The 2015 edition of Jan Hare's life

Hop on 2015 and join me on the roller-coaster ride of training - training horses, training dogs, training humans, and attempting to establish order in my life.

Click on any photo on the page to enlarge

Wednesday, January 1, 2015

Time to list my 2015 goals!!! Here they are:

  • 1. Earn a Q in an Open Agility class
  • 2. Finish Pretzel's Grand Championship in conformation
  • 3. Breed Corky sucessfully
  • 4. Earn an Open agility title
  • 5. Show Tango in a new event
  • 6. Get to Level 4 in at least one CPE category.

  • 1. Earn a Congress Top 5
  • 2. Breed another great HUS prospect for myself
  • 3. Have a healthy foal out of Corky
  • 4. Compete at the Excellent Level in AKC agility
  • 5. Earn a group placement with Pretzel in open AKC competition
  • 6. Compete at the WCA Nationals in agility with Pretzel
  • 7. Earn a CATCH in CPE agility

So there you have it. Some attainable goals, some lofty goals, some very subjective goals. Horse goals, dog goals, breeding goals...little bit of everything. Bring it on!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2015

We leave! You HAVE to check out all of my pictures...this was the best vacation ever, I had so much fun taking my dog on vacation. Kinda like taking a child to Disney World LOL!

Sunday, January 4, 2015
Well, Pretzel and I are back home from Florida, just in time to see a winter storm watch for tomorrow night. Ohio - ugh.

I am excited to see how Tango is doing. Alisa has been working on getting more forward motion out of him (always a tough task!) and also keeping his left shoulder up (he consistently drops it, especially cantering to the left). This weekend I will be in Columbus for an agility trial on Saturday, so I will head out to the barn on Friday night and watch Alisa work him. I can't wait to see his progress!

On another positive note, I practiced some simple jumping sequences with Pretzel at the barn today, and he was awesome! I am working on the "out" command - sending him out away from me to take the jump I am indicating. After the first mix-up, he nailed it every time! If only he could focus this hard on me at the actual trials...

I entered 3 more trials this winter - the biggest one being all 4 days at Louisville, Kentucky in March. I loved that trial last year, and I had such great success there! This year I am using bot of my personal days at work so I can do all 4 days of the trial. Something FUN to look forward to this winter!

Friday, January 9, 2015

I am bummed, the temperatures hovered near zero degrees this evening so I wasn't able to see Tango being ridden by Alisa. I did stop by the barn to visit him. He was pretty wound up, I could tell the cold weather and lack of turnout was getting to him. Hopefully the weather will improve so I can see his work next weekend.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Today I did one day of an AKC agility trial at the Columbus All-Breed Training Center. This was one of the few trials to actually offer the F.A.S.T. class. Well, I had a super plan for FAST, but Pretzel blew the send bonus so we didn't qualify.

I fully expected him to be wild since we have been snowed-in and "colded-in" all weekend. Yep, he was crazy fast, didn't really listen much to me, yada, yada. In Standard, he had a LOT of off-course faults (I think maybe 4 or 5?) where he grabbed a bunch of extra jumps and a tunnel. In Jumpers, he also had too many wrong courses to qualify. The judge came up to me after the trial and told me how much she liked him. If only I had a dime for every judge that has come up to me after judging to tell me how much she liked Pretzel and his enthusiasm. Yeah...but his enthusiasm is what's killing us!

I have entered several trials coming up in January, February, and March. I am hoping to see some improvement over these next 3 months. if not, them maybe I need to reconsider this whole thing? I mean, I am having a BLAST and it's obvious that Pretzel has the time of his life out there, but there are times I worry that maybe I am just wasting money entering these trials when we have so little success right now? I hear everyone telling me "Oh wait until he grows up, he will be awesome!" Well, he is 2 1/2, almost 3, and soon these excuses will start to wear thin.

I guess, my plan will be to have no plan. As long as we are having fun, I will continue to enter, to struggle, and hold on to hope. Once it becomes un-fun, I will quit entering trials. Sounds like a plan!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

To the left, you can see some destruction that is the direct result of my job. This week, for the past 4 straight days I not only worked all day long, but I worked all evening and into the night also...with only an hour or so in between to run home and eat and say hello to Pretzel. By Saturday night, Pretzel had enough of being without me, and he destroyed the drywall divider that kept him from entering the basement (he has a dog door on the basement stairs that goes out into an outdoor kennel, so he can go in and out all day and just be contained in the basement steps). This was a miserable mess to clean up. Another downfall of this job, and it's only getting worse. Something's got to give!

I went to the hardware store and found a metal security gate for a window that fits in the stairway, and I installed it where the drywall wall used to be. Hopefully that will hold him!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

I finally had a chance to head to Granville and see Alisa ride Tango. She has been great about giving me updates about his progress. She has been dealing with the same struggles I have dealt with - the lack of forward motion at times, the weak canter, dropping shoulders, etc. Alisa has him on quite a program, building up his strength and making him really move forward.

Today, Tango was extremely lazy. I could see it in him, he has those days where he is a complete cement block and it takes everything you have just to get him to move out. Alisa hadn't really experienced this side of Tango yet, but I totally know it and understood what she was dealing with (I think she was a bit frustrated with him since she couldn't really show me what she has done with him). I definitely did see an improvement in his canter, his canter to the left (which is his weakest way) looks a lot better - flatter and deeper. He wasn't super consistent at it yet, but you could see flashes of what it could become over time.

Alisa trotted and then cantered him over some low crossrails. Tango never batted an eye, he just plopped over them with ease. I do like that. We really won't be able to tell if he has any real talent over fences until we start jumping him at heights where he actually has to work to get over...and we can't really do that until he is stronger. So, it is a matter of patience. I am willing to be patient, I think he is worth it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tonight I decided to ride Corky. Yeah, I haven't ridden her in months. She actually rode pretty good once we got beyond the initial stiffness and her testing me ever so slightly to see if I really wanted her to move! I forgot how fun it is to ride a horse that is so leg-sensitive. She has such a great handle on her. I can do turns on the haunches, forehands, and sidepass all over the place. She's pretty "handy" for a 17 hand horse.

I am a bit worried since I have not seen her have a heat cycle since the vet checked her in heat in November. Now, I could possibly have missed it if it wasn't exactly on time in December, but I am still worried that she might have shut down for the winter. On the plus side, the stall lights are making her shed like crazy, so the lights must be bright enough and for enough hours. I have two 150 watt bulbs in her stall, set to go on around 7am and off at 9pm. She is shedding enough that I am contemplating buying a hood for her because she's gonna get cold in the upcoming months!

Saturday-Sunday, January 24-25, 2015

AKC Agility Trial - Springfield, OH

This is what Pretzel thinks of the pause table...YAWN

Pretzel and I went to an AKC agility trial in Springfield, OH this weekend. Our first run was Time To beat. As usual, Pretzel ran wild in this class, we were whistled off before we even got to the halfway point of the course. I was thoroughly frustrated at his lack of attention to me.

Pretzel had just plain too much energy in our jumpers run. When he is really energetic and wound up, he tends to jump flat. This is exactly what he did, and I think he knocked 3 or 4 bars in this class.

Standard was a little better. I worked more before the class on getting him to focus on me, and he started off better. My friend stood in the bleachers with my video camera, and Pretzel caught sight of him and veered off course to the fence towards him...shades of what happened in Cleveland when he jumped the ring fence to visit! Luckily the fence was too high for him to jump, so I was able to call him back and finish the course.

On Sunday, I decided to try a different tactic. I got Pretzel out plenty early before his run and i worked on tons of training exercises with him - sit, down, roll over, touch the target, weave in my legs, etc. I gave him tons of treats when he stayed focused on me. This worked great - although we didn't get to finish our Time To Beat course, we got a LOT farther than we ever had before...and we had a spectacular set of 12 weaves (he finally didn't dive out after weave #10!). Our Jumpers course went fairly well, but Pretzel decided jumping tunnels was much more fun than running through them, and this killed our run. He jumped a tunnel in nearly every class this weekend! Whywhywhywhywhy?

Our last class was standard, and I kept working on the focus games with him - they seemed to be working. We had several mistakes in this class - a knocked bar, a few off courses, and a blown teeter contact, but we also had some really nice moments like a great send to the pause table. Overall, our contacts were WAAAY better this weekend - I think he only missed one or two the whole time. Some advice I got about slowing myself down when he was on the contact obstacle even if he was way ahead of me worked - he feeds off of my body position, and if I am running to catch up with him, this is just pushing him to run faster.

So...another Q-less weekend. I will say it was a god learning weekend, I discovered a few new things that worked, and I have a new problem (tunnel-jumping) to overcome!

Two different photos of two different classes - Pretzel's facial expression after he finishes the weaves is priceless!

On to February...