Monday, March 29, 2010


Some people may think I'm rare.  I'm a woman who doesn't enjoy shopping.  Whatever I'm looking for I'll do all my research and then power shop!  Be it horse, clothes, or a new truck.  This past Friday with Token Male in tow, I went to my predetermined dealerships to begin hardcore vehicle shopping.  Those who regularly read me may have picked up on the fact that I have a short attention span...  

We went to a dealer recommended by a friend.  The truck deal was great but then they were very inappropriate with the trade in value of my car.  My Token Male made me leave taking me directly to his friends dealership.  Here we found out the black book value of my car.  After much waiting while the men talked I began to fade.  So my Token Male took me out for lunch!  Which revived me considerable.  Over lunch I asked what the differences between the brands were and discovered it was only cosmetic.  So back to his buddies dealership we went.  

They matched the deal on the original truck even though this one had more options.  And with much angst and discussion with Token Male a decision was made...  I am now the proud new owner of a Silver Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD (diesel)!  Today I brought the new darling home - pictures to come soon!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Change of Heart

Surprise, surprise I've had a change of heart.  I've decided to pull Joey from the market and keep him.  He has made so much progress these last few months that I want to keep working with him.  The other day, in a rush, I didn't check to see if all the cows had cleared the watering area before I moved gates and let the horses in.  

With one cow mixed in with the horses and sheep I needed some help.  Grabbing Reba by the collar I called Joey over.  Gesturing in the direction of the cow I shooshed him up.  Looking at me a little confused (he's always on sheep at my place) he quietly walked up to the cow and bit her hock.  Using my shrillest happy voice I told him how wonderful he was and he came trotting back to me for some pets.  Doing it again I once more asked him to move the cow.  Same thing, a nice quiet approach and a bite to get her moving.  

The next day I put him on the sheep.  And he's actually slowing down.  He's starting to rate and isn't in a crazed or hyper state when we work for increasingly long periods of time.  We even did some directional work.  I was so pleased with him.  The bonus was that all of this was done freely - no cord in sight!

My plan is to move him onto cattle permanently and hopefully try our hand at some cattle trials.  


This weekend my blissful silence was invaded.  My brother and sister-in-law had a surprise visit.  And they brought their dog.  Their German Wire Haired Pointer who's a year old.  Have I mentioned he's hyper?  

While they were off making the visit rounds I was trying to keep him from terrorizing my furry family.  Dogs have an intricate dance they do when they are making friends or engaging other dogs in play.  This dog didn't seem to read the other dogs body language.  What I found most interesting was that Reba and Tessa my two grumpy girls handled him fairly well.  There was very little growling and they were quite tolerant.  I could even leave Reba loose in the yard with him and not have her beat him up.  (This is pretty outstanding for her.)  While I have been working with them on their dog manners it still surprised me.  Joey and Bella on the other hand actually were snapping at the cheeky young fellow. 

Eventually, Bella would hide in the fields well away from the young upstart and poor Joey would snap and leap at the wildly barking and bouncing dog.  Neither were particularly impressed with their company.  In fact, Reba and Joey stayed glued to the deck door begging to come into the house.  These are my two outside dogs?  Interesting.  

With Kobe back enroute to his home my dogs are taking some well deserved respite.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Love My Mom

After writing my previous post I had just settled in to read some blogs I enjoy when my mom called.  She's in Honolulu right now taking a bit of a holiday.  Talking with her made me appreciate everything she does for me.  Made me tear up actually.  She is a very special lady.

This is the woman who taught me to never settle for anything less than what I want.  To be strong and independent.  Who can build and fix things like no body's business.  Who sewed my graduation dress so I could have what I wanted.  Who loves my animals like they're hers.  In short, she's an amazing creature who is ALWAYS in my corner.  

She challenges me to be a better person on a regular basis.  Over time we've developed a friendship in addition to a parental relationship.  Absence really does make the heart grow fonder because on a normal day her telling me all her daily details eventually annoys me.  But today I missed that.  I had a fabulous day and I wanted to share that with her.  So when she called it really hit me in the heart just how much she means to me.  How much she does for me.  

I love my mom!

Controlled Chaos

Controlled chaos was four dogs having a fun and fabulous time playing.  The controlled part was little old me standing in the middle of it all.  The chaos was four dogs simultaneously doing what they wanted at full speed.  

This afternoon I had rushed home after work.  It was a wonderful day and I knew my darlings had been cooped up for far too long.  I was in the house long enough to change my pants and to switch out my "town" shoes for my manure coated Baffin's.  As I approached the dog runs there was a wild spurt of wiggling, wagging and whining.  My normal routine is to make them sit quietly before I'll open their gates, but with the standing water and mud I gave them a reprieve.  And as such had two black and white bullets shoot out.  You could virtually hear it, "Freedom!" (*think Mel Gibson* in the movie I can't pull up.)  

I quickly did my horse chores and moved the dogs out of temptations way by heading towards the front of the house.  The front lawn is not a normal doggy play area, but had a wonderful covering of slushy snow - perfect for things like fetch.  And there I was taking turns throwing the rubber ring for Tessa and playing tug with the same ring with Reba, all the while Joey and Bella race mad circles around us interspersed with wrestling breaks.  

It was fabulous!!  I think my face was going to split in two I was smiling so hard.  Feeling peckish, I took a dinner break before heading out to play some more.  The dogs had a great time.  I had a great time.  It was an afternoon well spent.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


One thing I find fully and completely frustrating are the people who place ads on places like Kijiji seeking advice.  Things like Dear anonymous reader my horse is lame what do I do?  Or Dear anonymous reader my horse bucks and I just can't figure out how to stop it.  Please, oh please, tell me what to do.

Are these people truly so clueless that they don't see how inappropriate this is?  Is this not what a vet, farrier or trainer are for?  And quite frankly if they are not willing to spend the money to have their horse evaluated by the appropriate professional then I wonder why on earth they even have the horse in the first place.  Horses by nature are not cheap creatures to maintain.

Today I read just such an ad on Kijiji and my advice was for them to call a vet.  For crying out loud - it sounded like the horse had foundered, and this my friends is how horses end up as dog food.  Grrrr!


Over the course of the past month or so, I've been alternating between two different books.  The first book is a scientific look at dogs and is called Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz.  The second book is a training manual that looks more at the behavioral side of things and is called Be The Pack Leader by Cesar Millan.  


Both books offer an interesting perspective on dogs and why they behave the way they do.  One thing I enjoy is learning but I'm picky about what sources of information I trust.  The first book only provides information that is scientifically provable.  The second book is wrote by a person who has a wealth of experience and a proven track record.  Both offer different perspectives but the reader is able to connect between the intangible behaviors with the tangible scientific knowledge.  

I'd recommend both books to anyone interested in learning more about dogs.  

Ready or Not

Over the past few weeks I have been playing with an idea.  One I'm not sure if I'm entirely comfortable with.  I think, I'm pretty sure actually, that Whiskey is going up for sale.  This decision really tears me up because she is such a great horse.  However, the direction I'm moving with the horses isn't where her strengths and skill set lies.  She needs a home that will love and appreciate her as much as I do.  But even more, one that will use her, give her a job to do.  

Whiskey is a social creature.  She likes to be worked.  She really likes to have a job to do.  And let's be honest here, having her sit in the field is not her optimal life.  This is the horse that comes running when you call her name.  The horse whose head flies up into the air when my car pulls into the driveway.  This is the horse who needs more than I'm giving her right now. 
In two weeks, I'll start riding her again.  I'm about 99% sure her hock will hold up because she's been running through the deep snow and isn't having any problems.  I'll ride her and leg her up throughout the month of April.  Once May begins she's going to Marci Powell to be assessed on the barrel racing side of things.  I think she'd be good at it.  She loves to run, is strong and powerful, and has a great mind.  Marci will let me know if this is an avenue for the horse to continue pursuing or if she doesn't have the right qualities to make a competitive barrel horse.  

This is the plan as it stands.  But then again we all know about Plan A, and then what really happens!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Border Power

Okay is a powerful word.  How powerful?  Well, powerful enough to jerk me forward.  This afternoon for the first time in eons I took my dogs for a run down the road.  Normally, Joey and Reba run on leash with me and Tessa off leash in the ditch, however this would be Tessa's first running excursion post broken leg so I wanted to keep her on a level surface.  This meant three dogs on leash and running with me.  
On a good day this would work well.  I don't mind my dogs running in front of me.  In fact it's easier.  I do mind them pulling me forward.  Now in their defense I have not been running with them and such have not been working with them on their manners.  All three dogs literally leaped forward when I gave them the okay command.  I knew they were excited I just didn't realize how excited.  

My run for the first half went by a pretty good clip with the dogs jockeying for position.  When we turned onto the gravel road that they believe is gopher alley we had another jolt of speed.  Each dog in turn wound up the dog next to it.  Have I mentioned how peaceful and enjoyable this run was?  

By the time we turned for home Tessa and Joey were slowing down and only Reba had energy to burn.  I was keeping a pretty close eye on Tessa watching for any sign of a limp but other than being stiff and out of shape she did well.  

With spring in the air it's my mission to get those dogs back on their running program.  Next time though I'll do some leash work prior to the run.  (We do a lot of off leash work.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Waiting Patiently

There are certain times of the year when my "homework" increases dramatically. This is one of those times of year. My biggest problem is that when the weather is nice I'd rather be outside. For me staying in the house and working is the equivalent of shoving slivers of glass under my fingernails. Positively painful.

This morning I went out, fed, and let the dogs out so they could play. On a normal day I'd take them for a run or I'd go for a walk in the back with them. Today, they were released from their runs to enjoy some "free" play while I headed back into the house to work. I'd periodically get up and go check on them to see how they were doing and to ensure they were not getting into any monkey business. I had even given each of the dogs their own "bull stick" to help keep them occupied.

As I was working I could see a shadow periodically passing by. Looking up and out the window, there was Joey, pacing past the window. Smiling, I called his name. Stopping he came up and looked in. You could see it on his face, he was saying "Mom, it's beautiful out, why don't you come and play?" And there I was tied to the desk.

The next time I looked up was to hear a scratching sound. Joey had decided to dig a little nest in the flower bed by my window, where he promptly lay down to wait for me in the sun.

I've included a picture of him taken from inside the house. He sure is a cute little bugger.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Night Terrors

There are nights when I dread going to sleep.  When bedtime becomes a high stress time in my life.  Tonight is one of those nights.  While exhausted I'm putting off the actual sleep part.  One little know fact (until now) is that I have some wicked nightmares.  I've had them since I was a child.  I've dreamt of werewolves chasing me through forests, of bears breaking open the windows of my house and "getting me", of vampires ripping my throat out (that one after mistakenly reading a vampire romance), of ending up in Afghanistan running for my life (after watching the news), of being stranded or trapped in any variety of situations.  

These dreams are not just dreams, they are lifelike.  In fact, I cannot tell the difference between the dream and real life.  There are times when I've woke up disoriented, not entirely sure if I was still dreaming or if I was actually awake.  When I wake it's with the full body shake and twitch.  Literally jerking myself out of sleep.  Most nights it's difficult to fall back asleep.  There are a number of strategies I use.  Positive self talk.  Reading.  Taking a Gravol (motion sickness pill - makes me drowsy).  

This week I had a humdinger of a terror.  One who's residual tendrils are still stalking my thoughts.  I can't remember the last time I had a dream as violent as the one Thursday night.  Thursday, in my dream someone tried to kill me and the sensation and image is very vivid and real for me.  I know dreams have meaning but Friday night when I slipped into sleep my brain took me back to the place - it took a major effort not to fall back into the scenario - a scenario I'd rather not replay.  I literally woke up coughing.

And tonight I made a major error.  I watched the movie Dances with Wolves.  For the most part I love this movie but the bits where the horse and wolf die tend to haunt me.  So now I have more violence etched in my brain.  As an adult I know better than to watch a movie I find disturbing before I go to bed.  But as an adult I sometimes do things I shouldn't.  And now I'm paying the price.  I'm scared to sleep.  

Road Apples!

Is it possible for someone to be cursed?  I have to wonder when this vicious streak of bad luck is going to come to a screeching halt overcome by lucky horseshoes and an overall positive vibe that I zealously put out into the world around me.  I'm the person who smiles brightly at supermarket checkout people, who unfailingly tells anonymous fast food workers please and thank you. (I thought everyone did this but according to a study - apparently not.)  Some days I wonder what precisely it is that I'm doing wrong.

In the last two weeks I have discovered Joey's prospective buyer *cough Tyrel Pole cough* was not going to purchase the dog even though he told me he would.  And on Thursday I discovered he's perhaps, let's just say a big talker.  Obviously not knowing me he didn't know that I follow up on things and details.  Details like - no he's not buddies with my trainer, as my trainer doesn't know him.  It makes me wonder about just what other things he exaggerates about.  It makes me cranky.  So now, poor Joey is back to square one, trying to find his forever home.  

Thursday was also the day I was off to the trainers to take a lesson and try out my new mare.  I was positively glowing with happiness.  And then my perpetual cloud of luck kicked in.  You see, the mare, who had been fine for the previous two weeks with Jason, flipped her cookies.  Yep - she came unglued.  Jason, so kindly offered to get on her first and was the one dealing with the flip out.  But long story short, my project is no more.  He wouldn't sell her to me (Thank Goodness!!) and we'll continue on our search for something I can play and learn on.  I was really pumped about this horse so now I'm on a bit of a let down.

Good news is that Whiskey appears to have clean enough skin to start riding her.  Knock on wood!!!!