22 September 2011

A rambling post with pictures.

Apparently we now live in a rain forest. I had no idea...  it's mildly rainy again today, after a brief misty period yesterday. I went for a walk this morning anyway - I've been getting up around 6:30am so I can go for a walk at Fair Hill every morning before it gets warm and before it gets popular. Fair Hill is fun to walk around. There is a carriage trail that is gravel/packed dirt, so it's never muddy even when it's been raining. And the park is huge, and the gravel/dirt trail circles the entire thing and has several other branches, so I can go walking in a different place and still not get my feet wet (since I have bad luck with waterproof shoes either not fitting well or not staying waterproof for very long).

Monday I took Strafe out with Kiba for his first ever long walk at Fair Hill. Why wait so long? Well, because i don't believe it's good for youngsters to go for long walks before they've grown. I try to keep working and walking sessions fairly short till they're pretty mature. He's been going on 15 minute walks off-leash around our property for a long time now, so he's certainly up for a 45-60min leash walk at the park. Also, my personal preference is not to walk more than 2 dogs at a time, and usually when I go I take whatever dogs are currently preparing for trials - so it's usually a mix of Drifter, Kiba and/or Seri, in any variety of combinations. Right now Drifter is still laid up for his stitches so he was out, and i figured it was time to get Strafe out!

Here's a pic from his very first Fair Hill outing:

He was a good boy, didn't pull in his harness, and only barked at one thing - a big unusual looking tree stump, which he walked right up and sniffed and quickly decided was no big deal. He also did his grumbley growley sound when we saw deer, but they ran off so he didn't get to sniff them;)
We walked about 45 minutes or so.

Monday afternoon I went to the New Balance store and bought some Minimus shoes to wear for non-running activities to try to strengthen my ankles and feet. So far I'm happy with them, although they get wet very quickly if the grass is even slightly damp.

For now I will continue to wear my Mizuno's for serious running, as they really support my flat feet and weak ankles very well, and I just feel faster and more agile in them. I did have the Minimus on when I did some dogwalk with Strafe the other day and a bit of running in them didn't seem to hurt...

Tuesday I took another Fair Hill walk, this time with Seri and Kiba, and went to a different parking area. This was the central area for the Fair Hill International Event every fall. It's always fun to see the horse jumps and sometimes pose the dogs on them. The grass was pretty wet though so we only posed on this cute bench which overlooks the Jumper ring, used for Day 3 of the Eventing.


Kiba is a willing subject for these but you can see from her face in both photos that she's starting to get a little annoyed . . . Seri on the other hand, is pretty much always happy!

Here is a really cool water jump for the cross country phase of the Event, just pretend they're in the water instead of in mud...



Another neat thing about Fair Hill is that it used to be privately owned, and used for fox hunting, so they have all these neat ways to get over and under the roads that run through the property. Lots of neat bridges and tunnels, all large enough for horses to fit through!

A tunnel under the road:


Aren't you jealous we get to walk here all the time? I didn't go often in the summer because it just got warm too quickly, but now that Nationals is approaching I'm trying to ramp up the fitness level for both me and my dogs until about a week or so before the event, at which point we'll level off a bit and just do maintenance so my dogs will be fit but not sore going in!

Drifter's neuter incision is pretty much healed, and his armpit stitches are looking MUCH better, swelling mostly gone, not pink or red anymore. Yay!

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