go back to training (or in this case, RE-training). So I focused all of my energies on showing conformation, mainly the National Owner Handler Series. Someone had brought it to my attention that i was listed in the top 20 rankings for owner-handled Weimaraners, so I decided just for fun to try and crack the top 10. Then I decided to try and end up in the top 10 so I could compete in the finals in Florida. Then I decided I wanted to be in the top 5. Then I started aiming for #2. Mission accomplished on all counts!. What started out being a disastrous year with my horses and dog turned out to be a dream year in an event I wasn't even concentrating on at the start of the year. This just goes to show...if a dream gets diverted, reach out and grab another one and hang on tighter!

So....what will my 2016 goals be? You'll have to stay tuned til tomorrow! My life in 2015 was a huge transformation/renovation of my life. In 2015 my life changed, flipped upside down on a personal and professional level. I became a new independent person, I started an entirely new job and career, I moved 100+ miles to a new place, I changed goals mid-stream and accomplished them with Pretzel. I suffered personal heartbreak in my life, and in losing Corky's baby. I did some stupid stuff, made some dumb decisions, did some really awesome stuff, and saved myself more than once. I look back on 2015 and I am exhausted! Look at all that happened! I don't even feel like I am the same person that looked at my 2014 goals a year ago. I guess, in a way, I am not. I am just glad that a year ago I didn't know the crazy stuff that was going to happen to me, I might have been too frightened to move!

So...bring on 2016...and keep reading!

JANUARY, 2016!