June 1, 2019


Never assume anything - good or bad. That just might become my new motto! Today I took Chevy and Noodle up to a show in Toledo by myself. Chevy needs one point and he will single out and only need majors. I was hoping to snag his last single point here, as it was only one point in dogs. Well, I never expected he would take Best of Breed over four specials (including Noodle!) and earn a 3-point major! Chevy took breed (I got Winners Dog with him and handed him off to a horse friend of mine to take in just as a formality!), and Noodle took Best of opposite, and also Best of Breed Owner-handled. Amazing! Storms rolled in later, neither got any love in group although both showed fantastic despite the less-than-ideal conditions. It was odd - I had one dog in the regular sporting group and another dog in the owner-handled sporting group. I will probably never have that scenario happen again!

So now Chevy just needs a single point and one major. I am SO hopeful...

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

Trailer Education, Volume 1,374

Continuing Cadence's trailer education, today we put her in the trailer and closed the divider. For some reason, this step really had me worried. And as usual, the things that I worry the most about end up being no big deal. She could care less. This is a very good thing - because we plan on hauling to Darla's on Tuesday to giver her the first trip in the trailer without her mother, and to longe her in a new place. I am feeling cautiously optimistic, but prepared for anything!

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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, June 4, 2019

Cadence's first solo trip!

I was prepared for every potential disaster, so that meant I had NONE! I hooked up my trailer to my old truck (who I've re-named "Satan's Taxi" because it runs so dang HOT without a/c) and Cadence walked right into the trailer without fuss. We headed down the road, and for the entire 40 minute drive I didn't hear a thing from the trailer - no whinnying, no stomping, no kicking. We got to Darla's, and she unloaded calmly, walked into her barn calmly, and longed like a champ! I am pretty thrilled....

The one thing I was having trouble with was clipping her ears and muzzle. Although I spend a lot of time trying to desensitize her to my clippers, she would never let me go near her head with them turned on. Darla helped me use a twitch to teach her that if she stood still, the twitch got loosened during clipping. She figured out right away that it was much more pleasant to stand still, and we got her ears and face clipped with the twitch only slightly snug, and we got her muzzle clipped without the twitch. What a relief! Now I can take this lesson and build on it at home.

After the clipping, I loaded her up and home we went...no issue, no problem. I freaking love this filly. She is so happy and willing al the time. Just makes me smile to be around her! We leave 3 weeks from today for the Tom Powers Futurity. I am already getting nervous. I haven't shown at this level in 9 years. My clothes are out of date, and I feel like a novice again. It's a weird feeling, because the horses are an area where I have always felt pretty confident. Not anymore...age is seeping in and filling me with self-doubt.

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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Cadence's debut!

Big day for Cadence today - her very first show! Yes, it's probably a little risky taking her to a show when she's only been off the farm once this year, and that was 4 days ago...but what is life without a little risk?

She was a little annoyed with me banding her at 6 am when she thought she should be eating. Thankfully, she loaded perfectly in the trailer, and the 90 minute drive to the show went perfectly - she was quiet and calm the whole trip. When we arrived, I unloaded her and took her to the arena to longe a bit before the show sharted. She was wide-eyed, for sure! The announcer's stand and all the people inside of it made her stop, and she was a bit bothered by it. we had a few rounds of fire-breathing-dragon-arabian, but it took hardly any time at all for her to quiet down and longe smoothly. To be quite honest, I was a bit shocked at how fast she recovered from being frightened. We longed a bit, then headed back into the trailer to hang out, eat some hay, and wait for our class.

We got out and stood by the warm-up ring when it was a couple classes before ours. People were riding all around her and she did not mind at all - a big change from the horse who would act like a maniac at home every time someone rode in the arena with us. There was a guy there (more like an idiot) that was spurring his horse enough to make the sides bleed, and yanking his horse, doing all those things that crappy "trainers" like to do...and Cadence watched, but took her signals from me and stayed relaxed even when that horse came very close to us. Cadence trusts me, and I think that makes all the difference.

We were the only one entered in yearling longe line, go figure. She walked into that ring like she has been showing for decades...longed like a true champ. I seriously wanted to cry as I walked out of the ring - only a few people understand what I have been through to get to this point and to even get this filly on the ground...it's has been SO long for me. I am sure what I went through only made this moment even sweeter. I swear I will never take this for granted ever again.

Now we get prepped for the Tom Powers in 2 1/2 weeks. Luckily this show did not reveal any major holes in my training, but I do have a shopping list a mile long - that's much more fun than fixing issues!

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Singled out!

Horse show one day, dog show the next. It's getting kind of crazy trying to fit everything I want to do in to my life. Chevy and I headed up to Canton for a show. He showed great, took winners dog for another point - his last single point! He is now "singled out" and only needs one major to finish. He leaves a week from tomorrow, back to Connecticut. We have one weekend left to try and get it done. Nothing like a little pressure!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Bring on the hormones...

Well, I intended on doing a little work and training with Cadence today, since she's been on a break since the show on Sunday. I didn't expect to find her thoroughly in heat today! Holy cow, she seems too young! Well, she really isn't - this is pretty normal. It just caught me by surprise. Some mares can be in heat and still work and train well. Cadence? Well she apparently isn't going to be one of those. I tried longeing her outside and she spent the whole time whinnying and ignoring anything i tried to do with her. Rather than cause us both unnecessary frustration, I bright her back inside and just did some grooming on her. I am pretty sure she will be well out before the Tom Powers, but fingers crossed she doesn't be a typical flighty young hormonal thing and come right back in heat.

I can't believe Chevy leaves in less than a week! I took some photos of him and Noodle out on the property this evening. He is such a happy boy.



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Friday, June 14, 2019


Today I headed to Troy, Ohio for two Weimaraner specialties. Unfortunately, since I had committed to judging Vizsla Sweepstakes thoday, according to AKC rules I am not allowed to show. A good friend with tons of weimaraner experience and a soft hand agreed to take him in the ring for me - there are majors at both specialties today!

Well, I would like to introduce you to new champion Chevy!!! Billie piloted him to Winners Dog for his second major and finishing his championship. He looked wonderful! I did have to stand off to the side so he could look at me, this made him show really well. I do think he loves me just a little bit.

Billie took him in the second specialty to hold the major, luckily she didn't win so no one was out to kill her haha! There is a major again tomorrow, so after talking to everyone I agreed to drive the 2+ hours back to Troy in the morning to show him to hold the major. I have no problem doing that, majors are hard to find and I hate when people don't show up and break them.

I got to see Maizey at the show today. Maizey is a pup from Pretzel's second litter, and she is the one who lived with me for a while last fall for show training. She took Winners Bitch at the second specialty, so now she only needs 3 points to finish and she will be Pretzel's champion #3!

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Saturday, June 15, 2019

Damned if you do, damned if you don't

I got up at 5am, drove 2+ hours with Chevy to Troy to hold the major , instead of sleeping in and enjoying a Saturday off. Well, I wasn't going to go overboard to try to win, but I refuse to purposely make him look bad to give someone else an easier win. This is a Pretzel puppy, and how he looks reflects on Pretzel and me, and I am not going to sabotage him just to give someone else a bye. Well, wouldn't you know it, he won Winners Dog again. I felt bad for a millisecond, but that was gone the moment I got a dirty look from another competitor and a comment that I "should have put a junior handler on him"...in other words - make him look bad so he loses.

OK, let's be realistic here. He is a nice enough dog that he could very well have won regardless of who was showing him. He is young, and relatively inexperienced, and I am not willing to risk his future show career by just handing him off to anyone to screw him up. Yet that is apparently what was expected of me. THIS is what is wrong with dog shows...this attitude completely soured me and ruined my morning. I drove over there to hold the major as a favor to my fellow competitors. Thanks a lot.

Surprised? Well, to be honest, not really. I saw it coming. Success divides your circle and shows who truly are friends and who aren't. of course, i had already figured this out several years ago. But thanks for ruining my day.

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Save me from the hormones!!!

Well, I tried to work Cadence today. Her hormones were on full blast being in heat, she was crazy! Bucking and broncing all over the place, tail up and dripping, eeeew. Thank goodness this isn't the week of the Tom Powers Futurity! We have another week and a half and she should be out by then. She had BETTER be out by then!

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Tuesday, June 19, 2019

Carry on my wayward son

Well, Chevy left to go home to Connecticut this morning. It was hard to see him go, although he was thrilled to be back with his owner. I will get him back in mid-August to prepare for the futurity, so i have that to think about.

Meanwhile, today is Pretzel's first official day free from him crate! He is not ready to get full freedom on the 6 acres, but he can roam about the house, go in and out of the play area, and just start being a dog again. In celebration, I let him and Noodle sleep with me last night. I am not sure who enjoys it more...they are such great companions!

Cadence was a lot better today when I worked her! I think she is coming out of heat, thank goodness. I longed her and worked on her canter transitions. Then I loaded her in the trailer - first time since the trailer was blocked up. I was anxious to see how she would load since the ramp is steeper and higher, but she was fine. What a good girl!

I tried my new longer tail pieces on her today. I only put 5 in. Not sure if I maybe need to trim them so they aren't so long? I am going to wait until I get to the futurity show next week and get some advice. Today's lesson also included hind leg wraps. She was NOT a fan of them, but eventually got used to them. I want to haul her in all 4 standing wraps since we are traveling so far next week - 5 hour trip (and probably longer since I drive like a grandma when pulling the trailer!). So much to do, so little time...

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Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Hitting the road!

Well. today's the day! I headed to the barn, hooked up the trailer (yeah, it took me FOREVER and yes I needed help!), loaded, and Cadence, Pretzel and I headed for the Tom Powers Futurity. Mark and Noodle came about a half hour behind us in the motor home.

It was a 5 hour trip, and I was worried how Cadence would handle such a long time in the trailer. I shouldn't have worried - she was fantastic! I hesitate saying this, but she is probably the best hauler I have ever had. Every time I stopped for gas or to check on her, she was standing quietly, and as soon as I stopped she started munching on her hay - a sure sign she was relaxed.

When we arrived, I unloaded, we got the motorhome parked, and i got Cadence out to stretch her legs on the longe line. I am glad I did that right away, because within the hour, the rains came. Is it any surprise? Especially not this year! the rains came and came, it POURED, it thundered and lightning, and the power on the entire show grounds went out for about 4 hours.

Finally the storm was done. I had been hiding out in Cadence's stall, apparently I was the only one worried because she sure wasn't. I walked out to see a beautiful rainbow over the camping area. Should be a good sign, right? Well, that's what I thought also until I went to our motorhome and saw that it was parked in what now appeared to be a pond...and as i stood there in disbelief the water continued to rise.

Being the smart people we are, we realized it was now or never if we were going to try to get the motorhome moved. Thankfully, we did NOT get stuck! We moved everything to higher ground, and I prepared to be living in my mud boots that I had brought (thank goodness for thorough packing!).

Meanwhile, I was a bit worried because Cadence did not poop in the trailer the entire 5 hours. I watched her in her stall for at least an hour before she finally pooped, and I could relax. Colic is always a stressful thought, and I never ever want to deal with that when i am in a strange place! Luckily, she was fine, and settled in for the night.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2019

Trust in your training

Today was prep day. I spent some time during the day walking Cadence around so she could see all of the commotion and hopefully get used to it. She handled the crazy atmosphere, whizzing golf carts, and tons of horses and dogs with no problem...until it came time to actually work in the arena. She did bot handle the traffic well at all. She was a bit freaked out by the other horses - people were riding super close to her, riding in her circle and cutting off her path when i was trying to longe. I forgot how crazy horse people can be when they are training at a show - everyone has their head in the sand and never pays attention to those around them. We worked in the evening in the small indoor, which is where the longe line was going to be held since the outdoor arenas were flooded. Cadence was getting wound tighter and tighter, kicking out and bucking when horses came near. I finally decided to call it quits before she really lost her marbles. I have to admit I was a bit worried about how we were going to be able to show tomorrow morning with this bad experience fresh on her mind. I worried, and I stressed. Mark said something very simple that made all of the difference - trust in your training. He told me that I have worked hard and I have created this bond with my training, and now I just had to trust that all this training time will work for me when it is show time. He is right. I need to just trust in all my preparations, and go in there with confidence.

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Thursday, June 28, 2019

Tom Powers Triple Challenge Futurity - show time!

I was up at 5am, and at the barn by 6am. Darla braided Cadence for me (I just cannot braid any more since I broke my hand...my thumb just can't grasp the hair well enough). It was a rush rush morning - spend an hour braiding, put her tail pieces in, get dressed, fit her new show halter to her, get my longe line organized...but I got it all done and headed to the ring for my warm-up at 8am.

My warm-up went well, I just did a little bit of trotting and cantering, and then walked her around the indoor so she could see the perimeter of the ring. My first class was my important one - the open Hunter Longe Line, and I was last to go. I don't like being last because that means she has to wait around for everyone else to work before it is her turn. Oh well, luck of the draw!

My halter portion went OK, but the biggest hole in my training was exposed - I have NOT spent nearly enough time in training her to square up for conformation judging. Note to self - make this priority #1 in the upcoming month! After the halter portion (and she did trot right off for me - something we have been working on!) we went to the far end of the arena to stand and wait for our turn to longe.

I am so thrilled that my longeing portion went great! I had to push her a bit, I think she was a little tired, but she looked fantastic and I was so proud! Because she was a little intimidated, she didn't go out and use her full circle, so I had to do a bit more walking to get her to move in a bigger area. This is something else I will work on in the next month. Her behavior was wonderful, and we got all 3 gaits in both directions and my timing was pretty darn good!

Now all that was left was the placements from the judges. Imagine my surprise when the second judge called ME out for FIRST PLACE! It was amazing standing there at the head of the line, if only for a brief moment. I ended up placing 6-1-3-5 under the 4 judges. Then I stood and waited for the tabulation for the final results.

I am so excited to report that Cadence and I finished 3rd in the open hunter longe line! So incredibly proud to be one of the only breeder-owner-trainer-exhibitors in the class! It's especially meaningful to me because Cadence is a second generation Tom Powers longeliner, as her mother Corky got 5th here in 2005 (read about it here!). What a long road to get here, full of tragedies and heartbreak...but I persevered and finally made it!


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Thursday, June 28, 2019

Later that day...

So, the travel home went smoothly. It was very hot and humid, but Cadence stayed comfortable and relaxed - she actually ate every scrap of hay on the trip. This tell s me she is getting very relaxed in the trailer, relaxed enough to eat while we are moving.

Once again, she had not pooped in the trailer. It was 8pm, I had been up since 5am, and I was exhausted and starving, but I didn't dare leave her in the barn until I saw her poop and could rest easier knowing everything was moving OK.

So I waited...and waited...and waited. Cadence was perfectly comfortable, munching hay in her stall. I sat in the barn watching her for 3 hours, and she finally pooped at 11pm. I drove home like a zombie and fell into bed. Yeah, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat because the horse always comes first...you just can't sleep unless you know everything is A-Ok. Whew!

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