Saturday, July 28, 2012

Elvis is getting so BIG!

Holy moley. Elvis is 4.5 months old now (approaching 5 months), and he is getting BIG! His hugeness has been recently magnified by the temporary addition of another mare and foal to the field. The filly, named Emmy-Lou, is a little over a month old and is TINY. She was a complete surprise: her mother was purchased as a 3 year-old project, who surprised her new owner by one day laying down and popping out a surprise tiny foal! Even the old owner had no idea she was pregnant... apparently the stallion got out one night. Emmy is so small that she can practically walk underneath Elvis, but she has the gumption of a much bigger baby. Elvis can still push her around at the creep feeder, but Emmy stands her ground with her ears pinned.

She's also a lot smarter than Elvis is - to make sure that she gets her fair share in the creep feeder, she goes in there by herself and waits for me to bring their shared bucket of creep feed. Elvis still eats out of Bay Girl's bucket before going over to the creep feeder - Emmy is one step ahead of him!

Bay Girl's flymask is offline for repairs (fixing some tears), something which she is quite pleased about. She's tolerant but not particularly thrilled with its daily application, so she is not complaining about a break from it!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Some Old Pics

Hooray! I seem to have rectified the flymask issue with Bay Girl. She is back to being her regular old "good morning toss it on!" self. It goes to show though that you just can't be too careful with a formerly abused horse... they don't ever forget things. Until they trust you - really 100% trust you - you risk regression if you don't take the utmost care to prove to them that you are their ally and friend. A lot of quiet, simple, steady work in bite-sized chunks is a recipe for success with an abuse case... you make everything an easy. feel-good process for them, and keep it simple until they understand that everything is going to be okay. You can't be too careful about making sure to not overload them with information - and you apologize to them the moment you make a mistake.

I was looking through an old video I took of Bay Girl wandering around in the roundpen when she was pregnant and took a few screenshots off of it:

Sigh, back when she looked so healthy and good... and actually had a topline. Poor momma...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How Fragile It All Is

It has been quite a long while since I have been able to work with Bay Girl, and I've been a bit worried about her returning to a semi-wild state because of it. The Red Pest makes it literally impossible to do anything with her - he is constantly on top of me whenever I'm around her, and anytime I make an aggressive move towards him to chase him off, it scares her to death. Unfortunately, not working with her is doing about the same level of damage as working with her with a Red Pest floating around had been - she no longer waits for me at the gate at the end of the day, and on Monday even had a moment of regression into uncatchable-ness.

Every day at breakfast, I put on Bay Girl's flymask before she gets her flake of alfalfa (the broodies live out with a roundbale and get supplemental alfalfa, according to the feeding standards at the place where I work). Up until now, this had never been a problem, but on Monday I unfortunately had the mask on inside-out when I went to first put it on. I also, very unfortunately, poked her in the eye with it as I went to put it on. Most horses react with a short of "ahh, ouch" whenever something like this happens, but they quickly get over it and move on with their lives. Bay Girl, suspicious as she is, react with more of an "AHH, DEAR GOD HELP ME!" and threw her head into the air in a panic. I managed to get the mask back off, and back on again... only to realize that, once again, it was still inside out. I took it off for a second time, and Bay Girl decided that she had had enough. She turned tail and left, and didn't want to be caught again. Instead of worrying her further, I simply turned around and left as well, leaving her to wait at the gate for her alfalfa and a second attempt at trying to rectify what was quickly turning into a flymask fiasco. After about 10 minutes, I came back for another try, and managed to catch her and put her flymask on with quite a lot less fuss, but when I tried to offer a handful of her alfalfa to her afterwards as a peace offering, she refused to take it. Historically, when she refuses any sort of food that I know she normally likes and will eat, it means she is sending me a clear message: "I don't trust you right now."

Things got even worse when I went to catch and halter her to bring her in for the farrier in the late afternoon. Once again, she turned and walked away from me like she didn't want to be caught. This only lasted for a few seconds, and she stopped and let me catch no problem afterwards, but it made my heart sink nonetheless. It felt like a very enormous step backwards... it is hard to explain to a formerly abused horse that poking her with a flymask was an accident and that you still love her. Someday, she'll understand that if any accidents happen, they aren't deliberate... but for now, still in her fragile state, she can't separate the two.

I seem to have regained her trust with many cookies, pets, and scratches over the past two days. She is once again following me around like a little puppy dog, but I feel strongly that she really needs to be worked with on a very consistent basis if I want to really keep her from going backwards while the colt is still at foot. I just don't know quite how I am going to do that without needing to scold him and scaring her in the process. Perhaps I can find a way to lock him up inside his creep feeder....

God, she just looks like CRAP. My boss and I were discussing the other day how she still had an enormous potbelly and no topline and ribs showing... she shouldn't still be looking like this four months postpartum. I am definitely a bit worried about it, and not sure of what to do - or what I can do when she isn't mine.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Happy 4-Month Birthday Elvis!

Elvis just turned four months old! The little red pest is quickly turning into a gigantic red pest - he'll probably be on the tall end of 15hh, maybe 15.3 or so (which is pretty big for a rope horse), and assuredly he'll be about as wide as he is tall! Never thought I'd see the day when I thought 15.3 was big though... being around Texas is obviously warping my brain. Everything's bigger in Texas except for the horses... they are all SHRIMPS around here!

The owner of Elvis was out the other day for the first time in four months, most likely to see whether or not he thought the colt could be weaned at this time or not. We don't know what he decided, but my guess is that he might wait until 6 months. That of course is better for Elvis... but not as great for me! I am itching to get my hands on Bay Girl without her little attachment!

As an update on the status of her transfer, I have a call in to the surrogate farm and am awaiting their return call. They are notorious for being bad about returning inquiries, so I might have to call and pester them again this week. Bah! I can't wait to get my hands on her and get back to work! It's impossible to do anything at all with the red pest attached!

And yep, that's her face again... up close and personal, just how she likes it! She is definitely the hardest horse on the planet earth to get a good picture of!