Sunday, October 25, 2009

On a horse for the first time in 32 years

Before Vizslas and pointing breed field trials, my exposure to horses was almost nil. 35 years ago, I used to go out to the local stables around where I grew up and for $5 per hour I could go out and ride someone's horse for two or three hours at a time. So when I was 19 to 21 I did this on many weekends.

But now that Bailey will be doing more field trials where I will need to be on horseback it was time to "re-learn" how to ride and Bailey had to learn how to "find" me way up on the horse.

This morning I made the trip 80 miles east and visited with my friends, Janet and Ken, on their ranch. We had arranged for me to ride "Kona", their new Tennessee Walker, out in the fields where Bailey could run and learn to run out in front of me on horse.

It was interesting. First I didn't adjust the stirrups short enough and found out that when Kona trotted I bounced around and almost off a couple times. The hour on Kona after the adjustments was delightful.

When Bailey went out with me on horseback he started out confused. Slowly he found me and accepted that the horse and I were not one in the same.

Then we came across the jack rabbit. This was Bailey's first jack rabbit.
He ran after that rabbit faster than I have ever seen him run.
I could have used the training collar to stop Bailey from chasing the rabbit, but Ken and I agreed that we wanted the horse field time to be completely positive, so we let him head out after the very fast rabbit.

At the 1/4 mile mark the rabbit started to pull away. At 1/2 mile the rabbit had gained 100 feet on Bailey and they were going through the third field. At the 3/4 mile mark we had no idea where Bailey was. He had chased after the rabbit into some cover.

He reappeared about a 1/2 mile away and at an all out run back toward us. He had been out of sight for about five minutes.

I was as happy to see him as I think he was to see me.

We cooled Bailey off with water as he was completely spent.

We rode slowly back toward the barn as Bailey started to range out in front of me.

A great day with friends. I can't express how appreciative I am to them for helping me out.

Bailey and I have so much more to learn about field trialing.

Now it is getting ready to head off this Friday afternoon to a field trial 120 miles south of here.

I'll be on horseback as Bailey runs the fields. At least I know Bailey will be more comfortable seeing me on top of these strange animals.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Late October bike ride with Vizslas

Can life get much better than a cool fall morning on grass covered trails in the hills in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay?

When I put out a post to Vizsla Walk (a Yahoo group in the SF Bay Area for Vizsla owners) that I would be heading out on Saturday morning for a trail ride, Cindy with her two Vizslas, Remo and Turbo showed up and the six of us headed out for a 90 minute trial run and ride.

After 90 minutes it was time for a quick dip in a pond before we headed back home.
Life is good for a Bay Area Vizsla.

Tomorrow I'm going to work off horseback with Bailey out in the countryside around Davis, California. We are doing this to get ready for next weeks field trial. Should be fun. Post how that goes tomorrow night.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Some Vizslas will eat anything

Anybody else have a Vizsla like Randy? I do.

His name is Bailey .

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to slow down a Vizsla that eats too fast

Chloe gives me a look that tells me - "Dad, I'm hungry!"

Dividing kibble, green beans and ground turkey in a muffin baking tin has slowed Chloe down on how fast she would eat. What used to take her a minute to "wolf" down a meal now takes her about five of steady effort.

Chloe is on the "princess" diet. Unlike her brother, Bailey, who can eat and eat and not put on pounds this is not the case for our girl.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The point is getting stronger

Bailey's point is getting stronger and firmer. He has lost his "puppiness" and found his "inner hunting dog."

We kept at "break" training and he is getting the idea! He had
the training collar on but never needed or used it.

When you are 100 feet away and you see your dog freeze on point after running full speed through the field, this is a feeling that I have never duplicated.

As Joe (our trainer) and I walked up to Bailey, he didn't move a muscle. He even holds for a picture.
When I flushed the birds, Bailey is to not "break" after the bird. He must hold steady. Two of the three birds, that I released into the air, Bailey held his position and didn't pull on the lead. Joe lead him away and off we went looking for the next bird.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Riding a bike downtown with the dogs

Saturday morning.
"So dad, what are we doing today?"

I wanted a cafe latte at Peet's Coffee in downtown Walnut Creek, so we got the riding bridles on the dogs and I put on the helmet and off we went.

The "Springer" bike riding attachment goes right on the seat post and keeps the dogs nice and close. Bailey pulls me along quite well on level ground. Chloe goes along for the run.

Before we could go downtown, we had to burn off some energy.

Away we went on what ended up about a 10 mile ride.

The first leg was a four-mile ride down to the dog park at Heather Farms. This ride was a mixture of suburban streets and paved trails along the canal system in Central Contra Costa County. The trails are quite crowded on weekend mornings.

At the off-leash dog park, Chloe got to chase her ball in the field and Bailey got to play games of "chase me."

From there it was three more miles along the trails to downtown Walnut Creek. In the downtown area I walked the dogs and bike about six blocks to Peet's.
At the cafe, I came across a couple of our neighbors enjoying the warm October morning outside. We visited for about twenty minutes while the dogs relaxed under the table.

Afterwards it was back on the bike and the three miles back home. Good two-hour ride and play time at the park.

The dogs are asleep as I write this.

I think I'll take a nap too.

Copper Vizsla decal

A Vizsla in field work condition on point in copper that is about six inches tall.
Got one for the Jeep.
Liked it so much I purchased two more. One for my pick-up truck and the other for the motor home.

K9-DESIGN makes a window decal that I really liked.
Purchased from their e-bay site. Anney Doucette does nice work on the graphics.

There are other designs available.
I like the quality and artistry of the work.

Let Anney know you found her on redbirddog.

Into the "wild"

Came home after a tough week at work and sat on the couch.

Chloe and Bailey came up to me with a look that said, "Where we going today dad?"

So I loaded up the mountain bike in the back of the truck and off we went to the top of Briones Road out of Martinez.

After parking the truck it was a slow and relaxed ride up the trails to one of my favorite open spaces.

Riding a mountain bike into the "wilds" of a SF Bay Area regional park on a Friday afternoon with my Vizslas is a great way to end the week.

No matter how bad the work week has been, getting out away from everything with the "kids" is great for the soul.

Sometimes we go out on rides with others and sometimes it is just the three of us.

I don't remember a walk or a ride this year that I have not enjoyed and come back home in better spirits. Fall rains came mid-week and made for a great ride on the trails just west of home.

The dogs have a great time running free in the open spaces. We had the valleys and plains to ourselves yesterday.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I am the Vizsla - the song

Bailey is modeling his new Tri-tronics sport upland G3 electronic collar. He is starting to look like a hunting dog.

Great day on the farm. Bailey and Chloe ran for about an hour as a farmer leveled his field with his John Deere tractor.

No trainer today. We took the time to just run and do some basic training. Bailey and Chloe had a fine time chasing the local birds that landed in the freshly plowed fields.

At one point Bailey got interested in the farmer's goats. A quick "Bailey, leave it", as he started heading for the goats, along with a short light stimulation of the collar got him focused back into the fields.

The attached blog has a great song titled "Vizsla" that accompanies the blogger's slideshow. The words and song are very nicely done by Nancy Simmonds.

The song is shortened on the blog slideshow but the complete song can be purchased through iTunes for 99 cents. This was from "Musical Tails - liter six" by Nancy Simmonds. These are recordings of songs about different breeds. Smart singer. Join people's love of a good dog and a good tune.

We were all tired when we got home.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Dog "Disneyland" along SF Bay

In the San Francisco Bay Area, Vizsla owners have found the joys of "Point Pinole".

Most Sundays at 9:30am you can meet 10 to 25 other Vizslas and their owners walking the trails with their dogs in wonderful off-leash packs.

We missed yesterday morning's walk. Later in the day, we found ourselves coming home from the north and stopped by the park for an hour of dog bliss.

15 miles northeast, as a seagull flies, from San Francisco is Point Pinole Regional Park. Part of the East Bay Regional Park District.

For over 70 years in this area dynamite was made. Once the factories closed, the area was deserted until the area became park land.

Here good dogs are allowed to be dogs along the open fields and groves of eucalyptus trees.

Sunday after 4pm we had most of the 2,315 acres of dog wonderland to ourselves.
Here sea gulls are not an endangered species and people and dogs are equal.