Saturday, December 31, 2011

How Did You Spend New Years?

Warning!  Gross Post!

This morning I had the rudest of awakenings.  I woke up to the lovely sound of retching.  Springing out of bed as fast as I could (at 6:30 in the morning), I hustled towards the ominous sound.  It was Ryder.  Puking up the bits of toy he decided to eat Friday night.  Now, I had thought I'd caught him quickly enough.  Apparently I was a smidge too slow.  Not only did he puke up the hunk of barbell I caught him destroying, he puked up a huge portion of the toy Tessa had destroyed.  

You know the warnings, dog must be supervised, blah, blah, blah.  Well, I DO supervise the little wrecking machines!  You would be stunned at how quickly they can get into trouble.  All it took was me walking into the next room to get a drink of water.  And Whammy!  Brand. New. Toy.  Poof!  Gone!  Well a good sized hunk of it anyhow.  I promptly took it away and threw it out.  Meanwhile, behind the couch Tessa was happily ripping the stuffing out of the Brand. New. Toy.  Unbeknownst to me, Ryder had also helped himself to the innards of this toy.  How do I know?  Well, at 6:30 in the morning when he puked it all up there were hunks of the toy I took from him, as well as this plastic and stuffing that had been in Tessa's toy.  Lovely.

Then on our walk in the park I noticed he was struggling a bit to do his business.  Very out of character for my speedy doody man.  Telling myself not to panic or get too worried before I checked the dog run at home.  Once home, I noticed some diarrhea and stool so I decided against calling the vet.  Bowel movement had to be a positive thing.  

About an hour after he eats his supper he so kindly puked it all back up.  On my freshly cleaned floor.  This prompted some agony over calling my vet on New Years Eve.  Some Internet searching induced paranoia prompted the phone call.  Where I was informed to watch him.  Closely.  She gave me some advice of what I should feed him to try and help him pass things on his own.  So here I am.  Waiting for my dog to puke or present some fabulous diarrhea.  Let the good times roll.  If he gets worse, the vet will meet me at the clinic and we'll begin some diagnostics.  Come morning we're to make a decision if he needs further care.  

Yep, I am that girl.  Here's a sampling of one of the puke's I cleaned off my floor.  Nummy!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Have You Heard Of This?

Here in Canada is a show called Dragon's Den.  It's my understanding that it's similar to the US show Shark Tank.  Anyhow, it's a show I rather enjoy.  This group was on the show: Holy Crap.  Interesting name, I know.  It is an apropos name.  Ehm, my friend had introduced me to the cereal Holy Crap, and I have recently discovered Skinny B.  I've been putting the Skinny B into my morning breakfast shake.  It's healthy, a bit on the gritty side (full of seeds), and keeps my tummy happy.  Check it out.

Hey, if the name doesn't make you curious - what will?  :)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Something I Thought I'd Never Do...

Feeling at loose ends with Whiskey I'd emailed Roxy's breeder.  I asked if they were interested in a free breeding lease.  I just don't need a broodmare and don't want to breed her for no reason.  Really, how many babies do I need?  The response?  Would I be willing to sell her?

Gulp.

Now what?

Do I take the reasonable offer for a broodmare sound only horse?  I'm relatively confident she'd be taken care of.  I think she'd make a nice cross with their stallion.  Or do I hold onto her?

Remember this is a horse I love.  She's such a nice mare.  She has a great disposition, personality and athletic ability.  Even though she's permanently lame.

But...

She'll never produce the cutter of my dreams.  She's rather large for that.  And ethically I can't breed her just cause she has a uterus.

What to do?  What to do?

New Friend

Yesterday was one of the perfect days for me.  It's December and the temperature was not minus frigid.  I got to load my truck with dogs and had a trailer on behind me.  We ended up spending the day at Ken's.  I was going to pick up a yearling to take to keep Guinness company.  Both babies were to be moved to my place.

I pulled into his yard and promptly tried to get the truck and trailer stuck.  Hitting a soft spot in the snow = not cool.  I managed to solve the problem myself with some creative language, sweat, and ace maneuvering.  One of my favorite things about Ken's is that I have someone who loves horses and dogs just as much as I do.  Our first job was to catch his baby, trim his feet, tie him up, and make sure he loads.  While we were doing this we chatted horses.  Ken has a lovely, lovely 3 year old that was his top futurity prospect (cutting).  She got caught up in oil lease wire and tore the tar outta her hock.  It was heartbreaking because she's now worth virtually nothing and the oil company won't pay the vet bill (1900 and counting) or loss of value.  He is understandably frustrated.   We went and looked at his weanlings.  I picked out my favorite.  *huge smile*

Next I worked Ryder.  He gave me some feedback on things I'm doing and gave me some things to think about.  On leash Ryder was really weird.  Ken has a young guardian pup that Ryder took a dislike to.  No ruffled back, just growling.  I could lie Ryder down, move him around, have him focus on me.  Yet he continued to growl at the pup.  Any suggestions for making him "give up" the behavior?  He was completely in control and didn't make any negative moves towards the other dog.  Just staying in heel or sit/stay.  But growled.  Big sigh.  He's normally so soft so I was slightly startled that he was that determined to keep growling.

Afterwards horse was loaded, dogs had a potty break and we hit the road.  Once home at the farm, Guinness was a naughty brat who decided he was not leading.  Not. For.  Anything.  Yes, it's timely he comes home for some work.

Here's his new bud.  (As of yet - no name.)



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dog Fun

The dogs and I went to an agility trainer for a private lesson today.  It was lots and lots of fun!  We went to work with Justine who has an outstanding reputation as an agility trainer.  I decided to start with Diva, as she can be the most tricky to deal with.  I was impressed with the fact that we were able to engage Diva in play.  This is a milestone for us and so very exciting!  We worked on playing.  We worked on turning tight circles in both directions.  We worked on a sit/stay/release and sit/stay with distraction.  This is something Diva struggles with (and because she struggles - so do I.)  We worked on going around an obstacle (jump standard) with speed and enthusiasm.   What left me thrilled was how happy she was.  Her little tail flagged in the air, and her mouth seemed to smile.  She was relaxed, not stressed as we worked through the activities.  She even engaged in play with Justine.  (Diva's not one for strangers.)  

Putting her back in the truck I grabbed Ryder.  Justine broke into a smile when I grabbed the flying squirrel and Ryder enthusiastically went chasing after it.  We started out with some play.  Next we worked on big circles and tacked on a "here" command.  Ryder also worked on the jump standard exercise.  One that he found hard was to stand on a Rubbermaid tub.  We wanted to help him become more aware of his space and body.  Right now I'm using treats to lure him onto it, but that'll be extinguished as time goes on.  We also did an activity where only his hind feet stayed on tub and his front feet stayed on the ground.  We did ready set go with him which he was quite good at.  And the icing on the cake was he got to do the tunnel.  He cracked me up because once he figured out what to do  he'd retrieve his toy and come back through the tunnel.  Too funny!  The next step is to chain a circle onto the end of the tunnel.  

Overall I'm thrilled with how are day went.  I'm happy to have some exercises we can easily do at home to help keep them busy mentally.  I even play to teach this stuff to Tessa.  

Doesn't Ryder look happy with himself?
(Sorry his eyes look strange - I tried to remove the crazy glow look and this is what I ended up with...)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ooo! Ooooh! I Gotta Plan!

A stroke of brilliance came upon me as I was driving home yesterday.  (While I was listening to that song that goes "Ooooo!  Oh!  I gotta feeling!")  *humming*  I need... er.... want a buddy for Guinness.  I also need to pay for school.  This was putting me in a bit of a quandary.  But in a moment of genius it occurred to me that my buddy Ken has a gazillion horses.

Tonight I called him up and outlined my plan.  Surprised he was happy to agree (once he realized it wouldn't cost him anything).  I'll be driving to Drayton Valley to pick up one of his yearlings.  I'll keep it here, play with it when I play with Guinness, and give it lot's of regular handling.  When he's ready to start we can switch it out with something different.  This is optimal for me.  It won't cost me anything and solves my problem of having Guinness either live alone or having to buy something to keep him company.

An absolute win-win situation as far as I'm concerned.  Now cross your fingers that this wonderful mild weather we're having here stays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And Then Plan B Kicked In

Isn't it funny how things change.  Two hours ago I was on the phone talking horses.  Making plans to go view some young horses.  And then an email hit my Blackberry changing those plans.  I had sent out queries to a variety of universities regarding graduate programs.  Yesterday I received some information back from the University of Portland.  (My first choice.)

Today I received an email from the program coordinator.  I quickly hopped on the phone and a short conversation later I was on a completely different path.  As of thirty minutes ago, I became enroute to starting official graduate classes for a Master of Education in Educational Leadership.  I start classes in January, which means I'm now scrambling to gather paperwork and money.  Mostly because I wasn't expecting things to move quite this quickly.  (Someone canceled their spot!)  My first class is January 19th!

This means I really don't have the money for another horse - even if it is bargain basement.  The young horse project will need to wait.  Big sigh.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Questions

For all my doggy people out there...
How old should a dog be when you do all the testing (for example hips)?
What are some great tricks or games to play with your dog?

For my horsey people...
This is Izzy's full sister - 2011 version.  I've been pondering a buddy for Guinness.  Then I'd move him (and company) here.  I don't really like him hanging around with the big horses all the time.  I'd have to go look at her.  She may not be what I like or want.  But would have potential as a cutter - her grandsire would be Guinness' dad.


lsalebarngrayfilly.jpg
(Picture owned by Bar XS Ranch.)


liz_left_july_2011
(This image owned by Painted River Ranch.)
Or this lovely filly - not a cutting prospect but fits my color scheme... these breeders have an outstanding reputation of having wonderful dispositions in their horses. She's a 2010 version, so would not put pressure on the bank account over training all at the same time.  This filly is bred to show, not cut, but would make a nice all around.  However, there is Guinness as my all around prospect.

Well?  Am I nuts?  Or do I just need something more to do?  What would you do?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Be Still My Heart

Last night, as I pulled my truck into the garage, Diva shot out.  Cursing under my breath I parked, closed the big door, gave Ryder some love and unloaded my stuff.  My next big move was to head into the house for some highly motivating food.

Knowing Diva likes to play the "can't catch me, I'm a little #$@$^ game" I purposefully went to the back deck door.  Flipping on the deck lights I could see the little rotter sitting out there.  Perky as you please.  Taking a deep breath, trying to create positive energy waves, I opened the door.  As I pulled open the door the strangest thing happened.  Diva came bolting, full speed for me.  As she joyfully greeted me, I gave her a dehydrated fish bite.  I was slightly stunned.  Tonight the same thing happened.  And. She. Came. Running.

I must admit I've gotten so used to her being naughty I'm not entirely sure what to think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Can I stick with it??

I've laid out my current action plan.  I'm really hopeful this may be realistic and achievable.

I'll put it into action during break as there are simply too many interruptions right now to be consistent.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings - prior to work - run on treadmill.
Each morning the dogs get a short "cardio" prior to work.
Tuesday and Thursday evenings I'd like to start a hot yoga class.  (If not something else physical.)
Each evening do the subdivision loop - (2.2 k or about 1.5 miles) - with the dogs.
Each evening do 5-10 minutes of "mental" work with each dog.  Either tricks, obedience training, etc.

Weekends are free.  Meaning I can do what I want - likely some herding and hopefully some riding.  The horse stuff is out on weekdays unless I want to haul to a stable and that has it's own inherent challenges in winter.  (No light and cold weather with outside horse.)

We shall see how I do...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Goal Setting

I've become leery of setting goals with my animals.  It seems we've been spending more time on plan B than anything.  That being said, this is the time of year when I begin thinking about goals.  So here's to Plan A!

Goal One:
I want to ride more.  Even in winter, even when my horse is not in a warm cushy stable.  Yup, I need to stop being so wussy.  I want to ride bareback - which based on Bacardi's behavior the other day may be a poor decision.  I'm looking forward to riding over winter break with Jason.  I miss being around him and Chrissy.  I miss being at the barn.

Goal Two:
I will have Ryder ready to stretch out his drive and outrun come spring.  He'll know his direction commands.  I will do something, anything with Diva.  I plan to take a tracking course come spring with them.  Here's hoping one or the other (preferably Diva) likes it.

Goal Three:
I will make it to the UK and work dogs at some point in the next 12 months.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Settling In

I've been slowly settling into my new house.  My kitchen is undergoing phase two of organization as I've decided I need to move my baking stuff.  The living room now has a TV (after weeks!!), and the lone two couches.  More furniture will be purchased once I get myself a bit more organized.  The biggest accomplishment was taking Tessa's pics to the framing shop.  A couple of years ago I had professional pictures of Tessa taken on sheep.  She's ridiculously camera shy so this is no easy feat.  I'm super excited to get them back.  (The framing was more than the bloody pictures!!)

The dogs are slowly settling in.  Tessa's having a tough time.  Part of this could be winter - last winter was brutal for her.  Part of this is most definitely the move.  She's doing more "crazy" things.  Staring into space.  Putting herself to bed.  Getting confused.  Refusing to go potty outside.  (Which wreaks havoc with my morning routine and getting to work.)  It's pretty clear her hearing and eye sight has deteriorated since summer.   Ryder is such an amazing boy.  I'm blessed he made his way back into my life.  He takes the toys to Tess.  He sniffs and cleans her bum - especially after she's been outside.  When she's having a really bad day, he licks her face, and lays near her.  I've started contemplating how to tell my class she may not make the winter.  She'll be in as "guest" teacher next week for a day.  I'm also blessed my administration supports having her in my room. (I'm regularly approached by staff requesting her.)

As Tessa ages, I'm very careful with her when she's around the kids.  At one time I would have no qualms.  I need to keep her safe, especially when she's tired.  I need to make sure the kids don't maul her.  This group is really good.  They respect her and when I tell them she needs a nap they leave her be.  It never fails to amaze me how she picks the kids that need her the most to be around.  It never fails to amaze me how joyful they become with her.  I know she'll be a calming influence with the Christmas crazies quickly approaching.  (We go right up to the 23rd.)  But I also know the days are limited that she'll be strong enough to handle a busy classroom environment.

Diva has not been good with Tessa's decline.  She's taking the attitude of wanting to be Queen Bee.  This creates work for me, but we're managing the situation.  On the positive side, Diva's been wanting to engage in play more often, and seems to be developing a stronger attachment to me.  Her recall still stinks.  But is sloooooooowwwwwwwlllllly improving.  On the negative side, Ryder was a little bully at the dog park last weekend.  Clearly I need to get back to doing some work with him that way.  He was very ruffled when we were leaving.  Need to get him out more and reinforce his manners.  Part of the problem is he wants to protect me.  But he must learn when this is appropriate behavior.  (For example someone breaking into the house - appropriate for him to react.)

Pictures to follow tomorrow of my favorite house feature!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Little Research

I've been doing some research into the whole search and rescue thing.  Diva, unfortunately, very likely wouldn't pass their tests - due to some of her quirks.  Maybe time and training will change that.  Ryder, probably would.  I emailed the Edmonton region group to get some more information.  I think to begin with I'd like to take a lesson or two with a tracking person and see what happens.  I'd like to take both young dogs and get an assessment done with a qualified person to see if they have any talent or interest.

And from there I'll make some decisions.  The SAR lady gave me an email of a person she recommends for tracking training, so that's my next step.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Moments That Define Us

This week was a horrifically scary one for me.  One of the days after school when a wee little student should have met their mother after school, they didn't show up.  We systematically searched classrooms, and under playground equipment.  We looked through the eyes of a six year old and tried to think like one. The police were notified.  After 40 minutes had passes another parent phoned it.  A student had shown up at their house, but while they were on the phone with the school, this student disappeared.  With a neighborhood narrowed down and our daylight quickly waning, we quickly hopped into our vehicles and began searching for the little one.  With our area clear we moved on to another area, phoning it in we received the good news.  A completely different parent saw the little one wandering and picked them up.  We had our happy ending but the outcome could have been different.  It was an hour of searching for this child.  Worrying.

This was a defining moment for me.  It made me wonder if my dogs would be capable of searching for the child had the situation been different.  It's something that I may look into.  Who knows, maybe this is where Diva with her strong prey drive and athletic ability, has a talent.  Ryder I think would be too sensitive.  Something to consider.  I may have to google it and learn some more.

I know, I know.  I shouldn't consider putting more on my plate.  I really should finish training Ryder on sheep.  I should just focus on one thing.  Time will tell which road I take...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Helping Out

Sometimes we just need a helping hand.  Someone to step up and help take some of the load off.  My friend's mom had just had hip surgery.  She needed someone to help the farrier.  I was willing and able to help out.  So that's what I did.

It's always awkward to spend time making small talk with a random stranger.  Or at least it is for me...  anyhow, I greeted him and said I'd be helping out.  I had already brought the horses into the little barn and was ready for Operation Trim.  In response to his query I told him I had three horses and had done 4-H with Jeanne's girls.  His response?  Oh, so you're her girls age.  O-kay....  Smiling and nodding I continued to talk "horse" with him while he trimmed the horses hooves.  Once we finished I told him he could pop by the house and Jeanne would pay him.  His response??

Can you take off your toque (winter woven head gear for my American friends)?  O-kay....

It took me a moment to ponder whether or not I'd comply.  I gave an awkward laugh, shook my head and pulled off my hat.  Immediately my static filled hair followed, and I quickly shoved my hat back on. The look of bafflement must have clued him in and he explained that he liked being able to recognize people when he sees them in town...

Good luck my friend.  Good Luck.

My attire?  Black sweat pants, black Sorel winter boots, a large and bulky Carhart winter jacket, big black mittens and my pretty ski toque. Add to this no make up and glasses...

Yep, good luck recognizing me in my town attire....

But how can you not laugh.  I climbed into my truck and began to giggle.  Funniest thing to happen to me in a looooooonnnnnng time!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Animal Pictures

Ryder and Diva racing in the park.


Guinness catching a nap.


Guinness and Bacardi stalking me - kept following me making picture taking very challenging.


Bacardi


Buddies having drink.


New sheep.
Wild...


Guinness - fat little fart!


Perhaps this is why he's so fat!


Bella, with her sheep.


House pics

Kitchen - whoever planned it out mustn't have been a cook - note all the tile counter tops...  BUT note ALL the counter space!


More kitchen view...


Look at the cupboard space!
(And the "old school" cupboards!)



My couches - now covered with old flannel sheets to dog "proof" them.


Living room - facing where the TV will go...


Bathroom


Office and Dog Room - this is where they'll spend the night in crates/pens.
Less Tessa who'll sleep in my room on her bed.


Spare bedroom


My bedroom.


Once I have all my furniture, everything unpacked and organized, and art work up.  I'll take new and improved pictures.

Superstar

Yesterday was farrier day.  It was Guinness' first time having his feet picked up!  And I was stunned with his behavior.  It was totally unexpected.  Normally, when a young horse gets it's feet picked up for the first time there's some jumping about.  Often you'll see some mini rears, speedy backing up, and pawing or swinging of feet.  (Based on my past experiences.)  

So this is what I was expecting.  It didn't happen.  First we trimmed Bacardi.  Guinness hung out and made a general pest of himself.  Next, I walked up to Guinness and slipped a halter on him.  I led him closer to Derek.  Derek gave him a few pets and then reached down and asked for his front foot.  There was some swinging of the foot, but it was as if a light bulb went off in his head.  "Oh, all you want to do is pick it up??"  And that was the extent of the expected baby tantrum.  Blew me away.  His head came down, his ears relaxed to the side and he chewed and licked his lips.

The other four feet went easier.  Derek said when he asked for his feet Guinness gave them gentle, and Derek didn't need to use much pressure in the asking.

It has made me believe with every fiber of my being that you can't train a nice temperament into a horse - it's either their or not.  Case in point - Buddy the demon horse.  He was a blank slate horse, range wild when I got him.  And his disposition and attitude remained awful.  I'm convinced he was bi-polar.  This is the horse that would hunt you down and chase you in the pen.  He couldn't live with any other horse or livestock because he was so mean to them.  And after three months of training he decided he was going to buck and that was the end of the story.  This is a horse I gave up on - sold for $500.  Best decision I've ever made.  The only thing I worried about is that he'd hurt someone - but he did kick the man who bought him (while he was looking) and showed his true colors.  So he knew what he was buying.

Guinness, now there's a whole different experience.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scared Awake

Between the move and my courses I'm not quite as on top of my work as per normal.  This means I've been putting in major hours for my report cards.  Last night I didn't make it to bed until after 11.  Which for me is crazy late.  I was comfortably asleep when Ryder stood up (hardwood = clacking feet), and began to growl, deep in his throat.  You know, the serious business growl.  Still trying to sleep, I shushed him.  And then I heard it.  The hard to place, not quite right sound.

I lay there barely breathing, listening with every fiber of my being.  And still the sound.  Was it in the house?  Outside?  I couldn't tell.  Ryder made the flying leap onto my bed, and sat alertly, staring out my window.  Growling.  And then a big serious bark.  Sitting up as though pulled with a string I fumbled for my glasses.  Crawling closer to the window I peered out.  The light pollution from the increasingly near large city providing a faint illumination.  I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye.  Freezing, I stared, stomach clenching as Ryder began to bark in earnest.

There!  What was that!  Oh holy crap!

Oh... it looks like.. a coyote??

Seriously?

This close to my house?

Relieved it didn't have two legs, the dogs and I made our way to the deck door and watched.  Ryder poofed up, growling, and watching intently.  Tessa back to the window barking when Ryder let out his warning barks.  And then it went streak past my deck.  Close enough to rope.  A massive coyote.  I think. Biggest I've seen with plush fur and a filled out tail.  Looked about the size of a German Shepherd but had the coloring of a coyote.  Calming Ryder I made my way back to bed.

Ryder, once again leaped up onto my bed and stood sentinel at the window growling.

This is how I fell asleep.  That is until Ryder let out another massive bark, jolting me out of my sleep, and causing me to hallucinate a man standing at the end of my bed.  Thank you Ryder, and Thank you sleep deprivation.

Let me tell you that got the old ticker going.

Yep, it was a restful sleep last night...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dirty Little Rotter!

I have rotten naughty dogs.  Somedays I think life would be so much easier if I lived in a condo with no little fur balls.  In particular black and white fur balls that have been up to NO.  GOOD.  Yesterday I settled down to eat breakfast.  When I finished and traversed the 10 ft to the bedroom I saw something offensive.... my favorite pink Ariat baseball cap sitting in the dog bed.  Wet and chewed on.  I believe the offending culprit was Diva.  Who was - pardon the expression - tickled pink.

Last night I had a nasty surprise.  My basement is pretty much empty right now.  I have a big open room that I plan to use for exercise (myself) and play/training (dogs).  There, on the rug the previous owners had left behind, were three little turds.  Trying to bolster my attitude I used some self talk.  Things along the lines of "it's okay, maybe their dog had had an accident here too".  

This morning, after getting dressed and brushing my teeth, I went to do a basement walk through.  I was astonished and right ticked off to discover someone had left behind some MORE little lumps of love.  You can imagine my expression when I turned around to see that Ryder had pee'd on the pillar (only males can get it up that high).  I was ripped!  Calling him, he sees me standing by the steaming puddle of pee and turns tail.  He flat out refused to come near his mess.  The most frustrating part is all the dogs had already been outside in the run for morning business.  Grrrrr.....

The basement will remain out of bounds for all dogs.  The offending rug has been hauled outside.  And Ryder will be on a leash by me at all times he's not locked up.  The kicker??  No mess in the garage today - I was gone from 7:30 - 4:00.  Seriously.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Moving Mess

Jokes on me.  I took a bunch of pictures to show my moving mess.  Only I can't find the card reader for my old school Mac.  (Just waiting for it to kick the bucket before I buy a new one.)  Last night I caved.  I couldn't stand it anymore and organized my kitchen.  I thought my report cards took priority.  Silly me.

The pups have been wreaking havoc in the garage while I'm at work.  I need to get the dog door and panels set up to limit them to the outside run and their section of the heated garage.  We've made it through our first work week alone.  I was really worried about the babies and their ability to "hold it" while I was off working.  This is something they've never had to do.  And Tessa, well, we're coming off a pretty bad "crazy" day.  But all dogs were good dogs and did their business outside.  What more can a girl ask for?

It's bloody stinking cold outside (-25C or about -13F).  This is our first cold snap and snow fall and nothing has acclimatized.  I'm going to be running home and grabbing a winter blanket for Whiskey as she refuses to use her shelter (totally out of character for her).  She seems fine but her coat isn't as plush as I'd like it.  I'll blanket her up for this first snap and when it warms up take it off.  This will give her some more time to grow more hair.  I don't mind snow on the horse's back (according to the old cowboys it's insulating), but she's got some ice balls which are just not nice.

This weekend has dog vaccinations and new tires for me.  Oh ya, and writing report cards....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Contemplating Crazy

I am contemplating crazy.  Stark raving loony-toons.  So this has struck a chord within me.

http://edmonton.kijiji.ca/c-pets-livestock-for-sale-Price-Reduced-Buckskin-APHA-Tobiano-Broke-Stud-W0QQAdIdZ330682212

This ad has been up for a while.  The price was much higher a day ago.  Why this horse out of the thousands out there jumps out at me - I'll never know.  But he intrigues me.  He fires up my imagination.  He makes me wonder "What if..."  This could be backlash from spending my cutting fund on house stuff.  But what if this horse was willing to work cows?  What if he had the disposition, conformation and ability I need?

The truly funny thing is I'm not a super huge fan of color.  I generally like plain with no white.

And yet, here I am, contemplating crazy...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chaos

Well, I'm officially in the new digs.  Dad and I put up the chain link panels creating a dog run attached to the garage. (Heated!!!)  Next step is to get a dog door installed so they can go out and potty at will while I'm away at work.  My bed is in the living room.  Yup, but as I have no other furniture in there right now, that's okay.  My kitchen is filled with boxes.  My garage is filled with boxes.  Whiskey is hanging in her new field.  Unhappily I think.  She was much more unsettled than I expected her to be.  Wasn't eating very much, but seems better now.

The dogs are also rather unsettled.  Tessa was extremely worried, so I gave her an extra Clomicalm and took her to work with me today.  Diva and Tessa are starting to war.  This is new.  I'm doing a lot of maintenance with them right now.  As soon as things settle down I plan to give everyone individual training time.  Ryder is awesome.  He settles in and lays down, watching what's going on.  He's my faithful shadow.  While Diva is super-snooper.  It's been fun keeping her out of trouble.

When it's not blizarding I'll get some pictures up of the mess.  I have no plans to tackle any of the mess until my report cards are done and my final paper for my class is handed in.  I must admit, very excited to get my Internet hooked up today...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lest We Forget

Today is Remembrance Day here.  Today is the day we take a moment to think about and remember those soldiers who have fallen.  For some it's just a day off work.  For me, it's a day that tugs at the heart strings.  It's a day that can strike a little too close to home.  I have friends, and extended family that are either active military or former military.  These are people who have served my country.  They have gone to strife filled countries to try and stabilize them so they too could enjoy some of the rights and freedoms I take for granted here.  These brave men and women will ensure I'll continue to enjoy the life I lead.  They are the people who have stepped up and are willing to go forth for my country.  For that reason they'll forever have my undying respect and appreciation.

When I was in France I walked the trenches of Vimy Ridge, now a serene pock marked park.  Let's not forget the sacrifices our soldiers have made.  Let's not forget that there are families who are short brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers.

Lest We Forget....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Beloved Whiskey mare

Tonight I made it out to the barn.  I brushed Whiskey and popped her on the lunge line.  I hadn't been out for almost two weeks.  This video I took on BlackBerry.  Sorry, we get dark early here this time of year and the arena lighting is - arena lighting.  I think the video shows off some of the reasons why I love this horse so much.  In one hand I have the lunge line, the other my cell phone.  I've gotta admit I get a bit depressed when I work with her knowing she'll only be broodmare sound.  I also think she looks great having just had her baby weaned.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

New Home

Front View
Really not a big fan of the blah brown siding, but, beggars can't be choosers!


Field and barn area.

Backyard view.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FREAK Out!

I'm in the midst of a freak out.  (And immediately scrolling through my head is the song ...freak out, c'est chic... don't know the rest of the lyrics, and there's a really good chance those are wrong...)  No seriously.  I'm having a wee bit of a panic attack/guilt attack.  On Monday I took possession of my new digs.  However, I'd been having a dilly of a time making sure the utilities were transferred into my name.  Major fear and paranoia over frozen water lines - it is that time of year here.  After jumping through ridiculous hoop after hoop everything was finally sorted out yesterday evening.

On Monday, when the realtor handed over the keys and we did our walk through I was oh so happy to discover the missing baseboards - still missing, the massive manure pile - still massive, and the icing on the cake.... they had cut the electric fence and pulled off the power source.  Lovely.  Literally sawed through the tape/line.  To put it politely - I was annoyed.  It's the principle of the thing.  My realtor managed to get the manure pile removed yesterday, but the rest is now my work project.  To compound things I've been getting home late.  Making for wild and crazy dogs.

Whiskey is still at the stable, letting her bag dry up.  I've been fretting about having her inside with winter swiftly approaching.  The plan is to move her to my new place for the next few weeks.  This way she can continue developing her winter coat, and is in a safe place removed from her baby.  This means hauling enough squares to feed her, and ensuring the previous owners junk is gone from the barnyard area.  Add to that stripping the now useless and slack electric wiring off the fencing.  (Heart attack if she got caught up in it!)

Let's not forget I have a major and slightly massive paper due on Monday.  Or that my report cards need to be done immediately after that.  Oh AND I'm moving.  Or trying to before the snow flies.  Garck!  Did I take on too much??

FREAK OUT!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dog Daze

Yesterday I pulled up my big girl panties and worked all 3 of my dogs on sheep.  And I surprised myself.  I discovered that Diva - who has been on sheep holiday - has improved.  Who knew not working her would make her better?  Calvin, that's who.  She'll go back on holiday and I'll pop her back on sheep in December to see where we're at.  Ryder was awesome.  He's starting to figure out his commands.  For the direction commands he's about 50%, walk up and lie down he's at 100%, and he's walking up further and further away from me in a drive situation.  Tessa got a tune up.  We worked on rounding out our flanks and being more crisp to take the commands.

Today, I picked up Lynne and Zoey and drove to Gibbons to walk with Stacy and Luke.  It was really cool to see the four pups together.  After our trek along the river valley, we played on the agility equipment.  Well, I didn't but Lynne and Stacy did.  Luke had to show off his skills.   Here's some video of him working.  It's not edited - just straight off the camera but you'll get the gist.

To help with winter boredom, I found and bought some weave poles that I'm going to set up in my basement.  I think it'll be good to play with when we can't do much outside due to arctic and snow conditions.  Next, I plan to find a couple jumps to add to the collection.  This will be something I can do with the three dogs when we're housebound.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Confidence

Last night I lay in bed and pondered how I got to where I'm at.  I was thinking about Ryder.  He'd been sick and was showing signs of improvement.  Because he'd been sick I had brought all the dogs into my room, to make it easier to monitor him and take him out if needed.  (And boy, have we had a few sleepless nights!)  I'm not sure if it was something he ate or a bug, but a trip into the vet and some meds have made a world of difference.

I was laying there thinking about what a nice fellow he is.  And I was wondering why I'm not chomping at the bit to work him.  He really is astoundingly easy to train.  I was wondering why with FarmFair around the corner I'm not eagerly anticipating watching the dogs go.  There was a point in time when I would have lived and died by these events.  So what's changed?  With Ryder, I know that I don't have the confidence to train him.  I don't trust myself to make the right decisions.  I don't trust myself to do the caliber of job he deserves.  I get locked into paranoia over what the correct next step is in his training progression.

I lay there wondering what has caused this.  I certainly wasn't always like this.  I used to overflow with confidence and an unshakeable belief in my abilities.  Take the horses for example.  I used to happily hop on anything.  Now, even though I know I have the ability to handle what they may toss my way I'm scared.  Roxy- case in point.  She didn't do anything I wasn't able to ride.  Not once was I in danger of falling off.  But I was terrified to get on her.  It really doesn't make sense.  I know I haven't been as confident after my accident.  But that was over 10 years ago!  I've rode lot's since then.

So the question of the day is - if you know your confidence has fled, how do you go about getting it back?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Whiskey

I've been going out to the barn to longe Whiskey.  Call me paranoid but I want to make sure she's getting enough movement.  To be honest, I'd been contemplating giving her away to a good home.  And I can't!  I just love her so much.  She cracks me up.  This mare loves to work.  When we stand in the alley leading into the arena, she gets more alert.  I'll snap the longe line on, lead her in, and watch her move into a long trot.  She'll snort and blow, with a head toss for variety.  A cluck brings on a ground eating canter.  I'll have to get some video of her doing this.  It's so clear in her expression and behavior how much she loves having a job.  I feel bad she's not sound enough to get one.

All I know for sure is she's incredibly enjoyable to be around.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Weaning Time

It's that time of year.  Where in the natural cycle of things the babies leave the nest.  Figuratively speaking.  Yesterday afternoon, I brought the horses in, tossed down some hay, caught Whiskey and loaded her up to take her away for a week or so.  I thought things would be easier if they couldn't hear each other.  My hope was that this would be the safest way to do things.  After consulting with Rhonda and GB - very experienced breeders - the decision was made to take Whiskey to their stable.  This would leave Guinness in a familiar environment with his buddy Bacardi.  

As I drove off, Whiskey started to call and Bacardi answered but no one started to run around.  At the stable Whiskey was a bit bug eyed but settled into her stall fairly easily.  When I checked on Guinness and Bacardi they were both contentedly eating their hay.  

Buddies


"Where's Whiskey?"


"I guess I'm OK..."

"Where's my baby?"

"I guess I'll survive..."
I went and longed Whiskey today, just to make sure she was getting enough movement.  Her poor udder is full to the top.  Youch!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What To Do??

Sam (my vet) came out today.  Whiskey has been moving a lot better so I wanted to get her assessed to see if she would be able to make a riding come back.  Sam watched her move.  Then we did the flex test.  It was ugly.  While "off" normally, when the flex test was done she was clearly lame.  Because I wanted to know and asked Sam thought she'd have a less than 50% chance in making a riding horse for me.  I could hop on her and take her for jaunts around the field but she'd never be able to do anything beyond that.

So now what?  I have this lovely mare who is broodmare sound.  But I don't really need a broodmare.  I don't really need (or want) a bunch of foals.  Does she become a field ornament?  It seems a shame as Guinness is quite a nice little foal.  (Even Sam commented on him!)  What's the right thing to do?  For me, and her?

I guess there's some thinking in my future...

Friday, October 21, 2011

There's Always Plan B

With the purchase of my new acreage, which was OVER my limit, it's making me have to shuffle a few plans and dreams.  This okay.  I know things will still happen in due time.  Because this place was 15 000 over my preferred price, I'm having to use some of my horse fund to purchase things and get my new home up and running.  This means no new cutting horse this winter.  I've had Bacardi listed in a variety of places and the only nibbles I've had have been inappropriate.  (Just because a horse has training does NOT make them a children's horse.)  Last night I called a man I used to know back in the roping days.  In January, Bacardi will head to Camrose for two months of professional rope horse training.  I respect the man who I've talked to.  This family has won multiple team roping championships.  Many of these on horses they've trained.  We share a similar philosophy when it comes to how we train and ride.  This is important. 

They'll work with Bacardi in the box, and evaluate whether she'll make a head horse (my first preference as this is what I used to do) or heel horse.  And then they'll put miles on her.  She'll get roped off and started right.  And this will leave me with a horse to putter around on.  A horse I can go rope off, turn back on or just ride.  With this added money and time put into her I probably won't put her up for sale again.  That being said, I have not let go of my cutting horse dream.  I will continue to whittle money away and I'll continue to have a relationship with Jason and Chrissy.  I just recognize things will be moving a little slower for me. 

Here's to Plan B!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Done Deal

Today I closed the deal.  Today I took a gigantic step.  Today, I closed conditions on my own little property.  It's 3 acres which is smaller than my dream farm, but it's a step in the right direction.  It has a little barn, is fenced with a waterer.  It has a lovely little yard for me to putter about, and a heated garage that I'm going to put a dog door into.  I'm then going to fence the back yard and the dogs can then go into the garage (a sectioned off space) or out in the yard while I'm away at work.  It breaks my heart to leave Bella behind but I'm convinced she wouldn't be happy - nor my neighbors with all her barking.  We'll see, I'm supposed to be in an animal friendly area.  Maybe come spring Bella and a couple of sheep will also move in with me.  This winter it'll be the Borders and me.  Come spring the horses will make the move.  The sheep are up in the air.  I'll have to feel things out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Congo Connection

Here's a very good informative video about Congo, Coltan, and the reality of that world.  This was made in 2009.  This is still an issue today.

Thinking Through a Different View Finder

This post is not appropriate for children to read.

The last two days have been spent at a conference in Edmonton.  I will openly admit to being very, very cranky over the thought of loosing my weekend to spend it sitting in the city.  I had an immediate attitude adjustment when Dr. Samantha Nutt walked up to the podium.  She's 41.  She's also the lady who started War Child.  This woman has spent the bulk of her adult years in places where Canadian civilians are not supposed to go.  I sat there with tears welling up in my eyes as she told story after story of things so horrific I can't even imagine them.

Imagine being the mother with no education, can't even print her name, standing in line for medical services with a dead infant in her arms, waiting for someone to help her.  Imagine being the 12 year old girl repeated raped by boys from her village.  When she tries to run away the soles of her feet are cut off.  Imagine a place where you can purchase an automatic gun for $20 but people are dying of starvation.  Imagine a place where this little mineral called Coltan fuels wars.  Did you know that you and I use Coltan every day?  We do.  We are the buyers of the mineral that causes turmoil.  Not the people who live in the regions where it's mined.  We are the purchasers who fuel the demand.  I plan to contact the companies whose products I buy and ask them where the Coltan that they use comes from.  As the consumer we have the power to create change and demand fair trade, demand accountability.

Education IS power.

Look at what Craig Kielburger has accomplished.  He began his journey when he was 12.  Did you know that here, in Canada, arguably one of the wealthiest and most powerful countries in the world, over 60% of our aboriginal children who grow up on reserves will NOT finish high school?

I have been forced to view my world through a different lens.  I can't say it's not my problem.  I can't say that it's across the world so why should I care.  It's becoming abundantly clear that we truly live in a global world.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Silence

I have much to write about but have been silent.  Quite simply I have a few irons in the fire and not enough time to go around.  Next week I should have big blog coming. 

Here's a mini-update. 

Diva - is becoming more and more personable.  I really believe having her in the house and learning how to do the dominance roll thingy has been transformational for her.  She's starting to seek me out for attention and is intensely interested in play.  Something that has been slow to come for her.  Yesterday, while I was working on my university course she came up to me and put her feet in my lap.  She then leaned her body into mine while I ran my hand down her side.  When I move from room to room she is starting to follow and want to be near me.  The thing that excites me the most is when we play with the flying squirrel she's starting to tug.  She'll even chase after it (but not retrieve it).   When tugging she's starting to make little grunting and growling sounds.  I'm considering this to be growth in her development in a happy healthy dog.  When we go out in public or have company there is no snapping, barking or bad behavior.  I'm quite pleased with her right now.

Ryder - has been getting the short end of the stick.  No working sheep the poor fellow... but he's been getting some nice walks and play time.  He continues to demonstrate an outstanding personality.  He's learning quite quickly about things.  Overall I'm very happy with him.  Mom and I plan to make arrangements to start bringing him to school for short bursts and begin the process of getting him ready to do some therapy work.  (All supervised and slow transition.)  I think he'll be tremendous dog in that manner.

Tessa - has been getting stiffer with the cold weather looming.  I'm planning on taking her for some chiropractic to see if it helps her movement.  She's been pretty happy and in touch with reality.  We had two days of confusion, which for us is pretty minor.  She continues to love to play but is a super grump around the young dogs.  I like to say she's the fun police.  I bought her a new dog bed that she's been spending a lot of time in.  So much that when I'm working I move it into the office for her to use.  She's had a couple of accidents but for the most part we're maintaining the improved quality of life from the summer.

Whiskey - is looking fairly sound.  I'm contemplating hopping on her and seeing what she'll do.  It'll be weaning time soon.  The other night Oscar went for a ride on her.  She only put her ears back when he started kneeding her...

Guinness - is leading consistently and demonstrates he has his mom's stellar personality.  I love this little horse.  He's been a treasure to work with. 

Bacardi - is in limbo.   She's getting fat - which is nice as she came to me quite lean.  I've contacted one of my friends and she may go into a riding program for the winter as a lesson horse.  We'll see.  More needs to be decided there.  All I know is there is no time to ride.  It's been a couple of months since I've rode and I miss it.  If she doesn't go to the barn, I'll be doing some bareback jaunts this winter.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Thanksgiving




Today is Thanksgiving.  I'm very thankful for so many things.  It's become something of a tradition to take the dogs for a walk on Thanksgiving so mom and I headed to the park before the hoards of people descend on our house.  Tessa is still a bit off so we kept the walk on the shorter side.

Murphy's Law

What is it with animals that they can't get sick during normal vet working hours?  Why do they have to wait until the clinic closes for the holiday weekend?  I hate calling the vet after hours but that is what I did yesterday.

Saturday night Tessa begged and pleaded to be let out more than once.  Sunday my mom and I took the three Borders for a walk in the local grazing reserve.  It was there that I realized my little Tessa was not feeling so good.  The poor girl squatted, and squatted.  Watching what was coming out of her I knew she needed some intervention.  I wasn't willing to let it ride out for another two days so I called Sam.  She's such a great person.  She went to the clinic and put some meds in the mailbox for me to pick them up.  We started Tessa on PeptoBismal and some kind of antibiotic.  (Huge honking horse sized pills!)


Throughout the day I kept my eye on Tessa.  She mostly slept.  And yes when she went outside I ruthlessly watched her "stool".  She's seems to be a bit better but still isn't her normal self yet.  If she's still having problems she'll go into the vet on Tuesday for a check up.

Lucky girl gets a bath today before company arrives to remove the "trailers" off her hind end...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Bless You Bella!

Last night Bella was an unsung hero.  Last night, while we slept happily in our beds, Bella scared off some would be thieves!  They grabbed my dad's registration and insurance, and the compartments of my truck were open, but nothing was taken.  At around 4 in the morning, Bella had a barking race around the house.  In my sleep I grumped about her disturbing me.

Let's just say it'll be a long time coming before she gets in trouble for barking around the house now!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Compromise

This past weekend was fabulous.  I've had so much to chew over mentally that I'm just catching up now.  One of the "Aha" moments for me was removed from the sheep field.  It was sitting in my dearest friend's kitchen, watching out her window as Diva and Ryder raced around her yard.  She lives in the city.  I live in the country.  Where do you think my dogs had the most freedom?

Her yard was like Disneyland for them.  I don't think they stopped playing the entire time they were out there.  In fact, I think they played sooooo hard that Diva neglected to do her potty in the yard.  (BAD Diva!!!)  *I may, just may, owe her husband something nice for cleaning up after my dog....*  It made me think that maybe my dream of my own little farm needed to be reevaluated.

I've been house shopping.  Land is expensive here.  In order to find anything in my price range I'm a minimum commute of 45 minutes.  The biggest problem I've been facing is everything in my price range is junk.  Falling down, strange additions, junk!  Watching my dogs in the city made me think that perhaps I need to do some compromising.  I've decided that I will begin to look at acreages in subdivisions (generally 3 acres or smaller).  What this means is giving up on having sheep at home and the space to train dogs on site.  It also means finding Bella a new home.  Dumping Bella goes against every fibre of my being.  But can you imagine my new neighbor's joy to discover this giant white dog that roams her "territory" barking to warn off predators?  *said dryly*  I'd be very popular!

The compromise is finding Bella a new home, traveling to work sheep, but being able to keep the horses with me and having a fenced yard for my Borders.  We shall see how it all turns out...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Just Right

Have you ever had one of those moments when you wanted to freeze time?  When you thought surely life counldn't be better than this?  This weekend, I drove back down to Airdrie and I spent hours taking lessons with Calvin Jones.  While challenging, thought provoking, and sometimes frustrating I grew as a trainer.  It was as though the lightbulb went on over my head.  I loved him and wanted to absorb as much of his wisdom as I could.

The fundamentals for developing a good trial dog became clear.  I'm struggling changing my practice to meet his, but I'm determined to keep trying.  Ryder grew a stunning amount.  He walked into the weekend not knowing any flanks, and walked out with some fundamentals.  It was fun learning about Ryder's Welsh pedigree.  Many of the dogs Calvin knew and some of them he'd even worked!

I'll continue learning via email and YouTube and there just may be a trip to Wales in my future...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Movement

It was devilishly difficult getting nice pictures of Guinness moving.  Here's the best of the worst...

Sorry, a lot of them are blurry.  Darn camera is letting me down!




Friday, September 23, 2011

Private Lesson

Today I took a 1/2 day off work and drove three hours to Airdrie.  Here I took a private lesson with Calvin Jones of Wales.  It was well worth the time and effort.  In fact, it was hands down one of the best lessons I've taken.  He "got" me.  And he "got" my dogs.  Calvin was fresh off judging the Worlds in the UK so I'll trust he knows what he's talking about.

I worked Diva first and he gave me some positive and interesting feedback.  He showed me a technique to keep her off her sheep.  After he demonstrated some things, and I tried them (in teaching we call this modeling and guided practice) I went to grab Ryder.  Ryder was his normal lovely little self.  And Calvin was very impressed with him.  So impressed he was joking about stuffing him (Ryder) in his suitcase.  He also encouraged me to reconsider neutering him.  He believes that Ryder has the makings of a champion.

Afterwards we chatted.  Calvin's a funny man with a great sense of humor.  He's the kind of person you can sit and visit with for hours.  As we chatted Calvin gave me some advice/feedback around Diva.  His suggestion was to either find some "good" farmer to send her to for the winter for some real work or to leave her to grow up.  He feels that some of the behaviors on stock I'm seeing are immaturity.  He thinks my time will be better spent with Ryder and that by January (January!!!???) Ryder should be ready to trial.  He also thought that getting too rough or aggressive with Diva would only result in failure.

It was so interesting for me.  I think I learned a lot and above all he gave me something to think about.  I liked that his was a different take than the standard herder/stockdog manner where rough or course strategies can be common.  As a matter of fact, I liked him so much that next weekend when he's back in the Airdrie area, I'll be driving down for another set of lessons.

If you ever get the chance I highly recommend him.

UPDATE:  Calvin will be in the Calgary area (Airdrie) for the following week.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Whadda Ass

If you've ever scrolled the Internet looking at AQHA's you'll notice a plethora of Rear View pictures.  This tickles my funny bone...

So.....

Here's my collection...

Guinness (3 months)

Whiskey - can you see where Guinness gets it from??
Also thinks it's funny that the only part of Bacardi in this pic is her arse.

Love the expression on Bacardi's face, "Whacha lookin' at?"

To give you an idea just what a monster Guinness is - perspective - Whiskey stands around 16hh.

Future Herder??

Guinness makes me giggle.  I think he may have a future in herding.  You see, he's intensely interested in creatures - big and small.  He seems to believe his place on earth is to chase things.

Here, he's eye-balling the cat.  You can just see him wondering what the cat is doing out in the field.



And here, he's chasing the cat up the field.  He chased after it all the way to the fence where the cat climbed up to safety. 

I've seen him do this with the sheep, cats, and dogs.  
What do you think?  Do we have a future herder?  Of just baby hijinks? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Decisions Made

Jason and I met up this afternoon.  I dutifully held out my advertising papers and told him what my heart felt.  (I totally didn't phrase it like that!)  He educated me about bloodlines, prices, gender and expectations.  He took me out into the field to show a 2 year old her believed was a future superstar.  And I listened.  And I learned.  He leaves me stunned with his generosity and willingness to share his knowledge.

45 minutes and some time on the Internet we had a price range and plan in place.  In December, Jason is driving to Fort Worth, Texas with an empty trailer.  In December I'll be flying down on a weekend.  From there we'll choose 10 prospect two year olds that fall into my price range.  I'll fly home.  Jason will buy me a horse.  The deal being that anything he buys will be Mr. Right.  There will be no settling.  He said if Mr. Right does not walk into the ring then we go home empty handed.

The current criteria is: (I'm paraphrasing here...)

Pedigree - dam needs to have earnings - this is the best indication of how much potential talent the horse will have.

Conformation - the horse must have the build that enables it to perform in the cutting world.

Temperament - it must have the attitude to be successful and be kind and quiet enough to pack me around.

Gender - Mare

You might be wondering why Texas??  Well, it's simple.  There are 1000s of cutting horses in the area.  There are something like 6 major sales over a couple of weeks.  This will enable me to get a better bred horse, with more potential, for less money.  More bang for my buck if you will.  If Jason wasn't planning to be there anyhow - probably not so cost effective.  But the fact that my trainer will be there scouting horses - priceless.

Chelsi - still love Hola - and if you email me a flyer I'll pop one up around here.  (We have some major fancy reiners in this area.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

September Animals

Ryder, carefully guarding the Flying Squirrel from outside attack.


Diva, waiting for the opportunity to strike.


Ryder, in for the kill, while Tessa defends her right to hold onto the toy.


Guinness, alarmingly handsome.


He's three months old!



Oscar, trouble on the paw!