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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, May 3, 2016

I had a great day yesterday - Pretzel ran around the 6 acres all day while I mowed. Of course...something happened yesterday evening and he came in with a big scrape on his left front leg and a hard swelling on his ankle and tendon. He didn't want to put weight on it...CRAP!

This morning he was a little better - he was walking on it, but the swelling was still there. I got an appointment with a vet (the same vet that did his OFA X-rays). The vet thoroughly looked at him and decided there was no real injury to the joint or the tendon, just a soft tissue injury. So he goes on anti-inflammatories and an antibiotic for a week, and all should be fine.

I have an agility trial scheduled for next weekend. My vet feels confident that he will be fine by then. I am hoping...it's been forever since we've done agility, and we had to miss the last trial we entered in March when Pretzel got sick. So cross your fingers!

By evening he was running around like normal, but I am trying very hard to keep him quiet and sedate...yeah...easier said than done!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Finally had a chance to ride Tango today. I have been "loaning" him out to the 11 year old daughter of the barn owner and she has been riding him nearly every day. they have even hauled him to a few shows just to ride around, and he has been doing great for her. Of course today, he was a complete jerk with me. Started off really good, but he started balking BAD at the canter. What the heck? He hasn't done that in well over a year...even more. It was quite a battle, but eventually i got him through his balkiness and he cantered nicely for me. What is so weird is that once I won the battle, his canter was actually really really good. Darn horses...darn geldings. I am hoping Corky's baby is a girl. I've had so much better luck with my mares.

On a side note - Pretzel is moving 100% sound today. YES!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pretzel has not shown one bit of soreness since his appointment last week. I do believe the swelling and soreness came from that scrape on his leg and was just superficial. What a relief! Looks like (dare I say it?) the agility trial next weekend is a go.

Today Pretzel and I worked outside all day, and I do mean ALL day - from 9am until about 8:30pm. We planted flowers all around the house, and planted a massive vegetable garden, protected from the wild critters by my extra of dog kennel panels. Then we mowed...and mowed and mowed. Mowing 6 cares takes hours and hours. Pretzel enjoys it, he loves running the acreage while I mow.

Well, the rankings have been updated through Terre Haute, and I am so excited to see Pretzel and I firmly in the #1 slot. I feel like this goal of being #1 NOHS Weimaraner for 2016 is actually attainable. Not only that, but we are ranked #43 amongst ALL breed owner-handlers...that is huge for a nobody like me! I've never been #1 nationally in anything before. So cool!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I rode Tango today, and what a difference from last week! I swear this horse is bipolar He rode great - no sign of balking, went right up into the canter nicely every time. I guess he is alike me - some days ya got it, and some days ya don't!

Corky is loving life - she has her own little "mini herd" and for once in her life she actually is the boss of the group! Usually she is low man on the totem pole. I went out to the pasture to see her and as soon as she saw me she came straight to me from the far corner. I love that about her - she is always happy to see me. That's my girl!

Saturday-Sunday, May 14-15, 2016

CPE Agility Trial - Pataskala, OH

Well, since it was our first agility trial since February, I didn't have the highest of hopes. I just wanted to see some sort of improvement in Pretzel's focus, our connection, and his stopped contacts. I saw NONE of that, unfortunately. We did start the weekend with a Q in jackpot level 3, but that was really a fluke because he did not stop on a single contact and really was disjointed from me. the whole weekend was pretty much the same. It was so odd - I made it a point to NOT correct him, to do nothing but cheerlead and praise him through the courses. But as soon as he made a mistake, like leaping off the contact, he immediately dropped his nose to the ground and started sniffing. When he did that, he completely zoned out and paid no attention to me even when I was right on top of him. That was the hardest thing to deal with. Here's what I sent to a friend who has been trying to give me advice. It describes the entire weekend and what has been going on:

OK, here's the story on what is going on. I quit trialing last June and started training a lot. I have been taking weekly classes in Columbus, plus taking weekly private lessons with Sally. She has REALLY helped my handling. I tried a couple JWW runs at Novi in January and they were a disaster. Then I tried a CPE trial in Wadsworth in February...more of the same. Kept training, saw loads of improvement in classes, tried the trial this past weekend in Pataskala (where he has been a BUNCH of times), and it was a disaster again. For some reason, Pretzel is not handling the stress very well, and cannot handle correction. I have been working a lot with Sally on this. The minute he makes a mistake and he realizes it, he drops his nose to the ground and goes off on his own and you can stand with your face 2 inches from him calling him and he won't look up. I have made it a point to NOT correct him, even when he does something really wrong...I just go on. However, he has (in class) a solid 2 on 2 off on his contacts now, and yesterday at the trial he blew every one of those. I didn't do a thing, but he knew he was wrong so after every single contact obstacle he put his nose to the ground and went off.

We did a little better on the games that didn't have contacts, but I noticed any type of course that had a hard turn to a jump made him think I was correcting him and down to the ground his nose would go. Here's the thing - in classes we are in the advanced class doing really difficult courses, and he is phenomenal. We have awesome distance skills, solid contacts, and he really follows my body language for complicated jumping sequences. When we go to a trial, he starts worrying. It's frustrating, because honestly I am NOT nervous, I never get nervous. This weekend I honestly didn't even care about scores or Q's, I was hoping to get some really good connection between us and have fun. But he gets to a trial and feeds off of everyone else's nervous energy and starts to zone out when it is his turn.

My very last run yesterday was Jumpers and it was actually good, though we had a bunch of time faults because he had to circle back to jumps he missed. But I just played and celebrated and had fun with him, and a couple times he even jumped on me like he does when we are playing at home, which I was glad to see. However...there were no contact obstacles and no weaves...which is where I usually lose him when he makes a mistake.

I really don't know what to do anymore. Sally's answer has always been that I needed to be a better handler so he would know where to go and not get stressed out, and I can understand that. But these courses this weekend didn't require any tricky handling, and the stress came from when he would deliberately leap over the contact and then know he was wrong. Same thing when he would miss his weave entrance, I could never get him back after that. There wasn't anything much different I could do as a handler to change that. I want him to have fun, and he has a total BLAST in class and in our lessons...but everyone there is pretty relaxed and there isn't all that nervous energy. I've done every run-through that is available around here, and he is really good at those because again, everyone and their dogs are pretty relaxed and he feeds off of that. I did join UKI and went to a trial to do a few not for competition runs back in February and had mixed results, but those trials are rare around here. If I could figure out what to do at a trial, I'd blow every class just to get him through it, but I can't figure out what to do once he puts his nose down and stresses. I am not kidding - at one point I was almost on the ground with my face a couple inches from his trying to cheerlead him and get his attention but he wouldn't even look at me. I don't want to give up, but right now I have ZERO idea about what to do so I guess we will continue with classes and such because he loves it, and just skip the trials for now.

So there's my story. I made the mistake of posting on Facebook about my woes. I got some really helpful advice from some friends, some sympathy, and some really rotten messages from people who don't even know me or Pretzel but figure they can sit behind their computer screen and judge me and my skills. Ugh. I should know better by now...dog people are just like horse people. there are the good, the bad, and the totally ugly.

So, back to square one. We will be concentrating on conformation all summer, I will continue to take classes and lessons and such, and after all this conformation stuff is done in October I will start to really focus on agility and trials and figure out what to do. Until then, we keep plugging along!

Thursday-Sunday, May 19-22, 2016

Marietta, OH conformation show


well Thursday started off rough. We didn't show until late afternoon, so I had the whole day to sit around and wait....wait for nothing. We got beat badly, Pretzel did not want to stack straight. He took one look at Mark off to the side and kept turning his head and twisting his body to watch him. For the first time since January, I had no groups to stick around for. Bummer. Disappointing, yes, but I kept trying to tell myself that you just can't win every single time! Yeah, I told myself that over and over again but it still doesn't ease the disappointment.


Friday we showed first thing in the morning...and once again got beat. I am thinking my bad luck from agility last weekend is spilling over into the conformation ring. This left a yawning cavern of a day ahead of us with nothing to do. So...we found a cool trail along the river and walked it. It was really cool - we ended up in downtown Marietta right on the Ohio River. Stopped for a few pictures, got some ice cream, ended up having a fun day! It's always fun when I am with my two best friends - Pretzel and Mark. I may have lost in the show ring, but I sure won in real life with these two.


Saturday we showed late in the afternoon, and we got ourselves back on track, and ended up with an Owner-Handled Sporting Group TWO! You know, I am appreciating this group 2 SO much more after two days of losses. Maybe I needed those two days to get my head screwed back on straight.

Of course, we celebrated by checking out a really nice local Italian place in town. What better way to celebrate than with some pasta?


Sunday went pretty well...made it into both groups again. As usual we didn't get a look in the regular sporting group, but we squeaked out a Group Four in the owner-handled sporting group. I'll take it!

My new motto - celebrate every smidgen of success, because you never know when you will get another one!

Friday-Sunday, May 27-29, 2016

AKC Conformation Show - Hamilton, Ohio

This weekend was somewhat mixed results. Although we had success, Pretzel and I just didn't have our mojo working. Have you ever had weekends like that? Nothing really gelled, little things kept happening to throw us off our game.

The first day we lost breed to a 7 month old puppy bitch. Of course, it really was my own fault for entering under a judge that I know HATES pretzel (or maybe it's me? Not sure!). I told my friends he would put a wombat up for breed before he'd ever let Pretzel win anything! But, I got owner-handled best of breed, because I was the only one in there haha, and went on to group later (under a different judge, thank goodness!).

Group went better than expected, and I ended up with a Group 2 right behind my great pal Katie who got a Group 1. That meant, of course, that an Olive Garden celebration dinner was in order. Celebrating not only your own successes, but that of a friend's, is so much sweeter.

Saturday went better, no other Weims showed up so we ended up with breed. That means we didn't get any grand champion points...boo. We ended up with a group 3 in owner-handled sporting group, and of course nothing in the regular group. I really don't enjoy showing in the regular group at all. It's rare that the judge even gives me consideration. It's only fun if my friends make it also, so this one wasn't so bad because two of my owner-handler pals made it into group so we wall went in together.

Sunday was just a messed-up day. No placement in the owner-handled group, and I missed the regular group because I misplaced my show lead right at show time...go figure (it was in Mark's pocket...oops!). Everything that could go wrong today went wrong. Frustrating, but you will have those days, I guess!

On to JUNE, 2016...