Monday, June 30, 2008

A Helluva Horse

Cliffy and I had a wonderful time at the Helluva Horse Event yesterday. The weather turned out great and there was a plethora of cool equine things happening. Here's a pic of my art booth, with Ms. Rip in attendance. There were some Haflingers giving wagon rides, a real chuckwagon offering lunch, equine dentisty, equine massage, a farrier, a Friesian in medieval garb, and a whole host of other fun things. Clifford loved all the attention and made some cool new friends. I sure hope we get invited back next year.

I Won An Award!

Special thanks to Arlene of Grey Horse Matters for the Arty e Pico award. It is so nice to be acknowledged when you think you are just muddling through the day!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Today's Project - Belgian

I have to say, the photo does not do this painting justice. It's conte and oil pencil on pastel board, 11 x 14". Another piece of equine art for the Helluva Horse Event, but if I don't sell it, I might keep it.

Addendum: Thanks guys for the nice comments on my Belgian! I have reluctantly listed it on eBay.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today's Project - Andalusian

Here's an Andalusian in conte with a touch of oil pencil. Size 9 x 12".

This will be framed and for sale at the Helluva Horse Event this weekend. Clifford and I will make an appearance there on Sunday to sign books, sell equine art and do a few tricks for his fans.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Arthritic Horses

I had a great report yesterday on StemEquine.

Nancy Berg wrote to me from the Morgan list when she saw my post about Clifford. She wrote: My Morgan mare hurt herself a year ago. She kicked out at the 1-1/2 inch pipe gate and nicked her hind leg on the bottom of the pipe and nicked her suspensory branch a teeny bit. This laid her up for almost the entire year. She seems fine now but I wonder if this product could help her as she get older. I give her HA (conquer gel) every morning and she gets glucosimine in her supplement bucket.

Yesterday she wrote:
I just wanted to let you know that I can see improvement in my mare and it hasn't even been 2 weeks since I started giving her the StemEquine. Where she had her injury it has always been a bit soft (she was proclaimed sound by my vet however). The injury site has gotten firm like her other leg and she seems to have more freedom of movement. This product is amazing.

I was so excited! I'm still waiting to hear my Dad's input. He's holding off on using the StemEnhance. Dad has a a pacemaker and wants to get an okay from his doctor first.

However, my boyfriend has experienced a vast improvement in his knees. He's been taking StemEnhance for about four weeks. He's a big guy, 6'4" and over 200 lbs. He had knee surgery in February and was still experiencing a lot of stiffness and discomfort. Now he is moving much more freely and he is running better than I've ever seen him.

You can order StemEquine and StemEnhance at

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Puppy!

Thanks everyone for the good wishes. And the name suggestions! "It's a dog eat dog world, Sammy, and I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear!"

Today I walked him about four miles. It was a workout. He has a long stride and I can't walk fast enough to make him trot. (This is gonna be so good for me!)

Eddie (former owner) kept telling me the dog settles down once he gets moving. Of course, that's not good enough for me. I had a heckuvva time just getting the leash on him. He was jumping, thrashing around, biting me. I was going to do the dolphin trainer's trick of "taking my bucket of fish and going home" because he was behaving so badly, but I didn't have the heart to do it to him. He needed to get out. I wanted him to sit, but he hasn't learned yet to focus and he doesn't care what I think. I ended up pushing him into a sit.

Then it was more rodeo on the leash. But after a few about-turns he settled down. The trainer told Eddie to keep him on a tight leash. Whee, good advice. NOT. I continued random about turns throughout the walk. He finally swung along next to me nicely on a loose leash. He appreciated praise and petting, but doesn't really make eye contact yet, isn't into me.

Also... Eddie warned me... He wants to chase cars. He is fascinated by the wheels. We had a few encounters which I put to good use. As the car whizzed past, I'd do a fast about turn and the dog would hit the end of the leash -- SPRONG -- Huh? Where'd she go?! After the third car he quit trying. Still kind of dodges and ducks when they go by though. I gave him lots of praise for not attempting to chase. He was way too jazzed up at this point to take food rewards.

We got home and he did some sits and downs for treats. He either learned it from the trainer (doubtful) or remembered it from that session with me back when he was four months old. His attention span was short, so when he jumped up and started sniffing around I left.

He has some issues but he has potential.

Later I went out and did some clicking with him. (Incidentally, this made Clifford very jealous! He stood hollering down by the gate! HA HA!) The pup caught on right away. He did sits and enthusiastic downs, and was catching bits of kibble in mid-air. His attention span is very short for his age, but I know this is because he has never been asked to concentrate on anything. He really liked the clicker game.

I got down with him and rubbed his belly and he bit me in play. I screeched and he licked me -- a doggy apology, but then he got so excited that he jumped to his feet and started leaping all over me. I got up and left. If he's not going to play nice, we don't play at all.

I can only imagine how good and exciting it must feel, to him, to have someone finally "hearing" him and "talking" to him.

He will be penned up for a few days until he learns to make eye contact and bonds with me a little more. Because he pulls so hard, I'm not about to tie a leash around my waist like I would a littler pup.

I am so happy I got him at this phase in his life -- it would have been so easy for him to go down the road of no return. I think he will come around before long.

And yes, he is a pain in the neck! But as much as he needs me, I need him too. I never said how I was languishing here. I had the urge, always, to go back to bed and hide my head. I pulled some weeds about a week ago, got poison ivy on my arms and it has spread to the most horrendous, angry red rash all over my body. I know this is stress! I was just miserable without my German shepherd. Now this guy has given me a reason to get up, get out of the house... Having someone need you this much, well it just makes a huge difference.

Here Rip says hello (a sort of snippy hello!) through the fence.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Aggressive Dog Rant -- and a New GSD

I know it's been awhile since I've posted. I've been in a slump since Caje died. I underestimated how much having a big, active dog around had kept me motivated.

I was at a barbecue yesterday and went inside the house to use the bathroom. The family's eight year old Rottweiler allowed me to pass by on my way in. I spoke to him pleasantly. When I came out of the bathroom, he decided to corner me in the hallway.

I was alone in the house with this eighty lb dog that was barking and growling in my face. I just stood there not moving, and talked to him, but he continued to advance and bark.

I have lived with and worked with big dogs all my life. I am not generally timid with dogs and it takes a lot to shake me up. I know when a dog is bluffing, and this one wasn't. I stood perfectly still and just basically waited to be rescued, hoping in the meantime Max the Rottie wouldn't decide to have me for lunch.

Finally the owners came in from outside and grabbed him by the collar.

"I don't get it," I said. "He let me come in with no problem."

"Yeah, it's when people try to leave that's the issue," the owner said. He chuckled fondly. "He has bitten a couple of times. But usually he's just kidding around."

There was no apology, no explanation and no chastising of Max. Apparently this is just a risk that house guests are forced to take. Needless to say, that's the last they will see of me.

Last year, here in Michigan, two people were killed by a pack of roaming American Bulldogs. It happened not far from where I live.

And then there's Cujo, the neighbor's German shepherd still on a rampage. I went horseback riding down the road the other day with Becky, my neighbor, and Cujo came bouncing out at us like usual. This time, there was no Cajun to warn him off with a perfunctory glare. So Cujo came all the way out into the road while his owners called in vain from the front porch.

Becky told me a horror story of how she was jogging one day and Cujo ran out after her. He grabbed her foot, pulled her down and mauled through her tennis shoe.

Ironically, it was Gracie, Becky's own American Bulldog who came to her rescue that day. It took Cujo's two owners to pull her off him. As Becky stood there with her torn up shoe and bleeding foot, she was chastised for running with a vicious bulldog!

I've filed one complaint about Cujo already to animal control and yet he continues to harrass passersby.

The owners of dogs like this never fail to boggle my mind. There is a machismo about this that is so sad and misguided. It is a huge disservice to what could have been a wonderful pet. I could see by Max's expression that he is an intelligent dog. And I know that Cujo is. Through no fault of their own, they have ended up in the hands of idiots. I wonder how far this behavior has to go before the dogs end up impounded or euthanized. And then, people like this just go out and acquire another dog to raise in the same dysfunctional way.

Breeding bans won't help -- the forbidden becomes only more attractive to people with this mentality.

So, in the interest of preventing another one of THESE, I adopted a German shepherd pup today. Actually he's a little over a year old, but still a pup in his mind. Unlike all my other GSDs, this one is a sable. He belonged to my 90 year old neighbor who couldn't handle him. The dog has never been properly leash trained, and pulled the owner's arm out of its socket. My neighbor, Eddie, can no longer raise his arm above shoulder level.

I don't have a name for him, yet. Still thinking.... Any ideas? He had his first lesson in leash walking today though. He's a smart guy and I know he's going to come around really fast. He likes to play and has a good nature about him.

So, here's to one German Shepherd who won't be terrorizing any neighbors.