Saturday, July 30, 2011

Guilt Postponed

As the days fly past I've been feeling increasingly guilty over my decision to take Tessa in for her big goodbye.  In fact, almost immediately after I made the appointment she went on a six day run of not only good but great days.  I started to second guess myself.  And then, as with all highs, the crash came.  It was ugly.

After enjoying a happy, playful, singing Tessa, who seemed to have all her cookies on her plate, I've had two long days of one brick shy of a load Tessa.  She has been clingy, confused and worried.  This morning she came with me on my run (30 minutes), but I truly don't think she wanted to.  What she wanted was to be near me.  She kept going up random driveways.  Crossing the road like a drunk.  When I'm not sure how she's doing I split my run.  I run half in one direction with my driveway as the midpoint, and run the other half the opposite way.  That way if she doesn't want to continue she can stop at the house.  This strategy seems to work.  Except today she didn't seem to recognize that this was her driveway and house.

Even when I turned in she remained at the bottom of the driveway.  It took her a good five minutes to make her way to the house.  (I was enroute to help her.)  Because she's been wanting to touch me today, I decided to take her with me to the stable.  It was heartwarming to see how happy this made her.  For a moment she was like a puppy again.  Complete with trying to chase the horse I was riding...

Tonight I'll give her a big snuggle.  I've found if I put a towel down then when she leaks it's so much easier to clean up and she still gets her human time.  And hope for a better day tomorrow.

Working Horses, Working Dogs

I've been blessed with the opportunity to spend a lot of time at Jason Hanson's.  Jason's been kind enough to let me bring Reba with me to give her some experience on cattle.  The bonus is that I'm learning a lot about cutting.

Last week I spent about 9 hours there, holding herd while he trained horses.  This is great.  It gives Bacardi the miles under saddle she needs, and in between horses before we change cattle I can give Reba the chance to learn and work the cows.  It's a total win-win situation.  I've got to admit - I haven't spent this much time in the saddle since I left Consort.  It's amazing how quickly those muscles let you know...

Next week, we'll be back in the arena working horses (Jason - not me!) and working dogs.  What a great way to spend a summer!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Visiting Luke

This morning Diva, Ryder and I drove to Luke's owner's home.  There the dogs got to meet (and re-meet) each other before we went on a beautiful 2 hour hike along the river.  I was very excited to see my darling boy.  I was also dying of curiosity to find out how big he'd grown.

It turns out, while having the heaviest coat of all the pups, he's not as tall as Ryder.  He just may be thicker across the chest though...

Luke's still pretty relaxed.  On our walk he didn't seem to have the energy to expend like Ryder and Diva.  However, once he was doing his agility exercises he zoomed through everything.  It took 5 tries to get an action shot!

He loves Stacy and I'm so happy both of them are turning into such a great team!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rubber Boot Race

On a normal day, when I'm doing the Rubber Boot Race, it usually involves some form of livestock and the urgent need to reach a fence.  In fact, my dad's new cow challenged me to a race this spring.  Most times, I can be counted on to run as fast as I can, through ankle deep manure mud all while trying to keep my boots from suctioning off.  And on a normal day, it's closely followed by a trip to the house to change my underpants...

With the torrential downpours we've been getting the grass and fields are soggy, so most days are rubber boot days.  This morning, while I was out shooing the horses back into their part of the corral so I could turn the sheep out on the field I saw the County spray truck creeping it's way down the road.  While I may not have a mosquito sprayer like Johnny, I do have the hated vegetation spray truck.  Using a giant nozzle it spews it's chemicals into the ditches - all in the name of weed control.  (Johnny's post is great - read it!)  As a child this truck meant my mom banned us from the road, the ditches and any of the fun water running near them.  As an adult I am able to request the County "No Spray" our property line.

There I was watching with squinty eyes as it approached the property line (clearly marked with fencing).  And there I was running through thigh high grass in my dashing black rubbers, hand in the air, bellowing out, "This is a no spray property!  This is a no spray property!"  Bella, taking her duties seriously raced to the fence line barking madly.  I continued to run towards the road, leaping puddles, staggering as my feet disappeared into hidden grassy dips of the land.  Bella scaring the worker into stopping gave me the time I needed.  Peering down at the worker I wheezed out "This is a no spray property!"

Looking blankly at me, he shrugged his shoulder and asked me if I was sure.  Seriously.  Taking a deep and patient breathe I pointed out the other end of the property.  Sweat trickling down my face I asked him to make a note of it, and thanked him sweetly (and with a smile!) for not spraying the edge of my property.  As he clambered up into his truck, I tried not to suck air too bad as I walked back to the horses.  My feet were radiating heat in those lovely black rubbers.

Ah, the joys of the rubber boot race...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Temple Grandin on Animal Care

I love Temple Grandin.  In my rain induced boredom, I stumbled across this YouTube video.  In this video she specifically speaks about the Calgary Stampede.  She is a highly respected expert in the field of animal handling and welfare.  I've read a number of her books and listened to her speak at an Autism conference.  She amazes me and I have nothing but respect for what she has managed to accomplish - as a person and professional.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Moving On

I feel awkward.  Yesterday, Reba met a man who fell in love with her.  Someone who was keen to give her pets and love.  Someone who could use her legs and "helping hand".  I kinda feel as though in letting her go I've quit on her.  Given up.  I've always known she'd make a trial dog.  It was me who needed to bear down and do some training.  Now I'll be doing some training.  Just nothing targeted for the trial field.

I'll be working with Reba on cattle.  I'll be working Reba off of horseback.  I'll be teaching Reba to jump on and ride a quad.  And then I'll be saying good bye to Reba.  I know she'll have a good home.  They've already invited me to go on their cattle drive.  And her new owner was smitten with her.  He understood when I told her too much pressure would make her freeze up.  He loved how eager she was to work.  He quite frankly loved her even though she didn't have the best work she's ever had.  And the fact that he was able to see and appreciate who she is, is why I'm willing to let her go.  The fact that she'll be valued and used, loved and treasured, makes it worthwhile for Reba to leave my house for another.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Surrender To The Moment

Accept the moment.  Surrender to the moment.  Yield to the moment.

This is the advice Ken gave me yesterday.  It's funny how perceptions impact you.  I look at Reba and I perceive that she should be a certain way.  The biggest thing I learned yesterday was to let go.  Look at what the dog's behavior is telling me and then deal with it.  Don't think about what it should be, might be, could be.  Just deal with what is happening in that moment in time.  Deal with it crisply, fairly and kindly.  Deal with it in a happy manner.  She isn't behaving to be "naughty" but her behavior simply highlights where she is at that moment in time.

Ken looked at me and said I should be training her the way I'm training the babies.  (Whom he thinks I'm doing a good job with.)  He believes that my struggles with Reba have taught me to be such a better trainer and the babies are benefiting from it.  He thinks the moment I fully and completely let go and exist in the moment I'll start to see huge strides in her growth and learning.  Our goal is short, happy working sessions.

Ironically, yesterday I had decided I would no longer consider selling her.  This morning I received a phone call from a man who's called a number of times.  He's coming out this afternoon.  The only reason I'm still entertaining the thought is because I think it would be a marvelous home for her.  She would go into a home where she'd be helping a rancher who happens to be wheel chair bound do chores.  This is a far more meaningful existence than a trial dog.  This is a home where she'd be valued.  If he is serious, I'm planning to offer to do some custom training with her.  Things like working off quads, working with a horse, and working cattle.  I wouldn't ask more for having done the training because it's the right thing to do.  We shall see what happens.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Day That Went On... And On... And On

It started out like any other.  An early morning wake up.  Dogs happy to greet the world.  Horses happy to be turned out on grass.  But it just never seemed to end.  Knowing I'd be busy after I did morning chores I went back to bed, trying to grab a few more minutes of sleep.  Unfortunately, tired or not, my body decided I was up to stay.

After a quick bite to eat, a quick game of fetch with the dogs and a quick chat with a friend, I changed into my "town" clothes and prepared to hit the road running.  My first stop was the vet clinic where I committed to a day to say goodbye to Tessa.  Of course I cried all the way into the city.  Next stop was the bank for some cash.  Off to the south side of Edmonton to pick up my brother.  He was coming to look at a place with me.

Past Fort Saskatchewan, and up to Redwater we drove.  I have been looking for acreages and it really sucks.  No fun at all!  The house and yard site had some potential.  My awesome realtor (Dave Campbell of Remax) then booked us to take a second look at a place we had looked at earlier in the week to do a compare.  An hours drive home where I had about an hour to do chores, one of which was giving the dogs a work.  I had packed the two babies with me on the house hunt so they had a wee bit of built up energy.  I worked my three younger dogs on stock.  (Reba was a rock star!  I think we may, just may, be coming out our slump!)  A quick round of chores and back into the truck I went.

This time I had both my mom and brother with me.  Off east to look at the Highway 16 property before kicking it back up north to take a second look at the Redwater property.  Followed by a drive south, back into Edmonton to drop my brother back off.  All in all I put on around 400 km today.  The truly stinking part is we've decided to pass on both properties.  The highway 16 property has this outstanding horse barn (love it!) but the house has a small, teeny tiny kitchen, is right on the highway, and has too many trees that would need clearing.  The Redwater property has a great yard layout, a super cute kitchen and living room, but would need a wall knocked out to make a bedroom "normal" sized.  Plus the barn and outbuildings while usable were not in optimal condition.  They needed work and soon.  All of which is not practical for me.

It's funny to think that the dogs are creating the biggest roadblock for me finding a house in my price range.  (Property is not cheap around here.)  I can't live in a subdivision because there isn't enough land to train on and the County of Strathcona has restrictions on how many animals you can have on certain land size.  Plus I don't want to irritate my neighbors with barking dogs.  The horses can handle being on a smaller plot.  Dogs, not so much.  Plus, with the dogs I need cleared land for it to be viable.  That eliminates all the treed acreages.  The whole process is rather depressing.

After a 12 hour day, nothing much gets accomplished.  Sigh.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


2001 AQHA Mare

Ducks In A Row

I have approximately four weeks to get all my ducks in a row.  Why four weeks?  Well, I leave for a stock dog clinic in Shaunavon, after which I'll haul butt back home to try and catch one day of a Working Cow Horse Clinic.  After the clinics I'll have a weekend to do laundry followed by a three day Professional Development session, with a day off, followed by a second Professional Development session.  After which, I'll be back at work full time.

To complicate matters, I have been burning up the highway and gravel roads looking at acreages.  Meanwhile, I'm still hauling Diva into the city for her agility classes.  We start a Weave Pole session next week.  She seems to enjoy it and I enjoy having the challenge of learning something new.  Speaking of learning something new, starting in September I'll also be starting the Leadership for Tomorrow program, in addition to a graduate program class at the University, in addition to sitting on the teaching practicum committee for the University of Alberta.  And I'm toying with the idea of training for a half marathon to run beginning of December in Las Vegas.  (I like running and training and it's something the dogs can do with me.)

Hmmmmm.....  I think I may be a wee bit pressed for time in the coming months....

With all this in mind, Jason gave me the nod of approval over Bacardi, I can start listing her.  I've also been thinking about my dogs.  A lot.  I've given Sam (my vet) a heads up that it is Tessa's time.  I knew it the day she bit me and had the blankest look on her face.  But I'm greedy and I want to enjoy every last second with her, and soak up enough snuggles, howls and ball fetching to last me a lifetime.  Sam has been Tessa's vet since day one, and I didn't want to spring this on her.  But Tessa's good days are decreasing and I've vowed to treat her as I would want to be treated if the situation were reversed.

With the other three dogs, I'd like to send one of the babies (Ryder??) out for a couple months training in the fall.  Simply because my time will be tight.  Diva's got so many other issues that I need to keep her close and work with her to the best of my abilities.  And Reba is so very close to being trial ready I can taste it.  If I can get my stuff together I should be able to get this done sooner rather than later.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sunshine, Horses and Dogs

Could this be Utopia?  I think if I died, this is what my heaven would look like.  Today was an outstanding day.  It's amazing what a little sunshine and heat can do for one's attitude...  I began my afternoon with a ride.  As per normal, I hauled over to Cedar Crest.  There, with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face I decided to brave the mosquitoes and ride in their gorgeous outside arena.  Spraying myself shiny with bug spray, rubbing The Body Shop's Satsuma body butter on my hands, neck and face, and finishing up with a thorough spraying for Bacardi we headed over.

The arena hadn't been harrowed since our downpour and was hard, but it was still glorious.  It was my first outdoor ride on Bacardi and I wasn't sure how she'd be but she was pretty good.  A bit of a lookey loo, but nothing unsafe or over the top.  I think she also enjoyed her outside ride!  When we got home I sprayed the lather spots off her with the hose, which she seemed to enjoy.  Tying her up to dry I went and pestered Guinness.  He's such a doll.  That little boy sure likes his bum scratches!  Or any scratches for that matter... He's growing so much, I'll have to get some fresh pics or a video to share.

After a cool off period and some food in the house, I went back out.  Using Reba I moved the sheep out of their enclosure into the field.  Reba had a pretty good work.  I think she's slowly getting her confidence back.  She drove the sheep out into the field the farthest she's ever done without me close to her.  Plus, I think she's finally getting the knack of her direction commands.  That has been slow to stick! We'll keep plugging away.  My decision to not worry about trials has really helped her out.  She'll be a dog that needs a calm and relaxed handler to do her best.

I was ecstatic with Ryder's work.  He's really growing up and developing some confidence.  This is really exciting because I wasn't sure he would.  When my "bad" sheep turned and faced him up, Ryder walked up to him and bit him on the nose!  In the past her would have just barked and I would have had to help him.  He listened so well, lying down quickly and looking to me for further direction.  He has a nice manner and look on the sheep.

Diva, was herself.  Her biggest progress was that she was more willing to rate the sheep.  It still concerns me that she wants to lie down when trailing them.  I've decided I won't worry about it too much.  Worst case scenario is she's my pet and companion.

Right now I can't wipe the smile off my face.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Today was a nerve wracking day.  For a couple of years now I've been working up the courage to make an appointment with an eye surgeon.  It's scary when you think of giving people control over your most valued body part.  Eyes are irreplaceable.  If there's a mistake made, it's not one that's easily corrected.  Today was the day I had a consultation with the eye surgeon.

Being me, I had done some research prior, carefully selected my doctor and made the appointment.  I needed to line up a driver because afterwards I wouldn't be allowed to drive.  Mom gamely stepped up to the plate.  The first tests they did on my eyes were standard, ones I was familiar with from my twenty odd years of experience with optometrists.  The one that proved to be my Waterloo was a cornea scan.  When the computer scan didn't give my tech the results she wanted, she put freezing drops into my eyes (yep, you read that correctly) and did a manual test.

The end result is that my eye's corneas are too thin to be viable for the corrective surgery.  Because of this they didn't conduct any more tests and sent me on my merry way.  And there, in that moment, my dreams of living free of glasses shattered and crashed.  The irony here is there is a very good chance that the chemotherapy that saved me in so many ways, and has destroyed bits and pieces of me in others, did a job on my eyes.  I knew that my eyesight changed once I had the chemo.  I knew my body changed after the chemo.  What I didn't know was the chemo will also increase my chances of getting cataracts.  Things to look forward to...

It was a horribly disappointing day, one that I'm desperately trying to look for the silver lining in.  I suppose life goes on, and this is what it is.  Now where's plan B??

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wet Saddle Pads

I've been managing to get 3-4 rides in a week lately.  Jason's suggestion of wet saddle pads is equating a sore rump for me!  We've been averaging about an hour duration.  The goal is to get her to pack her head in a steady manner.  No more nose flicking or bobbing.  Today as I was riding around I thought that we just may be making some progress!  She's starting to carry her head lower and is giving to the bit rather than fighting every motion.  I have a walk, jog, trot, lope and canter now.  Before we had a jig, frantic trot and a verging out of control canter.

Here she is after today's ride.  It was a good one.

All in all, becoming more of a pleasure to ride.  It seems those wet saddle pads are paying off...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kennel Cough

After my vet run today, (Ryder needed his ears checked.) I zipped into town to get my dog food.  Because the cheapest place to buy it is so close to the place where I take Diva for classes, I swung past to pick up a new tug toy.  (Ryder is beating up my hands - I wanted something longer.)

Posted on their door was a Kennel Cough notice.  They stated that they wanted all dogs vaccinations current (which is normal) and that all dogs should get a Kennel Cough booster.  When I spoke with the lady at the counter, she said it's a particularly virulent strain and the owner's vet clinic has seen 5 cases come in this week.  Apparently, the vaccine company has noted that there is a Canada wide outbreak right now.  (This is NOT verified, just via word of mouth.)

Because Reba, Diva and Ryder do a fair amount, and because people come to my place, I've decided it's a good idea to put a call in to the vet and get her opinion.  I'd rather do the shot unnecessarily than infect everything here at home.  And the fun continues...

Rainy Day Blues

I will admit to having been having the rainy day blues.  We've been experiencing a deluge of water and it's cramping my style!  I hate not being able to go out and mess with the flowers (still traumatized from the hail) because it's way too muddy.  Standing water in the beds, muddy.  I hate having to slog through ankle deep mud in the corrals to do my horse and sheep chores.  I hate having the rare moments the sun peaks through the grey skies, being ruined by the attack of blood thirsty mosquitoes when I venture out.  I hate how wild my dogs are right now.  (Diva still needs to stay dry because of the spay incision.)  They are like cooped up children getting into trouble.

Yesterday I caved.  I gave in.  I spent a good portion of the day baking "Thank You" cinnamon buns for my neighbors who helped me load the sheep and the vet clinic who squeezed us in without an appointment.  After all, who doesn't like fresh homemade cinnamon buns??  I delivered both, still warm from the oven on the way into town.

I was headed into town to meet up with a friend, destination - Rexall  Place.  We were going to the New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys concert!  I will openly admit I wasn't really a fan of either when I was younger.  I was more of a George Straight and Randy Travis kinda girl.  But, as my horizons broadened, so did my musical tastes.  To be honest, what I really like is the cheese factor.

Last night I laughed so hard I cried.  My eyes and ears were teased with a spectacle of epic proportions.  There was fire.  There was glitter.  There was hip gyrating and thrusting.  There was bare chested men.  (Yes, please!)  There were rabidly screaming fans.  There was harmony and slick dance moves.  All, in all it was a soul uplifting, heartwarming good time!

My favorite moments were when one of the band members (don't remember which one), suddenly took a long, loud snifffffffffffffffff, and said "and it smells like beautiful women here!"  I almost fell off my chair I was laughing so hard.  Another great moment was when NKOTB was hitting a long soulful note, the camera close up of his face - the drama!!!  Again, laughter ensued.  The all time best moment of the night was when a fan a little further down my row began screaming hysterically.  I looked over thinking it was one of the group of girls who came with us.  Literally screaming themselves hoarse.  Nope.  It was a man, eyes bulging, neck muscles straining, arms tightly extending, gut bellowing "Donny, I loooooooovvvvvvvve yoooouuuuuuu!!!!!!!!!"  Again, tears came to my eyes and laughter bubbled out.  The fervor of this middle aged man towards the band: priceless.  Also fun was watching the stage crew play around and have a good time.

It was, the perfect break from reality.  The perfect time out from the miserable weather we've been experiencing.  It was perfect, right up until I opened the door to my house and smelled the unmistakable stench of dog crap.  Crap.  Someone had a major (and I mean major) crap.  It took me a half hour to do a rudimentary clean.  I'll be doing the bleach water mop to get the rest.  Yuck!  Thanks dogs, I love you too...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Poop Head

"Just Call Me Poop Head."

Reba, who is not known for her poop rolling abilities found some of the stinkiest stench out there this morning.  The end result was such a hideous smell that a bath was necessary.  Reba felt her shame very strongly, giving me her best sad eyes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Reba Jumping

Here's a short (and I mean short) clip of Reba jumping the gate.  For those agility people in the crowd, I know I'm on the wrong side of her, but that's where she initially wanted me, and as this is just for fun and giggles it really doesn't matter.

Reba's New Trick

The other day I thought I was going crazy.  *insert snide remark here*  But I wasn't.  I use baby gates to partition off the house.  There are dog barriers excluding them from certain rooms or keeping them in others.  I often separate the dogs to make my life easier.

The strange thing was that Reba seemed to be everywhere.  It wasn't until the large (waist high) baby gate came crashing down that I figured out what she was doing.  Reba, has turned into a jumper!  To test my theory I put her on one side of a standard gate, went to the other side and called her.  And she walked up to the gate before bouncing over.  Amazing!  We had some fun zipping back and forth over the gate and she was really enjoying it.

Sooooo.... based on that..... I've decided to register her in a basic agility class.  We start on Wednesday.  Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks??  Reba's going to test the waters of the agility world, something I never thought would happen with my serious little girl.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Photography Clinic

Yesterday I took a photography clinic learning how to take "good" pictures of horses.  By no means do I have a fancy camera.  I have a Canon PowerShot A710 IS.  I do plan to upgrade to a fancier Nikon or Canon in the not too distant future so I thought I'd do what I can, with what I have, and learn as much as possible.  I definitely learned about the camera's limitations!  Thanks to the ridiculous amounts of rain we've been receiving, the clinic had to be held in the arena which was not optimal.  (I know, I know - if it was dry I'd be complaining too!)  I didn't edit any of the photos, so what you see is straight up what I took.

This first shot I loved the contrast of the blaze, with the dark horse and was trying to get a nice shot of all the silver on the bridle.

I liked the horse's expression here.  Plus, it showed off the fancy bridle.

In this picture are the barn owners, with one of their horses.  I liked how the horse was looking away showing off it's typey neck.

Here I was just messing around with angles.  Trying for a 3/4 shot.

This final picture was my favorite from the entire day!  I loved how the mare and Hedi's expressions both looked so happy.  It highlighted the relationship between the horse and owner.  Plus the horse is just straight pretty!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Black Sheep

Baa, baa, black sheep have you any wool?
No ma'am, no ma'am, only ten stitches full!

On Thursday when we brought the sheep into the corral to work, I noticed my little black ewe had a gash on the side of her neck towards her shoulder.  So we pulled the sheep into the shed, sorted her off.  I realized once I began to treat her just how large a gash it was.  Leaving her, I made a plan to call the vet in the morning (sorry, no emergency calls for sheep here).  

The only clinic in the area that deals with sheep is Uncas Vet (not my normal clinic), so I called, explained the situation and they kindly fit us in.  Once there little black ewe got a cleaning, hair cut and examination.  She ended up getting 10 stitches that we're praying will hold.  If the flap is able to heal it'll be fine, otherwise it'll pull back, and the stitches won't hold.  The gash is about 30 cm top to bottom and about 15 cm wide.  Basically, the skin was peeled off her.  Of course, she did it while she was out in the grassy field.  Go figure...

One of the vet techs suggested putting an old t-shirt on her to help keep the laceration clean and bug free.  Fingers crossed but it seems to be working.  With the help of my brother we changed t-shirts today and I put on some DermaGel because it looked a bit oozey.  I think I may be a bit twisted because at $180 I thought it was a cheap vet bill...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Thinking Time

I've been taking advantage of the last week to do some thinking.  To take the time to listen to what my heart wants and figure out what direction my life is heading.  I've been feeling rather rudderless, so to speak.

With the acceptance into my work program also comes the onus to get myself into a graduate program and complete it.  This will mean deciding between money for fun and money for learning.  I have expensive hobbies - I certainly won't be able to do everything.  There is no impact for me this summer but next summer I'll be taking some summer session courses and it'll absorb three weeks of my time.  Which impacts the fun stuff.  Keeping all of this in mind I've made some decisions.

The first decision I've made is completely unrelated and relevant the same time.  Tessa is having another down turn with eliminating in the house and having her "crazy" days.  I've been lucky that while I work my mom takes care of her.  Even with frequent breaks outside, (I'm talking 2-3 hours here.), she still did her doody in the house.  She's just not herself.  I'm trying a last ditch med ($73 for a little bottle!!) to see if it helps.  Yesterday she bit me in the face when I was administering medication - gave me a fat lip  (the new med is a nasal spray).  This is not how I want to remember her.  I've decided that come fall, I won't put her through another miserable winter- and last winter was awful.  She means too much to me.  I believe in my heart of hearts that her time is coming.  I can't bear to see her unhappy, unhealthy and confused.

The second decision I made was to sell Bacardi.  I like her, but am not in love with her.  I've decided I'll  save up my pennies for a nice quality cutter, and wait for Guinness to grow up - he'll be my "go to" horse.  Jason figures I should have her in ready to sell in a couple of months.  She's definitely not there yet.

The third decision involves Reba.  I've been struggling with her.  It's not her fault, but mine.  I can see the mistakes I've made creating the problems I'm having now.  And it's been a long road to try and fix them.  One that I'll be needing some help with - so that being said, I'll be traveling around getting some help.  I've known that three dogs in training is too many for me to do it the way I want to.  With that in mind I'll try to find Reba an appropriate and good home.  The reason for keeping the babies is that they get along so well with each other, and Reba just prefers to be alone with her human.  It really has nothing to do with talent because as it stands now Reba's more talented than Diva who I suspect will be too "sticky" to make an exceptional trial dog.  She already wants to lie down when we're at balance.

The other thing I realized as trial after trial has passed me by and I've been here at home is that I don't really miss it.  My ego wants me to go and do well, but my heart is perfectly content staying home and messing around with the dogs and horses.  I really am a homebody at heart.  I've also discovered over the last few months that I love teaching.  I love having people come to my house and helping them with their dog on stock to the best of my ability.  I want to be very clear that I'm up front about not being a trainer, that I'm basically a novice, and that I'll do what I can but may not know all the answers.  The best part of it is I'm not doing it for money.  (Sounds crazy doesn't it?)  But I do it because I enjoy it - I enjoy it over anything else I can do with the dogs.  In fact, I often don't take money (shhhh) but ask instead that they help me with my young ones doing some obedience and agility stuff.  It works out great for all involved and I enjoy the socialization.

And who knows as the summer progresses I may change my mind, but I don't thinks so.  Right now, these decision feel right, for me and for my animals.  I feel very much at peace right now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


This is me doing the excited happy dance!  Today, I submitted via the Internet, Guinness' registration package.  I can't wait to get the paper copy!  The names I settled on (in order) are: Single Malt Whiskey, Luv A Rainy Night, Just Call Me Mr, Just Riding Fences, Bar U Legacy, and Sweet Sunny Daze.

Half the fun now is waiting to find out what his "official" name ends up being.  As part of the package I had to submit 5 pictures.  This is devilishly hard to do with a baby - especially a baby who isn't halter broke yet.  I've decided to let AQHA figure out what his color is - I think he's a dun but I could be wrong.

While fun and exciting, the simple reality is because he'll be gelded it really doesn't matter if his color is exact or what name he ends up with.  What matters is that I love him, have grand dreams and plans for him, and I'm out there pestering him daily.  (Thank goodness Whiskey is so easy going!)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Just Call Me Handsome

Guinness is growing into a very handsome boy.  At three weeks his hip sits at my belly button! (I'm a leggy 5'8".)  His color continues to fascinate me.  Not sure if he's dun, buckskin or just a classy brown.  I also look at his legs trying to figure out his markings.  He has lighter spots along his coronet band that may or may not be white and they don't continue all the way around.  He loves getting scratched - especially on his bum and neck.  When I'm giving him a good rub he contorts his body and lifts his lip in the funniest way.  I'm still very much infatuated with him - which I'm sure will change once he becomes a brat...


Kindness is an amazing thing, really.  It's something that a little goes a long way, and when given becomes contagious making others also want to be kind.  Or at least me.  This morning I hauled over to Jason's for another lesson.

It started at 9 am.  We once again by doing warm up work with no cattle or flag.  Once again he gave me some suggestions that caused immediate improvement in the horse.  We moved onto the flag and were progressing nicely.  She's showing improvement and that's all I can ask at this point.  Jason had a big client coming for some live cattle work/lesson.  They arrived while I was cooling out, as Jason went and switched out the horse he was on, I dismounted and made my way to the gate.

I was slightly startled when he told me I didn't have to get off if I wasn't done riding.  That I could continue to ride and watch during the next set of lessons.  Wow, what a great learning experience.  Bacardi had lost her cool when the other horses arrived so it wasn't an optimal "quit" time.  I ended up staying there, riding until noon.  Bacardi also lost her cool when the cattle entered the arena.  I'm pretty sure I wasn't any help as a turn back horse, but I did learn lots and had the opportunity to watch some high end cutters work cattle.

I'm headed out again on Friday and Bacardi will get another wet saddle pad.  Jason has invited me to stay and help hold herd while he trains.  This is a great opportunity for me to watch and learn and for Bacardi to learn patience and manners when cattle are present.  It really blew me away how kind Jason was.  Let's face it - he doesn't have to do anything above and beyond my lesson, but he is.  I'm thinking I may be making some Cinnamon Buns Thursday night...

Friday, July 1, 2011


My dearest friend called me up in a fluff the other night.  Her young dog (we're talking three or less here) was peeing when she'd lie down.  My suggestion was a vet visit.  It seems that her wonderful healthy and fit dog has incontinence.  What left me flabbergasted was what her vet told her.  Her vet said that it was common in spayed dogs.  Really??  I'd never heard of anything like that, and I'm around a whole lotta dog people.

So, me being me, asked my vet what the deal was with it.  Of course this strikes close to home as I had Diva at the vets on Thursday getting spayed.  So I REALLY wanted to get some information.  Sam explained that current research is showing that incontinence in females is being linked to lack of estrogen.  She did say that while it happens she wouldn't consider it common.  Meaning, the likelihood of something like this happening to one of my dogs is slim.  (Well, at least before they're geriatric.)  Phew!