Thursday, November 25, 2010

Big dog

I'm at the ranch! Here's Oso, Wolf and Sue's English mastiff. Oso means "bear" in Spanish.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Huey rocks the lateral work

Another fun lesson on Huey! We worked on turn-on-the-haunches, leg yield, shoulder-in, travers, and baby half pass. He's such a sweetheart. I'm really gaining appreciation for the above-and-beyond qualities of an event horse. One day it's: go, go, go, jump, jump, jump! And the next it's: slow down, focus, and bend your body this way and that.

Tomorrow I'm off to the ranch in Blanco! I've got my boots, breeches, helmet, and gloves packed. I should have some pix and/or video to share shortly. Then, on Friday, I fly to Guadalajara for the book fair. The weather in both places looks fantastic: low eighties, sunny, little chance of rain.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

There goes the sun

My Huey-riding schedule has been Sun-Mon-Tues, with the Mon-Tues rides happening after work. With the time change, the sun is now going down at 5:15 (soon to be 4:45), so my usual schedule is now a problem. I think I'm going to try to continue riding on Tuesdays, going in to work very early so I can get off at 3:30. Early mornings and root canals rank about the same in my book, so we'll see if I can pull this off. I really don't want to end up riding just once a week with a lesson here and there.

Lately Huey has started a seasick head-waggling on the right-lead canter. I think he's just trying to avoid really taking contact on the outside rein. I've been asking him to stretch down until the waggling stops, and then slowly bringing him back up. That's been working pretty well. Yesterday I worked on a canter square with him, half-halting the corners on both reins, and that fixed the waggle, too. Whatever gets his nose out in front of the vertical rather than ducking behind is the key. Yesterday we also worked on shoulder-in to travers in canter. At first he wanted to run away, but after a bit he settled and did very well.

Willow has been started over crossrails and is doing well. In about ten days I'm off to Wolf and Sue's ranch in Blanco, TX, for Thanksgiving. It sounds like there'll be some training horses there for me to hop on. Yay! Then, I'm off to the Guadalajara International Book Fair!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A puppy next spring?

I lost my vizsla Marko about 18 months ago. He was my best buddy for 13 years, and actually, he loved pretty much everybody. Here he is with my friend Rachel. He was always a leaner--a "velcro vizsla," as breed enthusiasts call it.

I'm finally feeling ready to consider a vizsla puppy. My other two dogs are rescues, so I feel ok about purchasing a puppy from a breeder. Plus, it's really hard to find rescue vizslas!

A couple nights ago I watched a bunch of vizsla videos on YouTube. The first two here show off what I used to call the "puppy crazies," which vizslas are prone to well into middle age. In the first video, the crazies start at 1:33.

As the first video notes, vizslas are not couch-potato dogs. They need a lot of exercise until they're at least seven or eight years old.

All that tearing around is tiring, and when vizslas zonk out, they really zonk out. It's like they're drugged. Their bones turn to rubber, and they let it all hang out.

Here's Marko's version of the above.

I'm thinking mid-to-late spring. My mother and I may be going to France, so it would be after that. Summertime with a baby vizsla sounds like heaven. I'm already starting to research breeders.