Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pax - 4 weeks old!

If you've been paying attention to the news lately, you'll know that Texas appears to be being biblically flooded out. I guess the deities saw that Greg Abbot got voted in as governor, and they decided to drown us and start Texas over again from scratch (not a terrible idea really). Unfortunately, so far our literal 40 days and 40 nights of rain has basically put a huge damper on not only the show season, but the thought of working the horses at all. Not to mention the fact that trying to move while it is raining EVERY SINGLE DAY is just awful. Everything is covered in mud, everything is dirty, and everything is wet. And it sucks.

May's show season was supposed to be thick and full - three shows right in a row. Then it started raining right after Sunrise Ridge, and hasn't stopped since. After Sunrise Ridge, I didn't work O for two weeks, then loaded up and headed right to the Games Day, where she did super well as you know. Then I couldn't do literally anything else, because it started raining even more, and every day. Even during the sporadic breaks in the rain, everything is bogged down in massive mud - there's no decent footing ANYWHERE you go, and even if you did try you'd either ruin the ground or ruin your horse's legs. There has been nothing that anyone can do really (at least not with the move. When the move is complete, I can trailer out again). 

The Carriage Classic at the beginning of the month got cancelled due to the weather. Then the Games Day, slated for the following weekend, also got rescheduled due to the weather. It was supposed to be held today, but once again, it had to be cancelled because of the weather. The last show I was supposed to do was Pine Hill, which is in fact running, but is also this weekend - and this is the weekend my parents came down to help us with the move and setting up things in the new house. Seeing as I literally haven't hooked my horse once in nearly a month - and have only been able to lunge her twice - it's not like we were remotely ready anyway. But, it sucks, there's no way around that.

I have no idea when or if it is ever going to stop raining. Tentatively we are going to the Cowboy Country HDT in mid-June, and hopefully the ADT in late June, but we'll just have to see how the weather holds! When I get my cart over to the new house, I will at least be able to drive up and down the roads, if nothing else. O is acting crazy possessive and protective over the baby though, so it might be kind of a rodeo to start.

In much better news, Pax turned 4 weeks old on Thursday! With my parents coming in and the move going on, I haven't really had much time to sit down and write about it. (Technically I should be up and showering right now, but oh well, I wanted to blog so I'm gonna do it!) I can't believe she is already a month old. She is growing like a weed and is just gorgeous.

When it was warm and sunny for 10 minutes, a million flies and mosquitos came out. Everyone got their flymasks, even Pax:

If that doesn't make you feel all warm and squishy inside, you might be a dead person, because baby horses in baby horse flymasks are adorable.

She also does many 'adult' things now, such as:


Oh yea that's the spot

Picking up her little feet (and she'll get her first trim in a few days!):

Standing 'tied' (meaning, the lead rope has one turn around the fence and she can easily pull free if something happens - but she understands pressure now and she stops if the rope tightens. Don't actually tie your baby horse, their necks are SO fragile at this stage - teach them about pressure first, and then everything goes from there!):

She is too wiggly to stand well for conformation pictures... this is about the best one I managed to get:

She also learned about blankies for the first time (although I did stick one on her as a neonate for a new minutes). The other day I pulled in to feed them breakfast, and Pax was absolutely soaked and shivering hard. P is a feral beast, and doesn't like to go in her shed when it rains, so she makes Pax and O stand out in the rain with her. Pax obviously isn't going to leave her mother, and O isn't going to leave either one of them, so they just stand there and shiver miserable next to P while she, blissfully unaware of the rain, eats or naps.

No, she's not massively roachbacked - just had the MAJOR butt squinches due to the cold rain! I conned them into the shed for some alfalfa.

So, we learned about wearing a baby blanket:

It's kind of like a mini skirt, but it works

As you can see in the pictures, O is always super concerned about her tiny friend, and P kind of doesn't care. O and Pax go off and do their own thing all the time, and P ignores them to eat. 

I did get to lunge O for about 15 minutes the other day, inbetween rainstorms... it wasn't much but it was something!

 And now it's pouring again.... sigh!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Welcome Home!

I apologize for my radio silence over the past few days - we've been running around like crazy people trying to get everything together for the purchase of our first ever home. It feels so awesome and weird to say that - we're proper adults now, with a proper piece of land to call our own! If you've been following this journey along since the beginning, you first met me as a broke kid who was barely out of college - what a crazy journey this has all been.

Our new property is awesome, and gorgeous. The house is plain on the outside but lovely on the inside, and the land and terrain is just awesome. I'll spare you all the gritty details of the property, but in terms of horse stuff, there are two pastures that are already fenced with good sturdy pipe, a huge run in shed, and a tack room/storage shed. The front pasture is good grass with lots of shady trees, and the top pasture is more rugged, complete with hills, rocks, grass, and lots of beautiful yuccas and cactus at the top of the hill. It's basically a tiny little piece of heaven.

They are super prickly and the horses don't go anywhere near them!

We officially closed on the house on Thursday, and Friday I brought the mares home. I trailered O over first, then went to go get P and Pax. Pax was a holy terror to lead to the trailer, and spent the majority of time walking around on her hind legs trying to punch me in the face. I'd be lying if I said she didn't get a solid little beating for her bad behavior. That said, it only took a moment for her to think about the trailer ramp and decide to hop right in, so that was great. She trailered super well, tucked herself right in front of P and stayed steady the whole trip.
When we got there, I released the hounds so to speak - everyone out together in the front pasture. It was the first time O had been out with P and Pax, and Pax's first experience with living out 24/7 (which should be the majority of the rest of her life). As expected, O went, "oh hello my tiny friend," and off they all ran. They ran and rolled and ran and roll, and grazed and ran and rolled. Everyone was very pleased, myself included.

"I love you, tiny friend"

I swear I saw the tiny red one come out of the big brown one!

Voila, ready to hitch!

Everyone weathered the night in the front pasture well. The following day, Future Hubs and I went and fixed up the top pasture to make it more horse-safe. 90% of the fence is good sturdy pipe fence with no climb, but there is a small section near the top pasture that is not. It had a strand of barbed wire above the no-climb at the top of the hill that had to be removed, the t-posts needed to be capped, and there was a pile of the old owner's fence posts in the corner of the pen that he still needs to come retrieve (everything is too wet right now to get his truck back there) that needed to be fenced off so the mares couldn't get in there and trash his stuff. Future Hubs and I did all of this in about an hour, and then opened the gate to let the girls go explore.

Pax is a brave little beast - she led the herd most of the way around. I love that we have a rugged little patch of proper Texas terrain for her to grow up on - hills and tough plants and rocks. She'll grow up strong and surefooted with this kind of land to live on.

I am super, super exhausted right now - I have a foster litter of bottle baby newborn kittens that is keeping me up all through the night with feedings. Between that, the move, and work, I don't have much time for anything else right now! Speaking of which, I should get to SLEEP! So much to to do, so little TIME!

By the way, here's a fun comparison: Pax on the left, O on the right. Both out of bay mares, weirdly enough!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Some Pax videos!

I am seriously, seriously sick of the rain. The barn property is literally underwater today - like, a 6" river is where the driveway used to be. I am therefore at home relaxing instead of with my beasts. We've been having severe weather EVER SINGLE DAY, and have had more rain this spring than I can ever remember at one time since I moved here. Thanks El Nino!

I know I was bragging on what a good baby Pax has turned out to be, but don't be fooled - that doesn't mean she is a perfectly compliant baby. As you can see, she likes to throw tantrums about stuff she doesn't want to do, such as learning how to lead in little circles around mom instead of follow right behind her. 

She threw several big tantrums about it (even though she has done it before, several times, without fuss), but once she tired herself out a little, she was a good baby who walked right along. 

Once the rearing game didn't free her from her predicament, she went, "oh well ok I guess we're walking now," and walked along nicely. Lesson finished for the day! She is a funny kid, when you take her halter off and let her go, she stays with you as long as you are still in the stall, but once you leave she goes right to mom. Instead of nursing and thinking it over like most babies, she rears up and pummels mom on the back with her front feet, or turns around and kicks mom repeatedly in the guts - like mom is her personal punching bag, and she has to take it out on her while she thinks things over. I can't believe that P of all horses is putting up with this. She just lets Pax kick her in the guts over and over, without care. I have a feeling that as Pax gets over, P is going to get *really* tired of this nonsense though. She'll only be little for so long!

Obviously this is why we start them early with kindergarden lessons. 5-10 minutes of this stuff a day helps cement the fact that "this is just what we do, this is part of life" into their malleable little brains. Keep it short and sweet, end on a good note, and you have a good citizen on your hands when they get a little bigger. Since Pax has made it pretty clear that she is a tough little booger, it is that much more important to me to start work on this right now. If I were to wait, she would not only be impossibly hard, but impossibly hard and huge. And that would just suck.

Speaking of videos, I have two more! These are from when she was 9 days old and in turnout. You'll hear her screaming for O, and O screaming right back. (O was back in the barn repeatedly ramming herself into the wall. Mares...) They'll all go out together at the new house. 

Pardon my witch cackling - but there are few funnier things than to watch baby horses running. Legs everywhere!

She really is a good baby. She is friendly and interactive, and while she is a huge fit-pitcher and drama queen, she is going to be a really nice youngster. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Two weeks old! Also, tornados

Pax (yes, I think we're sticking with Pax!) is two weeks old today! She grew another 1/2" in the past week, which is quite a lot slower than the week before thank god. Slow down tot! 

She is nothing but friendly and curious now - she wants to be with the people, pesting them and hanging out with them all the time. She wears her halter without fuss and leads well, picks up all 4 feet (even loose!), flysprays, gets brushed, had a booboo on her leg doctored with no fuss, and is generally a very good little tot. She is still a total pest and completely fresh - today she decided to buck and thrash around while I was holding her for her measurement. We made a half-hearted attempt to string test her, which was not remotely successful because a) she's too young and b) she's still over at the knee a bit. The string test said something like 14 hands which is definitely not going to be accurate. I have this hope that she'll stay on the small side so she can be my pairs horse with O - she came out perfectly matching!

Hi hooman

Wet from flyspray

So good at side-eye still

Flick and swish

Hard to take conformation pics of tiny red pest

I'm pretty pleased with how she came out. She's still a bit over at the knee, but definitely straighter and stronger. When she goes out full time, and when her tendons catch up to her bones, she'll be straight legged. 

She's not Totilas but I think she's about the nicest thing P was genetically capable of producing. I am super pleased. The stallion improved all of the things I was hoping to improve, and she definitely seems to have inherited P's temperament and boldness, which is exactly what I was hoping for! She came out SO violently feral that I was worried for the first week... but I'm not worried any more!

For fun, here's a shot of Pax and a shot of baby O in roughly the same pose:

O was older there, although I'm not sure her exact age in that picture. I really like the way O is put together now as an adult, but I definitely don't think I would have bought her as a weanling if that's the picture I saw! Sometimes an ugly duckling turns into a swan!

Aside from Pax turning two weeks old, the other news is that we're right smack in the middle of Deathstorm Season. We've been hammered with storm after storm, and more rain than I've ever seen since I moved here. We put one of our couches out on the back porch to be recycled, and tonight it was literally FLOATING around the flooded backyard - a huge storm came in, and it rained so hard that everything became a huge lake. At least we're not in a drought anymore..?

Today there was a 4.0 earthquake here in the afternoon, which was then followed by a tornado outbreak. It sounds like a bad thriller movie but it's the truth. Where else can you literally get big earthquakes and devastating tornados IN THE SAME AFTERNOON? Come on down to Texas, it's loads of fun here in the spring...!

Yes, that would be a tornado heading RIGHT for the horses. They actually had TWO tornados there, back to back. Thankfully it missed L's place (barely, by only a few miles!), but others were not so lucky. Remember the lesson I had back with G about two months ago? Their ranch got hit hard and all buildings are damaged, with some buildings totally gone. All the horses and people survived, thankfully.
I feel particularly lucky myself because not only were my horses and my friends all spared, but I was spared too. The first tornado crossed over a tiny country road, one that I drive on literally every single day, at that exact time of day - except not for today, because I had late afternoon clients and had to leave the barn early. Had I been there at my regular time, I could have very well gotten caught up in that tornado. 

I'm *quite* ready for spring to be over now, thanks very much. And we have SEVERAL more days of severe weather ahead of us....!

Sterling Custom Bonnets

Let me tell you about the most gorgeous bonnet I have ever owned!

Awhile back, before Sunrise Ridge, I was searching for the perfect ear bonnet. I have a bunch of them already, including some navy ones, but I wanted to find one that was *just* right. I needed to find something that perfectly matched my show outfit, in my perfect colors. My show jacket is cream with gold flecks, and my cart is a rich and deep navy. i wanted to find something to bring the whole package together - but it would have to be custom, and perfectly matched.

That's where Sterling from Sterling Custom Bonnets came in to help me. I described my outfit to her, and told her what I had in mind - and she did the rest. She whisked off to pick up yarn, and was in contact with me when she was picking it out to make sure she found the right match. The bonnet is deep navy with a gold braid and cream trim. The cream is flecked with gold - it all flows perfectly. (I originally picked gold because my harness had brass and I was changing the hardware out on the cart to brass as well - obviously that was a giant failure, but the outfit still came out great!)

Sterling did an AWESOME job picking out the perfect yarn:

And no annoying string on it! Strings are out! 
Perfectly matches the coat!

The ensemble came out awesome at the show. We even scored a 9 on our presentation! Everyone complimented the outfit and the bonnet. And we took it on the marathon as well, where it perfectly matched our wraps/bells color combo.

I LOVE this bonnet. And I can't wait to take it to the next show!

If you're interested in Sterling's bonnets, find her on Facebook at Sterling Custom Bonnets, or on Etsy! And tell her I sent you! Thank you Sterling!