Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Little Help

Today was Bacardi's inaugural ride on the flag.  With butterflies in my stomach I hauled her over to Jason's where I watched him finish giving his wife a lesson.  (This is a special treat for her as she's normally working and not riding.)  I led Bacardi into the arena, knowing it has been at least a week since I've last rode I wasn't 100% sure what I to expect.  Now, the lady who traded me Bacardi has assured me that she has no buck, spook, etc.  But I've learned the hard way - via trip to the hospital - to be wary of what sellers say.  I've also learned she does indeed have some spook - via the plastic chair.  Which of course puts into question everything else.

However, Bacardi, indeed did not buck me off.  She was her normal hot self.  She did eye ball the doors and needed to be refocused a few times and had a pretty good spook when Jason adjusted the Velcro on the flag control, but nothing that wasn't manageable.  Jason was awesome.  He gave some really helpful tricks and tools to use when doing things like warm up and "dry" (no cows) work.  I could see improvement almost immediately after implementing them which is promising.  Next, we moved onto the flag.  This was nerve wracking for me because it's not something I've done much of and I had no idea how the horse would react.  You could see she is used to a different type of rider than myself, and once she adjusts, she'll be a different horse.  We worked on quieting her mind and teaching her patience. While all the work we did was slow, it was effective for myself to learn about cutting particulars and how to best ride this horse.

I have another lesson booked for next week and I can't wait.  The current plan is to take as many lesson's as Jason's and my schedule allow throughout the summer.  Next week, I'll get his wife to take some pics while we ride.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Brainstorming Names

Yippeee!!!!  It's the Name Game time!  I've been brainstorming registered names for Guinness and now you can join in the fun.  His mom's registered name is Miss Soft Shoe (bleck) and his dad's name is Two T General Hooker.  I really don't care if there are any name references in his name.  He's going to be gelded and used as a (hopefully) rope and barrel horse.  So fun, witty and unique all fly with me!

Here's my list so far:
Single Malt Whiskey (first choice)
Luv a Rainy Night (second choice)
Just Call Me Mr
Bar U Legacy (his mom was one of the last horses the Historic Bar U bred - she was purchased in the dispersal sale.)
Wild Card King
Northern Cow King
Hez Got Legs
Rye N Coke
Northern Night Lights
Atta Loss For Words
Wing and Prayer
Riding Fences
Jus Riding Fences (this one's kinda cool too)
Fun Bet
Prairie Grasses
So Close
No Cigar
Mammas Boy

The AQHA rules are no longer than 21 characters including spaces and no punctuation.  Can you add to my list??

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Letting Go

Sometimes it's really hard to let go.  To let go of wants and needs.  To let go of dreams and hopes.  To let go of plans and goals.  To just be.  To just live in the moment.  I've come to the conclusion that my goals and dreams were getting in the way of my reality.  And really messing up my mojo.  Is it really necessary to be a superstar to be happy?  Because working towards being an (attempted) superstar was making me pretty unhappy.  I felt dragged down and caged.

I've made a very conscious decision to let go.  To work very, very hard at being happy and living in the moment.  To not worry about what will happen in the future.  Because I want to enjoy my dogs and animals again.  I want to have fun.  Does it really matter if Reba's ready to run ProNovice by the end of summer?  Nope, not really.  And by not setting deadlines or goals I'm able to enjoy her for who and what she is.  Does it really matter if Diva and Ryder make a good showing in Nursery next year?  Or are ready to compete by Northlands in the fall?  Nope, not really.  I had been feeling so much pressure to decide which dogs I would keep.  If I should spay/neuter or leave intact.  When to start training.  And the list went on...

I've given myself permission to just hang out with my dogs this summer.  To take them places and work with them.  But not care if they're ready for "public" on any set timeline.  Who cares?  I don't.  And I feel GREAT about this.  I had FUN again with them.  They were HAPPIER around me.  Hmmmm..... something to think about..

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


There is a thief in my house.  A low down, dirty, sneaky thief.  The thief strikes when you least expect it.  When you are at your most complacent and relaxed.  I first discovered the thief weeks ago - caught in the act!  It seems Ryder has developed a passion.  A passion for... underwear!

Yep, I said it.  Underwear.  Ryder will steal my underpants from the laundry basket, or even the garbage (which is where his past "loves" end up).  His obsession started with socks.  I thought I had taken care of it when I moved him onto pigs ears and bull sticks.  Instead he found something better.  He doesn't care if they're clean, or dirty.  He seems to enjoy chewing on them. 

He's been on lock up and supervised visits since...

I thought he had been cured.  There had been a peaceful lull where underwear co-existed peacefully with us.  And then the thief struck again!  He had progressed to bras.  And this had my full undivided attention.  Unsuspectingly, I turned the corner into my bedroom.  And there HE was.  Caught red mouthed!  My favorite red bra dangling from his mouth.  He had pulled it off it's shelf!  Sad ashamed eyes stared back at me, pleading for help.  They said he had a problem.  An addiction to women's lingerie.  Poor guy.  Wouldn't be the first...   In shame, he crawled under the bed.

Moving my bra to safety I stared at him  What on earth could I do to stop this??  I love my little Ryder dog, but the buck stops here.  I am not the kind of girl who enjoys the Walmart 10 pack of panties.  I'm the kinda girl who likes to go downtown to the shop that supplies the European lingerie.  European equates to not cheap.  On Saturday I had to guard my sorted laundry like gold!  I caught him trying to sneak a piece of lace out of my sight!  The little rotter...

Ryder has a problem.  He's back in lock down.  Banished to laundry and clothing free zones of the house.  Poor fellow. 

Someone please tell me this is just a stage.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Tomorrow Guinness turns 1 week old!  He's quite the spunky little fellow.  He'll bunt his head into mom's udder and kick her if she's not producing enough milk for his tastes.  He loves to run.  You're more likely to see him loping and racing than trotting around.

He thinks Bella is cool but scary all at the same time.

And he's cute as a button!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wordless Thursday

Ooops - forgot to get his posted yesterday!!


Hello, have you seen my MoJo?  I seem to have misplaced it...  I've noticed that I seem to be strung a little tight.  Quite frankly I wouldn't care except it's messing up my world.  It makes both the kids I work with and my animals a little, well, squirrelly.  I knew I was off, but yesterday it became clear just how off. 

My students were wild, so I tried to do a relaxation exercise with them.  It was a progressive activity where you lie down and clench and release muscles.  Once the whole body is "relaxed" we then move on to blowing out our biggest worry and replacing it with a picture of the best place in the world.  The entire time we did this as I coached the kids through, my body radiated tension.  I was once the Queen of Zen.  And I want it back!  I'm not sure how I've progressed to being so wound up but it's imperative I loosen up.  I find myself filled with worry.  Worry about random things, (What if it rains while I'm at work and the dog pens get muddy - then the dogs are sitting in mud all day!!!), to things that matter (How much is that vet bill going to be??). 

It's really messing up my animal MoJo.  Once upon a time I was able to "whisper" animals in.  I was the person they gravitated towards - always.  The wildest horse would settle by me.  The abused dog would relax and lean into my hand.  But my babies - my treasured little dogs are orbiting around me like I'm the wrong end of a magnet.  This tells me something. 

I have around 2 weeks of work left.  I have about 5 more high stress days before the world once again gets fun.  Once this passes (let's be realistic here, I know I'm not going to be able to chillax in the pressure cooker I'm currently in), I plan to have some Zen time.  I want the old me back.  The carefree, relaxed and intuitive person.  One thing I want to do is to just "hang" with the dogs.  Just have them with me while I smell the roses.  With summer looming, I'm looking forward to once again picking up some Yoga classes, to consistently run, ride and enjoy my horse.  Things that help me achieve that sense of peace and inner balance.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beautiful Bella

Bella is an outstanding dog.  While Whiskey gave birth, she lay watching.  Now, as Guinness gets a bit more perky, she keeps a closer eye on him.  Sunday morning when I went out to do chores, Guinness lay in the shelter.  On one side stood Whisky, and on the other side lay Bella.  I wasn't quick enough with the camera, but Bella was licking his nose.  She loves this little horse.  The fabulous thing is he's going to grow up with no fear of dogs, because he will have a dog companion.  And Bella will keep him safe until he's big enough to keep himself safe.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's A Boy!!

My friend has been telling me that a "Watched pot never boils". Apparently this is true! Last night, feeling slightly grumpy about my mare's pregnant state, I once again began night checks. I was in bed when I realized I hadn't braided her tail. I'm sure that's what caused it. Or perhaps it was the storm system moving in. Either way last night Whiskey foaled!

I went out at 11 pm and she was standing relaxed in the shed so I wasn't too worried. I slept until 3 am to check her again. And the baby was on the ground! Bella the amazing Guardian was keeping close watch for me. Baby was trying to get up on it's feet and the afterbirth was still dangling when I made it out, meaning baby hadn't been born all the long ago.

There I stood in my pink pajamas and rubber boots. A silly grin on my face. I couldn't believe how much the baby looked like Whiskey, complete with her huge head. (I know baby will grow into it and look fabulous as an adult. I stood and watched wanted to make sure baby had nursed and Whiskey didn't have an mammary issues. Finally, at 4 am I went back to bed. Baby hadn't yet nursed but when I went to help showed lots of life and I figured could wait until 6 am.

At 6 when I went out baby was nursing. I was so impressed with what a great mom Whiskey was being. This is her first baby and there are no guarantees. I was overjoyed that she seemed to be her calm and friendly self and allowed me to approach and touch the baby.

At first (6 am) I thought I had a filly, but when I went out again and the baby was lying down I realized it was a colt. He has white hairs by his feet. I'm curious to know if they'll shed out as no white or if he'll have little cornet bands. He also has white hairs in his tail. I'll have to do some reading to see what color he'll be classified. He's a big little fart and looks a lot like how I'd guess his mom looked like when she was born.

Big Day

I have had one of those days that leaves you feeling limp, like you've been wrung through a wringer. Today was my appointment with a dog behaviorist. It was long but well worth it. I had realized that the strategies I had were not working well enough with Diva. I thought a fresh perspective could help me.

It was funny, a lot of the stuff made sense with what I know from horses and the natural horsemanship. We basically discussed some theory and practiced activities designed to help me get what I from Diva. I want her to be a healthy balanced dog. It will mean taking a hiatus from our agility class and sheep work to focus on it. Because all dogs are different there is no quick fix. But, but I feel as though I now have a few more tools in my toolbox, and I have someone I can call to discuss things with. And this makes me happy. Diva made major strides and progress today which makes me incredibly happy.

The other wonderful thing was that he released me from all the responsibility I feel around the dogs. Basically, I'm a good owner and shouldn't feel bad when I can't give them the Cadillac treatment. That my dogs would be happy just being with me. It was like a giant pressure release went off. I plan to just enjoy my dogs this summer. I'm not going to worry about being the best of the best or even just competing. Instead we're going to work on the basics and have some fun!

I have a lot to thing about and a plan in place. I'm sure with time and persistence things will come along. And meanwhile, I'll enjoy the process and not be so focussed on the end goals.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Old Girl's Big Day

Tessa had a vet appointment this afternoon to check a lump on her rib cage. (It's just fat! Phewf!) To make my life a bit less hectic I asked and received permission for her to come with me to work. When she was younger she used to come to school on a fairly regular basis. She has a wonderful manner with children. And she truly loves it. Her walk gets all jaunty and her tail flags in the air.

When the students first filed into the classroom, their eyes lit up with delight. Priceless. Even better was when she howled her joy at being with us. Little mouths hung open. While most of the day was business as usual, we did take some time to play. They were filled with giggles and gasps when we played hide and seek. Tessa is a master at finding her ball. One little fellow needed to get past where Tessa was lying. You can imagine the expression on his face when I told him to just say "Excuse me." He was stunned when she got up and moved out of his path.

The old girl had a great time, but was definitely feeling the loss of her normal daily naps. Pictured is Tessa in the staff room on our lunch break.


I'm going to be embarking on a new journey. A new adventure. I have been accepted into my division's Leadership for Tomorrow program. This program is designed to develop leaders, as consultants or administration. Starting in the fall I'll have another job on my plate. I'm looking forward to challenging myself, but at the same time I'm a bit worried about the unknown. Is this the right decision? Time will tell.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


It's funny. The other night I was sitting down watching some TV with half an eye on the dogs, allowing the pups to play together. (Diva is moving into standing heat so needs to be supervised 100% of the time.) The dogs were taking turns hopping onto the couch beside me for a pet and a snuggle.

With the dogs flowing on and off the couch, playing and generally making a nuisance of themselves I was starting to fade. Glancing to the side, I did a double take. Reba was on the couch! Reba, who is three years old has been the most interesting dog. It really makes me wonder about nature vs nurture as I didn't get her until she was 6 months. It has taken three years to get her play fetch with me. Over the last 6 months she's gotten very consistent and eager to play and interact with me. Reba, has flat out refused to cuddle or snuggle with me. Instead she'd rather lie down at my feet or seeks out her crate in a different room. In the past the closest she's gotten to responding to my invitations for cuddles has been to carefully and slinkly put her paws on my lap or the edge of the couch. Where she carefully moved her snout close to me. I was shocked to see her on the couch. The look on her face was very sheepish.

It's funny as she sidled up to me and rested her head on my belly all I could think of was how she is the doggy equivalent of me. Socially inept. She was so awkward in her attempts to cuddle. It was as if she was terrified of getting into trouble. Tense and uncertain. She is at times, incredibly cranky. (Me too!) But she's keen to go new places, and demonstrates such happiness to be around me.

The whole change in her personality fascinates me. Is this nature? Or nurture? Has having the pups changed her disposition? (I've always believed that to be an old wives tale.) Why now, why hasn't she demonstrated these traits years ago? Is it the fact that she has been living in the house most of the past year?

I can't wait to see how she'll surprise me next!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June Flowers

I have happily been mucking around in the dirt. I thought I'd do Pre-Post pictures of the flowers this year. Right now they don't look too dashing. But it will come, with time and sun. You will notice the anti-dog fencing. It's the only chance the flowers have!

I have two pots with Wave Petunias.

This bed contains Vintage Mix, with Sweet Peas behind them.

These three pots contain Pansies. I love them because they remind me so much of my grandmother. Strong yet delicate, and she always had some by her front steps. They also have a dark purple Petunia, Golden Fleece (I think - as I lost the tag.), and something else. The color theme is yellow and purple. I also have two more pots made up of the same.

I'm not finished this bed yet. It contains roses, as well as freshly planted Snapdragons. I haven't quite decided what I'll put in the rest of it. Perhaps Petunias?

I love these. They are Salvia "Salsa Scarlet".

This is the warmest south facing bed, so I planted Portulaca Sundial Mix, with a couple of Marigolds tossed in.

I can't wait to see how this bed turns out! The row closes to the house has Snapdragon Liberty Classic Bronze, with Snapdragon Montego White in front of it.

Can't have flowers without some Geraniums!

Another hodge-podge Pansy pot.

The Bomb

I have stumbled upon an odor eliminator extraordinaire! I first saw it on the TV show Dragon's Den (Canadian version of Shark Tank). I was intrigued. But it wasn't until a sales person at a pet store recommended it that I thought to try it. I can genuinely say it was well tested with Tessa's urine issues. The problems I was having with the other dogs marking where Tessa had left her dribbles was completely cured.

I would recommend you try Pure Ayre if you have any pets in the house. Especially ones with incontinence issues. One thing I love about it is it is natural which fits with my other cleaning products.

This stuff is the Bomb!

Wheeze and Moan

For the last week I've been way-laid with a wicked sinus infection that has traveled into my throat. On Wednesday I went to the doctor and got the strongest meds she could give me. Today is Sunday and I'm still suffering. Along side me, the dogs are also suffering. They have had a limited amount of exercise, play, training and attention.

I feel bad. I really do. But with the accompanying laryngitis I'm basically held captive to silence. How can you train with your dog when any sound that comes out of your mouth is a whistle and gurgle? What I'm finding amazing is the bubble of peace that has surrounded our house.

Normally, when the dogs are all forced into close quarters with limited exercise they squabble. Tessa and Reba have been getting along. Even Diva who is in her first heat cycle hasn't been moody or irritable. She's allowed me to put a diaper on her, leaving it alone. In fact, she's been down right affectionate. The strange sounds I'm making seem to worry her. She'll slither onto my lap, lean her head against me and try to lick me. It's as though she is saying "Don't worry. I understand. How can I make you better?" Even when we are outside doing the plants, she keeps an eye on me. (It helps she's tied to my waist!)

Even when I'm on the computer in the office all four dogs will contentedly lie at my feet. This is unheard of in this house. It's not uncommon for me to have two or three, but never four. I wonder if things will change once I'm more lively again?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Past Due

Occasionally things go past due here. Sometimes it's a lack of attention, but other times there is no rhyme, nor reason sans mother nature for it. Whiskey's official due date, based on the average equine gestational period was May 28-31. And there is still no baby!!!!! This is driving me nuts. I keep checking her, waiting. I keep hoping when I come home from work things will have magically progressed. You would think after carrying the thing for 11 months she'd be happy to get it out of her. But not Whiskey. She's contentedly hanging out.

Here's a picture of her "bagging up".

Here she is in all her pregnant splendor.

Bah, just have the stinking baby! The suspense is killing me!