Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why Blessi Has a 34 Pound Bag of Dog Food on His Back

As some of you may know, Blessi has been accepted into the All Breed Competition to be held March 22-25, 2012, in Albany, OR. My dressage instructor Dannelle is going to ride him in this 4- day competition. So Dannelle is in charge of furthering his gait and dressage training and I have taken it upon myself to further Blessi’s training in potentially scary things.
Someone told me that last year at this event the riders were expected to dismount, throw a 30-lb sandbag (simulating an injured calf) on the horse’s back, lead the horse some 30 feet, remove sandbag, remount,and continue with the competition. Several of the horses seemed to have problems with this activity. I had just picked up 34 lbs (15.4 kgs) of dog food for my dog Ollie so I decided to stop at the stable on the way home and work on this obstacle with Blessi. I wanted to take some pictures to show Dannelle how well Blessi did with strange and unusual activities.
Jordan the dog is really interested in
that dog food served a la cheval

When I get to the stable, I park my truck at the barn rather than the arena. Rena the stable owner is at the barn and I ask her to take some pictures. If things go disastrously wrong, nobody ever needs to see the pictures—right? 
I put on Blessi’s halter and lead line and lead him to the truck. I know that Rena wants to feed the horses since it is dinner time so I decide to practice this activity in the parking area rather than the arena. After all, what could go wrong?
So I lead Blessi to the back of the truck, open the truck bed cover, and lower the tail gate. Blessi is very interested in the contents in the truck bed since there are leftover hay and interesting containers to explore. I pick up the dog food bag and let him sniff the bag. Blessi definitely knows it contains food of some kind and wants to investigate. Enticed by the interesting smell, the barn dog Jordon also comes over. Well the bag is heavy, Blessi seems quite calm about the process, so I decide to fling the bag on Blessi’s bare back. What’s the worst that can happen? 
Right after the bag fell--Blessi really wants to get that bag
I put the bag on Blessi’s back and he stands quite nicely. I lead him around a bit and Rena snaps some pictures. It is really hard to keep a 30 lb bag of dog food stabilized on the back of a horse and lead the horse at the same time but I manage. We stop to pose for a few final pictures. And guess what, the bag slips off Blessi’s back and crashes to the ground. Blessi doesn’t move a muscle. Rena and I laugh. I am very surprised that the bag doesn’t break. But I have some pictures and what else could happen?

Hole that Blessi chewed through bag-
-he did not read the directions for how to open!
So Rena gives me the camera and I put the dog food in the back of the truck. As I turn around to move some things in truck bed, Blessi reaches into the bed of the truck, grabs the bag of dog food in his teeth, and lifts the bag out of the truck. He proceeds to shake the bag. I must confess that I am so surprised by a 34 lb bag flying by my ear that I make a noise--the closest word I can come up with is screech. Or would that be shriek? I have visions of the bag bursting and $30 of dog food flying all over the place. I kick myself for not getting a bag of bark mulch or a real sand bag or something not so fragile. Not at all perturbed, Blessi continues shaking the bag but it slips through his teeth and hits the ground. Amazingly, it does not break. Rena and I burst out laughing and wish that we had kept the camera out. As I lead Blessi back to his stall, he starts licking and chewing. I have to stop and remove some bag remnants from his mouth. Rena comments that Blessi and I are a good match—I am not sure if that is a compliment to me but I am sure that it is a compliment to Blessi.

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