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.
Work hard - Play hard...my new motto! Pretzel and I have been training hard for agility...OK not really "hard" but we have been working on our skills a lot for the past few months. I made the jump to train at a different facility and I have learned a LOT. He still stresses, but I am starting to learn new ways to work around that and get him back when he stresses and checks out. This coming weekend will be the true teller as we have entered 2 days of an agility trial in North Olmstead to practice and see where we are at in preparation for Weimaraner Nationals next week.
Today, Noodle had her first beginner agility class at this training facility. She
I entered 4 classes today - Jumpers, Standard, Time 2 Beat, and FAST. We started off with Jumpers, and it was kind of a mess. Stressing, etc., but I got Pretzel out of his stressing and we finished the course on a very good note. Standard was a little better. Then came Time 2 beat. I have NEVER finished a Time 2 Beat course without getting whistled off for time.
Next was FAST, and it had a very dificult jump-tunnel send where you had to take the far end of the tunnel. I had a plan for that, I stuck to it, and Pretzel actually got the send, and earned enough points for an Open FAST Q!
Today I started with Time 2 beat. Pretzel stressed several times in this run and it took a while to get him back on track. He launched for the final jump just as the buzzer went of, so we didn't make time. I was worried that yesterday might have been a fluke...he is stressing terribly again and I have no idea why?
Open Jumpers was next. There was a tricky serpentine in the middle of the course, I decided to take a risk and try handling it all from one side....yeah, that didn't work! He missed the third jump so i had to circle him back to take it. This, of course, stressed him, and it took a it to get him back. However, after that jump we finished really strong. I wasn't sure we made time, but we actually did make it with time to spare, and we qualified!!! Going back and watching the video was educational, because his stress/sniff time felt like hours, but in reality it was fairly short. Whew!
We ended the day with Open Standard. Pretzel was very deliberate on course, but we ran
Today was a fun day. I had Noodle entered in the Novice Field Seminar all day. This was a seminar for young or newer dogs to field work, they introduced the dogs to birds and evaluated their potential as a field dog. Noodle was awesome, they loved her drive! She got several chances on birds, and was able to scent them and find them. I did try Pretzel a little bit with a live pigeon on a string, he was pretty much NOT interested at all...he was more interested in the puppies playing at the bottom of the hill! I guess it is hard to develop their instinct when they are older. Pretzel already is set in his ways and his interests, I don't think there is much changing for him at this point. Oh well, I don't care, he's perfect to me just as he is!
The welcome party was this evening, and it was so much FUN meeting so many people that I have only chatted with on Facebook! I even won a gift certificate as a door prize, go me! It is interesting to see the wide variety of people that own or are interested in Weimaraners. People come from all walks of life, all shapes and sizes. Everyone is happy at the welcome party - no one has lost yet so we are all full of hope and expectations!
Today was the first day of the St. Louis Weimaraner speicalty. Noodle showed in the 9-12 Puppy class and sweeps. Her only competition was her littermate, so she ended up 2nd in both classes.
She showed pretty good, she did have a lot of energy when she gaited (in other words - she pulled HARD!). we will try to fix this before she shows again on Friday.
Today Pretzel was entered in Beginner Novice Obedience and Novice Rally. Rally went decent, not great, but he managed to qualify. Obedience was a bit of a train wreck. Pretzel was so stressed about the heeling. He just doesn't function well when I have to stay silent - he starts to worry. His heeling was all over the place. What really blew it was our recall - the one thing I feel completely confident because he
You know, I can't leave home without some disaster happening. The farm manager called about Corky. Good news, they did a heartbeat check and the foal has a heartbeat...good news. the bad news? Get this - yesterday evening one of the workers noticed something odd about Corky when she went to feed her. It seems she has suddenly developed partial facial paralysis. her left eyelid is blinking really slowly, and the left side of her mouth is slack and she cannot control it. They have no idea what happened. the vet pulled blood to check for EPM, but I am sure that is not it. EPM doesn't happen suddenly, and it certainly doesn't attack the front end first. There is not a mark or scrape anywhere on her. We are all clueless. I am terribly worried. trying not to dwell on it too much and mess up my mindset for everything I have to do, but it's hard.
Today Noodle had the day off, it was all about Pretzel! He showed in Best of Breed today, and got nothing, which was expected. The class was HUGE. I think he showed decently, but in this competition you had to have your
Our first Rally run was pretty complicated. Lots and lots of stationary exercises and the course was super tight with barely a stride or two in between signs. We are getting through everything, and when I finished I thought I had been successful until the judge came up and told me that I had missed a sign.
By this time, Pretzel was a bit stressed. I really had to work with him a lot, and bring out the big guns (turkey sausage) for practice. This course was a little better with more space in between signs, and I managed to get through it without missing any! It wasn't pretty, but it was good enough for a qualifying ribbon and second place! This also finishes our
Today was a busy busy day! Noodle showed in her 9-12 month puppy class, Pretzel had 5 agility runs (2 of which counted for the National, and the Tri-Athlete award).Noodle's morning was a carbon copy of Wednesday - she took second place to her littermate. She showed a LOT better today!
Pretzel's morning started off with a Time 2 Beat agility run. It didn't really count for anything, but it was a good warm up. We had a bit of stressing on course, but I got him out of it and back on track, but unfortunately not within the time limit.
Next on the agenda was two standard runs, the second one counting for the Nationals. Our first run was a bit stressy. He had two refusals because of stopping and sniffing. I am really happy that he did finish
I pumped him up before our second standard run...and off we went! He missed a jump at one point and started sniffing and I had a heck of a time getting him to reconnect with me, but he finally did and we ended GREAT. I was SO worried about time, it felt like getting him back on track took
We did have two jumpers runs today, and the first one wasn't too bad - we had one moment of stress and sniffing but unfortunately he circled past the jump twice so that counted as two refusals. The second jumpers run was a complete mess, lots of sniffing, a few wrong courses. I made sure we ended on a positive note...this is still very much a work in progress!
Pretzel picked the right class to qualify, because he not only qualified, he earned the Open Standard High in Trial for the Nationals! I am still new enough to get excited about winning a big long pretty ribbon! I appreciated the nice comments and support from my fellow Weim agility people. They saw what a trainwreck we were here at nationals 2 years ago, and they have followed my retraining struggles. It's wonderful to finally have some success in agility, after so many YEARS of hard work!
Another super busy day at the Weimaraner Nationals, and it's our last day here! Today's agenda includes best of Breed for Pretzel, Brace with Pretzel and Noodle, and Pretzel had 4 more agility runs. Of all these classes, I am looking forward to Brace the most. I have been practicing, and it is hit or miss. Either they work well and stride perfectly together, or Noodle jumps on Pretzel and they start wrestling. So, it could be incredible, or hilarious!
Pretzel's job was just to go into the conformation ring and not do anything stupid. I knew we wouldn't get a look, and we didn't. He held up his side of the bargain of not doing anything stupid, and we walked out of the ring knowing we have now qualified to be a 2017 Tri-Athlete!
After Best of Breed, they did the presentation for the Tri-Athlete awards and the Most Versatile Weimaraner. Amazingly, we were right up there in the hunt for Most Versatile...if we had won at least an Award of Merit in conformation, we would have won it. I pretty much wrote that off, because that wasn't happening LOL! It was really cool to get to go into the ring and get recognize for all of our hard work and countless hours of training. I think Pretzel deserved some recognition (especially since not ONE WORD was mentioned at the banquet last night about the top owner-handled Weims...they acknowledged everyone else on earth but not us owner-handlers...ugh).
Pretzel had 4 more agility runs today. We started off the morning with 2 jumpers runs. Our first run had some refusals, and an unusual mistake at the weaves. Pretzel has been rock solid on his weaves, so this was surprising. Another NQ for us! Our second jumpers run was far worse, he became so disconnected from me that I actually just had to give up and walk him off the course. I made sure I did it without adding any stress to him, we left on a positive note.
Our first standard run was an NQ, 2 refusals, but it was waaaaaay better than our last jumpers run! Pretzel didn't seem nearly as stressed. Our second run was the last run of the day, and our last event at the 2017 Weimaraner Nationals. Pretzel decided to go out with a
I went out to see Corky. I think she is worse than when I had been led to believe. the left eye is not blinking at all, and only goes halfway if you touch the lashes. Her muzzle is twisted to the right from the lack of muscle control on the left side. I am so worried, especially worried that her eye might dry out and scratch the cornea from not blinking. My girl needs specialist help right away. Going to make an appointment with Ohio State and see what they can figure out. on the plus side, she acts completely normal. It doesn't appear to be bothering her.
Well, this is a new event for me! After showing in I think two shows in UKC last year, we ended up in the top 10 for weimaraners (tied for 2nd). we were invited to compete in the Top 10 invitational. I figured
Thursday was the top 10 competition. It was run kind of strange. First you showed in breed in the morning, and then the best of breed winners were all put into
We ended up being the only Weim that showed up, so we got breed (obviously!). Our group was in the afternoon outside in the heat...and boy let me tell you it was HOT! 90+ degrees, and the only shade in the ring was a tiny strip along the edge of the tent. 25 dogs tried to squeeze in the shade in a very small ring. It was pretty miserable. To top it off, they made us go in alphabetical order. Guess what? We were second to last! Poor Pretzel had to stand there in the heat for nearly an hour before it was his turn to be judged. I kept his cooling coat on him and made him lay down in the grass the whole time. Amazingly, he showed pretty darn well after that long wait, and amazingly we were pulled out to go on to the finals!
The Top 10 finals had 20 dogs that were selected to compete. They really did the ring up nice with flowers and other decorations. the instructions were "black tie"...yeah, good thing I wore my fancy white suit that I got for Weimaraner Nationals! At the start of the competition, they had each one of us enter the ring one at a time and gait around while they read off our names. Pretty cool!
Of course, once again we were near the end (I hate alphabetical order!). When it was my turn, I entered the ring, gaiting all the way around, and then stacked Pretzel. All three judges went over him, and then I did my down and back while all three watched. His free stack at the end of the down and back was pretty good. After that, they instructed me to gait halfway around and then free stack in the middle. That free stack wasn't so good. Typical Pretzel, he has a limited number of free stacks per day that he is willing to do haha!
It was a long wait while they tabulated the judges' scores. They brought us all back into the ring to wait for the results. Amazingly, out of
What made me extra proud was the compliments that my breed judge gave me. He told me when he judged me in breed that Pretzel was extremely nice, and that he rarely got to see such a nice Weimaraner. After the top 10 competition when we were getting our photo done, he again complimented me on what a nice dog Pretzel is.
Friday and Saturday, although called the "UKC Premier", were just regular all-breed shows. Of course, "All-Breed" in UKC means a
I hauled Corky to the Ohio State equine hospital for her appointment. The vets did a complete neurological workup on her. When they scoped her via going up through the nostrils, they immediately found the problem on her left side.
So we hope and pray that she improves with the medication. The unblinking eye was a big concern for all of us. The vets checked her eye thoroughly and saw no signs of damage. thank goodness the farm where she is boarded kept up with eye lubrication 4 times a day (I saw the chart on her stall where the workers all signed in when they administered it). To help keep eye problems at bay, the vets at OSU decided to temporarily stitch that eyelid partially shut. She will still need some lubrication, but this will help prevent any cornea lacerations or problems with excessive dryness. Once she starts blinking, we can remove the sutures. if she never regains function of that eyelid, we may have to permanently stitch it shut.
Crazy this this is happening...I am just floored by this new and unexpected problem. I was just getting ahead after the last round of massive vet bills this winter. Actually, money isn't my biggest stress...I am used to depriving myself to make sure my animals get the best care they need...but my stress is coming from the
My next course of action is to wait, monitor Corky closely for any signs of improvement, and pray.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” – Jimmy Dean
I went out to check Corky a couple days ago and found that she had torn one stitch open on her eye, so now it was half open. ARGH! I really don't want to haul her back to OSU for another very expensive ophthalmologist appointment to have that re-stitched. It is still half-closed, I may just go with it like that for a while and monitor it.
Time for an
I put up the photo to the right just to remind you what a beautiful, elegant, strong, kind horse she is. it's hard to see that sometimes in her older, out-of-shape body, but I remember it like it was yesterday. So many dreams and goals I had that she fulfilled for me. There is just
Look at this face! Hard to believe this little devil
I am pretty excited about how her agility training is progressing. we are doing things a lot differently this time - working a lot harder on foundation and making sure she keeps her excited, happy attitude. here is a video of her weave pole training to date. we started with the 2 x 2 method, gradually added poles and moved them closer together. the poles are only about 2 inches offset in this video. Fun!