Saturday, March 31, 2012

How many is too many?

My daughter has a thing for collecting stray dogs...

Almost two years ago, there was Sandy, an Australian Cattle Dog, Terrier cross, who adopted my daughter.

Then there was Skyy, an Australian Shepherd, Blue Heeler cross, that my daughter brought home as a small puppy last fall.

This week, she brought home a young Pembroke Corgi female. She said she brought her home for me, because the dog was small. I told her we didn't need another dog...

She said she would find a home for the dog. Poor thing, the dog was terrified of everybody and everything. She growled at Skyy and ran from me. All she wanted to do was lay beside my daughter. Then I discovered that she was going potty in my spare bedroom. I had enough. I told my son to put her in the dog pen overnight. Next morning, the little dog was crouched at my front door, terrified. She must have worked her way through an opening in the gate. Obviously, she wasn't going to run away. She dashed into the house and lay at my daughter's closed bedroom door.

I told the kids that if she was going to stay until a home was found for her she would need to at least be potty trained. So that night, I tied a 20 foot leash around her neck and dragged her outside with Skyy snapped to the other end of the leash. Somehow she pulled free and raced to the front door on her tiny little legs. I went over, tied on the leash again. (I couldn't find a collar that fit her, some were too big and some were too small). Again, I dragged/ walked her out into the yard to a place where Skyy likes to go to the bathroom. Again, she pulled free and raced back to the front door. Over and over, we did this, but she did get better and better about walking with me until I finally figured out how to tie the lead tight enough around her neck that she couldn't pull free. This was a homemade nylon leash so it was quite slippery and wouldn't stay tight.

Finally, she peed outside. I immediately went over to her and praised her, rubbing her head and ears and telling her what a good girl she was, how proud of her I was. Then we went inside the house and I put her on my bed. My bed is very, very high so I knew she couldn't jump off. After a few hours of sleep, I heard her getting restless so we went outside again. And again, she pulled free and raced to the door. I went back and caught her again and we walked all over the yard, even to the arena to see Yalla! The dog was amazed at such a huge animal and wouldn't come near Yalla and I at the fence, even though Skyy was racing around and sniffing Yalla's nose. Yes, I again brought Skyy with us figuring she would help show this dog what was expected. Skyy had so much fun running circles around us and picking up sticks, etc. She's grown up now but she still loves to play. A few more times of dragging/walking the little dog back to the potty zone, she pooped. YAY! Again I praised her and we went back to bed.

In the morning, I gave strict orders to my son and daughter to WALK her often. My son didn't want to do anything with this dog; he was so against having a third dog. I told both my daughter and son that the dog's chances of being adopted were nil if she wasn't house broken. Besides, we might as well have fun with her until she did get adopted. I am happy to report that in the last two days, she has not had any accidents in the house, a great improvement over the first two days, where I was cleaning up wet areas and poop piles. Poor dog, my daughter and I had such a row over her bringing this dog home and the messes that I had to clean up that I think she (the dog) became terrified of me. My daughter told me that the Corgi pup, about six-eight months old, was called Boots, although she completely ignored the name. I don't know her history but I joked that she should be called Boot Scoots because she probably got kicked around for having accidents. I know, not funny. But, seriously, looking at the dog, Roxie, or Foxy Lady came to mind, not Boots.

This weekend, I had to go north to pick up my fleece order from the mill - a pending story/post ;) - and I decided on my way home from work last night, that my son and I could go up and spend the night with my mom Friday night and pick up the order on our way back to town today. My son had band practice at 3PM today and the mill was almost three hours away so we were going to have to get up at o:dark thirty to make it there and back in time. Or, I could go by myself, but I wanted company on the trip. The horses would only miss breakfast. Sandy and Skyy could go out in the dog run overnight. This is exactly what we did.

 We grabbed overnight bags and I found Skyy's old puppy collar which fit the little dog perfectly. It's amazing how much better one can find things when it's not the middle of the night. We loaded some things and the dog reluctantly came along. She seems to have a phobia of getting into cars. Maybe she's afraid of being taken and left somewhere new. We decided we could ask my mom if she wanted to take the dog.

Crazy that I am, I had been doing some research on Corgis and was getting intrigued by the little fox-faced dog.

 Corgis are:

  • The chosen dog of the English Royal family. The Queen has always owned several at a time. 
  • Very smart little dogs, #10 in train-ability and intelligence of all dog breeds.
  • The smallest of the working dog class, around 25 pounds when grown. They are cattle dogs and can often avoid getting kicked because of their very short legs.
  • Very loyal. They won't leave your side and want to be close to you all the time.
  • Prone to obesity. It is advised to never leave food down for them. (And we have just recently switched to the self feeding method for Skyy and Sandy).
  • Pembroke Corgis have bob tails and short haired coats with a fairy saddle marking on their back. It is said that the fairies harnessed and rode Corgis and left their markings. They come in five colors ranging from red, sable, fawn, red headed tricolor, and black headed tricolor. They also blow out their coats twice a year. Uh oh!
This weekend, my son bonded with the little dog, even to the point of naming her, Daphne. We went for a walk with her in the woods up at my cabin and were very pleased with how inquisitive she was and happy to stay near us. Sandy runs off and so does Skyy, although Skyy will usually come back when called.

I brought along my camera...

I like this last photo of my son and Daphne, don't you? She did surprisingly well over the rough terrain.

When we arrived home today, Daphne ran right over and lay down with my daughter who was sitting on the couch, hurting my son's new found feelings for the little dog. Now, he's not sure he wants to bother getting attached to my daughter's third dog. Life is certainly complicated. I'm not sure what will happen next. My daughter certainly doesn't need to have three dogs that she doesn't even take care of half of the time. Will we be looking to rehome the little dog or keep her? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Educating Yalla! Bridle time- almost! and more

The weather has been so nice this week that last night I decided to go for a ride after I came home from work. After a quick dinner, I grabbed the snaffle side-pull bridle and a curry comb and went out to see my herd. Of course, the two "people hogs", Annie and Yalla!, came right up to me and demanded to be brushed, while Scout and Nadia were kept away from me. Since I was brushing them with the bridle slung over my shoulder, I decided to see what Yalla! would do with a bit in her mouth.

I brought the bridle up to her face and put the reins over her head. No problem. Then, holding the bit in my fingers like I always do, I tried to pry her mouth open while inserting the bit.
She would not open her mouth!
No way!!
Her teeth were locked down. Tight.
I took the bridle away and pulled her lips open to look at her teeth. Oh my!!
She is missing a bottom tooth and she has two top teeth growing in above her baby front teeth. No wonder she didn't like the bit banging on her teeth! I wouldn't either!
Do you know how hard it is to open a horse's lips with one hand while taking a photo with the other? You really should try it sometime!
Check out her poor mouth!

But, I still wanted to see what she'd look like in a bridle. So, I put the reins back over her head and pulled the headstall back over her ears, only I let the snaffle bit hang underneath her chin, like a curb chain, with the noseband on top of her nose. The bridle is adjusted to fit both Scout and Annie perfectly but, oh my!, Yalla! has such a tiny head that it hung way down on her nose. Awwww, she still looks so cute! Don't ya think so?
Almost like a full grown horsie!!

Well, since she was bridled, sort of, I decided to lead her around the arena for a lesson, using reins. It's only a few more months before I will be "backing" her for the first time. Of course, at this same time, my son drove the car over to the barn and began unloading some bags of feed for me. And, it was feeding time! But that didn't seem to bother her. However, he also let Skyy and Sandy run around. And boy, did they! They ran all over the arena and the neighboring fields and even behind Yalla!, who wheeled and kicked at them. She hasn't been led around for a while and she was certainly acting fresh. I worried as she fidgeted that she'd hurt me but I realized that I would need to get her under complete control and calm in any circumstance if I was going to be riding her. I could see that she was calming down in spite of all the canine commotion. Every time she fussed or jumped, I'd circle her back. I noticed how she was spooking off to the side and wondered if that is what she'd do under saddle. We worked on whoa, back, and walk. I stood on both sides of her and worked her in both directions. I could tell she was "getting it" because I'd say whoa and then pull on the reins until soon I wasn't even pulling to stop her. Same thing with backing up. I was glad to see that she was relearning the voice commands. This will be a big help when I first ride her because then she will move out from the walk command and stop on the whoa command.

Once, Annie suddenly came running up to us and then dashed back to the barn as if to taunt Yalla!, or plead with me to let Yalla! go and feed them all their dinner. Naughty Annie!!! Thankfully, Yalla! didn't bolt. She was really calming down by now even though the dogs were still scurrying around us. We walked around a few more minutes and then we walked over to the other horses. I turned her loose. She stayed right with me and I put the bridle back on, sans bit, and took it back off. I still can't believe she's going to be three in a few months! She's smaller than I expected at her age but Scout didn't mature until his fourth year so I keep hoping for a growth spurt.

I tried to pull her front teeth but they are still in pretty tight. I'm going to keep checking on them and maybe I'll have some more horse teeth to add to my collection. I got the molars from one of my youngsters when, during a vet check, they were loose and the doctor pulled them out.  I guess that's why she was grabbing the handle of the curry and biting down on it while I was brushing her.

I never did make my ride last night but I did tonight! After currying out all the loose hair and picking his feet, I rode Scout with the same bridle I used on Yalla! last night. The sidepull is my favorite bit to use on both Scout and Annie because it's a ringed snaffle with a rawhide noseband. I cover the noseband with fleece so it's not so harsh and I find that they respond to the lightest touch on the reins because of the noseband reinforcement. I'm sure both of them would be ideal candidates for bitless bridles. I often ride Annie in a halter because she tends to get worked up when she carries a bit.

I put on a helmet and rode bareback. He was his usual awesome self and we walked, trotted and loped around the arena. He never even spooked as we rode past bushes and flushed out little birds with every step. I took him into a faster trot and sat him easily. The only time he got worked up was when I asked him to trot tight circles around three tires placed only a couple of yards apart. He is hard to turn to the right just as he refuses to strike up the right lead unless he's running in a field or taking a jump. He leans out rather than bending. I really, really need to work him on this because it does get old. Here's my view from the top of Scout's back in all his shagginess and a not-so-focused side view.

Hopefully, tomorrow night will be Annie's turn for a ride. I put the bridle on her a couple of times tonight just so she wouldn't feel left out. My daughter has been riding shaggy, old Nadia in the afternoons. Poor thing, I brushed her again tonight and took off lots and lots more hair. She always looks her worst in the spring. And the ground looks like we've had a snowstorm. 

But, now it's time for me to use nasal spray and antihistamines. I'm actually allergic to horses...Goodnight!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Stills (3/16/12 Weather)

This week's Sunday Stills photo challenge is to show weather. Here ya go!

Last Sunday, we had some horrible winds. My barn roof was blowing off! My sons went out in the 60 mph winds to stabilize it with old tires before it blew completely away.

Later on, it snowed.
The Sandia Mountains often create their own weather as you can see from this storm forming on the mountaintops.

I like the cloud formations in this photo.
 Most often, we have beautiful sunny days with clear blue skies.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Stills (3-18-12 Transitions)

This week's Sunday Stills photo challenge is Transitions, going from one form to another. I couldn't think of anything really good. Here's my attempt:

Hopefully, this small bush we transplanted will grow as big as the big tree in the background.

I'm pulling hair off of Nadia by the fistfulls. Alas, no transformation photo yet of the beautiful, sleek coated Arabian she is, underneath all that hair.

Sophie Rose is over four months old now. One day, she will be as big and beautiful as her mama, Louise. 

For more Sunday Stills, please visit Ed's website.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Need help on close-up photo

When I was working on the Sunday Stills challenge, I noticed a strange thing in one of my photos. Above the cave by the tall tree, in the top left corner, there is another cave. Is there an animal (or two) on that ledge in front of the cave? Here's the evidence.
First photo

second photo- using zoom. Look above rocks next to tree in top left corner.

enlargement of second photo. Do you see it?

Is it trickery or do you see an animal? Maybe a bear or a mountain lion, perhaps? Or is it just rocks?

Scottsdale 2012, part 6

After leaving Scottsdale, we headed into the Tonto National Forest up to Payson, saying farewell to the saguaros.

This one was amazing. Just look at all the arms.

Payson has lots of historical buildings.

 This beautiful little house, on a hill above the lake, was once Zane Grey's house, now a museum.

Every year the Hashknife pony express still rides through Payson from Holbrook to Scottsdale.

 Along the highway after Payson, there was a turnoff for the Natural Bridge. We decided to go see it. The road was a 15% grade, downhill all the way. By the time I arrived at the bottom, I could smell my brakes. Then, they stopped working altogether. Scary! Fortunately, we were at the bottom and I was able to pull right into the parking lot. I was really worried but decided that with some time to cool them off, everything would be okay. I went into the gift shop and then hiked down to the bottom of the lower parking lot. I snapped this photo while my mom waited in the car.

 The road was curvy and woodsy much of the way.

In Pine, I took this photograph of this old barn and then I saw the people sitting out front and the cars parked in back. Good grief, do they still use it?

Just across the street was this lovely little house that I'd be happy to live in.

This was a country store, still open for business.

Check out this 'out of place' totem. Cool, huh?

We saw a sign for the oldest log school house and decided to go see it.

 They only open it up for special tours but I was able to look inside.

There was still plenty of snow in the high country.

We passed by an area of the forest that had burned some years ago.

 The road seemed to go on and on for miles.

Finally, we made it to the town of Williams

and then on to the red rocks of eastern Arizona - western New Mexico.

This next area was at a rest stop. Beautiful area, isn't it?

I love the sky patterns in this photo even though they are hard to see.

Finally, we made it home, an end to a wonderful mini trip, hard to believe it was only three days.