longeing · puppy

Lunatic Longeing Pony

I worked on Christmasy things for my day off yesterday: made cake for cake balls, worked on some crafts, wrapped presents, crocheted, all of the above.

I also hit refresh on the package tracking for my Secret Santa gift approximately eight hundred million times. DAMMIT, UPS. I was so on top of things, and then it turns out it was a three week order and the shipping was slooooooooow. SIGH. Today, hopefully!

Anyway: when I headed out to leave, Arya ignored the food I had left for her and sat in front of the door and whined so hard her whole body was shaking. She is already the whiniest dog in the whole world – crying is her love language basically – but this was a cut above. So I gave in and brought her to the barn.

Now, the last time Arya came to the barn and hung out in my car while I was riding, she puked all over the driver’s side of my then-brand-new car. Like, everywhere. I was cleaning puppy vomit out of the window buttons with a goddamn toothpick.

Anyway. I walked her around a bit and we worked on focusing and behaving when everything in the whole world was more exciting than focusing on me: eating poop, eating snow, playing with other barn dogs, eating hay, eating poop…you name it. She’s nowhere near off leash ready yet, so that involved quite a lot of “WHOOOOO” and hitting the end of the leash, and then having a focused session about behaving on a loose leash, getting treats for touching my hand, re-focusing on me, walking when I said…etc. Some people can let their 14 month old dogs off leash. Arya’s brain would immediately unspool out of her ears and she would never come back. Ah well.

Then, the test: I put her in my car, settled all the various snacks out of the way, closed the door, and kept my fingers crossed.

I opted to put Tristan on the longe line. Just bridle, no surcingle and chambon. He’s been working really well that way, and today was another example. He’s in a great weight right now, and feeling good from the pergolide and pentosan. He moved out nicely, and responded well – even felt good enough to throw a couple of bucking fits as his back loosened up.

He worked for about 25 minutes overall, and over a pole from time to time. As I’ve been longeing him more and more, I’m learning that he doesn’t longe very well at the canter. He tips in, and I have no good way to correct him in the longeing setup I’m using. (I could go to double lines, but I haven’t done that with him in years and quite frankly I’m lazy.) He motorcycles and drops his inside hip and bends to the outside. That pushes him off balance and leads to a bit of a frantic scramble. He’ll get half a circle or so of a good pushing canter (and he’s starting to lift through his back the teensiest bit when he does that, which is exciting), and then fall in and scramble.

Trot, now – he works beautifully at the trot on the longe line. Nice and lifting and after a canter, a loose back and stretchy gaits. He’s becoming a pleasure to watch, truly. It’s so nice to see him building strength again!

He actually got a bit warm from the longeing, so I left him under a cooler with a note for the barn staff to put his blanket back on at grain time – just about 45 minutes later.

And Arya? Behaved perfectly. Cried and screamed up a storm when I got back to the car, but we stopped for McDonald’s on the way home, and some fries went a long way toward rehabilitating me as a parent in her eyes.


They Do Grow Up

When we met with our photographer for the wedding last week, one thing led to another and we ended up getting a bunch of photos of ourselves taken because we had, like, none. As in…I think there are three or four pictures of us together in the world. I have serious problems with photos of myself when a horse is not involved (and often even when a horse is involved). I don’t really have body issues in the traditional sense, but I do think I have the kind of face (and body) that looks best in motion, and that’s how I prefer to be, and damn it, I hate pictures of myself.

I digress.

We brought Arya, and since the photographer is both a family friend AND a volunteer photographer for a local dog rescue (he said his daughter has SIX rescue dogs, yikes) he thought it would be a great idea to do some shots of her.

They came out awesome. Here’s my favorite: doesn’t she look grown up?!

I think we’ll keep her, even if she did puke all over the kitchen floor this morning and make me late for work. (At least she was very, very sorry about it and crawled into my lap to apologize.)

blog hop · puppy
Other than your horse, what other pets do you have?
Just the two, thankfully!
The boyfriend-now-fiance came with a cat. I am NOT a cat person. I am allergic to them (though thankfully have gotten used to this one) and our brains just don’t seem to mesh. It’s like we’re at total opposite ends of understanding.
I have gotten used to this guy, though, and I think because 9 times out of 10 I will offer a quiet warm lap with no petting fussing or other indignities the boy inflicts on his cat (like pretending he’s a bazooka, or singing and dancing around the room, or putting him on his head, or…well, I could go on all day) — anyway, many times the cat chooses to come and snuggle with me instead of his actual owner. That includes sleeping on the bed on my side, too.
His name is Buddy, and he’s a 10 year old Maine Coon. He weighs about 18lbs and is longhaired. In the picture above he is modeling his Halloween costume shortly after being shaved at the groomer. That was the fall we (by we I mean the boy) figured out that shaving a longhaired animal in late fall is a terrible idea because they will be very very cold. So now he goes longhaired for the winter and trimmed through the summer and we are all much happier. (Thankfully he does not mat at all.)
Then there’s puppy.

Any excuse for more pictures of puppy! She is a joint pet between myself and the boy. Her name is Arya, and she’s a 13 month old mutt transported up from the south. The rescue said Boxer/Labrador, and we think there’s hound in there somewhere – possibly Tennessee Treeing Brindle?
She seems to have settled at an adult weight of about 43 pounds now, loves her people, is a ball of greased lightning energy when she’s loose at the baseball field and snores on the couch the rest of the time. She also loves squeaky toys, playing with other dogs, trying to talk the cat into playing with her, and oh yeah, sleeping.
Also pretending she’s a lap dog.
product review · puppy

Product Review: Four reasons I love Chewy.com, plus my favorite dog toys & accessories to buy there

First things first: this is not a horse-related review. Not obviously, anyway.

However, many of us who have horses also have other pets – dogs and cats particularly. Hannah first turned me on to chewy.com when we got our new puppy, and after my first order or two I have become an obsessed devotee.

Link here: chewy.com. Please know that the following is not endorsed in any way. I just love them!

First: price. Everything on Chewy is dramatically better priced than I’ve been able to find it ANYWHERE else. Truly, anywhere. Food, toys, necessities like poop bags – you name it, I guarantee it will be better than even the sales price at Petco or Petsmart.

Second: selection. I have only missed one or two things on Chewy, and they were in the nature of random/obscure things, anyway. Other than that, whenever I’ve gone looking for a new toy, new type of accessory, you name it, it’s there. That includes some of the more specific prescription and/or natural food out there.

Third: convenience. Wow, is it easy to just click a few buttons and have new food arrive, with a few bully sticks and new poop bags to round out the order. It’s so easy and so convenient I’ve only had to stop at a local pet store to pick up new food once, and that was after two solid weeks of major fail on my part.

Fourth: customer service. The BEST. Anything over $49 is two day shipping, which feels like it’s immediate. One bag of food for Arya hits that low bar. One bag of food for the cat, plus one or two toys for Arya, and we’re there. Then it’s on my front porch. Unboxing days are the best: the cat loves the boxes, Arya is excited about her new toys, I’m thrilled I don’t have to carry home 30lbs of dog food, everybody wins! They also sent a really nice note saying they hoped we were enjoying our new toys & treats after my first order, and I’ve heard phenomenal things from people who have called them up to discuss options.

Here are a few of my favorite things I’ve bought at Chewy.

Busy Buddy Tug a Jug Toy

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. We use this daily, sometimes three times a day. Whenever we leave Arya home alone she gets food in this; whenever we need her distracted while we’re eating dinner, this is how we feed her. It had a bit of a learning curve but now she loves it and she’ll sometimes bring it over to us to indicate that she is starving and has never been fed, ever. It keeps her mentally busy, keeps her from totally inhaling her food, and is a great distraction when we need one – 1 cup of food (which fits easily in the large size) takes her about 20 minutes to get out entirely.

KONG AirDog Squeakair Balls

Does your dog love squeaky toys? These are the absolute very best squeaky toys. Arya will run around just squeaking them. She also loves a tennis ball – she shoves them around with her nose and then pounces with her front paws. (Definitely half Boxer…)

Prairie Dog Elk Antler Splits Dog Chews

Yes, these run small. The X-Large is just about big enough for Arya, at 40lbs, so with a bigger dog you might want to find a different brand. But it’s been one of the longest-lasting, most substantial, tastiest chew toys for her. She’s what you would call a power chewer, with a solid jaw and a habit of shredding most things very quickly. She goes on and off on this thing but loves it when she’s “on”. She has some un-split ones but doesn’t like them as much – having the marrow exposed is a definitely plus.

Charlee Bear Turkey Liver & Cranberries Flavor Dog Treats

These are great low-calorie training treats. They’re our basic reward treat. I like that they’re made in the USA (a must for all her food items), dry (no gross hands!), and  you get approximation a million of them in one package. They’re also more on the natural end of dog treats: no random preservatives. Just basic ingredients. Arya likes the Turkey/Cranberry flavor the best.

Kyjen Outward Hound Blue Port A Bowl

I love this thing. I keep one in my car and we have one in the hiking bag. I’ll admit: I fussed about buying one for a while. I figured I’d just keep an old tupperware in the car that she could drink from. But that tupperware got grungy, it took up space, blah blah. For $5, this is rugged, collapses easily, and oh so convenient.

Earth Rated PoopBags Refill Case, 900 bags

We live in a suburban area, and even when we’re out hiking, we carry poop bags so we can carry out. These are hands down my favorite poop bags for a bunch of reasons. The dispenser has a clip that means it lives on Arya’s leash at all times. The plastic they’re made out of is recycled AND formulated to degrade far more quickly than other plastic (in as little as 24 months!), AND they come wrapped around a recyclable cardboard core. We got through one or two rolls a week. $35 for a 900 roll case is a little more than a year’s worth of poop bags. SUCH a good price, so worth it to know we won’t run out! And a “case” isn’t actually huge; it fits easily under the kitchen sink, and came with a few extra dispensers that I’ve distributed to cars, travel bags, etc.