Category Archives: Just for Fun

Catching up….

I just don’t know what happened to March. It flew by and was very busy. I attended an out of town show, have been training CB in agility and doing a lot of Pilates among other things things. Even though I’ve been busy CB and Kona have still been getting their walks in and we’ve finally had some nicer weather.
Here are some things that have kept us busy of the last couple of weeks in no specific order….

March has had mostly miserable weather but it finally has started to warm up and we’ve been able to get out for some of our longer walks. We also explored a couple new parks; Bowmont and Baker.

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As well as hitting our favorite place for walks – Edworthy Park. The ice formations are pretty awesome right now and make for some interesting photo ops.

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A couple weeks ago I went to a show in Camrose and we drove out from Calgary during treacherous road conditions. I went to help a friend show some poms and her friends chihuahua’s and also entered Kona in 1 Pre-Novice trial and 2 Rally Advanced runs to try and finish his Rally Advanced Title. I didn’t do so great in the conformation ring with the Chi but did better with my friends pom (Remmie) even though I didn’t get any points on him.

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This is my friend’s pom puppy Remmie. Pretty cute little guy.

Kona did well and got his first Q in Pre-Novice and got his 3rd leg in Rally Advanced for that Title and is now Firesprite’s Dark N Bold RA.  Woohoo! It was a little too close for comfort running between the rings and on the Saturday I ran from the Rally ring to the conformation ring with about 5 minutes to spare. Missed getting Kona’s Q ribbon from the judge (and third in class ribbon) as I left when right as we finished our run but I was able to pick it up after we were all done.

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I didn’t get a picture of Kona in the Rally ring but here he is on the grooming table getting a little touch up before his title photo with the judge.

Last weekend it was really nice and I found a Canine Good Neighbor test to take Kona too – he pass it easily. It was a lot less stressful for me doing the test with Kona than it was with CB last year, I guess my confidence has also improved over the last year.

CB and I have been spending our training time together focusing on agility. I’ve done 3 agility training seminars this month and one of them was with Kathy Keats. It was interesting to do her seminar with a faster dog this year. One of the skills she helped me with was pulling CB through threadles. His speed has picked up but we slow down when the handling is a little more complicated such as where I need to wrap him or bring him through a threadle.

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Kathy has such great insight and the time I got to spend with her was even more amazing than it was last year. I have a better idea of where I need to be to pull CB through a threadle quickly. It was so worth the time and Kathy and a couple other participants remarked how much quicker we were than last year.

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This weekend is going to be a little busy. My agility club is hosting a two day trial and it’s also the weekend of the Red Deer show. I love the Red Deer show, CB has usually done well there but the agility trial is my priority. He only needs one Rally Excellent Q for his title so I entered him in the Friday in Red Deer and then we’re in my club’s agility trial Saturday and Sunday. And I’m also helping in conformation and showing Remmie again. Fortunately the show schedule is working out much better than it did in Camrose as I’m in one ring in the morning and the other in the afternoon.

This weekend is probably going to be too much for CB though with how long we’ll be in Red Deer. I think it might be too much for me…. The weather is supposed to be crap too so the drive to Red Deer might not be that great. Oh and did I mention that I’ve been focusing on agility? When we’ve been practicing our Q ratio has been about 50% with Rally at this level. Oh well, we’ll see how it goes and I hope he (and me!) won’t be too tired on Saturday when we are in the barn.

Agility Demo Day

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The agility club I recently joined participated in the Okotoks Agricultural Society Winterfest and put on an agility demo for the society. It was a nice little event with some great demonstrations. The cutting horse demo was with a Bison. I’ve seen demonstrations with cattle before but for some reason I think the Bison was quicker than the cows I’ve seen.

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The local fire department was there as well and who doesn’t love meeting a fireman? Doesn’t CB look like he’s ready to drive the firetruck?

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The trick riding demonstration was incredible. This young girl is only 10 years old but she was awesome on her horse and did some pretty cool tricks. I have to say she was the star of the show, what a brave girl. The lighting was poor so it was hard to get a good picture without using flash and I didn’t want to spook her horse. I do kind of like the blurry picture because you can tell she’s riding fast.

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There were goats, bunnies and toy pigs for big and little kids to meet as well as pony rides. I found the toy pig really fascinating never having seen one before. The one pictured below is nearly full grown and weighs about 20 pounds even though he’s CB’s size. They can get quite a bit bigger at 60 pounds but this guy is going to stay little. CB wasn’t so sure what to think of the pig though.

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It turned out to be so much fun and the crowd loved watching the dogs. Some of our members have very experienced dogs that just wowed everyone with their speed and skill in the weave poles. But the crowd cheered the loudest for our more novice agility dogs like CB and hooped and hollered as he went along the course we set up.

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I was too busy to get many pictures of the demo but here’s a few of our dogs. We all had a great time and CB was really tired by the end of the day. Thanks so much to the Okotoks Agricultural Society for inviting us to participate. It was a blast.

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XOXO

It’s Valentine’s day and CB and Kona hope you have someone soft and loving to cuddle with today. I know I do.

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Resolutions

Have you made any resolutions for the New Year? I haven’t and I generally don’t. I was thinking that I might like to participate in a challenge and was a little tempted by a couple.

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Lexi and Daizy getting a little breather so I could take a photo for their owners.

The first challenge I considered is Jessica’s from You Did What With Your Wiener. She is doing a 30/30 challenge to walk 30 minutes a day for 30 days starting Jan 1. I thought about it but then figured it would be cheating a little since CB and Kona get a 1 hour walk nearly every day and that I also hit the gym/studio for cardio, yoga and pilates classes 4 times a week.

Today for example I did two 35 minute walks, I split the dogs up into two groups so that I could go faster with a smaller group of dogs. I generally walk a pace of 5km/hour and find it a little tricky to keep that pace up with 5 dogs by myself and keep everyone on the safe side of the street (away from traffic). Lexi and Daizy were my first victims and they did 2.88km with me. I love my walktracker app, I just wish I didn’t forget to turn it off when the walk is done most times.

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I found out from Something Wagging this way Comes that January is Dog Training month and that I could participate in a 30 day dog training challenge. Again since CB and Kona trial it would be silly to not to keep up with training, plus we do classes each week and I work on some skill each day even if it’s just for a couple of minutes.

So pretty quickly I lost my resolve to make a new resolution for something. But I do realize that there is something that I’ve not kept up as well as I should. I do a good job of doing Kona’s leg stretches and the mobility at the elbow of the leg he broke has improved over 100 degrees. But that is all that I’ve done. I haven’t kept up the other exercises and I haven’t been keeping up with CB’s conditioning exercises as I should.  So perhaps instead of making a resolution I promise that I will spend the 5mins that each of them need 3 times / week to make sure they stay safe and healthy so that I can play with them in the ring.

Happy Holidays

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas from CB and Kona.

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Jumpingpound West Loop

Early in November we joined a group of friends to go and hike Jumpingpound Loop Trail with our dogs. We did the west arm which is approximately 5km in length (the full loop is about 9km) and we took Kona along with us.

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Jumpingpound Loop Trail is part of the Sibbald Recreational Area and can be accessed by driving west on the Trans-Canada highway and exiting onto Highway 68 (Sibbald Creek Trail). The trail can be accessed from the Pine Grove Day Use Area – the gate was closed for the season so we parked on the road and hiked in to access the trail.

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Map of Sibbald Creek recreational area from http://www.albertaparks.ca

As is typical of this time of the year the trail conditions were quite icy from an early snowfall followed by some milder weather and a freeze. The hike took us a little bit longer than usual for this length of hike due to how icy the conditions were, just under an hour and a half. There is a great view of Moose Mountain from the trail and it’s a relatively easy hike despite the conditions that day.

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This trail is popular with hikers all year and mountain bikers in non-snow conditions. Either the full or partial loop would be a nice snowshoe on days where there was enough snowfall. Just a reminder – bear encounters are still possible this time of year so you should be prepared, especially if you are with a smaller group. We found the trail really slippery, even with good winter hiking boots I would recommend making sure you have good traction system on your shoes or thrown in your pack just in case. Seeing one of our friends slip and fall on their dog got us off our rear and we each bought a pair of ICEtrekkers the next day. A fall on a dog as small as a pom could be deadly, we’re lucky it wasn’t us.

Here are a few more photos from our hike on Jumpingpound Loop.

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Wordless Wednesday – Happy Halloween

 

CB and Kona dressed up as each other. Friends call CB the little Lion and we call Kona buzz because he buzzes when he plays.

Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park

Last weekend we grabbed the pom crew and checked out Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. It’s one of the newest Provincial Parks and it’s quick to get to taking the 1A out of Calgary toward Cochrane. It still is a working ranch and I was really hoping to see some cows but we had no luck with that.

We also had some pom visitors (Daizy and Lexi) for the night and thought this would be a good way to get everyone good and tired. We did part of Yodel loop and then tied in to the paved pathway to see some of the old buildings from when the town of Glenbow was in this valley.

The views of the valley were quite moody with the clouds. In all we walked 5km and had about 400m of elevation gain, which I found surprising to discover since it didn’t look like there was that much incline while we were walking. Daizy and Lexi were pretty zonked after this, they don’t get out to do as much hiking as CB and Kona do.

We spent about 2 hours here as we took plenty of stops for photographs. I used my kit lens and since it was overcast my photos did turn out quite dark. My attempt to photograph the crew was a major fail as I just couldn’t get in enough light quick enough for the poms to not be blurry. There’s also some weird spot on my lens that I just can’t clean off. It’s not in the camera as it doesn’t show up in photos taken with my telephoto or the lens I rented a couple weeks ago. I hate to admit it but my husbands iPhone took a better photo. I’ve attached both photos for comparison. I guess it’s time to get serious about a new lens.

Fullerton Loop – March of the Poms

On Sunday we were to meet a group to hike the Fullerton Loop trail in the Elbow River Valley of K-country. The meeting point was in the Allen Bill Pond day use area parking lot. We didn’t realize that there was current construction and some new traffic lights on Highway 8, so unfortunately we arrived at the meeting spot a couple minutes late. But just in time to see the last person in the group go out of sight on the trail.

Allen Bill Pond day use, Fullerton Loop and Elbow Falls annotated with yellow stars. Map from http://www.albertaparks.ca

No worries we thought, we can hustle, and with it being a larger hiking group, all with dogs, we should be able to catch up to the back. CB and Kona are pretty good walkers and can easily keep up with our pace. So we started off on Elbow Trail from the east end of the parking lot. Not far on Fullerton Loop Trail you have a choice. Go left or go right. We chose right. The group chose left. We discovered this after about a half an hour of an all-out assault on the trail; we came upon a couple that had left before the big group, and no, they hadn’t seen them come this way.

Once we realized we were going to be meeting the group somewhere along the trail, we slowed down to a more comfortable pace and I was able to take some photos of the dogs and the lovely fall leaves.

This is a heavily treed trail but there are two look out points and just as we got to the first lookout going counter clockwise on the trail we finally came upon the group. We didn’t linger long and joined them on the return instead of continuing along the west arm of the trail.

From the parking lot and back the hike is approximately 7kms with 200 m of elevation gain. We left the parking lot at about 9:38am and we were back at 11:10am. Pretty quick and well under the three hours that was planned for the hike. Overall this is an easy hike with good terrain (hard-pack dirt) for the dogs and can be done quickly in a time crunch. It’s a busier trail on weekends but I don’t think that’s a bad thing when the bears are still fattening up for the winter.

Since we were done so early we decided to visit Elbow falls to eat our lunch and take some pictures. I had rented a Canon EF 15-85mm lens for the weekend and thought this would be a good spot to test it out since I didn’t get very good views on Fullerton Loop.  I’m looking to upgrade the kit lens that came with my Canon Rebel now that I’ve been using the telephoto I bought in the spring. The Canon EF 15-85mm is a little heavier than my lens but I was immediately much happier with the quality of photos it was taking.

I just love coming to the Falls but this place is super busy on nice days no matter the time of year. Sunday was no exception and the trails around the falls were loaded with people.

The most interesting thing about this area is that just on the south side of the Elbow River is the McLean Creek off-road recreational area. It’s so neat to see the quadders and dirt bikers hanging out on the rocks of the falls, seemingly so close that you could almost reach out to shake hands. I almost felt like I was spying on family time while testing out the zoom on my rented lens. From the photo’s I took it looks like we weren’t the only ones to have great time out in the Elbow Valley.

Every time I come out this way I always say to myself that I need to come out here more. It’s so close to the city and you really can be out and back in a few hours depending on what trail you choose to do. A bonus is that the weather this fall has been amazing so far; hope it stays that way at least for a few more weeks.
 
*  For more information on the trails in the Bragg Creek/Elbow Valley area of Kananaskis Country check out the Alberta Parks website. You’ll find out which trails allow bikes and horses and which are for hikers only including information on distances, trail difficulty and estimated hiking time. Dogs are allowed on-leash on all the trails in the Provincial Park. Don’t forget that bear’s frequent this area so make sure to come prepared.
 

It’s been a while!

Don’t you love summertime? The weather is great and it’s a good time to get away, which is exactly what we did. The pups got to stay with friends that have poms and we got to go to Greece and do a little island hopping and enjoy the sun.

Now that we’re back it’s time to get back to blogging and with the pups both back into training classes there will be lots to blog about. But in the meantime enjoy these photos of the various wildlife we encountered on our trip.