By Jennifer Broome, QK Owner
Lots to report from the month of January! After the hectic holiday season which continues well into January at the kennel, I made it through another busy Christmas season somewhat sickened with a bad cold, exhaustion, and eagerness to be moving into 2018. For the first two weeks of January I raced to get ready for my winter trip. This included health records and up to date shots for dogs and horses, packing, and lots of preparation and meetings with my incredible QK Team to set the groundwork for plans for the next three months. The 2 weeks flew by and before you know it I am on the road, trailering a horse and multiple dogs with Jason close behind in his truck with my Polaris, lots of gear, and more dogs.
After thankfully another uneventful trip (that is what you hope for trailering such big rigs with animals!) we arrived in north Florida on Sunday January 14th at 3pm after about 23 hours behind the wheel over 2 days of hauling. Jason stays for the week helping me to settle in, get hay and supplies for me and the animals as well as helping to any ‘honey do’s’ on the farm where I stay. The days include visits to Lowes, Tractor Supply, Target, Kohls, Publix, Sam’s Club and Standlee Hay Company. The move in process is exhausting! Five days later Jason is back on the road (he drove straight back to CT) and I head out on my own adventure. My plans for the day were to meet up with my horse trainer and new horse to ride at The Continental Field Trial, a prestigious event that has been going on for 123 years with nearly 80 of the past years taking place at the Dixie Plantation in Dixie Florida. I started the trial riding in the gallery on a more seasoned horse for about 1.5 hours, and then switched with my trainer and got to ride my new boy Wrangler for another 2 hours! What an incredible experience and an honor to be part of this event. We covered nearly 15 miles following 3 different braces watching the top pointing dog handlers and dogs in the country.
Caitlin Lee (my trainer) Left, Jennifer on Wrangler Right
Jennifer and Wrangler BOTH smiling!
After a fun Southern style lunch I headed back to Madison to pack up and head out for my weekend horse camping adventure with my other horse Tex that I trailered down from CT. Horse camping means time alone with my animals to chill out, exercise, decompress, trail ride, eat fabulous Dutch oven campfire food and enjoy the outdoors. What a great start to my 2018 winter!
Horse and dog camp
After 2 ½ days and 2 nights camping, I am back to my cozy apartment ready to (watch football, GO PATRIOTS!) and continue my chores and settle in. The upcoming week proved a little bit challenging with some minor truck repair issues (silly check engine light!) and then unfortunately some health issues. It was a rough week. But, no time for the sick or weary, I plugged along with last minute planning for the Rick Smith Seminar that I was hosting in Southeast Georgia. Rick arrived Friday and after lunch, we visited some of the retriever groups and then headed over to our grounds to set up. Thanks to Jason I had several newly constructed dog obstacles and Rick brought some of his along too, and we quickly had a plan and our area ready.
Rick Smith at Boston, Georgia clinic
Saturday and Sunday we hosted about 12 people with their retrievers and bird dogs for a fun filled and educational seminar. The days were long and grueling, but we had a great time and the participants learned a ton and got lots of dog work in. By Sunday night Rick and I packed up our gear until after 6 pm, said our goodbyes and I was off to rest up!
The last week in January, the beginning of my 3rd week in Florida was once again filled with work, dog training, horses and the start of my exercise program. I was finally feeling better, rested up and happy to have the seminar behind me. I had an incredible invite from a field trial handler to train with him on a magnificent private plantation and ride along to watch him expertly handle some young dogs on wild quail. Thankfully I was on one of his very experienced horses as we loped all over the planation for hours. I could not have wiped the giddy smile off my face if a tried! If that wasn’t enough, next I got the opportunity to run my GSP Doozy with 2 of his highly Nationally titled dogs. It was simply a dream come true. Wow. Speechless.
My GSP Doozy backing a pointer on a covey of wild quail
After a busy morning in the saddle working dogs, I headed over to my horse trainer’s farm to meet up and ride Wrangler again as we work on our new partnership and bond. He is not even 3 years old, so we both have a lot to learn together. A truly fabulous day afield with dogs and horses!
First selfie on Wrangler!
My time here flies by. I never sit still and I make lists every day to see how much I can possibly fit in. A very large portion of that time I am in my home office answering emails, having meetings, coaching and mentoring my fabulous QK Team back home, and working on the many aspects of QK that help it to run smoothly. Today I have already had 2 kennel meetings with my team, another business phone call with Rick Smith, I am finishing my newsletter to get it sent out this week, I worked out to P90x3, I did physical therapy with my dog Treat recovering from surgery, I did yard work with 2 other dogs, I ordered Quail (need to go pick up at 3) and I need to tackle another several office items before I pick up the quail, do more yard work with the dogs, take a nice trial ride on Tex, and then make a healthy dinner. My Garmin step meter averages 12,000 to 15,000 steps a day, and on the riding days I have topped 40,000 steps! Gotta go, I’ve got work to do!