Welcome to my brain...my world! If you've been reading my training diaries for the past 11 years (yes, I was "blogging" before blogging was cool!), then you know to expect the unexpected. What does 2017 have in store for me? I am excited to find out! Hang with me as we go through all sorts of crazy happenings - expecting a foal in February, Noodle's official show debut, Pretzel's return to agility, and who knows what else I have up my sleeve (heck, I don't even know!). I predict fun and frustration, successes and failures, but above all...keep on keepin' on.
By the way, Click on any image on this page to enlarge it.
"Intuition is a suspension of logic due to impatience." - Rita Mae Brown
Waiting, waiting, waiting. Corky
I think I am going to stop taking agility classes with Pretzel. He has progressively become more and more unmotivated at class. I am not sure what is going on with him, but he gets more and more bored as the class goes on, gets slower slower, and doesn't appear to enjoy himself. I don't know why, because when we practice agility at home he is very enthusiastic. Maybe he is just bored with classes? Damn. This isn't the first time I wished I could read Pretzel's mind. He is
Pretzel is entered one day at an agility trial at the end of the month. This is in a dirt horse arena, and in the past he has been pretty excited whenever we trialed there. I will be interested to see how he does in that big open venue. I want him to be happy and enthusiastic, even if he starts getting away from me again. I actually miss that (can't believe I am saying this!)!
Well, still no baby! Corky looks even more uncomfortable. the baby has definitely dropped more and there is a ridge along the underside of her belly. She has been moved into the double-sized foaling stall. Technically her due date is Monday (the 6th). I always assumed she would go much later like all my other mares have done. the farm manager got me all excited by convincing me she was going to go early, but now I am thinking that maybe I was right after all. I just pray she doesn't go next week between Wednesday-Sunday while I am in Indianapolis! I'd
It was an absolutely gorgeous day for early February - 50 degrees and bright sunshine. Noodle and Pretzel were overjoyed to spend a bunch of time playing outside today. OK, to be honest, I was a bit overjoyed myself.
This morning I had competition obedience class with Pretzel. We have been taking this class for over a year now. Pretzel has good moments, and completely unenthusiastic, lethargic moments (especially when we do heeling exercises). Surprisingly, today he was a lot more enthusiastic and worked well for me.
The show started off pretty well for us. Unfortunately,
Friday went very similar to Thursday - no class dogs showed up so Noodle "practiced" for no points. Pretzel went the same - select dog and OHBOB.
Saturday was a busy, CRAZY day. The morning started off well, Noodle actually had a little competition and ended up getting Winners Bitch for a point! Pretzel got the same placement third day in a row - select and OHBOB. Unfortunately, no love for Pretzel in the owner-handled sporting group again.
I had a lot of fun today, getting to show several breeds - Curly-Coated Retriever (took a class bitch in best of breed and took best opposite over a special), Bullmastiff (took reserve winners dog at a 50 dog specialty!), and Cane Corso (select dog).
The day started going downhill rather rapidly. In the afternoon, Pretzel and I showed in our very first beginner Novice Obedience class. I kind of had a feeling this might be a train wreck. OK, so maybe it wasn't quite a train wreck, but it was close. Pretzel's heeling was, um, let's just call it
I did the owner-handled sporting group last, got pretty much ignored in that group...came back to my grooming area only to find we had been robbed! Someone came and stole my big duffel bag with all of my show supplies, my tablet, and other stuff. They even unplugged my phone charger from the outlet and took it. In all, we lost about $1500 worth of stuff. Let's just say I had a major meltdown after that. My tablet, all of my stuff...GONE. No one around us saw anything. It was devastating. Makes me really hate people.
After I had my meltdown, I calmed down, got online and ordered stuff to replace my tablet and other things I need, and thanked God that although they stole a lot of expensive stuff, they did not touch Noodle (who was hanging out in her crate). She is irreplaceable. I am sick to my stomach about all of this, but it could have been so much worse. Amazingly, I had accidentally left my wallet in my hotel room this morning. if I had remembered it, it would have been stolen with everything else. So, there are a few bright spots in this ordeal.
I spent the evening eating out with a group of dog show friends, and having a LOT of laughs - just what I needed!
Sunday was a good, and Ok day all rolled up into one. we started off the morning good and OK. The good - Pretzel won best of breed! The OK - Noodle did not win Winners Bitch, so no points for her. I am really OK with that, because I am so afraid of finishing her too early and missing out on all the fun of showing her in the classes. weird, I know!
Immediately after I was done showing, I had to do some fast shopping to buy a new 6' leather leash and collar for Pretzel's obedience class since my other ones were stolen last night. Then I had to buy training treats since those were also stolen. Soon it was time for our obedience event. This time I made sure I kept my speed on the figure 8 somewhat consistent. Pretzel's heeling was even less enthusiastic than yesterday - he lagged behind and looked like he wanted to wander off and find something fun to do. He nailed the other exercises, and amazingly we qualified!
I walked out of the obedience ring and had to RUN to the sporting group, barely made it in time! Pretzel showed really well for me, but we didn't get much of a look today.
So, all in all it was a pretty good 4 days. Some ups, some major downs, and a lot of fun with good friends. That's what it is all about. Now we take a break for a while, stay home, and
I spent the afternoon glued to my computer watching the Westminster breed judging. It was exciting to watch Noodle's daddy show and win Select Dog. he looked fantastic, I see where she gets her awesome movement from!
Right after the Weims were done showing, my phone rings...Corky is in labor! BUT, I am told to bring my trailer and come ASAP because the baby is positioned in a way that she cannot get it out, and we may have to take her to the OSU vet hospital if she cannot progress. As luck (or whatever you would call it) would have it, my truck and trailer were hooked up parked in my driveway, I had moved the trailer this morning to get it out of the way for the tree service guys, and was too lazy to unhook. So, I drive as fast as possible to the foaling farm.
The farm manager and his crew were outside waiting for me. I could tell things had progressed to an emergency situation. Corky looked awful, and I could see one lone hoof protruding from her. She walked right in the trailer, and I followed the farm manager out to OSU.
This was around 4:30pm, right in the thick of rush hour. I couldn't keep up with him, missed my exit due to traffic, missed my turn around due to traffic, ended up taking far longer to get there than I had planned. There was a staff of about 20 people waiting for me when I pulled in. They had me pull right into the equine hospital where they unloaded Corky and got to work.
The baby was positioned ion a way that was impossible to be delivered - it had one leg out, and one leg completely back, and the head was bent forward blocking any possible progression. The doctors began trying to maneuver the baby, while other staff members shaved Corky's belly in preparation for a possible c-section.
Unfortunately, they discovered that the foal was already dead. The preparations for a c-section ceased, and they just worked on getting the foal out without damaging Corky.
The foal was a huge, beautiful bay filly without a single bit of white. the baby was overly large, and although Corky herself is a very large mare, she was a maiden and things hadn't "stretched out" quite enough so the baby never had room to turn for a proper delivery. The vet estimated she had been dead for a couple hours. Now I torture myself with the thoughts that IF I had driven quicker, IF I hadn't missed TWO turns, IF this hadn't happened during rush hour, the baby might have been saved. we'll never know.
When Corky woke from the anesthesia, she immediately started whinnying and calling for her baby. NOTHING on earth is more heartbreaking than a mare crying for her baby that is dead. I know, this is the third time I've had to hear this sort of thing and it just kills me. They moved Corky into the ICU to monitor her and see that she passes the placenta.
I wish I could say I was numb about this. I am not. I am a wreck. I can't stop crying, I can't control my feelings. How could I have such horrible horrible luck when breeding? Does God really hate me that much? I ask myself a lot of questions like this when feeling this way. It's like there is some sort of force in the universe that will do ANYTHING to make sure I never show a horse again. I spend thousands of dollars to ensure my mares get the best care money can buy, I cut NO corners and I take no chances. Yet I have disaster after disaster, while everyone else spits out foals like it's the easiest thing on earth. I can't handle this.
I am not in a good place today. I am terribly worried about Corky. The hospital called, she still hasn't passed her placenta. Now they are worried about laminitis. She is on strong antibiotics, and they are icing her feet in hopes of preventing founder. She had some colicky episodes during the night. If anything happens to her I am not sure how I can take it.
I feel very bitter today. I feel like a horrible person. I am so upset, I am angry. Hundreds of my friends on Facebook have expressed condolences, I have received so many messages, e-mails, voice mails, I cannot respond to any of them. I just can't. I sit here and brood over my past, and all that has happened. And when someone says something to me like "breeding is so risky, this happens to everyone", I really want to punch them. Oh really....everyone? Does everyone really have this sort of bad luck like I do? If so, then horses must be near extinction.
Let's recap my "everyday" luck with breeding horses, shall we? Picture - from left to right:
Does this really happen to everyone? Or am I just cursed? Since Tango came up with his degenerative bone disease in his foot, I am destined to never have a horse to show ever again. I just can't understand why. Yes, I am bitter. Probably best to stay away from me for a while.
The OSU vets are on top of things - two doctors called me this morning with updates. Corky is stable, but critical. The placenta still has not passed. They are taking precautions by icing her feet in homes to keep the laminitis at bay. I kept pressing for an answer as to what they could do if she doesn't pass the placenta, but no one would really say...they just keep insisting that she WILL pass it eventually. Normal time for the placenta is 3 hours after birth. We are well past that now.
I waited until evening and headed up there to see her. I could see how uncomfortable she was. She was not eating, and just stood there facing the corner of the stall with her head hanging down. This is so unlike her. I spent a lot of time rubbing her ears and scratching the center of her back, which she loves. I noticed something that warmed my heart. Her mane had a huge matted tangle in it from her time running around outside, I had looked at it last week and saw that it was so matted my only choice was going to be to cut it out. I intended on doing that one day this week. well someone at the hospital must have spent hours working on it - the tangles and mats were completely taken out and fingered through. I love the thought that someone stood there and did that. I am sure Corky loved that also, she was always one who liked to be fused over and primped. Probably the only horse on earth that enjoyed being braided! I would love to know who took the time to do that.
I spoke with the doctor while I was there. Things are still pretty critical. Corky has been spiking a fever off and on, she was getting colicky with the doses of oxytocin so they had to back those down (oxytocin helps the uterus contract to expel the placenta). All we can do is wait. All 4 feet are wrapped in ice boots. Corky normally HATES having her feet soaked, but today I think she was just too miserable to care. It's going to be a long road for us, especially if she ends up foundering. What a freaking nightmare. I find myself overcome with bitterness. This is such a familiar feeling for me - yet again I sit here and for the next few months I get to see all of my friends posting foal pictures of their healthy mares and babies, while I drown in my self-pity and anger. I can't control my emotions, and it is such a familiar place I am at - been there, done that. Why me? I keep asking. I want to quit. I don't want to quit and let fate win. I want to give up. I can't imagine giving up. What do I do now? What road do I choose? Am I just destined to fail? Does God really hate my horses? I have so many questions, and am so frustrated with the lack of answers. I am frozen with uncertainty. I hate this.
To the left is a photo of Corky's progression with the placenta as of last night. It's pretty gross, so I made the image tiny in case you are in the midst of eating lunch. If you are curious, you can click on it (like all photos on this website) to enlarge it. It's pretty much exactly the same as it was 24 hours ago, so it doesn't appear to be coming out at all. Now what???
It's not looking good. I am trying to steel myself for the fact that I might lose Corky. I am falling to pieces right now.
Thank GOD she has finally passed all of the placenta. The vets are not positive all of it came out, they will check later when they flush her again. Unfortunately they cannot do that right now because Corky has been colicking pretty badly all day, so they are trying to deal first with that issue.
Corky is improved today. Her colic has finally seemed to subside, and she is acting a little more lively. She is still on I.V. antibiotics, but hopefully she will be able to move to oral antibiotics this weekend, possibly come home on Monday. So many decisions to be made...
Meanwhile, I remain in my bad place. I would like to say I am being all noble and handling this well, but I am not. Seeing other people post foal pictures is making me unbelievably angry. I can't seem to control my emotions. I really wish I hadn't blocked off this month of free time for my foal...wish I had some dog shows scheduled so I can escape. Instead I sit around here and brood all day.
I do take comfort in my dogs. Noodle has taken on a new habit of siting curled up in my lap when I sit down in the lazy boy. She's rather large and heavy on my legs, but I don't have the heart to move her. The closeness feels good.
Mark and I went to visit Corky later this afternoon. She was definitely brighter-eyed and happier looking than I had seen her recently! She was munching on her hay (stuck in a small-hole hay bag to make her eat slower) and although she was hooked to an I.V. she still was able to move around a bit. I was so glad to see her acting more like her normal self. The vets are very happy with her progress. The colic has subsided, and her uterine health looks good. Looks like she will be coming home on Tuesday!
Today was an incredible day for February - sunny and close to 60 degrees. I spent most of the day outside in the sunshine with the dogs. All three of us loved every minute of it. It was good do do something "normal" and feel almost happy again.
I know most of my friends are sick of my tragedies...it's always one tragedy after another when it comes to my horses. I hesitate to even talk about it anymore. This make me feel a bit isolated. In a way, maybe that is better. All I know is that I've had to get a major grip on myself and my emotions today and try to get my brain back in order. My first order of business was to "unfollow" all of my friends' posts on Facebook that are crowing about their new foals. Sorry, maybe that is wrong of me, but I just cannot look at their pictures and be happy for them. It's just not in me anymore. I have to do what is best for my own mental state so I just unfollowed all of those posts, and probably will continue to do so for a while.
My next step in my own mental therapy is to make plans...lots of plans. My original plan for this year was to go to some dog shows, but stick close to home most weekends so I can work with my foal. Now, the last thing on earth I want to do is sit around here and brood about it....so I am making more dog show travel plans. I have to. I don't think my horse friends really understand. I got a lot of comments from them the past few years about how I was supposedly into dogs now and not horses anymore. Well, what freaking choice do I have? I have a string of dead foals and a gelding with a bone disease. What exactly am I supposed to be hauling to horse shows? I can't sit home and stew, my method of coping has always been to
Corky came home today with a clean bill of health! Well, technically she didn't come "home", she went back to the breeding/foaling farm. They will finish out her antibiotics and monitor her, have a culture done on her, and watch her heat cycle (she is just now starting to come in to her foal heat). I have to make a decision on rebreeding. The farm owner is trying to talk me in to doing an embryo transfer on her, but from all the research I have done it just seems too risky. Extremely expensive, and you run the risk of ending up with a rogue recipient mare that is hard to handle or requires special medical care. I asked around, and my friends came up with some really nice horror stories that pretty much killed the deal. SO....I have to think about re-breeding Corky. I am terrified of the risk it poses to her, though all of the vets say the chances of this happening again are one in a million (I tend to have a lot of those
I took a nice breather away from my stresses and added another stress to my day - Pretzel and I did an agility trial in Springfield. I had entered this trial at least 2 months ago when I still had hope.
Our first run was Open Jumpers. Pretzel missed the third jump, dropped his nose and stressed. I got him back, and this time when he accidentally missed a jump I just kept going. It was just the ticket - I ignored all of his mistakes, and he finished super strong with a nice curved jumping run and NAILED the weaves on the first try. I feel like we ended happy and positive. Success!
Our second run was Open Standard, which ran a good 5 hours later. I must say, this was one of our best runs yet! He started off really strong. He did not stop on his contacts, but I was not about to make an issue of it since he was staying happy. Our first mistake was when he missed a jump, went off sniffing a bit and when i called him back, he decided to take the shortest path which was over the table (wrong course fault along with a refusal). He slightly missed his weave entrance which stressed him a bit, but came right back and did them perfectly. Sadly, we missed the last jump and I had to circle him back around to hit the timer...but we ended HAPPY! I was so incredibly glad to see my happy boy again at the end of the run. I posted the video below....I know it's far from perfect but if you can remember how crazy he was a couple years ago, and how stressed and demotivated he was last month, you would see what a vast improvement this is. I am happy!
Today I attended an agility class at a very high-profile training facility that is only about 3 1/2 miles from my house. I had tried to get into classes there for several years, and they finally had an opening. This is officially my
Noodle has unofficially begun her agility training with me. She has learned the "around" command, and we started on teaching weaves (the two by two method). She is over the top enthusiastic, which I love. I always thought Pretzel was the same way when he was younger, but I watched some old videos of him when he was a puppy and I was training the weaves with him and he was pretty methodical. Noodle turns herself inside out with excitement...which I love, but it also makes it a bit harder to train. Her excitement is so massive that she has a hard time focusing on what she is actually supposed to be doing.