Archive for March, 2012

Head Study

amywink March 28th, 2012

Sorting through my photos today and came across this nice pair of head shots:

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I don’t think I can say Will has a prettier profile any more. :)

Writing Dogs

amywink March 23rd, 2012

I have been without a writing dog for exactly a year. Lady, the Giant Schnauzer who shared then assumed Tristan’s revered position after his passing March 9, 2010, died a year ago yesterday. March, the transitional month.

Early in the month, I determined to order the roses I had planned to plant in remembrance of the two dogs. The drought had put those roses on hold last year but I had selected to David Austin Roses last year and had simply waited until the timing was right for the roses to be shipped in February. I selected for Tristan, my Bonnie Wee Blithe Heart, the Blythe Spirit Rose, and for Lady, The Dark Lady, of Shakespearean fame. I sent my order in and waited.

Meanwhile, as I have been focusing on Blessing and her training, the dogs, and perhaps even Taipan, the surrogate, have been at work on the other side, moving my next writing dog into being. After a long period of thoughtful research and deep contemplation, a year, I had determined that Welsh Springer Spaniels met my needs/desires most completely (must love cats and people, be a carriage/writing dog) and I set about to make sure of that, attending the Houston Dog Show last summer, contacting a competitor/breeder via the dog show catalog, and slowly, slowly investigating the breed. I spent a great deal of time agonizing about the decision, as if I were Isabel Dalhousie . But I found my way to help very easily even as I dithered. Cindy Rhine, of Bartay’s Gordon Setters and Welsh Springers, was instrumental helping me with my decision. I planned the timing carefully, hoping for a 2012 summer puppy.

A week after I ordered my roses, I was speaking with Eva Svabo and Donna Weber of Avedonn Welsh Springers (website coming soon!) and on their wait list for a puppy, due to arrive in April. That very night, my roses were delivered. I felt the dogs were with me. Over Spring Break, I planted the roses, making sure they could be seen from my writing cottage windows so when I am at my desk at work, I will see the memorial blooms. I spent some time in my cottage clearing out and cleaning up as well. Time without my writing dog has corresponded curiously, or perhaps not so curiously, to a time without writing.

Clearly one needs a companion to head into the unknown territory of the blank page.

Now after a long wait, my puppy cometh.

Avedonn Welsh awaits the arrival of a litter from Lucy (Statesman’s Super Model)
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and Filson (Trystyn’s Blue Rodeo)
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So sometime in April, I’m hoping to see a scene like this one:
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and eventually have an adorable companion like Alicealicewill.jpg

Blessing Drives!!

Spring Break!

amywink March 13th, 2012

I’m slow on posting this week because it’s spring break and after a soggy, soggy week last week, I am out enjoying the sunshine as much as possible. I hope to get an extra drive in mid-week but we’ll have to see because the pastures are currently swamps. On Saturday morning, I had watched Blessing show off her new skills in the darkened arena. The cloud cover and cold made the lighting very challenging for the camera and I don’t have too many good shots of her. The weather also delayed her introduction to the carriage but she did have a successful introduction to the driving bridle with blinders and her breeching. These photos are altered somewhat on iPhoto to help with the underexposure issues but at least we can sort of tell what she looks like–almost a proper driving horse!

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Malen reports that she had some kicky reactions to the breeching but nothing unexpected. I could tell she’s still working out how to work in the blinders when she can’t really see Malen all the time but she is doing very well and I am pleased with her progress. Francine reports that Blessing’s attitude really changes when I come to visit her and I have to say she does seem to try to show off her skills when Malen works her for me. She often seems to be thinking “Are you watching me? See what I know! Are you looking?”, and looks to see if I am watching at her–more obviously now with the blinders. And of course, I am watching her and tell her I’m quite impressed and she’s doing very well–how’s that for anthropomorphizing? ;)

I did get one very humorous photo out of last weekend’s visit, a little photo I like to call “NightMare”

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I will hope for better lighting this week!

Quite A Pair

amywink March 5th, 2012

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Will must have heard the rumors that I was considering sending him back into training after his escapade last week and he worked very hard this week to remind me that he was, according to him, my Favorite Pony and a Very Good Pony who knew what he was about. “See? See how good and cute I am?”

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He does this pose often–I call it his “Look, I’m a Morgan!” pose–and he’s done it since I got him. It is quite charming and he has returned to my good graces.

The GPS track from last week’s bolt indicated we moved 150 meters 40 seconds faster than our usual pace. We returned to our normal speed this week.

We did have a very good drive in the Dragon Free Zone of the dressage arena. I took quite a long time to get ready, scraping as much of his winter coat off as I could get–there’s probably enough to knit something, or perhaps I should collect it and have a hat made of the felted hair. I clipped his bridle path, since his mane is rather unruly and quite bushy. All the slow work lead up to our quiet harnessing. He did start off a bit faster than I wanted so we will return to that lesson on our next drive. My main goal this weekend was slow, steady, responsive driving and we managed it. By the end of our drive, we even managed a very nice circle!

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I was quite pleased when I saw this GPS track, since we’d been off driving for a month and I’d not attempted a circle in the carriage for a while.

I am working, however, on riding them and at my riding lesson Saturday, I managed to get a few circles quite right–no GPS for that. Maybe I should attach it to my leg to see! That wouldn’t indicate any borderline obsession with circles, would it? I told Francine and Malen my riding goals would not include a perfect circle….and yet…..

Riding continues to illuminate my driving. Yesterday toward the end of our drive Will started doing his typical “I’ll just turn my head and not my entire body, if that’s okay with you” and this time, I applied my “leg” to his side/hip, taping him over with my whip. The response was instant and he moved correctly into line and looked rather surprised at the same time. This is probably a small thing (perhaps even worth a “Duh”) but after connecting the dots this way, I may have solved a long time issue for the both of us.

Blessing continues her fabulous progress. This Saturday was so blustery, however, than she was only long-lined in the arena. She is, however, doing spectacularly well and she’s quite beautiful when her movements are all correct, which is more and more often. She’s going to look lovely with a carriage, which she will be getting used to this week. Though the lighting was difficult, I did come away with one shot I like very much. She reminds me a great deal of her brother in this photo.

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Next week, we’ll see what she’s learned and maybe we’ll have good weather for some more outside photos.