Monday, June 23, 2014

Baby Daydreamin' - and Name Ideas!

Even though I have 300-odd days to go until my baby horse is here, I can't help but daydream about some of the things we'll do when he or she is here. This is my first homebred, so I am bound to mess plenty of things up along the way... but I think if I plan appropriately, I will hopefully not make TOO big a mess. I've foaled out, raised, and started enough young horses to have half an idea of what I am doing, but it is just different when it is YOUR baby. Kind of like with first-time parents.... you know you're going to screw it up somewhere along the way, as much as you hope not to!!

While P is Pregnant:
Conception to Month 8: Maintain same feeding program, free choice quality grass hay, 'meals' of alfalfa/timothy pellets + Healthy Glo nuggets, Equine Challenge vit/min supplement, Cosequin, a few pregnancy-safe herbs. Little trail rides to keep her fit as well!
Month 8 to Birth: Alter feeding program to meet last trimester demands. I'm not quite sure yet how I'm going to change this.... I'll have to consider my options. I have a few months to figure it out thankfully!
Deworming: According to fecals, as needed. Also 1 month prior to foaling, and immediately post-foaling.
Vaccines: My vet wants to initiate the EHV-1 vax protocol at 3 months, so P will get vaccinated for that at 3, 5, 7, and 9 months. She will also get all of her regular vaccines 4-6 weeks prior to her foaling date, as per normal.
Foaling: Aside from making sure I have my foaling kit together, I have to decide if I want P to foal out in a stall or in one of the paddocks. The paddock where the girls live is very rocky and not really suitable for foaling, not to mention the fact that it backs right up to the cow pastures and we have LOTS of coyotes around. The paddock closest to the house, however, is full of nice soft grass, and has a floodlight trained on it. It can also be seen right from the house. It would be an awesome place to have a baby. I also have the option of having her foal out in a stall, which is less ideal. P HATES stalls and will surely crash around all night, and O will have to be up and stalled with her since they will probably be pretty upset if they can hear each other but not see each other. The stalls are big and open, and there is no way any coyotes attracted by the smell of the birth could come sneaking around. (I'm not actually worried about the coyotes.... I guarantee you that Momma P would eat a coyote for lunch if it tried to come check out her baby, not to mention the fact that the neighbor's Pyr/Rhodesian would not stand for any coyotes hanging around for long.) If P is up in a stall, I can also have a foaling cam trained on her, and can watch from home. I don't know if I can set up a working foaling cam outside. Since I live 25+ miles away, and S is gone most weekends, it is pretty important that I know exactly what is going on at all times as we get close, because it will likely just be me there and anyone else that I can manage to rope into coming with me.

Baby's First Year:
While I think that daily handling is more important than actual imprinting, I'm sure I will imprint my little munchin because I'm going to want to be all over him/her as soon as she gets here!
Birth to Weaning: Baby gets to learn how to wear a halter and lead all over the place, pick up feet and stand for small trims, learn about clippers (and how to tolerate them everywhere), learn about standing for deworming/shots/temp taking, be poked/prodded/petted all over (in ears, mouth, etc), learn to be brushed, learn about giving to pressure in preparation for future tying/crosstying, baths, trailer loading, have rope/blanket/flymask/bag/etc desensitization.... etc etc. Basically my kiddo will learn all of the basics of being easy to handle on the ground. Baby will also get ample time to be out with momma and Auntie O, learning the general ins and outs of being a horse. It is very important for babies to be out running and playing as much as possible, and my kiddo will be out 24/7 to run and play and be a baby horse. Baby will probably also to go the Oldenburg approvals, though I'm not really sure of the logistics of that. If baby isn't going to look fantastic at the time of the approvals, then we'll register and skip approvals.
Weaning to Yearling: I'm undecided as to when and how exactly weaning is going to happen. Largely it will depend on whether or not my baby is a colt or a filly! I also have to consider whether or not I am going to want to keep my baby on the property or move it away at weaning time. There are still a lot of things to consider here, and I'm not decided yet. That said, regardless of what happens with weaning, my weanling will still continue to live out with other horses 24/7.
In terms of handling, baby will continue to be handled regularly like a big horse (grooming, bathing, vet care, hoof care, blanketing, trailering, etc). Baby will also start to be ponied for short little trips, and will get to experience things like seeing cows and going across water.
I also plan on going to a few local in-hand yearling shows like the Future Event Horse series. Not only is it a good experience for youngsters to be able to see a busy horse show setting in a low-key way, but you get some great input from the judges on what kind of a future your kid should have!

Two-Four Years Old:
Baby will still be living outside 24/7 in a herd, still being allowed to be a young horse that gets to run and play all the time. Baby will also do some more ponying, learn how to long line, kind of learn how to lunge (learn how to go out on a circle around me, but lunging is extremely stressful on young joints so there definitely won't be 'real' lunging going on), learn about being tacked up, and I will definitely sit on baby a few times and toodle around. I have NO interest in rushing anything, especially not with a slow growing warmblood, so more than anything we'll just be introducing the ideas of things to come later on down the road.
In baby's fourth year, we'll be doing a lot of trail riding and learning how to w-t-c and lunge more. Again, no serious rush here, there is just NO reason to. Even though I plan on doing the Future Event Horse series from yearling through 3 years old (if there is reason to), I have no interest in the Young Event Horse series - it is just too much for a young horse. I definitely will not be jumping my 4 year old (going over poles yes, jumping seriously no.) nor will I prep for young horse shows. It's not worth it - I want to have a sound and happy longterm athlete.

Five Years and Beyond:
This is when the meat of training will begin. Even at 5 though, I'm not going to be doing anything seriously complicated. 6 and beyond is more like it!

I'm sure I will alter things, flesh them out, make them more or less complicated as time goes on... etc! The main take-away points are these: 1) there's no rush, 2) there's no rush, and 3) there's really no rush. Baby will learn all of the ins and outs of being a well-handled horse, yes, and learn about being a ridden horse yes, but I won't drill or pound on a young horse. It's just not worth it.

Anyway, back to the present day....
This week I've really been missing riding P. O is of course extremely challenging and exhausting to work with sometimes, and following her bodywork and subsequent few days off, I just wanted to hop up on something easy and uncomplicated for a change. Hey look, I spy an old mare who wants to start going for little trail walks again!

I haven't been on P in a solid year now, not since before she left to go to her lessee's last June. I'm pretty sure her lessee hadn't been on her since last October or so, if not long before that, so it has been a very long time since P has been ridden.
True to her form, all I had to do was put a halter and lead rope on her, jump on, and head out. P is the only horse I've ever had that walks faster away from the barn than she does walking back to it, and with her ears pricked the whole time. She LOVES to go out for trail rides. She might be an old curmudgeon sometimes, but you just can't beat her work ethic. This horse is all business and no cuddles (opposite of O, who is all cuddles and no business).

Such a good beastmare.

I'm also brainstorming for baby name ideas! As per the Oldenburgs, baby should have a registered name that starts with a D (it can be with a C, for P's registered name "Chloe", if it is a filly that is meant for breeding stock, but since this is supposed to be a sport horse I'm planning on sticking with a D name). Since I am a Michigan native, and am trying to tie in both Metro and P to the name, I'm strongly considering either Detroit Rock City or Detroit Motor City for a registred/show name. Metro's show name was Motörhead, which would work well with the second name, but his barn name ties with with the City part well either way.... also I named him for a hokey heavy metal band, and Detroit Rock City is of course a song by KISS, one of the hokey-est rock bands of all time. For the record, I have literally zero interest or knowledge of either band, but the names still crack me up. Detroit Rock/Motor City also fits for either a filly or a colt, seeing as this baby is likely to be less refined and more on the skullcrusher side. And obviously, it ties in perfectly with the Michigan theme. We'll just, you know... ignore the whole Detroit-is-currently-in-shambles thing. Details, right?
I'm not 100% set on that name yet, but I'm heavily leaning that way. (Unless someone else has an awesome name that is full of beastliness and badassery that they want to suggest! Definitely open to them!)

That leaves us with a barn name. I'm considering names like Petoskey or Piston, both of which can be used for filly or colt, and both of which tie in with a P (for P of course) and match up with the Michigan theme. (Bonus points for the geological reference between Pangea and Petoskey - for those of you that didn't know, the petoskey stone is the state stone of MI!) I am VERY open to suggestions for name that have to do either with Michigan or with auto or nautical references. I'd also strongly consider music related names if they tie back in with Michigan. One thing is for certain though, I am not into boring or run of the mill names. It has to be unique!

(A photo I took many moons ago while traveling on our boat down the Detroit River under the Ambassador Bridge, probably on our way to Cedar Point. Yesssss I want The D.)

If you have any more things to add to my stuff-to-do-or-not-do-with-baby list, or have any name suggestions, fire away!


  1. Hehehehe this was EXACTLY me 8 years ago when I too had a little black dot. It's fun, enjoy it! I will say that it takes for-ev-er for the baby to come though, feels like an eternity!

  2. I love Detroit Motor City and new right away it was a nod to Metro:)

  3. Anytime I pick out a name before I have the animal, the name ends up not being right and they get a new name on the fly that suits their personality! That being said, I love your brainstormed names and how they nod to Metro and P. =)

  4. You sound very well prepared and actually I think I pretty much followed that same plan with Chrome. He just turned five and I'm only now going to start riding him seriously. I've ridden him less than sixty times in the last two years so I'm all about not pushing them when they are young. :D Especially considering the bones in their spines aren't done growing until they are seven!!! The things I messed up and/or had to learn through trial and error were hoof care (which you will have no problem with obviously), diet (do all that research now and decide what you want to feed-I went with a ration balancer in the end) and exercise. I don't think I exercised him enough when he was younger because I didn't have a pony horse and I didn't want to longe him, but that also shouldn't be a problem for you. I think you have it all covered!!! If you want a blow by blow on raising a weanling through five years of age you have my blog as a reference if you want lol. I'm pretty sure I included everything in it from sweet itch and getting into a whole bag of feed to weak stifles and even having him gelded. It has pretty much anything you could ask for hehe. I would not trade the experience of raising him for anything in the world, but it was definitely a huge learning curve for me since I really hadn't raised on young horse on my own before and I really was not well prepared as far as facilities, diet, companionship and a source of exercise for him. It all worked out in the end though and I couldn't be any happier with him. :D Good luck with your baby! I can't wait for him or her to arrive. I suck at names (which is why I kept the one the breeder gave Chrome) so I can't help you there.

    1. Oh and I forgot to say I've been waiting on this post! I knew it was coming LOL! If I were raising my own baby I would be the exact same way. :D

  5. So far as weaning goes we started separating Z and her mom at night after 6 months, but she would sneak in nursings until she was a yearling. Same with my in-laws' mare when she was a filly. It certainly doesn't hurt them any and having been a nursing mother myself I think the mares' udders appreciate a more gradual weaning too!

  6. This has nothing to do with your suggestions, but how about Pannotia/n as a barn name? Pannotia is a hypothesized super continent and I think it'd be a cute match for Pangea. There's always Peninsula (since Michigan is one). I really like Petoskey though, the geological reference and the fact that it's also a P name. I can't wait for this baby :D

  7. So exciting about your future little one! There is a mare at my barn that was recently bred, so it is fun to hear about your experiences and prepare for this mare's foal! Sounds like you have a solid plan and I am so glad you are planning on taking it slow with the foal, so many people push too hard and end up injuring their horse, so it is refreshing to see someone taking their time for the benefit of the horse!

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