Wednesday, December 25, 2013

the Best Christmas Gift

But first a little back story : Sally's results came back lousy ... really lousy - liver values off the charts (numbers in the THOUSANDS that should have been in the tens kind of lousy); positive for Lyme disease; and extreme pancreas numbers too ....pretty shocking she was able to stand let alone eat anything. Such a Sally thing to be so stoic ... so silly!

I promised her a long long time ago that she would never have anything painfully invasive done if there was no point and that as best as I was able she would never be left at a vets overnight. So with this broad ranging, difficult no matter how you looked at it medley of issues I kept her home and started networking for ultrasound possibilities.  I went back to square one with meals, tiny frequent home prepared food - chicken, fish and sweet potato. She had anti-nausea, pain and antibiotic medications. She would be fevered, then frozen. She was eating because I asked her to  not because of any desire. I found myself staring at her for hours wishing my magic wand worked better. She slept and slept. Ignored everything.

Then we had a three day power failure. She was still critically ill but thanks to the awesome Big T and a great wood stove we kept her warm and fed. 

We spent much of yesterday away from home helping people de-ice as best as we could. We got home and Sally was up. Barking. She brought me chunks of ice to throw. She PLAYED with Dora and Yen.  This morning she mooched at our Christmas breakfast. They were ecstatic; we are beyond happy.  

She's not one hundred percent, in fact I am worried about saying she's out of the woods even but there is hope in the house again. Joy has returned in one Sally shaped package and for that we are so very very grateful.

Have a great holiday doing what floats your boat; cherish memories and love the ones you are with! Peace!

Friday, December 20, 2013

sleep baby sleep ....

pain meds, antibiotics and home cooking the order of the day here

nurse maid Yen rarely leaves Sally's side by choice

trying to find someone who can do an ultrasound

waiting for more results

staring at Sally longing for her to be ok - wishing so badly for a magic wand

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

This. I. Hate.

Sally is sick.

Think good thoughts. She was terribly ill Friday - but it seemed to be a typical, if a little severe, "episode". She seemed quite recovered today - bright, wagging, counter surfing, eating but tonight whatever has flared right back up again. Episodes don't happen in this pattern - or at least never had until now. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Do you have what it takes?

You want to go far in your chosen sport?

No weekend warrior stuff for you?

Top of the game is your goal?

You are going to need deep pockets (or generous sponsors), lots of time and talent (as well as talented partners in both horse and dog sport land). But without character, work ethic and soundness - ideally in both of you - you might as well stay home and play for fun. Not that I think there is anything wrong with that - it's what I aspire to after all!

Actually understanding your team's character, work ethic and soundness will make even occasional competing and training much more enjoyable for the human partner. (I can but hope, by default, for the animal partner as well.)

More thinking ... I know... apologies


That magical combination of traits and personality that can create a winning team. Or perhaps that magical combo that doesn't quite have what it takes. Tough to realize one of you, or both doesn't have the resilience or ability to work through stress that is needed for the level you aspire to but perhaps better to give it due consideration now and adjust the plan? Find a new definition of success and accomplishment and you may feel better about yourself and have just as much fun.

Work Ethic 

Some of us < cough > Sally < cough > have work ethics that are nothing short of cuckoo admirable. Sore, distracted, unhappy, hungry, thirsty? No problem - the work itself is so intrinsically rewarding that the passion to do it runs rampant. Others of us, and yes I'm looking in a mirror here, are much less motivated. It's too cold. There is other work to do.  The trial is in a month or perhaps not even booked yet. Whatever the excuse, things get in the way of the actual work that needs to be done to get where goals were set. Without two partners who want to play work getting ahead is going to be tough. Work Ethic is nearly impossible to learn.


Physical of course but also mental - how much stress can your partner take? how much stress can you revel in? If you aren't as sound s absolutely possible reaching for the top is likely to be stressful and frustrating. 

A sound body is so important. If you can't keep each other sound enough for local one day competitions it seems implausible that adding major travel and extra days of showing are going to be easy. What are you doing to maintain soundness now? If you are playing in class weekly. trialing every other weekend and need monthly chiro, medication and BoT to stay sound how many more options are there to add to the toolkit to continue maintenance as the demands get more intense? 

As we enter the season of goal setting have fun setting your goals, and looking back at your accomplishments but give due consideration to character, work ethic and soundness.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yay Camera!

Did I mention that the terror terrier puppies ate the button that takes pictures off the new camera?

They did.

(Why does anybody live with house puppies?)

Well the camera is back in business - YAY! Just played a little with it last night ...

puppy loves to chew

old dog loves to sleep 

Kitty doesn't love winter

Fire helps us all get through the cold

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Virtues matter more than you might think ....

Today is a blog day !

Yay -it  means there will be lots of good reading and that's always fun for me. READ THEM ALL: HERE!

This topic is the "mental game" something addressed many times in this blog- search the word "mental" and you'll get a list. Or scroll all the way down to the keyword and click on motivation for a few more. If you want Sally's philosophy and elements for her work ethic you can click here too!

Recently the question of ring nerves came up which forced me to reflect on my lack of them.
Is it that I don't care? No, I care very much about my chosen sports.

Why then can I stand on a start line at Nationals between top competitors who travel globally and do my job without feeling ill? Why can I take a horse into a clinic or show ring and ride just like at home? (In the interest of full disclosure let me admit here that often I find thinking about clinics more  stressful than showing or being at a clinic.) A few things influence this perspective.

I practice. I practice with pressure. I visualize the show set up and practice while that is in my head. I practice when I have a cold, when I am mad, when I am emotional.  I also practice for fun because I want to and because I enjoy it!
Practice is something I embrace.

I can breathe because I simply wouldn't be there if I didn't know I was capable of doing "it". I may have very different goals than the other people there but I know my goals are in reach. (My goal could be as simple as a start line stay -actually I love it when the goal is that simple and early - makes the rest of the course a breeze!). I can breathe because I know my dogs are fit and healthy enough to do the job - if I had doubts about their condition I would have investigated and made an informed choice about running (or not - and I've made that choice many times).

doing my thing no matter the audience

It's not personal 
What's the point of nerves? The only person it's personal to is me. Nobody else particularly cares if that event doesn't go the way I had planned. People might feel badly for me for a minute or chuckle for a day. But, honestly, if I show with integrity and a sense of fun even if there is a problem on course that people notice they leave me in my happy bubble noting the good out loud and the things to work on on my course maps. They don't even have to know I make notes on my course maps because at the risk of repeating myself it isn't about them ... and they really don't mind if things don't go quite the way I planned.

This is the single biggest thing I wanted to focus on today.

Patience allows people to know that any competitive event is just one moment. It gives  information for the next event. By being patient in training, in the development of understanding of the sport, in the work with youngsters and those who have moments of confusion, in taking the time to appreciate each stage of training and competition you are able to be patient in the ring. The building blocks of success will come if you can wait.

You might be thinking to yourself, "I am the least patient person on the planet, how can I do this?" Believe me, patience did not come naturally or easily to me. It is a learned skill. One that I began to appreciate as I began to be grateful for so much else in my life. Watch a plant grow. Rehearse counting to 10 before you do something  (anything - I did this waiting to start my car)... teach yourself patience. The rewards are truly immeasurable.

Think then act and avoid reaction as much as possible. If ring stress hits you you will have plenty of experience to draw upon. Count to 10, picture your plant growing, breathe, refocus - perhaps by thinking about your goal for that moment and grabbing the intention that put you in that place at that moment.

I was at a clinic with a young horse last weekend. The clinician paid me an enormous compliment when she noted that my building blocks were solid and being at the clinic didn't change my expectations for that ride. It didn't change the way I rode, it didn't alter the work I wanted to accomplish. Quite literally my only goal was to have a good first off property experience with the baby. After one lap of the ring I had accomplished that. My patient perspective allowed us to have a lot of fun for 45 mins - trying new things and soaking up the clinicians expertise. It would have been easy to push for too much; to be too embarrassed to say  I'm just here to get off  the farm; to pretend the mare was further along than she was. Any of those things would have resulted in a nerve wracking experience even if all had gone well.

Patience is a virtue we in sports land must learn to exploit for our own benefit!

good good Maggi 

For more mental management thoughts and very practical advise you should invest in a handy little ebook "Trials Without Tribulations"

you can order it HERE.

and don't forget BLOG DAY - READ THEM ALL: HERE!