May 182014

Doranna & DuncanThis is Doranna Durgin’s WordPlay Blog. I’m glad you’re here–whether it’s to learn more about my books, or chat about dogs, horses, and reading.

On Fridays, The Write Horse usually stops by for life with horse training, written by Patty Wilber.

If you’d like to reach my Webstead, you can clicky on that link you just passed. Right there. Behind you! The one that said Webstead.

PS although I use a plug-in that allows commenters to sign in, it’s easy to post as a guest and guest commenters are welcome!

Feb 272015

By Patty Wilber

I sold a horse and I bought a horse this month.


Lacey: Sold to Texas!

Lacey: Sold to Texas!

Bpught from Texas: Surfboard

Bought from Texas: Surfboard

And Oh the Paperwork!

Man with messy desk Stock Photography

Health certificate: Must have this to travel out of state.  They are only good for a few weeks and they need to specify a particular destination.

Coggins Test: Gotta have this to travel out of state, too.  The Coggins test is to determine if the horse has Equine Infectious Anemia.  This is something your really don’t want your horse to have.  EIA  is caused by an virus that embeds itself in the DNA of the horse’s white blood cells–much like HIV does in humans– so once infected, it is for life.

Horses with EIA must then  be quarantined for life.  They cannot travel. Click this link for more information –kind of an interesting disease.

Lacey got a Coggins to go to Texas, Surfboard got one to come to New Mexico and LT got one because she is going to be showing Reined Cow Horse in Texas next month.

Heath Certs and Coggins are a pain, yes, but also important so that diseased animals are not transported across state lines or to big events.

Registration papers:  When a registered horse is sold, the seller must give the new owner the original registration certificate(s).  Lacey is American Buckskin Horse Association and American Quarter Horse Association registered.

THEN the seller must also fill out transfer paper work .  The buyer then fills in their part and sends it all in with the requisite fees.

Surfboard only has Appaloosa registration, so only one set of transfer papers and fees to submit!

Indy had only Appaloosa registration, too, but she lacks two of the four Appy color characteristics.  She has white sclera and striped hooves, but no mottled skin (though I think she might be getting some on her nether regions) and no spots, so I had to get a DNA test to verify her Appy parentage and pay a bunch more money to buy a performance permit.

Her papers say “Performance Permit Issued” across the top. If that mottling mottles more, I can get her status changed to full registration (but I bet I don’t get my money back!)  The advantage of full registration is that I would have more choices if I decide to breed her.

Next, I need to call the NM Livestock Board and get “Travel Papers”, officially called a “Horse Transportation Permit”.  They cost about 35 dollars per horse and are valid for the life of the horse or until sold.  Then, the new owner has to get new papers.

These are needed if the horse ever travels out of the NM  Livestock District in which it resides.  Except, good luck reading the Livestock District Boundaries map. I don’t think anyone really knows the exact district boundaries!!

LT is heading to a Texas show in a few weeks, so I will need to fill out and mail in her show fees, stall fees, cattle fees, office fees, show insurance fees and RV parking space fees (for me!).  And make sure they have her Appy registration papers, her negative Coggins, her National Reined Cow Horse Permit, my NRCHA membership number and her health certificate.

I have a notebook in the house full of  certificates and forms and I have duplicates in a notebook the trailer in case I ever get stopped or need these at shows.

Geez.  Look at the time! I better stop writing this right now and finish Surfboard’s transfer paper work and LT’s show paper work.

It might take me a few hours! (and 500 bucks) LOL!



Feb 232015
Not your average glamour shot.  (Stacy Keach with Miss P, from the Westminster site.)

Not your average glamour shot. (Stacy Keach with Miss P, from the Westminster site.)

So, hey!  Miss P, Beagle Beautiful, won the Westminster last week!

Beagle Beagle Beagle!

She is a lovely bitch, with personality and elegance and the most beautiful expression.  And Beagle owners everywhere are bouncing around in the Land of SQUEEE!  Including me!


There’s a thing that happens when a breed is spotlighted this way, especially a breed that often invokes fond childhood memories.  Or has Snoopy as an unofficial spokesperson.  Or has that face and those eyes.

People want them.

Which is actually very cool.  I certainly want them.  I think Beagles are a wonderful breed, or I wouldn’t currently have three of them while already looking forward to the next.  (Many of us are in the “can’t have just one” category.)

Miss P at the Ronald McDonald house, from the Westminster site.  I mean...AWWWW...

Miss P at the Ronald McDonald house, from the Westminster site. I mean…AWWWW…

But there’s a concern, too.  And that’s that people will base their desire for a Beagle on unrealistic expectations–the trained show dog they see on TV vs. a puppy or adult-adopted dog.

“We expect a family dog” is entirely realistic if you mean “a pack dog who needs family time and is generally good with kids.”

“We expect a dog who slides into the family gestalt as an autotrained pet without purpose-bred behaviors” isn’t going to end happy.

So the message goes out from those who know:  Maybe you want a Beagle, maybe you don’t.  Do your research.  Understand the breed.  Don’t fall in love with Miss P’s amazing expression and think that’s what you’re getting out of the box.

But, I say.

Big freaking BUT.

Sometimes the message goes awry.

This past week I’ve seen a veritable stream of Beagle-bashing commentary.  Such commenters extoll the breed as universally stupid.  Problematic.  Harder to train than a chair.*

*Yes, really.  I’m not offering that trainer any more attention by linking, though.

Could be that those folks are actually trying to do the Beagle world a favor.  You know, beware the Beagle Puppy Rush* and all that.

*Any breed puppy rush: the resulting mess of poorly bred and discarded dogs in the wake of a surge of popularity due to a movie or public event involving that breed.

Even if so, I’m not buying it.

It’s not that I don’t share the concerns about a Beagle Puppy Rush.  It saddens me to think of any Beagle with a family who considers their dog stupid instead of delighting in the nature of the breed’s intelligence.

It really saddens me to see spindly-legged little creatures with Precious Moments features for sale on one of those Internet sites.

But I guess what I’m saying is this:

I feel it’s perfectly possible to celebrate and admire a breed for what it is, and still make it clear that it’s not the best breed for everyone.  To urge people to do their research without vilifying dogs along the way.

There’s a big difference between “This breed is too [bashing words]” and “This breed’s [temperament/physical nature] isn’t something that works with my life.”  There’s no need bash the breed along the way.  There’s no need to bash anything just because it’s not our preference.

So, Beagles.  (In my experience, that is.)

Beagles were bred to chase rabbits, and that takes independence, persistence, a nose, and vision tuned to movement.  Along the way they acquired a sense of play and curiosity to rival any cat.  They’re pack dogs, so they mostly get along.

As part of that independence, persistence, and curiosity, most of them will constantly test their boundaries.  Some of them will do this in a passive aggressive way that makes you feel like a big poothead for enforcing the rules*, but best you not fall for that.

*Of course, if you enforce rules with no attempt to train them first, then you are indeed a big poothead, and they know that, too.

As far as a Beagle is concerned, every option is a possibility until you convince them that it’s not.  And then sometimes until you move the chairs out of the kitchen so it just really isn’t.

The bottom line is that the merry little hound makes a wonderful partner.  But those who want an easy companion/autopilot dog probably shouldn’t get one.

In the meantime, “A chair is easier to train than a Beagle” is just rude.  Whereas “A Beagle has a more persistent intelligence than you may want to deal with” is a lovely truth that will aim a prospective owner in a better direction for that particular family.

(And to the woman who never discerned half a Beagle lifetime of clandestine pottying behind the couch, or who walked a slipped collar for several blocks without realizing she was without her dog?  Really?  You’re blaming the dog for those things?)­­

Know what you want, get what suits you, and don’t breed-bash along the way.  So there.


Feb 172015
Even I have to admit this is a pretty good Face of Innocence.

Even I have to admit this is a pretty good Face of Innocence.

Ohh, it seems so easy to see wherein lies the FAIL.

The dog is trained.  The dog is proofed. The dog is in a familiar environment.

So he should know better.

And thus Dart Beagle recently went to obedience drill and wouldn’t. 

He flopped around when asked to sit for the stay exercises.  He got up.  He got up.  He got up. Continue reading »

Feb 132015

By Patty Wilber

LT superivises Indy's first trim.

LT supervises Indy’s first trim.

Indy’s been here for two months.  I wrote about Halter Training Jan. 16, and now we are moving on to (finally) her first trim.

She was probably ready a little sooner, but it is nice to have the whole barn on the same schedule so, I waited.

My shoer, Kelly Robinson, caught her for her trim with no fuss from her and no help from me. Continue reading »

Feb 102015

by Doranna

c.alpha.rising.72Oh right.  It’s an author blog.  And occasionally books become available!  I should maybe mention that?

This month, the book is Alpha Rising Very cool cover.  Love the UK version even more!

(Except I’ve got to say…the back cover copy is NOT MY FAULT.  And it doesn’t reflect the book’s nature, or the hero’s nature.  I am so full of headdesk that I’ve actually had to clear surfaces.) Continue reading »

Jan 302015

By Patty Wilber

Well, this might be a more entertaining read if it were about how to extract your equine from a peat bog on a trail in Ireland.  But, NO!  This blog is about slogging around the bog that my horse facilities became after last Thursday’s foot of snow that went to melting almost immediately.

We were nearing recovery this Thursday, but now it is snowing again…

Last Thursday:  Woke up to a foot of snow.

Last Friday:  It warmed right up, so the snow was half gone by noon.  That left 4-6 inches on the arena  The quickest way to get rid of snow besides using a snow plow and moving it off to the side, is to drag so the sand churns on top of the snow and the dark collects the heat of the sun. Melt City.

Half as snowy as the day before...

Half as snowy as the day before…

Continue reading »

Jan 272015, it takes years to unravel a training issue.  Sometimes…a decade!

I’ve been running ConneryBeagle in agility for…well, nearly that decade (although he obviously wasn’t competing in those first training months).  He’s almost eleven, winding down his career, and basically has the skills he’s going to have.  I keep him tuned up, but am not introducing new agility things.

That doesn’t mean that Connery doesn’t introduce new challenges to me. Continue reading »