Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Adorable Face of Evil

D'ohhhhh. Look at that adorable little face.

Don't be fooled, it's the face of a diabolical little demon who wants to lure you in with your cuteness and then pounce!

The filly is 6 days old today and she has gone through a lot of personality changes this week. She was born VERY strong and very suspicious, and while we had our hands all over her the first couple of days, she was still highly suspect of the people and not at all pleased to be handled. She perfected the redheaded filly trick of rear-buck-strike all at the same time, and when that failed to free her from the evil grasp of the people, she proceeded to throw herself on the ground a few times. When all that got her was to be picked bodily back up onto her feet again, she quit, and now all she does is half heartedly rear and try to walk away from the people on her hind legs. I've handled lots of babies over the years and this one is pretty high on the list for early-age stubborness! 

Because I didn't want to make her hate the people - I want her to like the people! - once she was wearing a halter, leading and picking up her little feet, I left her mostly alone for the past few days and just let her come investigate us as friends and not 'the people that come hold me down and put my halter on'. There's a really fine line to walk with babies with this kind of personality - you don't want them to grow up to be evil feral demons, but you don't want them to hate the people. This trick worked - her curiosity overwhelmed her and she HAD to come see what the people were doing. As of yesterday she was happily coming over to the people, getting petted on the chin and chest, and wanting to engage in mutual grooming.

She also took it to the extreme other end and reared up on both L and myself yesterday. As we both happened to have a cleaning implement (shovel, plastic pitchfork) in our hands at the time, she got scooted off at high speed with the wave of a tool. She didn't try it again to either of us, but she will! It's partially play and partially domineering. And 100% pleasing to me. I will HAPPILY have a domineering booger of a filly in my barn vs. a skittery nervous one. 

I am also waiting on P to do ANY kind of disciplining of her little red monster child. So far she has let her get away with everything, from rearing up on her mother repeatedly, to turning around and repeatedly ramming her butt into her mother's side, to lashing out and kicking P over and over with her little needle hind feet. P hasn't so much as even shoved her over to get her to stop. I have a feeling that as she ages and becomes less little and fragile, P is going to get really tired of this crap really fast. It won't be long before that baby is getting some very hard chomps in the butt, or at least I am hoping.

This stallion seems to be throwing babies that come out highly suspicious of the people. They all seem to turn into sweet cuddlebugs once they are weaned, but they all come out totally evil to start. Some babies are immediately curious and friendly, and want to come over and get scritches and love. Some are nervous and skittery, and run from people, no matter what kind of imprinting/early training/whatever you did or did not do. And some, like mine, are a combination of suspicious and domineering, and they have to push all the limits right from birth. 

5 day old side-eye champion. Where did the dishy face come from? She didn't inherit the family jughead!

P says, but you're so little and cute, how could I say no to your cuteness?

We'll have to carefully balance the "we are your friends!" and "ok now it's time for school" sessions with this one. If it ever stops raining we can get outside some more too!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NTW Games Day 4/26/15

We had yet another AWESOME Games Day this Sunday! O really brought her A game to this show. I can't tell you how impressed I was with her, given everything that has happened in the past two weeks!

O hasn't driven since Sunrise Ridge. She hasn't been lunged either. She hasn't done anything! She has her bit of time off, and then of course the whole excitement at the other barn went down, and we scooted to our friend's barn instead. It has been pouring every day pretty much nonstop ever since, and everything is completely flooded and underwater. I've never seen this much rain fall at one time since I moved here! (And yes, we've had several tornadoes too - nothing too serious here though.) It's not possible to turnout there with that kind of ground, so the horses have been in the barn - their stalls all have runs, so they can get out and move around, but aside from handwalks there has been little else that we've been able to do.
On top of that, O is absolutely OBSESSED with the new baby. She has taken it upon herself to be on perpetual foal watch - literally staring at the filly pretty much round the clock. Whenever she gets taken out for handwalks, she screams bloody murder and has to be reminded not to run her handler over while she twists and turns to try and look back at the barn. I had to literally back her up the entire length of the driveway a few days ago, because she was making attempts to mow me down and high tail it back to the barn by herself.

So in short: 1) not been worked in two weeks, 2) hardly been out of the barn in over a week, 3) obsessed with new foal. That's a recipe for a wild, wild, wild, wild animal! But, with all that said, I knew she'd be just fine. I wasn't worried about her behavior at all.

And, I was right. Despite the fact that she loaded up screaming bloody murder for the baby, and stood google-eyed screaming again when we unloaded, once she realized we were there to work, she shut up and got to eating. (Although I did have to do the usual handfeed-the-princess thing.... you have to shove some handfuls of hay forcibly into her mouth until she starts chewing, and then she'll actually bother to eat. I have no idea how other people deal with their delicate flowers when they go away to shows, but ugh... it's a LOT of work.)

Once the harness was on, she was all business. The screaming stopped, and she went promptly to quietly dozing while we finished hooking up.

Zzzzzzzzzz - the life of a driving horse is 10% action, 90% standing immobile for long periods of time

I don't have many pictures, but I do have pictures of the patterns to show, and you can use your imaginations!
The first pattern was the Lazy H. It was basically a bunch of tight whipping little turns around four sets of barrels, and through a set of cones in the middle. We had barely finished hooking up, and had only just walked up to the arena when we were called to go in for the pattern. With no real warmup besides the walk all the way over from the trailers to the arena, we trotted right in and smoked the pattern. We won that class easily!

The second pattern was very similar to the first, only slightly more complicated, and going in a different direction. After an eternally long wait for the million minis to get done (and ponies too, of course), we went in and had an awesome pattern. We finished 2nd, close behind the other lady who had also won Sunrise Ridge (apparently my new rival).

Since there were SO many horses at this one, we broke for lunch after that class, and unhooked for awhile. O was happy to stand and munch contentedly at her haybag - I think it must have been a nice change for her, to be able to focus on something else that wasn't the baby. She is taking auntie-hood VERY seriously.
We walked the cones course once it was set up, and were pleased with how it flowed, even though the last few gates were all over the freaking place. Look at where 11-16 are placed.

Once we were harnessed back up and warmed up, we went back in and whipped around that course for another 1st! O really had a big, huge trot going that day, much bigger than she has had at past games days. I also had no head flipping whatsoever, no obnoxiousness, no difficulties with steering or speed (not that I ever really do, but you never know). After the class, we went out on the XC course for a bit and played in the water - and tried out hand at cantering purposefully for the first time ever. I've let her canter before while in harness, just so she knows how it feels (some of them flip out), and while I've never had a problem I have also never encouraged cantering. She is a strong mare who had a history of being a maniacal bolter, so I wasn't ever keen to let her go much faster than we usually do. I wasn't totally sure of what she might do when we started to canter.

Turns out I needn't have worried at all. The next class was the Derby - run over the same cones course, but at a canter/gallop/however fast you can conceivably go without killing anyone. I decided what the heck, let's give it a try!

The flopping you hear is one of her boots - she pulled it halfway around, but as it didn't seem to be bothering her I kept going, and just replaced it when we exited. I invite you all to marvel over her many perfect auto changes. (And one partial change, but she was smart and changed right back). Also marvel over her floppy rein, and quick turns. Marvel over the fact that she came right back to a walk when we were done. Marvel over everything!
We finished a VERY close 2nd in this class, right behind the other lady. But now that I know this horse has ever ability to canter in harness without killing anybody, we'll beat her next time.

The final class was a bit scary - thunder and giant black clouds had started to roll in, so we all hurriedly whipped through the final pattern and then bolted for our trailers! We were 2nd in this one, a very close 2nd. Had the other lady not been there O would have won everything easily.

As it stood, that left me with two 1sts and three 2nds! The other lady had three 1sts and two 2nds - which put her in Champion and me in Reserve Champion. She won it fair and square. But I'm right on her heels, so she better watch out at the next one!

Uhhhh mom there is a huge storm blowing in can we go now?
We made it back home safe, and I also made it back to my house before all hell broke loose and the tornados started. We missed them here thankfully, but south of us got hammered on. Deathstorm season is officially here, that's for sure!

SO very proud of my mare. She killed it! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Feisty Redheads!

Oh my. I think I have a wild one on my hands. At 1 day old, my little rodeo bronc already bucks, rears, strikes, kicks, and throws herself on the ground when she doesn't want to be handled! 

But, that's what babies do. And redheads, especially. And redheaded fillies especially especially! She will learn soon enough.

More up in her pasterns today, they'll be good and strong soon!

No touchey my face!

She had the walleyed Mare Glare down pat and she's only a day old!

Special naughty filly trick - don't like your butt scratched? Just sit down!

Not sure what had P's attention, but she had it in full!

I can't believe she didn't inherit the family jughead!

She did, however, inherit the giant family ears!

O wants to steal this baby! She must think that it's hers, it looks like it should be hers anyway!

Already in the puddles! We've been totally flooded for days!

Cut her head off, but she definitely has found her sea legs!

She is CUTE CUTE CUTE though, despite her extreme redheadedness. We're still brooding on a name, any suggestions? Has to start with a D and can't be something generic/stupid/cliched/boring!

She and P both got an A+ from the vet today. Baby's IgG was well over 800 - not surprising given how late P got her milk in and how quickly baby latched (and promptly started sucking the life out of momma!). P has a minor bit of tearing but it's pretty minimal, and not surprising give how giant this filly was. 

Now if it would only stop raining...! The first Games Day of the year is on Sunday. Given the fact that the horses have been heavily stalled as of late due to all the weather, and O hasn't been worked in about 2 weeks... ehhhh what could go wrong!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Day 351 - Welcome Baby!!

Right after I posted my last little blurb, P went into active labor! First thing in the morning, how great is that? No overnight foal watch required! Right after L sent me the picture of the udders dripping milk, she called to say that P was definitely acting like she was going into labor - getting up and down, sweating, curling her lip. I was on my way to work but I promptly rescheduled everything and turned my fanny around to make the trek back up north. It's a good solid hour drive from where I was, not to mention there was rush hour traffic... I opted to take the back route and I'm sure glad I did!

When I got there, it was 9AM and her water had just broken. We were hurriedly cleaning her stall to ready it for her, but she had other plans - she flopped down outside in her run and in the blink of an eye we had a foot. Presentation was normal - two feet and a nose, good to go! The baby was HUGE so I helped her a bit with the shoulders.

You guys are not going to believe this... but when I pulled off the sac, I found....

The odds were super small genetically, but apparently the horsey gods decided that redheaded mares are my fate now!

"Wtf how on earth did I end up with ANOTHER ONE OF THESE?"

Poor Pmare got the dirt ground into her eyeball... looked much better after a good cleaning though!


From water breaking to presentation was about 15 minutes. Actual birth was about 5 minutes, if that - she just popped her right out. The second I pulled the sac off, her head shot up, and she was breathing and sitting upright. Talk about a strong filly!

Within 15 minutes she was already halfway onto her feet - and she had been trying to get to her feet the moment I put my hands on her.

O was very interested!


She grabbed right onto my finger and had a strong suck reflex. At 1/2hr of age, she was ready for the milk bar and got to her feet, unassisted. Once she was up, she stayed up - not one single tumble. She stayed up for well over an hour! It only took her 10 minutes to find the food - and she latched right on like a magnet, no problem at all.

Meeting of the minds... these two are going to be serious trouble when they get together!

We brought them back into the stall, where there was fresh straw and fewer things to wipe out into. The baby kept going round, and round, and round again, torturing her poor momma who just followed her nickering nonstop. P passed the placenta intact by about 10:40AM.

She has unfolding to do for sure, and she is a bit lax in her hind pasterns, but she'll straighten up soon.

Especially if she keeps dancing like this. 1 hour old and already frolicking around!

Strong latch on both sides!

She is going to be a real handful, I already can tell. As strong as she is and as big and she is, it is already all I can do to hold onto her when she pitches her little red filly fits - which she is already doing. We'll be working with her every day to reinforce the rules with her - we'll definitely regret it if we don't!!

Both momma and baby are doing great. Baby is a super-nursing, meconium-passing machine, and gets up and down easily without assistance. P is super attentive, eating and drinking well. And as for O, she is alternating between talking to the baby, eating quietly, and rearing manically in her stall because she wants to come steal the baby for herself. Typical!

There was something like a 6-12% chance that I'd get a red baby. I also was sure that I was going to get a colt. Who knew!

I had names for a colt but not for a filly, so I'll have to start wracking my brain!