Just got back from Farley's new stable and it is absolutely wonderful!!!!! It's just as good as I remember with a HUGE arena and incredible riding in the river bottoms. Farley seems to be settling in well and she likes company. It's one thing that I felt bad about - having her all by herself on my parents property, in sight of other horses, but not having any contact with other equids. Things will be easier when I put my trailer there (right now it's at my parents) and I can use it as a tack storage - for now my little car has become a moving tack shed.
Of course yesterday I showed up in the rain, with my horse, wearing my new *tropical rider tights and didn't ride. Today was sunny, I showed up in jeans and a t-shirt and went for a nice walking trail ride with the owner as she showed me how to get across the levee, some of her favorite loops etc. Oh well.
*digression - remember when I exchanged my tights? Last week I got my repaclements in the mail. It was no fuss - just sent the old ones off with a form I printed form their site and they sent me my replacement pair. The low rise ones fit SO MUCH BETTER - exactly like my old ones and are completely fabulous.
Shall we list the fabulous things about Farley's new home? HUGE HUGE HUGE sand, level, solid sided arena with lights, Farley has friends, trailer parking, and miles and miles of trail right out the back door. Lots of sand, or rock, or mud, or clay, or hard pack....it's your choice. So nice to have different footing. Can do technical stuff, double track, road, or cross country! Did I mention it's literally on my way home from school? And about 20 minutes away from home? And very low key - only a couple of borders. AND I can afford it.
As you can probably guess I am STOKED about how everything is turning out.
Wanna hear a story? A story I sorta hope is far enough down the post that maybe my mother just completely skips over it?
I'll call it "The Chicken Story".
Today, I sent my mother a text as I was leaving their property: "The rooster was out and got stuck under the porch. I liberated him, but did not put him up".
Sounds very benign. Do you see how I totally avoided the subject of HOW, WHAT, WHEN, WHO, WHY?
You may have guessed this is a Tess story.
Now the horse is gone and I don't have to worry about her bashing Tess's head in as Tess speeds by her like a maniac, I let Tess loose on the property while I did some pasture clean up. I had a can of cheese (the best stuff for training dogs IMO, we also use it in the VMTH) and was practicing my recalls. She was doing EXCELLENT!!!!!! She was moving a lot and moving FAST, but when I called she came!!!!!
Did I mention that I tied a bucket to her? She's like a wretched little eel and there was one section of the fence that I was afraid that if she say a bird or something, she would completely tune me out and dive right underneath. I know from experience when she has her eye on something she doesn't even SEE the obstacles in her path, she just negotiates them mindlessly......So yes. Like my "Ball" solution as a puppy, this was a light weight bucket that bounced behind her on an old leash that would give me a few precious seconds to grab her before she did something stupid.
OK - I think we all have the picture. One white young dog speeding around the property attached to a bucket. Check. Melinda hauling around tack and various buckets in muck boots, periodically calling to the dog. Check. One chicken coop in the middle of the property. Check.
Now, the chickens were safely locked away in the coop. I made sure of that. However, the rooster, after Tess introduced herself from outside the coop decided for some stupid reason to come OUT of the coop.
Next thing *I* know I have homoungous rooster being chased by a white dog attached to a bucket.
I yelled "Tess" but had the sense not to shout my recall word because do you think a bird dog who FINALLY almost has her first bird is going to give that up for cheese?
Yep - I didn't think so either.
So........I chase after her. In my muck boots. Through knee high grass. Around various implements that my parents placed on the property for the sole purpose of the rooster being able to evade a dog on a bucket.
Not that is noticeably slowed her down.
I was worried about 2 things.
a. My dog would kill the chicken.
b. My dog would catch the chicken, and then may or may not proceed to step a.
The WORST thing you can do with a pointer is let them learn that if they chase a bird, they can catch it. I haven't started Tess in the field, but there may be plans to do so, and I would be DAMNED if I let her catch this bird. She's not steady enough for me to reliably use my "whoa" word when she's on point and have her hold in on a bird this big and flopping around so my only option was to either:
a. Catch the chicken or,
b. Catch the puppy.
As the chicken was this flurry of pissed off 6 inch spurs, I decided I would catch the puppy.
Finally I cornered them, grabbed the bucketed puppy and did something with her like tie her to the trailer. Whatever it was, it got her out of my hair, and allowed the chicken to go off and do something chicken-like on the other side of the property.
OK - fast forward. Chicken has disappeared, Tess has forgotten about the chicken and wants to play with the dog, and seems to be doing well on recall. The bucketed dog was free once more.
Things went well until.....I tried to teach Tess to ride in a wheel barrow.
During the course of the whole thing Tess ended up jumping out and spying the chicken, who with his chicken sized brain decided it was a good idea to come over and check the whole thing out.
And we commenced with the bucket+dog+chicken+mel+muck boot chase again. Only this time, Tess chased it under the house. Where it promptly stuck it's pea sized head through chain link under the porch and wedged itself so that only it's chicken butt was visible.
To Tess's credit she just stood there and looked at it.
I *may* have grabbed the dog more roughly than was absolutely necessary.
I *may* have carried her half by her scruff to the car
I *may* have rather abruptly tossed her in the car and slammed the door
Then I went to check on the chicken, that my parents resident dog (who does NOT eat or chase chickens) had just decided looked more meal-like than usual.
Apparently chickens don't know how to back up.
I grabbed a random sprinkler that was floating around, and using it like a snake stick, snagged it in front of the legs, and by the breast. And then I pulled. All while PRAYING that the head came with it (after all, it was a Sunday and if everything had gone to plan I would have been in church.....). The rooster decided that it would like to keep it's head and sauntered away a bit dizzy. All while the resident dog followed it around the yard with a hungry look in its eye.
Then I took a deep breath, walked after to the car, got Tess and did some recall games to her.
Evil little birds. They are going to be the death of me.
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