Not much to report today. Same old same old. Pizza and I logged another 5.8 miles to bring our Covidathon total to 43.8 miles. Almost halfway to our 100 mile goal!
Today I should have flown out to Texas to prepare for the whelping of the Pretzel x Country litter. Once again, God threw a wrench into my plans. I sit at home in Ohio and pray that everything goes well, and pray that this pandemic lifts by May so I can fly down to see the puppies. So many factors, so much to hope for, but very little hope in the well.
Today was a full day, which is so unusual during these terrible times. I will say I loved every minute of it. I started off the day by heading to Darla's to see Cadence being worked. I got to ride her, including my first time cantering her! Man did it feel good, but man did it feel weird! I really haven't ridden since I sold Tango over a year ago, so my legs are waaaay out of shape. Cadence is super light - normally you would think that is a good thing but in this case it isn't. She tends to over-react to any shift in weight or bump of my leg. Darla is working on getting her through this so she won't be all over the place if I have to shift my weight or of my leg accidentally bumps her side. I love what she is doing with her. We had a long talk about our plans for the future with her. Going to take it slow and easy, and let Cadence tell us what she is ready for. My goal? Well, it's pretty simple and straightforward - I want a horse to ride and show for many years. One that is sound in body and good-minded. The unicorn horse!
After I got home, my friend and I took our pups to Buckeye Lake for a walk. Pizza and I are now up to 48.8 miles in our Covid-a-Thon. Pizza regurgitated undigested food three different times on our walk, which is odd because she had last eaten around 8am and it was around 3:00pm. It just kind of popped up out of her while she was walking - no heaving or acting sick...it didn't even phase her. I am a little worried, will have to keep an eye on her today.
The day was absolutely gorgeous so later this evening, all of the "Silver and Gold"
Never let your memories be bigger than your dreams.
It is so easy to get caught up in the past - woulda coulda shoulda! Regrets can wear a person down. This year - NO REGRETS. I am going to try to spend less time worrying about what happened, and more time making plans and then executing them. It is time to GET IT DONE. Keep dreaming, but put some action behind those dreams and drive them forward!
It was another gorgeous day - high 50's and lots of sunshine. Pretzel and Pizza ran around the property while I mowed. When I came in for a lunch break, Pizza regurgitated her undigested food twice, and it had been 5 hours since she ate. Now I am truly worried. I researched the symptoms, and realized that she may have a blockage, which can be life-threatening. I took her to the local animal emergency vet. With the Covid-19 pandemic, they were not allowing anyone in to the building. You had to call them from your car, fill out the patient form online, and the tech came out and got your dog out of your car and took them inside. I hated not being able to go inside with my pup!
The x-rayed her and found a large blockage in her stomach, right where it opens up into the intestine. She also had a few rocks in her colon. This means surgery.
There were a lot of emergencies coming in to the hospital, so her surgery got delayed until really late. They pushed fluid in her, and were able to get her to pass the rocks in her colon on her own. Around 2:00am I got a call from the surgeon that everything went well. They found a large mass of mud, sticks, and rocks that formed a dam in her stomach, and there was nothing we could have done other than remove it surgically. Pizza always had a penchant for chewing up sticks and eating mud. She is a lot like Noodle in that respect, though Noodle seems to have grown out of that (thank goodness!).
This has been the most stressful, emotional day. Emotional in many ways, because at the same time they were x-raying her, I received a message from Texas that Country was in labor, and the first puppy (a boy) was born!. Throughout the evening we had a girl, and then another very small boy. All 3 were nursing and thriving. I was a bag of emotions all mixed up...I cannot even describe it. Needless to say, I got no sleep tonight.
Late this morning I received a message that in true Country-fashion, she waited about 8 hours and then had one more puppy, another girl! So we have 2 boys and 2 girls. I am so excited!
And in other good news...Pizza got to come home this afternoon! She is shaved on her belly and has quite a long scar with stitches on the underside. She is a bit groggy, which is good. Now I have to keep her quiet for 2 weeks and make sure she doesn't touch her stitches. Good thing I am trapped at home with the lockdown anyways. We will get through this. Just so happy to have my girl back home where she belongs!
It's another day in our lockdown. Pizza is handling her crate rest pretty well so far. The puppies in Texas are doing well and gaining weight. I spent the day working outside planting grass seed on the areas where the new construction ruined the grass last year. That's about it for my personal excitement. I am incredibly thankful that Pizza is recovering well. I am thoroughly irritated with whoever it was that shaved her belly and leg. Not only did they shave a ridiculously large area, but they did so with an obviously dull blade which gave her horrible razor burn to the point where it is raw and bloody. She definitely did NOT need this extra discomfort.
I am happy with Pizza's behavior so far in the crate. She is a little whiny every now and then, but it's not too bad. Being a good patient means that she hopefully will have a speedier recovery.
It was a beautiful sunny day after the morning storms passed, so I got a few shots of Noodle, hoping to get some updated pictures for her upcoming WCA Blue Ribbon magazine ad. She is turning out so beautiful, and when I stacked her and she stood perfectly I remembered how much I LOVE to show her. Hopefully we will get to the show ring again when/if this pandemic ever passes. Will it ever pass? The future is so uncertain, and it is a very weird place for me to be. I am used to planning, scheduling, and setting goals like stepping stones. Now I sit here at a loss. I don't know what to do or what to think. No sense in setting goals that may never see the light of day. I have to believe that this will all end and life will go back to normal. If I didn't believe that, I would surely go mad.
The puppies are 4 days old and thriving! Life is good! Since Pizza is out of commission, Pretzel stepped up to be my partner in my Covid-A-Thon. We logged 4.1 miles for a total now of 52.9 miles! Noodle's turn will be tomorrow.
The numbers for the Covid-19 in Ohio are growing, but growing very slowly. They released the numbers today, and also a new projection which looks WAY better than it did just a month ago! Now they are saying the peak will happen around April 19. This means it should be going down the rest of the month, and this means May might be a slow return to normal life. I have hope!
After having a couple of sunny, warm days, today is back to reality with temperatures in the low 40's and 20 mph winds. Needless to say, I stayed inside for the most part today. I decided to work with Noodle on our intermediate rally signs. I created a video of each sign, and after getting some advice and training, I will re-shoot the video in a month or so to see how I have improved. Small goals, but goals nonetheless...so important to me!
Pizza seems to be healing well. She is definitely tired of her crate rest. I am tired of her sad cries and howling. It's a never-ending day of nothingness. Loving the pandemic...not.
30 days we have been dealing with this pandemic and lockdown. I long for a normal life again...I will never take the little things for granted. Mentally I have come to a stable place, I am in a holding pattern...just waiting for life to resume.
Meanwhile, the one normal thing I have been able to do during all of this is field training. Since Pizza is still out of commission on crate rest, it was just Noodle this morning. I had a fantastic time, we worked her twice as long with two different dogs. We trained more like a senior/master hunt test, and had a gunner there to shoot the quail. The first one Noodle was sent to retrieve was ok, she held through the flush but broke on the shot, and her retrieve was not very good. The second bird, she couldn't handle it and broke on her point to try to grab (I guess the excitement of actually getting to bring a bird back in her mouth was too much). We worked her on several more birds without shooting, getting her back into her obedient frame of mind. We also worked a lot on backing, and she is actually doing pretty good at that, I think! There is hope, if and when the hunt tests ever start up again we might be ready to try for senior (in the fall).
Since Pizza is on crate rest, Pretzel has had to step up and be my walking partner. He waled 4.4 miles today next to a girl in season, and was a perfect gentleman. Love that boy! Our Covid-a-thon mileage is now up to 57.3 miles.
The never-ending pandemic lockdown continues. I had to do a silly video for our training facility just for fun - of catching and throwing a roll of toilet paper. The funniest part of the video was Pretzel grabbing the roll at the end and zigging around the yard with it in him mouth. He can be such a puppy sometimes! Love this boy.
Pizza had a follow-up appointment with my vet this morning. With the lockdown/quarantine, all of the vets have a different procedure with patients. No one comes into the building, instead, you call from the parking lot and a tech comes out and bringing your dog in to see the vet, without you. I don't like this, but it is the way things have to be right now. Luckily Pizza loves everyone, and so far doesn't seem to have a fear of the vet. Thank goodness this wasn't Noodle, who would have an absolute meltdown without me!
Pizza can start having some controlled walks on a leash, but still no complete freedom until after the weekend. She is healing well, but we need to make sure her incision heals completely before letting her run around. I guess I was hoping for the "all clear" for today...I miss training her and watching her run and play. Patience...our day will come soon. Meanwhile, we still have 2 more weeks of the lockdown, and then they will re-evaluate to see if it needs to continue. I pray to God it doesn't. I miss life!
Cadence update! I received this from Cadence's trainer:
Last week I worked the entire week on getting her more tolerant to my legs. She hated it of course, not so much in acting out but mostly just being nervous and squirting forward off my legs. I decided to go to a more mild bit. I started her in a smooth snaffle, I would classify it at a thinner one. I chose this bridle to start her because its important to get good steering early. Some people may think this is too much bit but I absolutely think in the beginning they cannot decide to drag you around, so you need just enough control that if they decided to say no you can get them back. I chose to go to a really fat snaffle with some copper in it (pictured on the left). I love this bit and its usually my go to when I have a horse that gets overbridled, which Cadence does when I have to pull on her too hard for speeding up to my legs.
I found this one to not be that helpful either, I’m not really sure why she didn’t love it or whether its just the days I rode her in it she was not great, but anyway I tried it for 2 days and then switched to a rubber full cheek snaffle (pictured to the right). My theory on this is I need to actually be able to hold her face lightly in order to put my leg on her and not let her run off my leg. It seems silly I know that in the beginning leg has to mean GO SOMEWHERE and already its changing. Colt breaking is more complicated than most people think, we do a lot of things at first that we then train them to do the opposite later, sounds silly I know. These are important stages though. So, the rubber snaffle was a perfect choice and it allowed me to hold her face more and put my leg on her and hold her face until she relaxed.
I’ve had about 6 solid days of this, haha. Boring and frustrating at times but important work. I gave her Saturday off and longed her a little on Sunday just so Monday the would not be as fresh. This was a great choice, she played and played on Sunday and on Monday she was a lot more ready for work. If the weather ever gets better it will be turn out on these days instead. So Monday she was pretty good, yesterday even better and today I actually got to take her outside for the first time in probably a week. She was really good about me actually being able to kick her some, took like 4 kicks to trot off (this is actually a great thing on a horse that is too light by nature) and I was able to hold my leg on her loping today with no reaction on her part. I know for her this is going to take a lot of work and I am still riding her with a bare leg, no spurs.
Jan asked a great question last time she was here about if I will actually need to ride her is spurs and the answer is YES! Some people might disagree but she needs to become tolerant of training in all forms. Mind you this will never be a mare that needs “spurred on” so to speak, like EVER. But it will be good for her to be tolerant of spurs so when you take a step back to English spurs or bare leg she will think those things are no big deal. Sometimes you have to do harder things before you realize the step before was easy. She did spook at my dogs 2x today while I was outside “grabbed her ass” is the term I like to use. Only for a couple strides and the first time got pretty nervous afterward and the second time came back to paying attention quicker. All good things to learn, but I know this will all be easier when its 85 out.
I see this as all good news! We are making progress. Luckily, we have a zero time frame since I don't plan on showing her as a 2 year old. I like having the luxury of time to do things right. It helps when you have a trainer willing to be patient right along with you.
Meanwhile, down south in Texas the "Fab Four" puppies are doing great! Doubling their weight, and their eyes are just barely starting to open. I have already rescheduled my flight down there to see them when they are 7 weeks, and am getting ready to make arrangements to fly home my very own Pretzel puppy in June...pandemic or not! This has been a long time coming...
This weekend was supposed to be a hunt test sponsored by the Weimaraner club I belong to, but of course it was cancelled because of the pandemic. Several of the club members decided to get together and do a fun field training day. It was amazing fun! I brought Pretzel and Noodle, Pizza stayed home since she is still on restricted activity.
I worked Noodle first on 4 birds. The first bird she busted up because she got so far away from me. I am not sure whether she busted it, or if it flew up on it's own. The second bird she held through the flush, but broke on the shot (we had two gunners there to work with us and shoot). She did bring that bird back to hand, so that was good! Third bird was perfect - held through the flush and the shot, and retrieved to hand. The last bird she held through the flush bu broke on the shot, and the gunners were not able to get a clean shot so she didn't get a chance to retrieve.
Pretzel got to go out and have some fun, we planted two birds for him. He is just so freaking amazing to watch in the field, his points are so sudden and dramatic. It made my heart so happy to see him run and enjoy himself. It has been almost a full year since his back surgery, and he looks amazing. Working him makes me realize how far Noodle has come since last October, which is the last time I worked Pretzel on birds. Pretzel broke every time on the flush, but he actually somewhat retrieved the bird to me twice...in true Pretzel fashion. That means he did several fly-bys, took a tour o the fields with the bird in his mouth, and eventually made his way back to me.
Here is a ridiculous number of awesome photos from today, some taken by me and some taken by a wonderful photographer Sara Renee.
I worked Noodle with my field trainer this morning. I told her about our experiences yesterday, so today we had birds flush randomly in front of Noodle, and worked on getting her to whoa and stay put while the birds flew off. Repetition, repetition, repetition, and she started figuring things out and learning the rules. Progress!
Pizza had freedom to run today! Well, freedom is a relative term. She will NOT keep a basket muzzle on, so we tried this new thing called an "Outfoxed" hood. It is netting that goes completely over her head and keeps her from ingesting things. Amazingly, she left it on and didn't seem to remember she was wearing it once she got running. I am hoping this lasts, because I cannot trust her loose on the property with her habit for eating rocks and sticks.
A couple friends and I decided to do some field work together. It was so much fun, and definitely helpful to me to get another chance to practice with my dogs.
I don't have any photos of Noodle because I was really focusing on training. She did great in holding through the flush and shot. However, since we didn't have a gunner I was just using my blank pistol. I think she knows the difference between my blank gun and the actual shotgun. I also worked a bit on backing with her along with my friend and her dog. We need a bit of work here, because I don't think she gets the idea about honoring the other dog. She gets the scent of the bird and it consumes her mind and I don't think she even notices the other dog.
Pretzel got to work a couple birds, and he was intense as usual. I love watching him work, my biggest regret is not starting him sooner in the field. I didn't start him until he was almost 6, so I missed out on a lot of years. I am definitely going to do right by his son or daughter that will be coming home with me this summer!
Even Pizza got to work some birds! She is developing a very pretty point, but doesn't hold it for every long. We worked on the retrieve with her since she was so excited, and she did retrieve two birds to me! This was great, since the last time I tried working on a retrieve with a dead bird she wasn't really interested in picking it up. I think she is definitely getting the "bird bug". In the back of my mind, I am already starting to make some future plans and goals for her. Right now I have nothing else to do but dream, and dream big!
I received some video from Cadence's trainer today. I am dying to see her, but when I am not in the field I have been spending time at my mom's helping take care of her after her fall. Hopefully I can get over there next week. She is looking fantastic. I am holding back my enthusiasm, but I can't help but feel a little giddy about her!
It was a drop-dead gorgeous day today. Sunny, and DRY, and this means mowing. Pizza got to run around for several hours while I mowed, all while wearing her mesh hood to keep her from eating sticks and rocks. Amazingly, she kept that hood on and intact the whole time. I am hopeful this thing will work this summer in keeping her healthy, and still giving her the freedom to run.
I worked a bit on her gaiting and stacking. Show season WILL start up again and we need to be prepared. I haven't done any real work with her in about 3 weeks, and it showed. Her stacking was pretty darn good, but her gaiting was ALL over the place. It was like running alongside a worm. I need to work on fixing this pronto! Her big, beautiful stride is one of her best features, and it doesn't get shown off when she is traveling in constant S-curves.
I am kind of floundering when it comes to her agility training. She is doing great on her foundation skills, and we have done more work on her 2x2 weaves, but I am unsure at this time what my next step should be. It is so difficult when I don;t have a regular class to go to, or regular private lessons. This stupid pandemic needs to end...but part of me feels like maybe it never will?
I did a little agility and rally work with Noodle outside, and she was as enthusiastic as ever. She is probably the most fun dog to train, because she loves every minute of the challenge.
Today was a fantastic day, pandemic or not. The sun was showing, it was 65 degrees, and me and two friends spent the entire afternoon out in the field doing some training. All 3 dogs got some time out, though I spent most of my time working with Noodle. Her steadiness was decent, but not perfect. She got better the more we worked. We spent a lot of time working on backing, and that was much more difficult. She is supposed to recognize another dog on point off in the distance, and stop and "honor" the point. She doesn't really pay any attention to the dog on point until she is close enough to smell the bird he is pointing, then she will stop and focus. This will take time and repetition, lots and lots of repetition.
With Pizza, I just let her find birds, and worked on establishing and holding a point. We had the birds in cages for her so she wouldn't be able to grab them. She has a LOT of run...she will run for miles when hunting. I know the field trial people like that big run, but I would rather my dog hunt a little closer to me so I have more control. However, I am very very happy with her enthusiasm! I didn't do much with her as I don't want to instill any bad habits without my trainer nearby to help. Because, speaking of bad habits, there is Pretzel...the king of bad habits thanks to my inexperienced training. He is a freaking hunting machine, but today he decided he wanted to grab the bird, so he got stopped and put up immediately. No birds were harmed in the training of my dogs today, woo-hoo!
Driving home from training, I had to stop for gas and went inside for a drink. It is so weird seeing everyone wearing face masks. That is the new reality caused by this pandemic. I hate not being able to see people's facial expressions, and the masks muffle their voices making it hard to hear. Will we ever get back to total freedom as a normalcy? I don't know.