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Lol @bsms. We are far out, and I don’t think there is a female unspayed dog anywhere around. Ozzy and Pig never roam. Now that we brought Junie home we may end up meeting everyone else’s stud dogs. Where I live though, if your dog roams far enough to step onto someone else’s property he doesn’t usually make it home. Most every female dog I have know is spayed. It’s unpopular to own a female.
 

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My rancher friend has as a simple policy: The first time your dog roams on to his property - a sheep ranch - he calls you. The second time? The dog just disappears. We've only owned one female dog (Leila) and spayed her. Probably 50:50 among our males dogs, with some of them coming from the pound neutered. It isn't a right/wrong answer. More of a "Depends on your circumstances" thing. I understand egrogan's point and respect it. Completely valid. And Samuel T. Dog is likely to remain anatomically complete. Unless a problem develops. But I can only change my mind once with a dog....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,543 · (Edited)
Another great ride with Fizz this morning. We did 6 miles, average speed of 4.3mph. Still too slow, but faster than we've been. About 60% walking, 40% trotting. Lots of loose gravel on the road so that slows us down some. She was a little sweaty when we got home but not really looking like she had done much.

We went down the hill of despair to start, and had our first encounter of the year with the pirate dogs. Their boat has been put away but they came charging at us through their spring pond. Per usual, the woman in the house at the top of the hill came out yelling for them to come back as they followed us down the road barking. I spun Fizz towards them and one went running for home, but the big goofy golden retriever followed us for a bit before giving up.

Crossed the paved road, and Fizz startled a little bit when Mac the German Shepherd came running up from the back of the house barking. I think it was just the remnants of the pirate dogs catching her off guard. I was very happy with her for keeping her cool- she did stop for a minute and gawk at him, but she was willing to walk off again with just a little urging. And we passed the donkeys without much issue, even though they were wandering around their pasture pretty close to the road:
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We were doing a straight out and back, all on the road, and there are two 4-way intersections that we pass through. Fizz definitely knows which way is towards home and which way is more riding at each intersection, and she can get rude and pushy when she wants to go her own way. I've fought it out with her, gotten off and walked her through it, gotten dragged through it and circled around, etc. The last few times I've tried to be smarter about it- at the intersection, I've steered her into the shoulder where there's lush green grass and let her graze for a minute before heading on the way I want to go. So far, so good. No fights, no pulling, no frustration.

I turned out to be a really beautiful day when the clouds broke up a little bit:
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I tried a new saddle pad but I don't think I'll use it again. It was a simple quilted, shaped pad, but I have the sense it was a little thicker down the spine than my usual one and she felt a little tight through her back again. We'll just go back to our cheap old $20 pad that's worked well for us so far.
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Supposedly there's a drought here, but I think we're in a little microclimate- there's standing water on some of the fields and the ponds are full to the brim. Pretty day!
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Discussion Starter · #3,544 ·
Well, the deed has been done. Mr. Hugh was quite drunk when I picked him up yesterday afternoon, but he's looking a little brighter eyed this morning. Doesn't seem to be too bothered by the incision and mostly leaving it alone. The vet did send home some light sedation to keep him quiet today, and he's not allowed off leash for a week or so.
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Had a bit of a strange interaction with the vet when he was discharged. She told me that he was very anxious and stressed, and when he goes back in next Friday (he has a tech appt for some vaccines they didn't want to do on top of everything else yesterday), they would like him to be sedated to come into the office. I had the feeling that she was being very polite and didn't want to be direct about anything that had happened while he was there, so I asked her specifically if he had been aggressive or bit anyone. She said no, but again described him as very stressed and acting fearful when people were working on him. Obviously I want everyone to be safe, and for him to not be terrified of the vet, but it's hard to know what to do when she was being so vague. I was able to talk to tech who brought him out to my car (they're still fully curbside), and she said she hadn't been around him much until the end of the day, and generally felt like he was acting like a dog who needed more socialization, which makes perfect sense, as unfortunately he is fitting the stereotype of a "pandemic puppy" who just hasn't had a lot of time off the farm. She also said it was just a generally stressful day in their office, with double the number of surgeries they usually do in one day and a big emergency in the middle of the afternoon. I just don't really know what my next steps should be based on what I know. We have a trainer coming next week to start working with us on the car issue, so it's an opportunity for him to work with a "stranger," which will be good. But I really do want to make sure he isn't aggressive or dangerous with the vet.

While Hugh was away, I got in another great ride with Fizz. We headed out to the overlook with plans to go down the big Cavendish hill. The scene of many disagreements 😉 Yesterday was no exception, she really was not cooperating at all. Instead of fighting it out, I decided to use the same strategy I've been using when she gets noodly at the road intersections. Basically- you want to dance your way off the road into the ditch and the grass verge, fine. We'll just walk down the road in the ditch. I have to be a little careful because there is some old electric fencing in spots, but we were able to find a safe enough spot to go down the hill through the grass. She seemed surprised by this development but went forward a little more willingly once we got out of the road. When we got to the bottom of the steepest part, I let her stop and graze in the lush grass for a minute, and we continued along.
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We did 4.5 miles, just out and back. This is the big Cavendish hill from the bottom, taken on our way home.
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The house at the top of the hill is where she starts getting resistant to continuing down the hill. As you can see, there's not really good footing along the side of the road in this section, so we have to stay on it. It gets better as you get about halfway down the hill, which is where we walked through the grass.
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It was breeeeeezzzzyyyyy on our way home....
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When we got home and I checked out our mileage, I was thrilled to see that this was our first ride ever where we did more trotting than walking 🎉 We did the 4.5 miles in exactly 1 hour.
 

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That’s awesome!!

Junie is getting very aggressive with new people. I don’t know what to do about it really, because I’ve socialized her at every opportunity. I think I may have to accept it and lock her up when people are over. I didn’t want to do that! She really really dislikes small children. Ugh...

What did it cost? (Or is that a rude question. Don’t answer and forgive me if it is!) I called to make Pig and appointment and decided against it. It was going to be very expensive. Around $500 for just the neutering. Vets are so high in my area... this is why a lot of traditional vet stuff is taken care of personally. I can’t cut a dog though.... I have a friend who says he can, and if Pig were younger I would quickly jump to that option, but I am rather attached to the dog, and there are rumors of why people don’t just cut dogs. We cut everything else... horses, calves, cats, sheep and goats. They say dogs are hard. (Pigs too, but people who own them can cut them I hear.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,546 ·
Haha, not rude @Knave. I was surprised it was only $300, and then another $50 for the pain meds and sedatives they sent him home with. And this was at the small animal vet practice in the fru fru neighboring town. I definitely expected a heftier bill.
 

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I prefer to be with my dog while they are examined. Vets don't like it but I can handle them better than any strange vet tech. Although in modern times, liability insurance probably REQUIRES the vet tech to do it. Happily we have never reached a point of requiring an animal to be dropped off at curbside for vet appointments. We've always been able to at least be with them during examination. Sammy would be a challenge otherwise. Sweet dog but suspicious of strangers and I feel no need to try to get rid of that. He adapts quickly to strangers if we're there. If we're not? I'd just as soon he stays the way he is! (BTW - Border Collie Jack would probably show someone the silverware. Unless they acted threatening, in which case Jack would go full psycho.)

Pima County is supposed to look at dropping their mask mandate today. Didn't have one living in Cochise County. Pima has never had a mask requirement outside and no vet has ever restricted people to curbside. Hate Pima County but it is a good place if we're going to have the grandkids living with us.

IIRC, it cost around $200 for Jack's neutering years ago.
 

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I guess my vet isn’t particularly high comparatively. Seriously though, that is a lot of money for what it is... my buddy said you cut a dog like anything else (again, I have a hesitation towards that, but I don’t know). So, if a cat also costs a lot of money, I can tell you truly it is a very simple procedure.

I feel like people overcharge for necessary procedures because people don’t have other options. Doctors of human or animal variety.

I had a cat I particularly liked. A dog picked it up and hurt it, and it developed an abscess on its stomach. I was fearful because I was too attached to the little thing, and I took it in. My reaction was the desire to drain the abscess, but I was overly cautious.

The vet drained the abscess. That was all. One cut and a single suture. (Anyone who ranches could drain an abscess.) It cost me 150! Maybe max 5 minutes of work if someone was productive. The cat also ended up with a major skin reaction when I took her home, but I didn’t take her back for that and dealt with it here.

Castrating calves... we cut calves in about two minutes. Can you imagine the amount of money one could make per minute?!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,553 ·
More adventures with Fizz yesterday. I decided we'd try our luck on one of the woods trails to see how the mud was. I suspected there would be one muddy section, but the trail has some elevation so I was hoping that we'd be mostly ok.

To get there we had to pass the mini donks/Mac the German Shepherd's house. His people were outside gardening yesterday and he didn't make a sound while we went by. We stopped to chat for a second and I was laughing with the owner about how suspicious Fizz is of the donkeys- he said I should just tell her they're big stuffed animals and wouldn't hurt a thing. She was still skeptical, but at this point we are consistently riding by them without any major issues.

As we headed to the trail, we were passed by two big trucks towing rattly trailers with ATVs and I wondered how many people would be out in the woods with us. The trail we were doing doesn't tend to be very popular with ATVs because it's fairly narrow and really rocky in parts. But as we trotted along the first stretch in the woods, I could hear one coming in our direction. I saw them before they saw us and we gave them plenty of room, but they were very nice and slowed way down. I always try to wave people along so they don't get nervous about passing us. Fizz doesn't care at all about that sort of thing so we continued along. It was the warmest day we've had so far, so she was warm but the shade in the woods was welcome.
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The spot I expected to be muddy was, and it looked like the ATV had gone through there so it was fairly rutted up. I was a little worried because she didn't want to drink at all when we got to the stream- usually she will take a good drink there but she just briefly stuck her lips in and didn't seem that interested. I stood there for a minute to see if she'd change her mind, but that just seemed to make her irritated so I didn't push it and we kept going. We were nearly at the end of the woods trail anyway and back to the road to head home.
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Back out on the road and marching right along towards home, I decided to try drinking one more time in a little stream on the side of the road. We headed in that direction, and I felt her sinking into mucky ground covered over in the leaves along the side of the stream. I should have known better. She wanted nothing to do with going through that for water that wasn't her idea in the first placed, and lurched her way out of the mud back onto the road. I looked down to make sure we had all our boots- but the left front was missing :mad: I hopped off to see if I could find it in one of the holes she'd made hopping around in the mud, but it was nowhere obvious. I couldn't really hold her and get down on the ground to fish around for it, so after a minute I gave up and decided I'd drive back over after the ride and find it. She stood well for me to get back on, after a false alarm when I tried to stand on a tree trunk that I fell through because it was completed rotted!

I felt bad because the road was full of the nasty big gravel, and I was not going to ask her to go quickly over this without hoof protection
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We picked our way through it, and I got off to walk her through some of the worst spots. We had been at a decent 4.5mph pace up until we got sidetracked, but obviously we just moseyed along the rest of the way. She didn't seem any worse for it when we untacked and she got turned out- nothing was wedging in her feet and she didn't show any signs of bruising or foot soreness.

After she was settled, I drove back over to the side of the road where I thought I'd find the boot, and got down on my hands and knees to reach down into the depths of the holes trying to find the boot. I thought I had it, but it turned out to be a big stick. The stupid thing was just not there, which seemed impossible to me. But I didn't want to go home empty handed, so I drove up the road and parked at the trail head to walk back into the woods to the muddy spot where we'd stopped for a drink, which luckily was not too far to walk in. It wasn't at the stream, but I kept going a little ways and sure enough, right in the middle of the trail, there it was!
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It definitely didn't look like it had been sucked off by mud, more like she had just walked right out of it. With a fresh trim and really dry weather, her feet can be right on the borderline between two boot sizes, so maybe the fit was just a little too loose for the day. I'm not really sure what she did, but it still came off. In all the years I've ridden in boots, I've never had one come off, and certainly for no apparent reason! Oh well, at least I found it- because this is one of the brand new ones I just got a month ago.

As I walked back to the car, I was feeling really guilty because based on where I found the boot, she had to cover about 1/2 a mile on that awful gravelly road without any hoof protection. I know I was definitely still asking her to trot along without realizing the boot was gone. Suddenly everything made a lot of sense- I had been getting frustrated with her during that part of the ride because she kept trying to lurch over to the right side of the road, almost like a car out of alignment, and I couldn't figure out why she was being so rude about not staying on a straight path down the road. And now I know it's because I was asking her to go faster than I should have on that awful footing :( Lesson of the day- good horses don't just do "bad" things for no reason. Listen to your horse!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,554 ·
Today schedules and weather finally worked out so I could meet up with M and Coalie for a long ride. We headed off to our meeting spot, and at the house with the deer skeleton, three very exuberant dogs came bounding out from behind the house and were running in circles around us while the owners futilely called for them to stop. The dogs weren't being mean or aggressive, they just looked young and unsure of what to do. I figured the best thing was just to stand still so they didn't get more wound up, and Fizz was ok with it. Eventually they got them caught and we were able to go on our way. Side note- the deer and the tents were finally taken down on Friday 😉

We got to the meeting spot right on time and headed out for the tree farm. The farm has a 8ish mile loop on a logging road through the middle of it, and the snowmobilers maintain it so it's always clear and easy to use. Because of their spat with the ATVers, there are no motorized vehicles allowed back there, which is nice- though it does make me a bit sad that everyone has these little feuds in our town. Can't we all just get along?!

The ride was pretty uneventful. I hadn't seen M in awhile so it was good catching up. Coalie, as usual, was slow on the roads but the horses were better matched in the woods, and their trot speeds are pretty similar so we could go along side by side for stretches. I think Fizz is a little fitter and we did go slower than we've been doing on our own, but not by too much.
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After we had been riding for awhile, we had the feeling that we should be getting close to the end of the loop, but things weren't looking familiar. We hadn't been back there since last fall, and of course everything looks different then, but it was just weird that we weren't finding the turnoff back to the main road that we had been expecting. We came into a clearing that had two options we could take- one gravel route that looked like a continuation of the logging road straight ahead, and one down a grassy trail through a gate. We decided to stop for a second, pee, and let the horses have a snack. The bugs were getting pretty annoying, even after respraying bug spray at our stop. Fizz was being really rude about trying to itch her head on me, and for the first time in a long time she absolutely would not stand still for me to get back on, trying to shove her face into me to scratch and swinging her haunches away from me when I tried to get on from a hill side. There was a good rock a little ways down the logging road, so we headed that way and I finally got back on. Fizz continued to be just awful, flinging her head around and stopping randomly. When the side of the road was clear, she would suddenly hop off the trail and try to spin back around the way we came. Going downhill on gravel, this was a little concerning.

We got about 1/2 mile and we came across a fresh looking pile of horse poo. It seemed very unlikely anyone else was out there riding, so we started thinking we should have turned down the grassy trail back in the clearing, rather than going straight.

After talking it over for a minute, it seemed like we should turn around and head back. Surprise, surprise, suddenly Fizz was quiet and happy. Even though we didn't have cell service, I had my mileage tracker going on my phone, and sure enough on the map I could see we were heading back towards the entrance to the logging road. We should have taken the grassy trail instead of continuing straight; what we had accidentally done was basically start the loop all over again!

Not sure how we missed it, but I had to apologize to Fizz for getting upset with how she had been acting, when all along she was trying to tell us we were going the wrong way. Let me repeat yesterday's lesson: Good horses don't do bad things for no reason 😉 Well- the itchy head is a bad habit, but I'm pretty confident that the rest of the behavior was just her telling us loudly that we were wrong. We had a good laugh imagining her answering my question, "Why are you being so bad right now?" with her own question: "Why are you being so stupid right now?" :LOL:
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The rest of the ride home was uneventful-we split off to head our separate ways with a couple of miles to go. We had to dodge a little bit of traffic crossing the paved road to get home, but when we went passed the house with the wild dogs they were locked up inside so we didn't have any more issues. We could hear Izzy and Maggie calling to Fizz before we could see the house, so I asked her to please keep it together and not buck me off and run for home- she managed to keep it together though she returned one of those loud, full body neighs that vibrates you while you're in the saddle.

That's our longest ride so far this year- 11.5 miles. Took us almost exactly 3 hours to do 11 miles. Ideally we'll get to doing 15 miles in three hours, so...more work to do.
 

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I found myself realizing that same thing this year. Often I push my horse to where I believe the footing is best. One of our long runs (I went on 3 long runs with my aunt while we prepared for the half marathon) was terrible hard in a very bad storm. My feet would slip right out on every stride, and I was often shocked at my misperception of what was easy and what was hard. I decided to allow Cash more freedom in his paths.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,557 ·
Beautiful day yesterday so we went for a quick lunchtime ride to the overlook and back. We didn't have a lot of time so I almost didn't go, but I'm glad I managed to fit it in.
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Still working on shedding out the black coat, but looking more golden by the day.
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She has such a massive forelock I often forget about the cute little white star she has ⭐
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Discussion Starter · #3,559 ·
Another cloudless day, so we did the 4 mile loop (all roads). I actually had to put sunscreen on to go out-my pasty white skin is not conditioned for that ☀ The bugs are also back with a vengeance-thank goodness for @knightrider’s fly whisk!
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We continue to work on not blasting through the 4-way intersection and stopped to munch on dandelion greens-Fizz is very gourmet like that you know 🥗
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