Sunday, February 3, 2019

We Got trot!

Finally the temperatures got above the single digits. In fact, it went all the way up to 50 degrees! Time to work Cadence again, she hasn't been worked in almost a week. She started off pretty wild and bucky, but settled down and I got some beautiful trotting from her. I think she is finally getting the hang of it! I even got bold and tried a little canter for a couple rounds. Absolutely gorgeous I left with a big smile on my face...this is getting very exciting. 8 1/2 months until Congress!!!

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Monday, February 4, 2019

It's all about the good girls

Both of my girls were pretty darn awesome today, I must say!

The Good Girl Day started off with Noodle - doing her very first private Rally lesson. Who is this dog and what have you done with Noodle? She was fantastic! Wonderful focus, wonderful heeling, I was astounded. I learned several things that I can do to train her on a few of our sticky parts. I am excited to progress with her, this "new" Noodle with the good behavior and focus is proving to be a lot of fun (and way more fun than the out-of-control Noodle!)

After Noodle's rally lesson, I headed to the barn. It was an incredible day - high 50's and sunny. I got Cadence out and put her on the longe line, and I swear she never set a foot wrong. I think I could have shown her in a longe line class at that moment and she could have won. walk, troit, canter, all on cue and beautiful (plus cantering on the correct leads!). The only part she had a little trouble with was reversing from right to left. That needs a little work.

When we were done longeing (and we did very little, because no sense in overdoing it when she does everything correctly!), I walked her over to my trailer. I had opened everything up and had a small bucket of grain. It's that time...time to start training to load in the trailer! I really hate this part of training, because it can be scary and dangerous and frustrating. Today's goal was just to get her front feet on the ramp. I successfully got her front feet (and one back toe) on the ramp with her head inside the trailer, munching on some grain. She was a little leery of getting on the ramp, and I found that if I just stood patiently and waited her out, she eventually put her feet on it on her own. She wasn't overly thrilled with the grain, so I think I will go buy a bag of sweet feed to use to be a little more enticing. We did this lesson three times successfully, then i called it quits. Baby steps! All in all, it was a fantastic start to my day.

On a side note, I measured her. Still not much change in the front - around 14'2"-ish, but her hip is up to a solid 15'1". Yes, she is very uneven. I promised myself no more obsessing about her height, and I am not allowed to measure her again until March!

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Think, then DO...and don't leave out either step.

  • Accepting my limitations is sometimes the hardest task I face. I don't like to believe something is impossible. This has driven me for years, but sometimes you have to step back and be realistic. Realism sucks! But in being real, one can re-focus on a new goal with a new purpose. So 2019 will be a year of re-focusing. Setting my sights on new things, accepting my changes in direction, and being happy for the joy of the moment. Sounds good, doesn't it? well...we shall see!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Never get too comfortable!

Just when you think you made progress...think again. I worked Cadence today on the longe line. Today was just a bad day for her, for some reason. Someone was riding in the arena while we longed, and she used that as an excuse to go absolutely crazy. The person riding tried to stick it out, but ended up leaving and waiting for us to be done. i don't blame her, Cadence was getting her horse all wound up. I worked her very patiently until i got some nice trotting and cantering from her, then we ended the lesson.

I decide to take her out to the trailer and do another lesson in familiarizing her with the trailer. I had bought a bag of sweet feed last night as a special enticement. Yeah, well, I couldn't even get Cadence out the barn door! She stood in the doorway and planted her feet and refused to move. I tried everything, and ended up having to encourage her forward with the longe whip to get her to walk out the door. It took a good ten minutes to get her out...but on the plus side once I held the whip I basically only had to brush it against her back end and she gave in.

We walked halfway down the driveway and she stopped again and planted her feet and refused to move. Someone drive in the gate and had to park off to the side since she would not move from the center of the gravel driveway. I ended up having the driver go grab my bucket of sweet feed from the trailer and I was able to bribe her into moving. Once I got her moving, she walked right up to the back of the trailer and put her front feet on the ramp and happily ate her sweet feed from the bucket. I backed her off and walked her back on the ream three times. The third time she actually got all 4 feet on the ramp. She seemed really comfortable with it, so I figured I would quit while I was ahead (because that sure can change in an instant!). We walked back to the barn and I walked her in and out of the door over and over again with zero issues. Go figure.

Later... today is Tuesday so that means late night training for Noodle and I. My training partner had her son come out to the training building and act as judge/distraction. Noodle ran over to him a couple times, but I was able to call her right back. He proved to be a good distraction, and she kept an eye on him a lot, but she stayed pretty focused on me and did excellent. This was a great training moment! We are definitely making progress Thinking back to a year ago when I was so devastated and frustrated and I wondered if we would ever get to this point...and here we are! Now we need to see if we can hold it together at a trial. We are doing one day at the end of March in Dayton, so we will see if my hard work and training was really worth it.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Comfortable again

My day started like this - Noodle stealing my empty bag of chips, ate the crumbs, and then got the bag stuck on her head. It actually was kind of funny, I have to admit. However, my other girl Cadence was much better. After yesterday, I expected problems. Nope! She went out there and longed like a champion. Now granted, we were the only ones in the arena so there were no distractions. After I was done, I walked her out the barn door. She did balk, but I waved the rope around her hip and she walked out calmly. So...I guess this was a step in the right direction. You just never know.

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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Girls' trip, no boys allowed!

Noodle and I had a busy day today! We started off with agility class, and a semi-private lesson in the afternoon, and then we loaded up the van and headed for Indianapolis. It was a girls trip, just Noodle and I. It was hard leaving Pretzel at home, but I was going to the show by myself and I needed to focus on Noodle. It's so hard to deal with two dogs in a hotel by myself. Noodle is only entered in the show on Friday and Saturday.

Driving to the show reminded me why I hate shows in the wintertime. the weather was horrible, the wind was killer and the temperatures dropped to the teens. Fun time to drive to Indianapolis, the Pothole Capital of the World. I have to admit I am kind of excited to be showing Noodle. She is so much fun, and I am hoping we can work the kinks out of our training the next few days.

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Sunday, January 3, 2019

Indianapolis, why am I here again?

Noodle decided to wake up in the hotel around 3am and start bugging me. Needless to say, I didn't get any sleep after that. Gotta love her!

She showed pretty well in breed, and ended up getting Best of Opposite for some grand champion points and a champion defeated. I was really happy with that. She and I also got best of breed owner-handled. I actually think she showed way better in the group later today, but no love from the judge.

Tonight in the hotel things were much better. We hung out together and watched TV all evening, and she slept all night without interruption. I actually had to wake her at 6am, which was good.

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Sunday, January 3, 2019

So close I could taste it

It is so refreshing to wake up with a full night's sleep. Thank you, Noodle! Noodle showed OK in breed, got select today behind the bitch she beat yesterday. She didn't show as well today, the mats are just so slippery she couldn't hold her stack. I have yet to come up with a solution for that, no matter why spray I try she still slips a lot.

Today's owner-handled sporting group was huge, around 20 dogs. She showed awesome, and the judge pulled us out for the cut, with 6 other dogs. Unfortunately, Noodle blew it by deciding to race around the ring when the judge had us gait one at a time. Then on our last stack, she just couldn't hold her feet in position because of the slippery mats. The stacking issue I can understand...can't fault her for that. The gaiting problem is another thing. She gets so charged up sometimes, she pulls really hard and leans inward...NOT a pretty picture. I tried working on this at home but she doesn't do it anywhere else other than the show ring. We have some work to do, that's for sure!

Overall, I was thrilled with Noodle's behavior at the show. Today's show was wall-to-wall spectators, and they all seemed to want to pet her. She loved every minute of it, and actually seemed to enjoy the crowds. That's the diva in her!

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Sunday, February 10, 2019

Heel-kickin' time

I haven't worked Cadence since Wednesday of last week, but it was good to give her a break after the tough lessons we had. Today she was alone in the arena, and she started off by kicking up her heels, running, and bucking. Rather than fight her, I decided to just let her get her kicks out of her system before asking her to work. It's so easy for me to forget that she is only a baby! I let her blow off some steam on the longe line, and then asked her to work, and she worked wonderfully! Her reverse from right to left is definitely improving.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019


I have no complaints! Cadence was pretty darn good today. Granted, we were the only ones in the arena. I walked with her on the longe line, using the entire arena to encourage her to trot big and long. It definitely was working. She is getting the hang of whoa and reverse. It's like suddenly the "whoa" command just clicked in her head, and she gets it now! Consistency is the key!

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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is Thursday, that means it is all about agility today! We started off with our usual 8am class. Noodle was pretty focused, and we got a lot accomplished. My handling is starting to improve a lot, and I can tell because Noodle is reading my cues easier and becoming more accurate. This team thing means I have to be on my game as much as she does

We came back for our shared lesson. Today's goal was distractions. Today's lesson for me is that I need to have imperfect training sessions in order to grow. We purposely put a ton of distractions out in the ring for Noodle - people with dogs, toys, bags of treats, etc. While she wasn't perfect, she got better and better and I think we both learned something. I definitely learned that I have to really stay on top of Noodle and the minute that her eyes go to a distraction, I need to correct her.

Pretzel came along, and had acupuncture done after Noodle's lesson. He is having some issues with his back/hind end, and I think it might all stem from his accident this past fall when Maizey t-boned him while running outside. I am extremely worried about him, he just isn't the same. We are going to schedule an appointment when we get back from Florida in a few weeks. I need to know definitively what is going on.

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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Back to the field, finally!

For the first time since October, my dogs got to go field training! Let me start off by saying it was freaking COLD out there! Temps in the high 20's, and a nice (*sarcasm*) cool breeze.

We started off by doing a little backing training with the dummy. Both my dogs need work on thyat. After that, we just planted a couple birds for each dog and let them blow the dust off and remember what they were supposed to do. Noodle, of course, hunted about 10 miles away from me, and busted birds before i could make the hike to her. Pretzel held his points like a rock star, caught 2 birds and retrieved them to hand (which shocked me - that's not his strong suit!). Noodle is going to take priority for a while, I need to get that girl under control!

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Sunday, February 17, 2019


I worked Cadence today, fresh out of the stall after her farrier appointment yesterday. She came out and was an absolute angel! No bucking, just a willingness to work. I cannot even begin to describe how excited I am. You have no idea. Or...if you have been reading these training diaries the past few years then you probably do know how excited I am. Here is a little video for you...she just floats effortlessly...

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Noodle Field Time!

What a great field training day. Yep, it was cold - I think it might have reached 24 degrees while I was out there. It spit snow the entire time. But watching Noodle bring it all together was worth all the frostbite!

At first, she hunted really far from me. Eventually she figured out that when i called to her, it usually meant I was near a bird. She had some really beautiful points, and best of all held them (long enough for me to whip out my camera and take pictures before flushing!).

We worked six birds, and she retrieved all six of them. Her retrieves were rather slow and a bit wandering, but she eventually brought them to hand. I praised her like she just won the world after each retrieve. I think she has some real potential to go farther in the field...just hope i don't screw her up!

Tomorrow we leave for Florida (you are saying "What??? Another trip to Florida?"). I cannot wait to get out of this cold weather.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Hattiesburg, Mississippi show - Day #1

Ok, so Hattiesburg, Mississippi isn't exactly on the way to Florida, but close! This looked like a fun place to stop for a dog show. I have never been to Mississippi before. Unfortunately. It rained. Rained. All day yesterday on our travels, and all day today. Talk about mud. Thank goodness the show was indoors.

Noodle showed really well. There wasn't much competition here, so she ended up best of Breed and Best of Breed Owner-Handled. She showed awesome in the OH group, but the judge didn't even consider us. Oh well, you will have that! I am just happy she is behaving, working hard, and loving the show ring!

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Friday, February 22, 2019

Hattiesburg, Mississippi show - Day #2

Today, it rained. And rained some more. Mud galore. Noodle decided she didn't want to potty out on the wet grass. Diva. Instead, she almost pooped in the breed ring. The last time gaiting around the ring I had to force her to keep moving, because she wanted to stop and poop. Needless to say we didn't win breed. we did win Owner-handled best of breed...and I BARELY made it outside before she squatted and went. Whew! She is such a girl sometimes.

She showed great in group again, and ended up with an Owner-Handled Group Three! I was pretty happy with that...her first group placement of the year.

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Hattiesburg, Mississippi show - Day #3

Guess what? It rained today! The motorhome was about to float away, but I swam out and tied it down.

Noodle took breed today, no almost-pooping in the ring. Owner-halded group went well again, and we earned another OH Group Three. Staying consistent, which is good right now. Me and the dogs are going a bit stir-crazy with all of this rain. Noodle's attitude has been fantastic, and she is so fun to show!

Another bonus - we found an awesome local Italian restaurant called Marios. I love finding the local places and trying out their pasta. This place had wedding soup to die for. Yum. And...we drove back to the showgrounds in the rain. Yep.

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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Hattiesburg, Mississippi show - Day #4

Guess what? The sun came out today! Just in time for the last day. I am a little bummed that it rained the whole time so I wasn't able to go exploring with the dogs. I love finding trails to take them for walks and get to know the local terrain. I will have to save that for a future trip to Mississippi.

Noodle won breed again today. I am trying something a little different with her and putting the leash a little bit on the side of her neck to help her carry her head a bit higher. It is going to take a bit of practice because she isn't used to it yet. She was very consistent, and once again earned an OH Group three. Talk about consistency - pretty cool! I'll take it. We were able to pack up the motorhome in the sunshine and hit the road to Florida and some fun on the beaches.

The thing I am most proud of: Noodle's consistent free stacks. Training = CHECK!

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