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Welcome to my world - 2016! Come along on this crazy ride I call "life". Follow my horse and dog training and showing escapades, and my newly renovated life (because all lives need a little remodeling every now and then!).


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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

What a gorgeous day...60 degrees! I went out to the barn to ride Tango again. Again, he was really good. I talked to the barn owner, she has an 11 year old daughter that might be interested in riding and showing him this summer. If it works out, I might let her do it. I think he needs a job, and while he isn't quite the right show horse for me, he would be great for a kid with some strong riding legs and skills.

On the Corky front, she is possibly going to be bred this week, so stay tuned!

This evening I started my first agility class since Pretzel's injury last fall. I am excited to report that Pretzel was a rock star! No random sniffing, no shutting down, he was really fired up but did great! I was especially excited when we did a sequence very similar to what Sally and I worked on this week - where I needed to use my shoulders to cue a wrap turn around a jump. I mentally went through what she had told me, and executed it just right and Pretzel nailed it! I even got a compliment on how well I handled that...go me! I am learning, slowly but surely. Maybe there is hope for us? If only this would translate into agility trials. It seems all heck breaks loose when we trial, and I wish I could fix that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

As great as Pretzel was in agility class last night, he was a moron in obedience class this morning. His heeling is just so so so so bad, I really don't think we will ever be able to compete in even Beginner Novice Obedience. He will take the dumbbell in his mouth, but will not hold on to it without dropping. He was whiney and distracted by the other dogs (and there's no excuse because there are only two other dogs in class). The only thing he really did well was hist sit-stay. THAT, he nailed.

After class, I headed to the breeding farm to check Corky. just as I arrived, they were taking her out to be ultrasounded by the vet. She had two huge follicles on one side, so they ordered semen to be bred tomorrow! Fingers crossed...let's make this successful, please!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The shipment arrived, and Corky was bred today. Unfortunately the shipment was not very good - only 20% motility. I doubt if she will get pregnant off of that. Just my luck, everything finally lines up on my end, and the daddy end fails. Ugh. I have such rotten horse luck. It would be funny, if only it were happening to someone else!

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I rode Tango today, and the barn owner's 11 year old daughter came out to try him out. He walked and trotted awesome for her (he was lazy as an old goat!). If things work out, she might try showing him a little bit this summer. That's good, he needs a job!

Somewhat good news with Corky - she ovulated right on schedule. So now we wait a couple weeks and cross our fingers. Should know something by Easter, I imagine.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Happy 4th birthday Pretzel!

Today is Pretzel's birthday! he turns 4 years old today!!! He celebrated by getting a bowl full of soup chicken for breakfast. We spent the majority of the day outside in the warm (60+ degrees) temperature, running and playing. He had a blast! By evening, he was sacked out, and as usual he was sleeping in the weirdest position, so I HAD to shoot a little video...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

AKC Conformation Show - Franklin, Tennessee - Day 1

We headed south to Franklin, Tennessee (which is near Nashville) for a conformation show. It was a major in dogs all 4 days, which meant good opportunities for grand championship points for us (we are 21 points away from our Bronze Grand Championship). Of course, there was Owner-Handled (NOHS) all 4 days, which is the real reason I am here.

Pretzel was a little squirrelly this morning - he zig zagged on his down and back quite a bit. We did end up getting select Dog and Owner-Handled best of Breed. Went on to group, and did not place. I was pretty disappointed because I felt he really showed well in group. I was even more disappointed when I got back to the hotel room and went online and saw the updated NOHS rankings:

We dropped to #2 in the rankings, and by a bunch!!! We were 10 points ahead, and now we are 95 points behind, and still only 10 points ahead of #3. Man, competition is tough tough TOUGH this year! Seeing this bummed me out a lot...although I tend to have some good successes I never ever quite hit the top of whatever goal I am aiming for...I always fall short. I know, I know, it's still early in the yea, but I feel suddenly discouraged. Who was I to think I could actually reach the top and stay there anyways? Yep...wallowing in my defeatist attitude tonight for sure...

Friday, March 11, 2016

AKC Conformation Show - Franklin, Tennessee - Day 2

Day two started off decently. We showed really late in the day, so it was nice to be able to sleep in and have a relaxing morning at the hotel. we also took a little sojourn to Goodwill and I scored a nice new jacket and skirt!

Pretzel took select again today. He showed really well for me, but I really think his size hurts us more and more. He is at the bottom of the standard, and most dogs being shown are at the top (or even a little over) standard. You can see the size difference between us and the other dog right behind us:

Still, we picked up some decent grand champion points, and BOBOH which is what I came for.

Group went a lot better today. Although he was still a little zig-zaggy on his down and back, he stacked really well for me and we ended up with a Group 4 placement. It was cool, they gave out embroidered towels for the group placers. Sweet! I feel a lot better about things today. I need to rein in my competitive nature and just enjoy the journey. Easier said than done, I know!

Since Pretzel has been trapped for the past 3 days, we found a local dog park and took him to run and play. Normally I avoid dog parks, but I felt he REALLY needed to run and burn off some energy. He ran and played with two very friendly smooth collies, and had a blast. He deserves a little fun after all the serious stuff we've been doing. I love seeing him have fun like that, he exudes such joy.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

AKC Conformation Show - Franklin, Tennessee - Day 3

Busy day today! I got to show a German Shorthaired Pointer for someone, and also a Border Collie - a new breed to add to my bucket list of breeds I've shown. I do love showing other dogs. My list has grown to 16 dog breeds I've shown...fun!

Breed judging went better today - we moved up a place and won Best Opposite Sex, for even MORE grand champion points! We also got OHBOB, and I was determined to capitalize on my success yesterday and do even better in group today. It was pretty cool - when the entire class lined up and stacked, the judge walked down the line and literally did a double take on Pretzel. I guess that could be interpreted as either good or bad, but I assumed good (I felt he was stacked really well). She seemed to really like him on inspection....and then....of course....Pretzel blew it by pacing on the down and back. I had to do it over again, but that is pretty much the kiss of death in Owner-Handled group. So...no placement. Dang!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

AKC Conformation Show - Franklin, Tennessee - Day 4

Each day in between breed judging and group, I got out my disc and practiced some obedience exercises with Pretzel. the first day he was very distracted with the other dogs and it took a long time to get him focused. By the fourth day he was actually doing really well. We practiced our fronts, heeling, and other things. This can only help us in the long run.

Breed judging went well - he showed good and we got Best of Opposite Sex again and OHBOB, yay! Group went really well - I thought he showed the best today of all the days we showed this week. Unfortunately, we got left out of the placings yet again. Disappointing, but we improved each day and it was a lot of fun. We won't be showing conformation again until April, so hopefully these extra points we earned will be enough to at least hold our second place spot for a while.

Pretzel was pretty exhausted from this long trip - 6+ hours in the car plus lots of showing and lots of activity. He is always so willing to jump in the car and go and do whatever I want. I love that about him! Now we head home, and the next few weeks we will focus more on agility and get in some good training. We have a CPE trial scheduled next weekend, and I am hoping to see significant improvement over last month. We shall see...

Monday, March 14, 2016

Pretzel and I had a private agility lesson this evening. It went really well. I am working more and more on my body position when cueing turns. When i get it right, Pretzel does too...unless there is the teeter close to his path. He decided that he was obsessed with the teeter and took it every chance he could get (which was often!). More importantly - he stayed happy and focused, a BIG change!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Last night we had agility class, and Pretzel had a bit of diarrhea right before class. He was wild and woolly in class, so I didn't think much of it. When we got home, the diarrhea continued, and he woke me up several times throughout the night whining because he had to go out. By morning Ii was a bit worried, so Mark called his vet to make an appointment just to be safe. I still don't technically have a vet for Pretzel since I moved 2 months ago. Pretzel then proceeded to throw up several times (my carpet may never recover!), and the diarrhea continued.

$400+ later, we left the vet with the knowledge that he had no blockage or anything really worrisome on the x-ray, and some anti-diarrhea and anti-nausea medication, plus some easily-digestible food. The agility trial this weekend is a little iffy now. Ugh.

More worrisome is that the vet found that his prostate was slightly enlarged. She recommended that if I was planning on breeding him in the future, I might want to go ahead and have some semen frozen and stored, because often this enlargement can eventually cause problems in breeding. So now I am doing some research on health testing and canine semen storage. Meanwhile I am waiting to hear about Corky - she should get a pregnancy test sometime this weekend or early next week! Fingers crossed...

Friday, March 18, 2016

Good news, and bad news. Which would you like first? Well, bad news: although Pretzel is acting fine, I worry about his immune system being compromised by this illness, so I pulled him from the agility trial (per doctor's orders). So we have a rare weekend at home for once. Disappointing, but maybe it is for the best. I am entering a trial in May, and this will give me a couple more months to re-train.

Now for the GOOD news...CORKY IS PREGNANT!!!! Can you believe it? My awesome girl took on the FIRST breeding for a second year in a row! Even the breeding farm manager is surprised. She will stay through next week to have the heartbeat checked, and her hormone levels checked. I pray pray pray that this pregnancy stays and is successful with a healthy mare and foal. Next winter is sure going to be exciting!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I've been spending the past few days outside, working on the 6 acres. That means Pretzel has also been spending all day outside. He is LOVING living out in the country! I am breaking my back and blistering my hands raking the 6 acres trying to encourage grass to grow...but I love every minute of it!

In a little over a week, we will be heading south for a few weeks. Hitting a show in Alabama, and then on to Florida to spend some time on the boat, hitting the beaches and having some FUN! I can't wait. After so many years of crazy work schedules, i feel incredibly spoiled to be able to take a vacation in the middle of the school year. Feels decadent!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Just a bit of fun today - I mowed, raked, mowed, and raked! Pretzel had a good time...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tango has been riding really well for me. My complaint is the same it always is - he is so out of shape, his canter is horrendous. But he trots like a champion! I let the 11 year old daughter of the barn owner ride him when i was done. She did really well with him. Could be a possible show partner for him for the youth stuff...maybe?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter!!!

Happy Easter from my own personal Easter bunny! We spent a wonderful day with family. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so I took some time to run out to Lorain's Lakeview Park and take a picture by the iconic Easter basket. Lakeview Park - my old high school stomping grounds! What memories...

Monday, March 28, 2016

Corky's baby has a heartbeat! We will know the results of her progesterone test on Thursday, and I will bring her home. yayayayay! Two years in a row...pregnant on the first try. Amazing! Now we pray...for the next 11 1/2 months....and beyond...

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The AKC points have been updated through March 15th. We are still hanging in 2nd place in the national Owner-Handled Series (65 points from 1st, and 3rd place is 35 behind me). We are now only 4 points away from our Bronze Grand Championship , which is when a dog earns 100 grand championship points. pretty exciting! I'd like to earn that in Alabama next week, but it doesn't look like there will be enough dogs to accomplish that. Hopefully I will get this done by the end of April. Pretty cool since this is one of my 2016 goals! Nice to accomplish something so early in the year.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I brought Corky home today! Her progesterone levels are at 3.9. Most vets want to see it at a 4.0, or a 4.5, so she will be on ReguMate at least until her 120 day check. I am glad to have her back home again. ReguMate is SUCH a pain to deal with. The breeding farm manager feels that they way the timing lined up when she lost her previous foal, quite possibly her uterus (which takes over producing the progesterone from the ovaries right around that time) wasn't producing enough, or any, thus the miscarriage. We will stay on top of things this year now that we know this is a possibility.

I am going about this pregnancy a different way. in the past, I was very superstitious because of all the disasters i have experienced. I wouldn't let myself get excited, wouldn't even let myself think about foal names, or plans for next year. This time I am approaching it with FULL positivity! I am going to allow myself to get excited! This time it WILL work out.

On to APRIL, 2016...