I am ready! Time for NEW goals for 2019. Some of my goals are recycled since I didn't quite meet them last year. I am still thinking on my long-term goals, and I may add a few to this list later on. I want to be realistic, but I also want to aim high. High realism is my goal! I should probably put "Obtain some patience" as a goal, but I know that's one goal that will always be out of reach. Patience is hard...it is hard to set your sights on something and then have to wait it out until the time is right or the circumstances change. I want it all and I want it now...yeah...don't we all? I have to be patient in waiting on Cadence to grow up and mature, I have to be a little more patient in waiting for Noodle to mature, I have to be patient in waiting for my longed-for Pretzel puppy to call my own...but these things will happen, I am sure of it. At least, I think I'm sure. Which then makes me not really sure. Ugh. Oh well...anyways, here we are - my 2019 Goals:
SHORT TERM GOALS
1. Earn an Excellent Q with Pretzel (in agility)
2. Finish Noodle's Open titles in Jumpers and Standard
3. Earn Noodle's Junior Hunter Advanced title
4. Earn Noodle's Grand Championship
5. Show Cadence in Longe Line at Congress
6. Achieve the 3,000 NOHS point mark with Pretzel
7. Obtain my own Pretzel puppy
8. Earn an Obedience or Rally Q with Noodle
LONG TERM GOALS
1. Earn another Top 10 at Congress
2. Break into the Top 20 in Weimaraner conformation
3. Earn Pretzel's C-ATCH in CPE
4. Earn Pretzel and Noodle's Dual Weimaraner Award
It is so strange, but I notice a drastic change in Noodle's body since her last heat cycle in December. It's like someone waved a magic wand and *poof* she filled out and grew up! Suddenly she looks less like a gangly junior puppy and more like amature adult. I stacked her and got some photos just to see for myself, and by golly she did mature! Just look at my little girl!!! I am thinking that maybe it is time to bring her out again as a special and try showing. I have her entered this coming Saturday at a show in South Carolina just for kicks, maybe this will help me decide.
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!
All good things must come to an end. Today we pulled the boat out of the water, and loaded up to leave Florida. Despair not, we will be back in late February! Mark is so in love with his new RV, he wants to travel a bunch in it, and who am I to say no? Yeah, I love it too.
We are stopping halfway home in South Carolina, to do a show. I like breaking up the trip with dogs shows whenever possible. I have Noodle entered on Saturday and Pretzel entered on Sunday. I am thinking this might be Pretzel's last official show. I was hoping to get him to 3,000 owner-handled points (he stands right now at 2920) but I think he is trying to tell me he is done. We'll see how he does Sunday, but after 6+ years of showing he really has nothing left to prove.
I love dogs shows, but it is really tough camping when it is cold and super muddy. It poured rain yesterday, and it is surprisingly cold for being so far south. And the mud, oh the mud!
Today was Noodle's show day. She has shown once in the past 6 months, but she didn't miss a beat today. She showed fantastic! I need to work on her gaiting, she wants to pull and lean a bit. She was pretty excited to be in the show ring again. She is such a blast to show. She ended up going Best of Opposite for another grand champion point. I was really happy with how she looked.
Today was Pretzel's turn at the show. I wondered how he would look, because compared to Noodle he seems so calm and quiet about showing. I have to remember that this is just his nature - he takes his job seriously! I think he looked great for an almost-7 year old. Unfortunately, he didn't get much of a look in breed and zero look in group, but it was still a great time to be in the ring with my best friend again!
Now we hit the road for the rest of the journey home. I think we are all ready to be back home sleeping in our own beds again. Although, I sure will miss this nice weather and the sunshine! Ohio rarely has much sunshine in January.
I couldn't wait to get out to the barn and see Cadence...it's been a long couple weeks away! I swear she grew, I am going to have to measure her tomorrow to see if this is true.
Since all horses turn another year older on january 1st regardless of their actual birthdate, Cadence is officially a yearling now. Since she was on the last hole of her weanling halter, I ordered her a new special halter for Christmas, and it arrived while I was in Florida. it's a nice leather adjustable halter with her name engraved on a brass cheelk plate. So classy! I feel safer letting her get turned out in a leather halter - if she should get it caught, it will break (unlike most nylon halters).
I expected her to take a few steps back in training since I haven't worked with her since before Christmas, but I was amazed at how much she retained. She picked all 4 feet up nicely. I love that now when i run my hand down her leg, she is cocking that foot in anticipation of me picking it up...that shows her agreeable nature (I've had more bullheaded horses actually lean their weight on that foot not wanting you to pick it up). On the longe line, we did a lot of walking and whoa-ing (the whoa still needs a lot of work). Today I officially started asking her to trot a little on the line, walking with her so she uses the entire indoor arena and doesn't have to make any sharp turns. All this girl wants to do is lope lope lope. She was trotting rather short in anticipation of gathering herself up to lope off, so it took a while to convince her to only trot. By the end, I was getting some nice sweepy trot steps. Not too shabby for our first "official trot day!
Today's training session with Cadence was awesome. I worked her more on the trot, and she started settling in and giving me some really nice strides. We got to work while another horse was being longed in the indoor, and that was great to have a distraction to train through. I also got two nice stops on whoa...out of about 15. Baby steps!
I also got Corky out and longed her. She looked like a million bucks! Huge, beautiful stride, it so reminds me of when she was in her prime and was breathtaking when she moved. I was thrilled to see her sound again.
I measured Cadence today, she is 14'2 1/2" at the withers and 15' at the hip. Growing, slowly but surely! She is officially over "pony height" now.
Noodle shared a private agility lesson today with her buddy Raphe, first lesson since before Christmas. I am thrilled with how she looked and acted. We are upping the difficulty level - adding distractions while working on tough concepts like the "here" command (bypassing tunnel entrances and jumps) and backsides. I should squash this feeling of positivity because this is usually when things go haywire, but I can't help it - she is doing so well!
We had our first "real" snow of the winter season yesterday - got about 4 inches. Although it was bitter cold and I am deathly ill with the flu, I HAD to take my good camera outside and take some shots (working with all of this white snow was a good learning experience in getting my manual settings correct!). Noodle spent most of her time running with her mouth open, grazing the show and eating it. Weird girl! Pretzel was like a little puppy, running and running and running, sliding and playing, it was so fun to watch.
Since it is the year for firsts for Cadence, I had to take a picture today of her first day turned out in the snow. She doesn't really seem to think much about it. She managed to push the snow aside to get at the grass, and wander through the snow like it was no big deal. I love how the cold weather makes her body hair puff out so she looks like she is made of thick velvet. My girl ain't no hothouse flower!
Pretzel had an appointment with the reproductive specialist. Something is going on with him, and we are all worried. After a load of tests, they decided to do a biopsy on him for further diagnostics. Results in 2 weeks. That's way too long to wait. Poor Pretzel is in a lot of pain from the biopsy, and I am heartsick. I have decided the only way i can cope with waiting is to put it out of my brain and not let myself even think about it for a millisecond. He is my heart and soul, and it would literally kill me if anything happened to him. That is all I am going to say...for 2 weeks...
Today was another first for Cadence...she started learning the crossties.
I brought her in from the snowy field to groom her a bit. I also tried on her new yearling-sized sports medicine boots. Let me say she was very suspicious of me putting those wraps on her front legs. Once I got them on, she just went on eating her hay in her haynet and forgot about them. Crosstie lesson was also a success. She was a bit puzzled about not being able to turn her head sideways, but didn't worry too much about it. After a couple minutes of her standing there quietly looking at me, I unsnapped the ties and put her back in her stall. Baby steps...stepping to success!
I went back out to the barn later in the day with mark in tow to video my training session with Cadence so i could analyze it later. First off, I have to show you this photo comparison of Corky - last January vs. today. I am not imagining things, I definitely see considerable improvement in her facial paralysis. While her ear is still only twitching and not actually moving with the other one, her face is most definitely less twisted than it was a year ago. Less twist means she is getting feeling back in the left side of her face and is starting to be able to use the muscles in her mouth. It's amazing! the vet had told me that IF she was going to recover, it would take 6-12 months. Well, in true Corky style she did it on her own timeline and it's now 18 months. I don't care, I am just so happy to see it coming back!
Cadence's longe session went...ok. She just doesn't want to settle in well at the trot. Mostly she trotted around the circle somewhat collected, springing into a beautiful slow-legged canter over and over again. Pretty, but I need her to do that big sweeping trot I know she has. She is one of those babies 9a LOT like her mom Corky) that is just more comfortable doing a easy lope than a trot. So we will continue to work on getting her more comfortable and able to stretch out and really trot. I am doing my usual method of walking with her so she can use almost the entire arena - less stress on her legs and it encourages bigger strides. My theme for this year should be baby steps since I am saying that to myself all the time lately!
Since Pretzel is still recovering from his biopsy, I got permission to bring Noodle to class instead. She was fantastic! Focus was great, behavior was great, I couldn't ask for a better dog. I could have laid down and cried with joy...SO much work has gone into getting her to this point. The best news is, she was invited to stay in class and take Pretzel's spot. We're back! Almost exactly a year (it will be a year on Sunday) since she was kicked out of class for being obnoxious. Well, let's be honest, she is still obnoxious. I just have a little better handle on it now. I am definitely a much wiser dog trainer now...I have learned SO much this past year. So many ups and down, so much heartache with training pitfalls. I never gave up. Not gonna give up until I am dead!