Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Fixing the holes

The glow from a successful go at the Tom Powers is fading, and now it's time to get back down to work. I have a few holes in my training that this show revealed:

  • ★ Use of Circle - I need to get Cadence used to going out to the end of the line and maintaining a consistent large circle.
  • ★ Quicker Transitions - Her transitions need to be quicker. I noticed in the video I spent a lot of time (and wasted seconds) getting her to shift up into a higher gear - i.e. walk to trot, and trot to canter. I need those seconds to show her off, so I have to get her a little more sharp when I cue her.
  • ★ Halter/Conformation Set Up - My biggest training hole is her lack of knowledge in setting up and standing square for the conformation portion. I confess that this is totally my fault as I have spent very little time on this. So my biggest goal for the next month is to get this better in hand.

I worked her a bit on the longe line (she was great!) - worked on really pushing her out to the end of the line and also getting her a little more "hot" off of my cues. Then I put the lead with the shank and started trying to work the conformation set up. The chain gave me a lot of control, but man she hated it. I was able to move her feet back and forth, but she looked unhappy and our trot in hand looked really bad because you could tell she hated it. Since my absolute number one goal is to keep her happy at work, I think my next session might go back to just the plain lead clipped on the halter.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Independence - a great thing!

We had no agility class today due to the holiday, but I took a half hour private lesson with one of the instructors. He is a great one for coming up with unusual courses that challenge me in different ways. I see I need to work a bit more on Noodle's bypass command...I have been slacking off on it and she has lost her sharp focus with that maneuver. A couple times she decided to leave me and run up to him, but I made her lay down and refocus on me. I have an appointment to spend two days with a behaviorist at the end of the month...hopefully she will have a key as to how to train Noodle out of this. I have such hopes for her, but I have to take them step by step and go about it the right way. One day at a time, for sure.

Pretzel is enjoying his freedom, he is officially released to "be a normal dog", whatever that is! I still see residual signs of weakness in his hind end - especially going up and down stairs. I hope this improves. I would love to be able to give him a job to do - maybe some field work or easy agility, or even some rally. Pretzel craves that connection with me. One day at a time for him also!

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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!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Too hot to do much of anything!

Today is a real hot one...I worked Cadence on the longe line for a bit and she was about perfect, so we quit after about 10 minutes. I worked her in hand again, but this time just clipped a lead to her halter and didn't use a chain. While she isn't as sensitive to my cues this way, her attitude was 100% better and she actually did pretty well.

After much experimentation, I figured out that she does square up better if I leave her right hind (white) foot planted and move the left hind forwards or backwards. This is good information, and I am writing this down in hopes I remember this at my next training session.

I started her on DAC Bloom supplement - hopefully I will start to see some improvement in her body condition. She is still a little thin for my taste. Oh the joys of a growing, leggy yearling. Yes, I love it! Nothing but joy here...she is so special to me!

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Friday, July 12, 2019

I am relentless!

Today I did a 3 1/2 hour agility seminar with Noodle. It was great! We worked a lot on rear crosses, which apparently I am pretty weak at. Noodle was really well-behaved. I will say, I was pretty darn proud of her. I love her focus, and she was only a little distracted a couple times by the people standing in the ring, and I was able to get her right back.

I had agility class and a private lesson yesterday and those went great, so I am actually feeling a tiny bit positive. My instructor wants me to sign up for one day at the USDAA trial in a couple weeks. She said it is time for me to see where my training is at and whether I have really made any progress. This is where I whisper softly to Noodle, "Please don't break my heart again!"

In the meantime, we will train train train. I am feeling pretty good about things, and that is a surefire way to guarantee that things will explode and I will be horribly disappointed. But the optimist in me continues on...

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Monday, July 15, 2019

Crowd phobia

I worked Cadence a bit after her farrier appointment today, and she was wild again with two other horses being ridden in the arena. It's time to get serious about crowd training - starting with ponying. That is on the agenda for Wednesday.

I had tentatively planned to take Cadence to an open show this weekend, but they are calling for 95 degrees, with a heat index over 110. I am opting out of showing unless the forecast changes drastically. Just not worth the danger of hauling a horse in this heat. My next opportunity won't be until August.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Pony time!

It's kind of ironic that the "pony" horse today is an 18'2" draft horse named Reuben! I got Cadence out and worked her for a bit first - she was pretty energetic since she didn't get any turnout last night due to the rain. Once she worked out all of her energy, my friend came in and rode Reuben around while i walked Cadence next to him. We did this for quite a long time, letting Cadence determine how close she was comfortable with getting to Reuben.

Once she seemed comfortable with walking right next to him, I handed off the lead rope and my friend tugged her around the ring. That went just about perfect! Cadence was really unsure at first, but became more and more confident with every round.

Eventually, I got a chance to get up on the big horse and pony her around. It was a blast! I SO miss riding. This is the first time in 31 years that I do not have a horse to ride, and it is killing me! A big part of me wishes that I hadn't sold Tango. I know he is in a great home being loved and used, but still...it's hard not getting in the saddle for so long.

The show is definitely off the table for this weekend...going to be dangerously hot. Better safe than sorry.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Tis the Season!

Surprise! Noodle came in season today. Ugh. The joys of having females. She has been extremely hormonal the past month. It started with her lifting her leg like a boy and marking everything outside about a month ago. The past week she has been trying to nest. Right now her nesting is in full force - behind the lazy boy, under the desk, under the table, you name it. Poor thing. So her first season was March, 2018. Second season December 2018. Now July 2019. Not exact;y regular, but the 4th season might tell me more as to what sort of schedule she might end up on.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Getting back on track

I had a private agility lesson with Noodle at my house today, I got a lot of exercises to work on. I have her entered in 2 runs at the USDAA trial on Sunday, and for the first time I am actually nervous. She has not trialed since what - February or March? That was our disaster trial and I pulled her from everything else this year to train train train. Now I get to see if my training made a difference, or whether it did squat.

Next week we are traveling to Michigan to work 2 days with a trainer that specializes in dogs like Noodle that need a lot of help with focus and adrenaline. I am hopeful...but skeptical because sometimes I let my defeatist attitude get the best of me.

After my lesson, I headed to the barn to work Cadence. I have given her a LOT of time off since the Tom Powers, and boy it shows! She was a bit wild today. I will slowly start getting her back into work mode before the fall futurities. I loaded her in the trailer today - she has not been loaded since we came home from the Tom Powers! I am so happy that she walked right in without hesitation. What a relief! Trailer-training can be dicey at times.

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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Ponying the Pony

I worked Cadence again today, and she was pretty good. I got a chance to pony her off of Reuben the draft horse again, and she was great! I was able to do some circles while leading her. I attempted to trot, but she was having none of it haha! I will save that lesson for another time.

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Focus Training!

I traveled 5 hours up into Michigan to work with a trainer that specializes in training focus and behavior in dogs. Yep, you guessed it - I brought Noodle! I spent 2 days working with the trainer, and it was very good. A lot of work on eye contact, how to push back on her space when she gets too pushy (i.e. jumps on me), working on a distance down command, and especially some impulse control...which she sorely lacks. I have my work cut out for me. Noodle was a wonderful travel companion, actually she was perfectly behaved in the hotel. we spent the evenings taking some fun hikes in the parks around the county. It was fun exploring with her.

Am I wrong to be worried? I actually have hope again, and every time I have hope, Noodle creates some sort of disaster to dash it. So many other people have given up on her, and us. I will never give up. I know how much talent and drive she has, and I honestly think that once I get control of her drive and convince her to listen to the angel on her shoulder instead of the devil, we will do incredible things. Do you doubt me? Just sit back and watch, baby!
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