Mandy loves for me to throw a stick so she can run after it; at least half the time, she returns it to me, and of course I praise her when she does. I started some obedience lessons, using advice I found online. First of all, I learned that, while Blue Heelers are very smart, they are willful, and must be brought under control at a young age. The first thing she needed to learn was to come when we call her; oh, she would come if she had nothing better to do, but if she was having too much fun, she seemed to become temporarily deaf. So last night I cut half a hot dog into tiny, tiny pieces, took it outside with us, and when Mandy would go off playing at a distance, I'd call her, saying, "Here, Mandy!" It didn't take too many bites of hot dog to get her running the instant I called; and Cliff said she came to him every time he called, all day today.
I've put the leash on her a few times, briefly. I have to sneak up on her with it or she'll run and hide, but once I get it on, she heels and sits when I tell her. I think that's remarkable for a 12-week-old pup.
I'd been having problems with Blue gaiting properly, and was blaming the farrier. Last night my horse-trader neighbor drove up as I was getting my horse ready to ride and asked if he was gaiting better. "Well," I responded, "he gaits all right if I don't speed him up too much... if I do, he just trots."
Dale watched me ride up and down the driveway, then asked to check out the bridle. He about had a fit when he saw how loose the curb chain was (that's a chain that goes under the horse's chin). He tightened it up, got on Blue, and soon had my horse in the fanciest running-walk I ever saw. And when I got back on to ride, Blue still walked like a show-horse. I can't believe a little chain under the chin has that much to do with a horse's gait. I'll never get too old to learn, especially about horses. I didn't grow up around them, and really had nobody to teach me the basics. So I'm sure I do lots of things wrong, but as long as the horse and I are both having fun, who cares?
I'll be shopping this weekend for the camping trip at the State Fair. We simply must have pancake mix, because it wouldn't be camping out without pancakes. And canned biscuits, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese... and plenty of cheese for grilled cheese sandwiches. I take carrot sticks in a big container, and Monica now considers that part of the State Fair tradition. Only five more days!