Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Therapeutic progress

When I dream, I dream big so it should come as no surprise that the wheelchair and ramp weren't the only items in my "therapeutic riding box."  There was also this original finish German Sheperd who I'd bought with the intention of turning into a guide dog.
The problem in those days was reference material.  I had only the vaguest idea how a guide dog harness was constructed, and good clear pictures were few and far between.
Fortunately, that is no longer an issue.
A quick google search yielded more photos than even I could possibly use.  Hurray!
This morning I broke out the tackmaking tools and this is the happy result.
Oh, that was fun!
(Note:  Roz the guide dog sustained a lot of paint damage
during her time in storage.  New paintwork is still very much in progress)
Nearly ten years in the making, here's my guide dog standing on the ramp watching her owner ride a horse! 
As an aside, I also spent a bit of time fixing the wheelchair.  I didn't know how to remove the WWF logo when I bought it, but my bag of tricks is a lot deeper these days. 
There's still some work to do to move this from good intentions performance to actual live show performance.  Despite that, I am optimistic that this will in fact make it to the show ring sometime in 2012!

16 comments:

  1. Very nice harness! Looks just like the real thing. One thing I might add is a collar and leash. A friend of mine who uses a guide dog always has a regular collar on the dog with a short leather leash that matches the harness. When the dog is working, he puts the loop of the leash around his left wrist (the hand that holds the harness). That way he can let go of the harness to let the dog sit, or if he needs to use both hands - but the dog is still always in reach. The leash should be just long enough to reach. Though, I suppose for a little girl it could be a pretty leash instead!

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  2. I love that you are doing this for a model show. When I was a kid my mom and I worked in Therapeutic riding on weekends and summers. It's so great for the kids! I just wish that Medicare (Medicaid?) would see the benefit of it...a lot of programs are ending since the participants no longer have it paid for. Such a shame! Maybe this can be one small way to advocate for them!!

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  3. Thank you SO MUCH for that information, Atomic Stables! I did wonder if I should make a collar and leash but was too lazy to google that. Now I don't have to!

    BTW--the dog harness is set up for an adult doll. I figure the youth rider has enough problems with missing limbs that she doesn't need to be blind, too. LOL.

    Christie--I won't be the first hobbyist to put a therapeutic riding scene on the show table. Anne Field has a really good set-up (you can see a picture of it here). Also, another hobby friend from Washington just sent me a picture of her therapeutic riding entry. Like Anne's, it includes a slow moving horse, a handler, a side-walker and a rider. I don't think I've seen anyone use a ramp, though.

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    1. My dog was trained to void only off harness. A quick release on the belly strap would be good .

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  4. I remember seeing one with a ramp, I think it belonged to Robin Nere but could be wrong. It used her Ballycor resin and I think I saw it on TOPSA

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  5. Well, that wouldn't surprise me. I judged Robin's photos years ago at a MEPSA show and they were OUTSTANDING. She is the complete package with great tack,props and dolls, excellent photography and lots of interesting, well-executed ideas. Nice models, too!

    :)

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  6. That looks so nice!!
    Maybe you could add something like this: http://www.medi-cheval.de/html/blindenhunde.html
    http://www.ex-press.ch/detailimage135796_Bild_MIK20080604_003.jpg

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  7. You're welcome! (I did wonder whether the guide dog was for the girl or not...some wheelchair users do use service animals. Perhaps a monkey to pick things up would be more useful instead!)

    Also, another optional piece would be a sign for the dog. This would be a bright color (yellow or pink) and velcros across the handle. They usually say something like "Do Not Pet Me I Am Working". My friend has one for his new dog, as it is still young and easily distracted. The old dog didn't need one.

    Here's a link to some info about service animals (including mini horses) http://www.nal.usda.gov/awic/companimals/assist.htm

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  8. wow!!! your harness looks amazing!!! your tack never fails to amaze me!! haha! it'll be a great setup when it's done!

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  9. Glad to see the dog is for an adult. =)

    I, too, was concerned that your beleaguered double (or quadruple) amputee would also be afflicted with blindness...

    Rendering, I suppose, your morning's work unusable as she would not be able to hold the harness...

    You could have a really large setup, with the handless doll on one horse with her staff and the blind person ready to go or just mounted with his/her staff.

    Very cool harness, BTW!

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  10. Re: the hand- and footless doll not needing to be blind as well - locally a little girl was in the paper who has just these same injuries. Her house was on fire and she tried to rescue her little brother and sustained severe burns to her hands, feet, and eyes. I think they did manage to save one hand, but her other extremities were amputated. Her face is otherwise okay (not scarred). So, if she did need a backstory, that's one way a real person can get those injuries. Add some glasses and you would be good to go.

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  11. Glasses aren't necessary...my friend never wears them. :)

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  12. I am a guide dog trainer. If you are interested in additional guide dog harness photos for reference I would be happy to send you some pictures. As a sidenote, I would save most guide dog schools in the US are currently using labradors.

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  13. If you don't mind me asking, where did you get 'Roz'? What her model is? And lastly, what material is she made out of, thank you. :)

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    1. Sorry. I have no memory of how this one fell into my hands. She's some sort of commercially produced resin. Her belly is stamped with a copyright mark and 1998.

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    2. Ah, it's alright. Thank you for the information, I'll continue my hunt for the 'elusive straight back GSD resin'.

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