Pretzel made a new friend at easter - my niece's new English Bulldog puppy named "Huckleberry".
Pretzel's favorite activity at my mom's house is stalking the stray cats that seem to populate her neighborhood. This particular cat was very bold, and probably understood that he was safe while Pretzel was trapped behind glass.
It was a strange Easter in some ways...the first Easter without my dad. For some reason it hit me extra hard this weekend. In some ways I still can't believe he is gone.
I took Noodle to MedVet this morning to meet with the orthopedic vet. She took more x-rays but found nothing had really changed. There is still no real way to diagnose exactly what is going on. She recommended more rest, so sadly I am going to have to pull her from the agility trial in Georgia in a couple weeks, and also her hunt test the following weekend.
Columbiana, Alabama is always one of my favorite shows, even though the show site is very inconvenient and cramped. They always give nice prizes, and the people are usually really nice here.
Once again I dragged Pretzel out of retirement, deciding to start going for my goal of 3,000 lifetime NOHS points. I am sitting at 2,710 points. This week was good, better, and great! Pretzel ended up with 4 select dog ribbons, 3 owner-handled best of breed, and two OH Sporting Group Twos! But...you may be wondering who got the 4th owner-handled best of breed ribbon? Well, the answer is Noodle and Mark! Yes, it finally happened...Noodle beat Pretzel!
Pretzel showed pretty good all weekend, but it was taking a lot of incentive (in the form of roasted chicken) to get him up and interested. I took Noodle in the owner-handled group on the last day, and although we didn't get a placement I was happy. I had forgotten how much fun she is to show! She is so enthusiastic! I think she was thrilled to finally be doing something.
Redirect! That might end up being my theme for 2018. Don't give up - Redirect instead! I am a goal-oriented person. Yeah, that's putting it mildly. A more accurate description would be that I am obsessive about setting goals and working towards them. Sometimes, though, ya gotta face reality and re-purpose your drive into a new or different venture. Easier said than done? Well, just watch me!
The Brace class was on Sunday. We had to go in right after best of breed and do brace, that went fine (although a bit energetic!). Even though there were no other sporting braces, we had to go back in after group to do a token run for sporting brace. Then came Best Brace in Show. Being this close to Noodle (who is HEAVILY in to Day 19 of her cycle) took it's toll on Pretzel. He was not very focused. Who can blame him? The brace went well, as good as can be expected. The Best Brace award went to the Borzoi pair, and it was well-deserved as they were perfectly matched in stride. Oh well, it was fun! Would I do it again if Noodle was in season? Probably not...
Cheyenne's It's About Time Marshall came with owner Taleatha to show in his very first 4-6 month puppy classes. It was Taleatha's first time showing also. I was so flipping proud of the both of them, I could explode! It really brought tears to my eyes to see one of Pretzel's first puppies hit the show ring. Marshall resembles his daddy so much, it is almost spooky. He showed like he had been doing it all his life, such a great work ethic just like Pretzel.
Thank goodness for small favors - Noodle is still dripping in season. You might ask why this is a favor? Well, this meant that I could take her to the show vet, get a written note, and get a large percentage of my agility entry money back on her. Yay (I guess).
Today's schedule was fairly light. We started off the morning with Pretzel doing an Open FAST run. The send bonus was super easy and I was somewhat confident. Big mistake! Pretzel decided he was in love with each and every dog that walked by him this morning. Male or female, it didn't matter. He did the first jump, went into the tunnel, came out and ran straight across the ring where a border collie he loved was standing...and peed on the fence. Damn. This is the price I pay for taking him to the barn for the first 4 years of his life and letting him run around the arena doing whatever while I rode. This agility trial was on dirt in a horse arena. No excuse, but I am sure he thought it was OK. Ugh.
I showed a class dog named Lance for a friend of mine. No love today for him, but the week is still young.
Pretzel had an Open Jumpers run later in the afternoon. He actually ran pretty darn good! We had two refusals - one where he ran behind the tunnel and I had to call him back, and another where he skipped a weave and I had to start the weaves over. This resulted in us being 3 seconds over time, so no Q. We were so close! That last Open Jumpers Q is going to haunt me forever, I think.
Today was a crazy day! Started off in the morning with Pretzel's FAST run - came SO close to qualifying! He went in the wrong end of the tunnel in the send, so no Q today.
There were two conformation shows today - an all-breed and then a Weimaraner specialty later in the afternoon. I showed Lance in both of those. No luck in the all-breed, but he won the Open Dog class and went on to get Reserve Winners Dog to the major! Yay! It was finally time for Noodle to come out and play. I showed her in Sweeps first, she got 4th out of 6.. Then we went in best of breed. There were 60+ Weimaraners entered today in the specialty...crazy! I am excited to report that Noodle actually made the first cut of bitch specials in best of breed! I was pretty proud of that. She showed like a rock star...I LOVE showing her. She is so enthusiastic.
The true star of the day was Pretzel's puppy Marshall, and his owner. They came for the 4-6 month puppy class where there were 4 Weimaraners entered, and they won the breed! They then went into a nice puppy sporting group, and won the group! Exciting day for all of us, and Marshall was happy and comfortable in the crazy show atmosphere.
Marshall and his owner stayed to compete in the B match at the end of the day, won the breed out of two Weims, and earned a sporting group 3. Nice way to cap off a pretty decent, if exhausting day.
Today was Noodle's Futurity. We started off the day by doing the all-breed show. 97 Weimaraners entered...OMG! Noodle didn't make the cut in best of breed, and unfortunately didn't get a look in her Futurity class. Disappointing, but I reassure myself that I know where her true talents lie, and we will make our mark on the world once she is sound and ready. Hopefully soon!
Well, here's Corky. We are 2 days shy of a full year since we bred her, still no foal. She has some clear discharge from her nipples. I imagine I missed the waxing period some time last week?
Who knows. She is pretty crabby today, can't say I blame her. in all of the foals I have bred, this is the longest wait I have ever had. I am telling myself not to be worried, that everyone's mares are late because of the extremely cold spring we are having, but still...
On the plus side, Noodle is officially out of heat! We are all relieved, to say the least. It lasted about 3 1/2 weeks, bleeding the entire time. I will be interested to see if her next season is the same as this one. Sure hope it doesn't come any time soon, that's for sure. No one is happier than Pretzel. He can once again play with his best buddy, and all of his own hormones have settled down and he is much happier.
I rented the agility training building tonight, and took Pretzel to do some work and some fun. Pretzel's favorite blonde girlfriend (i.e. Golden Retriever) was there sharing the time with us. It was a fun night of running courses and discussing options. Next week, it is back to Noodle's turn. I am going to put the bars on the ground and work on some handling exercises with her to get her back into work mode. I will start jumping her at full height around May 1st, if all goes well. Praying hard it does...I need this.
This weekend was Pretzel's first hunt test, doing the Junior Hunter! Unfortunately, Noodle had to be pulled from the test as she is still on light duty.
This test was a bit stressful for me at the beginning. I have never done a hunt test before, I have never even seen a hunt test before. Pretzel has trained only a handful of times since Christmas, the last being 6 weeks ago when Noodle was injured. Well, let me tell you that doin the test was a BLAST! Man, was it fun...for both Pretzel and myself. Unfortunately, Pretzel seemed to forget that he was supposed to hold his point. We did two tests on Saturday and two on Sunday. He qualified in 2 out of the 4 tests. The two he didn't qualify were strictly on his lack of point. In fact our last test on Sunday actually scored 8's and 9's in everything else, but a 4 in pointing because he would just barely point, then dive in and get the birds. Pretzel managed to nab a LOT of birds this weekend. Ugh.
I need two more qualifying legs to finish his junior hunter title. Hopefully I will head to Pennsylvania in 2 weeks and see if we can get it done. Meanwhile, I have lots of training to do. Thankfully, I have a plan! I took home a half dozen dead quail, and stuck them in my freezer. We will use them for practice for the next 2 weeks, putting Pretzel on a check cord (a long leash) and reinforcing the "whoa". And yes, I have to touch dead birds. Yay.
The weather forecast today was calling for rain by noon, so in the morning I went out to the empty field next to our property and planted two dead quail. I took Pretzel out on the check cord and let him hunt and find the birds. Immediately he jumped on the bird and grabbed it, and I corrected him and had him try again. We did this several times, and I eventually got through to him that he needed to hold his point. I was even able to kick around in the weeds and throw the bird and he held his point. We need to do this as often as possible to reinforce this training.
Of course, then the rain came. And came, and came. Tomorrow - 100% chance of rain. So I guess we wait and train again on Wednesday.
No news is not always good news on the Corky front. I went out to check on her today, and she is standing on 3 legs. She is brewing a whopping abscess on her right front foot, and is in serious pain. She looks very drawn up and uncomfortable, I felt her misery. I am predicting the baby will arrive Wednesday, though the farm manager thinks tonight.
Thankfully, the farrier came out this evening and dug out her abscess (at the point of her frog). They soaked it and wrapped her foot, and she was already feeling better. OK, Corky, bring on that baby!!!
I rented the agility training facility tonight, and this time it was Noodle's turn. It's been 6 weeks since her injury. I am starting her back to agility very slowly. I lowered all of the jumps to 12" and mainly worked on handling skills. Man oh man was she awesome. Some of our skills were a little rusty (her start line stay seemed a little more "optional" tonight), but overall I was thrilled with how she was! She nailed every single contact perfectly and flew one-footed through the weaves. I noticed one definite thing tonight - eye contact is everything. The minute I lost eye contact on any of my crosses, she veered off and started doing her own thing. As long as i maintained eye contact through the changes of direction, she nailed it. Same goes for her start line stay...when I started looking elsewhere, she forgot what she was supposed to be doing. Something to think about, definitely...
I spent the day with my mom today, but of course I stopped in to check Corky in the morning on my way out of town. I was happy to see the SoftRide boot on Corky's abscessed foot. She was still sore, but putting more weight on it. She was extremely agitated this morning, her tail was swishing and she kept jerking her head and looking at her side. She is so drawn up, she hardly looks pregnant. I fully expected to get a call today that she was in labor.
Well, as of writing this (at 11:00pm), no call. While driving home tonight, I was suddenly hit with a powerful sick feeling. I just have this terrible intuition that things aren't going well. Something is wrong. I am afraid to voice it, but I know what I feel. I am heading to bed now, maybe I will get a call tonight? Will my heart be broken again? I am so scared.
I got the call at 1:29 am that Corky was in labor!!! I got to the barn about 1:55am, and there was a dark, wet foal on the ground! I went in the stall and put my hands all over it, everything looked great! It is a bay filly!
Corky was still passing the placenta, so she pretty much ignored the foal as she munched on hay. When the last of the placenta passed, she had some huge contractions and laid down to pass it. Then she got up, continued to eat hay and ignore the filly. This started to worry me.
The filly is long-legged and gawky. She struggled to her feet in typical newborn-fashion. However, whenever she approached the back end of Corky, Corky would lay her ears back and kick. When she approached the front, Corky would lay her ears back and squeal. It got bad enough that someone had to hold on to Corky and back her into a corner so that the foal could nurse.
It appeared that Corky was rejecting her foal. This is devastating. Here is a problem I hadn't anticipated! I have never had this happen before. We decided it was safest to put Corky in her own stall across the aisle after the foal got to nurse, so that she could see her but had no access to her. We were hoping that this would maybe kick in her maternal instincts?
I left the barn around 4:30am, returning around 8:30am. They had put Corky and the filly together twice to let her nurse, but they had to use a lip chain on Corky to make sure she didn't hurt or scare the filly. While I was there, I noticed that Corky was agitated in the stall across the aisle. She seemed to be worried about being separated from her baby. This was a good sign! When it came time to feed again, we brought Corky in to the stall and tied her in the corner. She seemed much more accepting of the foal nursing around her back legs. Eventually we were able to untie Corky, and while she wasn't thrilled with the baby, she was accepting.
I went back home around 11am, and returned around 2pm. What a big difference a few hours made! Corky was actually acting protective of her foal in the stall. She was still squealing really loud whenever they touched noses, but she stood there perfectly still and allowed the filly to nurse without incident. Looks like we might just be out of the woods now. We were ready to call for a nurse mare if she wasn't going to accept her baby, but so far things are looking up!
I just can't explain the feeling I have when I am in the stall looking at this precious filly. I have such a warm feeling of peace. This is not the usual feeling I have around my horses - usually it is happiness touched with a hint of stress. For some reason I feel the universe has righted itself with this filly. She is getting stronger and stronger, Corky has fully accepted her, and she is handling my touch well. She needs an extra special name.
I debated names for days. Funny ones, quirky ones, mushy ones, none of them seemed to fit. Then suddenly as I was watching the video i shot today (over and over again), the name came to me. Introducing..."Totally Worth It", barn name "Cadence".
I have been spending a lot of time putting my hands on her, getting her used to my touch and my voice. I have such huge dreams and plans again, and it feels good!
All week I have been working Pretzel in the field next door with the dead quail, working on making him hold his point. I felt like we made a lot of progress! Then...I head to go train with Randy and some live birds, and everything flew out the window (no pun intended). Pretzel was pouncing on birds, and at times wasn't even attempting to establish a point. I had to REALLY get after him. We used 12 birds in training, and by the end I think I was making some progress, but it was hard to tell. I took a bunch of dead birds home to train with. How gross is that? The things we do for our goal-reaching...
On the plus side, Cadence is thriving! She has such an unusual marking on her face - a star plus a long line that angles to the right and goes into her right nostril. She has one hind sock, plus there are white markings on the back of both front pasterns. You can see them mainly when she is walking - they flash! Pretty cool. She also has the white triangle on one of her front coronets, just like Taylor did. I know they aren't any relation (for the most part), but it still makes me smile to see that little remembrance of Taylor on her.
Cadnece seems to be growing in front of my eyes. Her legs are starting to straighten up. I had to keep reminding myself that these long-legged babies always look mishmashed in their legs for the first week or so until they walk around a lot and get them stronger.
This photo is the BEST. It shows Mark and Cadence bonding. I absolutely LOVE how Mark is so in love with her. This means the world to me.
Cadence was "in my pocket" today - following me around the stall and investigating my coat. I love this part - when they get over the majority of their fear and curiosity takes over. Poor Corly, however, is not doing as well. She blew an abscess on her right front foot right before giving birth last week, and now it looks like another is brewing on her left front as she has a hard time putting any weight on it. To top it all off, it looks like she hasn't expelled all of her amniotic fluid - she has a thick brown drainage happening. She is going to get flushed later today, and hopefully the farrier can come out ASAP to take her shoe off and investigate. poor girl, can't get a break.
I worked Pretzel in the field yesterday and today. Yesterday we got 4 solid held points in a row! Today was equally as successful. I only had to correct him a couple times. BIG progress! Hopefully it holds over to the hunt test we are going to this weekend - it's our last show this season to finish his title.