Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pax Goals

Pax is now 18 months old and and still lingering around the 14.3 mark. She grew very fast during her first year, and then stalled out at 14.2 at 12 months old. She's been hanging out around that size ever since. She's only very slightly gawky - I've seen a lot of adult horses who are quite a bit uglier than she is even now in her awkward weanling phase, so I have hope she'll be pretty once she matures. Generally the less ugly and gawky they are, the smaller they'll be, so I may not have a lot of size left to hope so. She string tests to just under 16 hands, which is P's size as well. I like them to be about 16-16.2 if I'm going to be riding them. (For reference: Dylan is 16.1, P is just about 16, Gogo was 16.1. Metro was nearly 17, and O is only a hair over 15.1.) If Pax stays small, maybe she'll be a pair for O after all!

She's definitely less amazingly chocolate than she was last year, but she is darkening for the winter. The above photo was taken yesterday, so she's definitely not liver liver, but a darker chestnut. She was really faded in the summer, just like her mother (and her grandfather). 

From a few weeks ago - trying to untie herself and leave

She is lovely to deal with on the ground, unless it's something she's not so sure about or doesn't feel like doing. Then she is a right little demon child about it. When the other horses get to monkeying around, like when I take her out to work her and Dylan and O get excited, she still has a tendency to turn and run right at her handler. She has therefore been learning a bit more about dressage whips and crops lately, much to her total dismay. She pitches giant tantrums when she's mad about being disciplined for something - for example, lately she has been kind of a pill about going back into her pasture. She likes to be out with people, and doesn't like being turned back out. So, she would stop at the gate and refuse to go in. She just wasn't going.
We had a few conversations about that. She decided it was easier to just go in, and so far I haven't had a problem since. It's hard to be a babychild and learn that you can't get your way all the time. 

Ponying with Pmare

Because that's her biggest problem - she gets her way all the time when out in the field. She is a bully and a snot to all the others living with her. Her mother is the lead mare, and we call her the Benevolent Dictator - she carefully moves everyone out of her way, and they just know instinctively not to mess with her. Once in awhile, she'll pin her ears and make a face at one of the others, and they'll flee for their lives. She'll also share a haybag with anyone around her. She's the boss, but they love her dearly.
Pax is not like that at all, at least not at this age. She is loud and obnoxious, with pinned ears and bared teeth. She kicks, bites, strikes and bodyslams everyone out of her way, even her own mother. She knocks P out of her way too when she wants to, and P lets her. 

Yes that is poor Uma completely wiping out and falling

Other than learning the hard lessons of "sometimes life isn't fair and you can't always do what you want," she really is wonderful on the ground. She's a piece of cake to catch, stands for trims, baths, grooming, general fussing over. I've not clipped her bridlepath or whiskers yet, but she doesn't seem to mind the clippers. She is still a little funny about her earss - something I will definitely work on with my next baby - but I think this will get better as she ages. 

Her newest task is wearing a bridle - a real bridle, not just a bit and headstall! She'll need to be able to do that, and lead from the bridle as well, when she shows in hand. 

She upgraded to a size 72" blanket as well... she was just a 60" last year! Hopefully she doesn't destroy this one like she destroyed the last two. I didn't even bother getting her a rainsheet this year, just a medium weight. I hope her metabolism gets kickstarted into growing a little hair, because she now she has nothing, less than ALL the others, which is really saying something.

Also she has a LOT of hair... where did that come from!

And she's a mountain goat. Which is awesome.

She has two big goals for next year, her two year old year. One is to get off the property in hand and with a pony horse in order to see some new sights, new arena, and new trails. The second is to take her to the one or two (hopefully two, unless they change the schedule again, which they probably will) FEH shows that are in our area. This is mostly for the experience, as I have no intention to take her on into any of the YEH stuff. It's too competitive, too much, too hard, too fast. I'm just an adult amateur without any kind of agenda and I would like my horse to hopefully be sound into her 20s, so I don't see any reason to be jumping practically Training level stuff at age 4 and 5. If I even can jump again ever! (I have hope.)
She might be competitive, she might not. She's pretty cute to look at but I have almost no way to really gauge her movement here, because it's all running around and leaping. She's too young to lunge and our ground is hard anyway, so I wouldn't see much even if I could do it. We will just have to see. Time will tell if she can move, or if she can't!

I think Pax is in a good spot to start learning more about trailering off property again. Like with ponying (which I tried once with her as a weanling, went horribly bad, so I left her to grow up for several more months before I tried it again, and now she has matured mentally enough to do it well), I trailered her off property once as a near-yearling and she was really awful, but now I think she'll do better when we start doing it again. She's going to be late to mentally mature, no doubt about it. But that's all right with me. After all, Gogo didn't really put on her big girl panties until she was over 7, so I have faith that my wild little child will turn into a solid citizen one of these days.


  1. I whole-heartedly commend you for purposely taking your time with Pax, letting her grow up and letting her tell you when she's ready for new experiences and acquiring new skills. I agree that most of the YEH stuff (IMO, anyway) is too much too fast, and it kills me to see people rushing their young horses through jumping heights and trying to push them too hard before their bodies are fully grown and matured. I LOVED your line about wanting Pax to be sound into her 20s, and there is no better way to try and obtain that, then taking your time NOW and letting her learn how to be a horse. Your timeline with Pax is very admirable, and because you're taking your time with her now, you'll have a solid, well-mannered citizen when she's older. Mad props.

  2. Hey at least one of us around here thinks the YEH stuff is too much too fast! Fricken ridiculous IMO.

    Sidenote---why did it take me this long to discover your new blog???

    1. Hahah where have you been for like 5 years!

  3. I have a 17 month old who looks very similar! I haven't sticked him but I probably should! He is close in size to his percheron pasture mate. I need to get my foot healed so I can kick start his training again, you are ahead of me!

  4. You are doing all the things I wanted to do with my baby horse. Only I failed and have a 4 year old hellion haha. Kudos to you!! She really is lovely.

  5. Jetta was gorgeous her two year old year (15.2 hands) but when she was three she was hideous. I was afraid that I'd bought something awful lol. She's 16.2 now. Hopefully Pax will grow a bit! I think Pax is gorgeous, if a bit of a wild child, but then again I like my sassy mares.

  6. I so admire the thoughtful way you're raising Pax. Can I go back in time and send my (now 7 years old) red mare to you for baby training? She was basically unhandled until she was 4, and having to teach a 16.1+ hand demon that one doesn't run at Mom when lunging was... exciting. I think you're setting Pax up to be a fantastic grown up- no matter what discipline she lands in :)

  7. Can I echo the wish to send someone to you for training. I have been a mainly silent follower of you for years and I have to say I love your methods with babies, especially the baby mules. I wish I had even 1/2 the mule savvy you do.

  8. Pax's expressions are just priceless... even when it's the evil mare glare!!