Monday, December 27, 2010

The music is, Late Winter, which was composed by my friend, Daryl Lunsford. Daryl is working on an album that will soon be available for purchase. I'll post as soon as the album is finished and published. Also, included are two songs from Chris Botti's Christmas album, Winter Wonderland and Let it Snow.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Danny's First Snow

We had our first white Christmas in over a decade...maybe two. Snows are rare here in the Southeast and Christmas snow is even rarer. The past two years have yielded more than the average snow fall though and since this Christmas day surprise was so sparse, I'm dreaming of a few white days in January now.
This was Danny's first experience with snow. We did have a few flurries about week ago but this was the first time that the white stuff actually stuck. As with most things, Danny's demeanor remained very calm and laid back. 
This photo was taken on Christmas morning. I'd expected the usual playing and behaving more like excited children than horses that I'd gotten from the two older boys last winter but everyone was concentrating on their food instead of the snow which had just started to fall when we arrived with their hay.
Maybe I should be feeding them more energizing sweet feed but they are quite round and well padded with just the high protein teff hay that we grow. It's very fragrant and sweet like alfalfa and the horse eat as if I'm serving them double fudge chocolate cake....or maybe like I would eat a double fudge chocolate cake if I could.
The day after Christmas, the ground was covered with snow. It wasn't very deep but it was still beautiful. I walked over with my camera and camcorder hoping to catch some action but once again, they were thinking more of the food than the snow. Danny did steal a glove from my pocket while I was film the other horses. Through the camera's viewfinder, I saw him slinging something about but I had no idea what he was playing with until I reached in my pocket and missed my glove. There is evidently some larceny in his breeding since his brother Django is just as much of a mischievous thief. Don't know what I'm going to do with these two. 
Today is a landmark day and not just because of the snow. Today, Danny will begin his solitary confinement as we wean him from Mouse. I know, we are late doing this. It's ridiculous to see him nursing poor Mouse when he's only an inch or two short of being as tall as she is. He'll be eight months old on New Years day. I wish we'd already weaned him on Thanksgiving as we'd planned to do. If we'd done that, he'd already be out playing with the boys again and I wouldn't be looking at spending my days confined in a stall with big Dan for the next few weeks...what? you didn't expect me to leave him in there all alone, did you?
Finally, some very sad news. Grey's Stud Mouse, Mouse's sire, passed away three weeks ago. He'd developed lameness in both front hooves. The vet could not diagnose the problem but after trying to treat the condition unsuccessfully, the difficult decision was made to put the wonderful 21 year old stallion down. He will be very much missed especially by Donna and Dale. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Merry Christmas!

From all of us to all of you, wishing you the merriest of Christmases and the most blessed year in 2011.

Wow! Seven Months have Come and Gone

And now it is almost seven and a half months since we welcomed Danny into our lives. It's so hard to believe. The time has passed so quickly and that tiny little foal has turned into a beautiful young horse. I know that I'm very biased but he is so gorgeous and so sweet. The weather has been unusually cold for East Tennessee over the past few weeks so I haven't been working with him as much as I should have been. Yesterday, it was a wonderfully warm forty degrees....comparatively.....and I decided to take an hour midday and play with Danny for a while. He ran across the pasture, walked up to me and went into his halter relatively easily but then he threw a little protest. It wasn't until I got him calmed down and tied to the big post that I realized that, in the two weeks since he last wore it, the weanling halter has gotten very small....must have shrunk. It was extremely short and tight. I loosened it as much as possible and Danny was a lot happier. He stood there patiently while I groomed him and then Steve came up to help. Danny didn't fuss at all and no pawing. When I removed the halter he actually stood there for a few moments before calmly turning and WALKING away instead of bolting like he usually does. Jealous Django was waiting in the wings. When Danny walked off, Django quickly stepped into his place so that he could receive the attention that he knows he deserves.

And a Hardcover Edition

This is not the same book although the subject is the same. Revised and re-written with a few different photos and a deluxe hard cover!
Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Calendars and Book

Don't forget the new calendars and books which are available. You can preview both in the post below and purchase them by clicking on the'll be taken to the site where they are available. Or just click here for the calendar or here for the book. This book is quite small but charming and beautifully done but I do have a longer version started that I hope to publish on Danny's 1st birthday that will chronicle the entire year.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Training in Earnest

It takes the same amount of imagination to scare yourself to death as it does to inspire yourself to life.

I've decided that it is time for me to get serious about Danny's training. We put a halter on him when he was just a few days old but I've not worked with him as diligently as I should have been with leading and basic ground work. I kept thinking, I have time and I'll just wait until he's a few months older or until he's ready to wean. Well, he'll be seven months old in less than a Wednesday to be exact. This is both the time to wean him and time to become far more diligent with his training.
So far, he's been great about turning and backing. He's pretty good at whoa although I don't think he quite understands the command yet. He's best at the backing and when in doubt, he'll back every time no matter what you've actually asked him to do. Moving forward has been a bit of a problem but then, in Danny's defense, I really haven't worked with him enough for him to understand what I want.
I came up with the idea yesterday of having Steve lead Mouse around while I led Danny. I don't think Steve understood quite what I had in mind because he started leading Mouse down the hillside before Danny and I were ready to follow. I always try to start and end with what Danny already knows so that we are both beginning and ending on a good note. I will turn him to the left and then to the right. Then we will back up for several feet before, "Whoa!" and then, "Let's go. Forward." Despite the fact that his example,Mouse, was too far away by now to help much, Danny started moving forward better than he ever had before. He didn't even crowd me much and when he did get a little close, I would simply push his head away and tell him to, "Back off." We were doing great until Django decided to help. Evidently, he thought that my constantly urging Danny forward meant that the foal wasn't doing what I wanted and he began biting Danny on the rump. I brought Danny to a halt and this time, I told Django to back off. It didn't help much. He did stop biting but then, he started pushing Danny with his chest!
I've made another decision. Today's lesson, Django will be the one leading by example on the end of a lead rope. This will not only keep Django out of our way and prevent Danny from being pushed on top of me but I also think that Danny spends more time with Django now than he does his mama. So, Django may be the mentor who teaches Danny how to lead, load and ride in a trailer and other lessons over the next few months. Well, every lesson but the farrier because Django would not be the best example in that situation.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Calendar, Too!

New Book!!

Danny at 6 and half months looking as if he's serving as a wind block for his little mama.

New book chronicling Danny's first six months in words and photos available on

Friday, November 5, 2010

Epiphany....for me

This past week's experiences with Danny have not only been eye opening for him but for me as well. I have to admit that it didn't take the vet telling me that I was babying him too much or Huston's scolding me for me to know that this was true but still I was reluctant to correct him as hard as I knew I needed to. Then last week, both Huston and  E.TN horse trainer, Erin Stevens, told me the same thing, if Danny isn't stopping his mouthy behavior when you correct him, you aren't hitting him hard enough. In my mind and my experience with the older horses , I did realize that: one, you can't truly harm a horse unless you hit them with a lead pipe...and then that would take some effort and two, you have to exert as much force as necessary to get the results you want and you keep increasing the pressure until that is achieved (that one comes from Brandy McDonnell,"As much pressure as needed to achieve the results you want and assertive not aggressive unless aggressive is absolutely necessary.) Just plain ol' horse sense and something I already knew but something that was still difficult to do with this horse that I still see as that new born baby. Finally however the light went off for both Danny and me....although it took two flickers for both of us, lol. First, I finally got tired of Danny's constant pestering....that was part of the problem with his latest "trick", he wasn't harming us, he wasn't biting us, but he was constantly grabbing at our clothes or anything we were holding.....and I really let him have it. I didn't just slap his nose away like I'd been doing with little success since it wasn't slowing much less stopping the behavior. This time, I pulled back and I slugged him. Oddly, this upset Django worse than Danny. Django screamed, reared and ran away but Danny just glared at me and then slowly turned and sulked away making me think so much of a teenager. The long term effect was however much larger. Steve took care of the horses for me the next day while I finished up some work here so there was quite a bit of time that past before I saw Danny again. I was truly surprised by his behavior. He attempted to grab my jacket hem only once. I pulled back my hand and he turned away. He came running up to me but he simply walked beside me as I searched for groundhog holes in the field (we're having a problem with them and with small sink holes in the pasture.) He was gentle and not aggressive or mouthy at all...with me, the other horses were another matter but that's their problem, lol.

My second lesson came on Tuesday when the Vet was due to come to give Danny his first shots and an exam. The first time I put on his halter and led him to the gate, he was very well behaved but the vet called to say that she was going to be late so I set him free. When she called again to say that she was about 10 minutes away, I went out in the pasture to get Danny and I led him back to the gate. We had a few stubborn stops but all in all, he led quite well for it to be such a long distance from one side of the pasture to the other. Then I stopped him about ten or so feet from the gate to wait for Dr. Hamilton. He quickly grew tired of just standing. He started to paw and I jerked down on the halter rope and told him to, "Cut it out!" That seemed to make him angrier each time I did it. The last time, Danny suddenly went wide eyed....I know he's young but I swear this is the same trick that Mouse has used to get her way. As the vet later said, this little guy is scared of nothing and also, there was nothing frightening or surprising in the direction he was staring........that stopped and for about 10 seconds, he stood there calmly but in hindsight, I should have been more on guard, I should have read the obvious tell. I guess I just didn't think that this six month old would actually be thinking about how he was going to get away from me. Suddenly, he wheeled around toward me and reared up catching me under the nose and knocking me backwards. I saw stars but I still managed to hold on to that rope as he jumped backwards. Then as he tried different turns and rears and attempting to gallop away, I held him and turned him sideways trying to get him under control. If it had been one of the older horses, I probably couldn't have held them but I did know that it was essential that I not let him get away from me. Once I'd tied him to the large post at the gate, he tried pulling back once and realized that he wasn't going to move that post. After that, he was perfectly behaved and calm even when the vet gave him his first shots and drew blood for his coggins. But the eye opening experience for me came yesterday. Once again, there was a day in between when I didn't see Danny because I was out shopping and running errands and I called and asked Steve to please feed for me. So, yesterday I went into the pasture for the first time since Tuesday afternoon with no idea how Danny would behave after our little "altercation" and the shots he'd received from the vet. At first, he didn't seem to want anything to do with me. Not only did he not come running to greet me like he usually does, he actually seemed to be avoiding me. But when I walked up to him he reached his head toward me and to my surprise, he did not grab my jacket, he gently nuzzled me. There was none of the pushy and aggressive behavior that we've had from him over the last month or so. There was no angry glaring just a sweet, gentle expression in his eyes. So, the good news is, the light went off for me then. I'd realized during our little battle on the day of the vet's visit that I had to control him now because if I don't, when he is 16.1 and 1000 or more pounds, I won't have a chance. But I also realized yesterday that, just like the big guys, my taking control did not alienate him, it actually made him respect me more and show more affection than he had before. It still seems odd to me that such a simple act could have such an amazingly radical result but it did, he is a different horse. I know now that I have to start thinking more like a horse when I deal with him since in the horse community, the lines are more visible and simple between the dominant horse and the others. As my husband....and numerous other constantly telling me, I tend to over think everything and that can be dangerous with a horse. Of course, I am aware that this won't be our last battle and I'm also aware that I have to be prepared because I HAVE to win every one of them and no matter what, I have to be ready to act instantly and as aggressive as necessary but never emotionally. But I also have to admit that I'm feeling much surer of my ability to handle what ever situation might occur. I think I'm on my way to finally becoming a horse woman....and just in the nick of time, lol
He still has a crush on Brandy:)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bringing Up Baby

Danny had one of those landmark moments in his young life yesterday afternoon, his first visit from the veterinarian and his first shots. You know what they say, all's well that ends well. This did end up being a good experience with our vet, Dr Melissa Hamilton, saying that he was a perfect gentleman but the time leading up to her visit did not go as smoothly and he certainly was not a gentleman during the last five minutes before the vet arrived.

It did start well. Dr Hamilton was due to arrive at 4:00 PM. I went to the pasture at 3:00 to fill water troughs and feed hay. After those chores were completed, I called Huston and gleaned his vast horse knowledge for about 30 minutes while I waited until the last minute to put on Danny's halter and walk him down to the gate to meet the vet. Danny did well with that trip. It was the first time I'd actually led him any distance outside of the round pen where a few feet of pull free travel is considered a great victory and I was pleased with how easily Danny came with me and how he backed up quickly on voice command. The one problem was that he was still crowding me and when Nancy called to tell me that Dr. Hamilton was going to be delayed, I let Danny go back to the herd and used the time to place another call to Huston to ask his advice on this problem. He told me how to handle the problem and make Danny respect my space.
After I said goodbye to Huston, I walked to the top of the hill where I could keep an eye on Danny who was still wearing his halter. I don't like to leave the halter on any of my horses when they are at liberty. My husband always says that horses and dogs are both like little boys, if there is trouble to be gotten into, they will find it. I found Danny playing with the geldings. At least that was his plan until they each grew tired of his pestering and ran him away. He then chased poor, old Brandy in tight circles, nibbling at her neck until she finally squealed and cow kicked him away. He returned to Riley for a while but after a few minutes of irritating him, Danny turned and came galloping up the hillside to me. Thankfully, the slow command, signaled by raising my arm and flattened palm toward him, is one that he has learned well because he slowed to a gentle trot as soon as I raised my hand and then walked slowly up to stop a respectful distance from me. He was very good, no nibbling or nipping, so evidently the pop I gave him on Saturday had some effect. He stood with me for a while but soon grew bored with me as well and ran off to be with the other horses again.
Although his attention span is getting longer all of the time, I was soon to learn that his patience level and tolerance to being restrained are still in need of improvement. Melissa called to say that she'd be at my place in ten minutes. Plenty of time I thought to walk Danny down to the gate and honestly, the walk down was a breeze. It was only after we reached the gate and were standing there for what seemed like only ten seconds that Danny started to paw the ground. I jerked on the halter rope and told him to, "Cut that out!" Correction usually doesn't have the desired results the first time with Danny. Second attempts are usually more successful but the first time with any correction usually results in anger from Danny not compliance. The second correction usually gets better results but this time however  the jerk on the halter rope after his second paw only appeared to make him angrier. He glared at me and then he gave me what should have been a warning, he suddenly looked up as if he saw something that startled him and stared off across the pasture in the direction of the woods with wide eyes. I looked and didn't see a thing and I really think there was nothing to see; I've seen this trick before from his mom. Danny is already showing that he's a thinker like Mom. Like her, he never appears to be scared or startled by much but he does seem to use the appearance of being spooked when it suits his needs. The tell is that when the spook doesn't give the desired result, usually his freedom from your restraint, he gets angry instead of scared. So, with this obvious tell, I should have been on guard more. If I had been prepared for what came next, my nose would not be swollen and still occasionally leaking blood this morning. But I was standing there relaxed and not as alert as I should have been when from being dead still and calm, Danny suddenly blew up. He turned toward me suddenly and then went straight up in the air, catching me under the nose and sending me backwards. I literally saw stars but I managed to hold on to him. Thankfully this episode didn't last long because as soon as he saw that this method wasn't going to give him the escape he wanted, I could see his brain working to devise another plan. So one after another, he tried different techniques to free himself from me and the rope but I cow girled up and held on as he and I went in circles with him rearing and twisting while I dug in my heals and gripped that rope for dear life. I managed to get him over the heavy gate post just as Dr. Hamilton came driving up the road. It was a pleasant cool day but I was sweating and disheveled by the time I wrapped the rope around the post and pulled tight. Still, he acted like he'd never seen a truck before when Melissa pulled up. He tried to rear up again and then twisted sideways almost pushing me into the electric fence that I'd stupidly failed to disconnect. Dr. Hamilton apologized for spooking him and I told her that he wasn't scared; I don't think he's scared of anything. Good grief, he practically climbs into my truck when I pull it into the field. In fact, I think the only thing keeping him out is my closing the door because he does reach into any open truck window he finds and sniffs around and explores. So, it was experience as well as the glare in his eyes and the flattened ears that told me that this was anger not fear that he was displaying. Thankfully though that was his last fuss. Evidently he realized that although he might be stronger than me, he was no match for that big post. Melissa brought her twitch with her because she said that she'd just finished with a young filly that had to be twitched during her exam and shots. It turned out though that the twitch was not needed. Danny stood there like this was all something he'd experienced a hundred times. He didn't even flinch with most of the shots or drawing blood for his coggins test. He did give a little jump when the needle in his rump evidently hit a nerve but it was very little reaction. He stood while Melissa examined him and lifted his feet. He did roll his eyes at me when she examined his emerging testicles but she told him he better get use to that if he wants to keep them, lol. She commented on what a muscular, well built boy he is, saying that he is extremely well formed and large for his age. She also commented on how calm and well behaved he is. That please me but I couldn't help thinking, would she still think that if she'd been there to see Danny's angry outburst before her arrival instead of only observing my own anger that it caused. Oh well, like I said in the beginning, all's well that ends well and now that is one "first" experience that is behind us.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

6 Months Old!!

Can you believe it? I'm not sure that I can. I've been looking through all of the photos I've taken of him over these many (or few months) and it is amazing to see how much he's grown. He's always been uniquely Danny though even from the very beginning of his young life. I'm pretty certain that he was born with that personality and what a personality he has! Here are a few shots that I took of him yesterday morning, two days short of his 6 month "b'day." It was difficult to get a good shot of him for two reasons, he was always in motion and there wasn't enough light to stop said movement in a photo and most of his time was spent bothering me, pulling on me, my tripod, or my camera strap or sticking his nose in front of the lens just as I pushed the shutter button. Steve was nice enough to come over and try to occupy him while I took photos of Mouse (I'll include a few of those shots,too) but he got a phone call and can see what happened. Big brothers finally solved the problem when they started playing and it got a bit rough for Danny. He decided that the safest spot was by Mama's side.
Hopefully we'll be taking Mouse to Val's sometime this week so that we can wean Danny. Steve has been working on the fencing and enclosing a stall so that we will be ready to contain Danny so that he doesn't try to follow Mom to Sweetwater. 
Despite the Danny these photos seem to show, Danny is really a sweet boy. He just "occasionally" gets one of those wild hairs.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Separation Anxiety

Steve and I were in the mountains on September 26th when I got a phone call from my friend since childhood, Candis Snow-Nicely. She had been trying to get by my place to see Danny since he was born on May 1st and she told me that she was sitting in my drive at that moment. When she found out that I was over an hour away from home, she asked if it was Ok for her to drive across and see the baby on her own. I said, of course and she kept talking to me as she drove. Suddenly, in a panicked voice, she said, "Sande, something's wrong! The baby's not here. There are only four horses in the field!" I didn't get upset because I knew that Danny would not wander far from his mama and also because I knew that if there were four horses in the field then he was there since Brandy was in another pasture by herself recovering from an injury. I told her this and then she exclaimed, "Holy cow! That's not a baby; he's a fully grown horse!"

At that time, Danny was five days short of being five months old. The photo above was taken eleven days later on October 6th. You can see how large he is compared to his "big" brother, Django. I think his legs look considerably longer than Django's already. Now, he is eleven days away from his 6 month mark. It is time for weaning and I'm worried that we are going to have some problems from our extra stout baby.

On Monday, I was hauling water to the, we don't have a well where they are kept yet and I don't want them drinking the city water with all of its chemicals. So, I haul the water from our home's well in a large tank, thirty-five gallons at a time. Yesterday, we finally replaced that hose that the horses had damaged several weeks ago. With the new hose, I can park my truck at the top of the hill and not have to pull into the pasture in order to fill the troughs but on Monday, I was still going through the gates and half way down the hill to reach the shorter hose we were having to use. When I arrived with the first tank of water, the boys were all on top of the hill in the upper pasture and Mouse was in the small run-in that we call the House of Mouse at the bottom of the hill napping. I closed off the gate to the upper pasture and the gate to the round pen which envelopes the small run-in and pulled my truck into the middle pasture. After I'd started the water flowing into the troughs, I took my grooming tools into the round pen and spent some quality girl time with Mousie. I left to get another tank of water and I was delayed because I was looking for the detangler so that I could braid Mouse's mane. I automatically looked to the upper pasture as I was driving back up the hillside and I was the one panicking this time because I only saw two horses! I knew that if Danny wasn't with Mouse, he was always with the big boys and never on his own. I was terrified that something had happened to him in the short time I'd been gone. And then I spotted him. He was standing outside of the round pen and nursing Mouse through the metal panels! I still have no idea how he got through two fences without harming himself but the ease with which he escaped when he wanted his mama, really scared me. What are we going to do when Mouse goes to stay at Val's so that we can wean him? I of course called Huston immediately. I knew he'd know what to do and he told me that the first thing we need to do is put Danny in a stall when Mouse leaves so that he can't see her go or see which direction we turn when we leave. He told me that, if Danny watches her leave, he will most certainly try to follow her and he will get through the fence. He said that even making certain that the electricity on the fence is operating at full force will not deter Danny if he is determined to get out and find his mom and he will simply jump or attempt to jump any number of fences if he has to. He also told me that Danny needs to be confined for at least two days.

We plan to take Mouse to Val's in the next week or so and she will be staying there at least a month. So, I guess you all know how I will be spending all of my time during November....either in Sweetwater with Mouse or in the stall and round pen with Danny until he calms down and accepts that mama and his ready supply of milk are gone.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Win a Print!

Follow the Fly~By Danny Boy blog and/or Danny's Face Book Page for a chance to win a print of your choice. Those who follow both will have two chances to win the print of your choice of my photographs or collage images which can be any size up to 16x12(if I don't feel that a print is appropriate or large enough to print well to that size, I will give you other options such as two 8x10s instead or another choice.) It will be printed with archival inks on fine, professional photography paper and it is guaranteed not to fade for 200 years (although I've never quite figured out how they can prove that, it is still an excellent, high quality print.) On Wednesday, December 15th, I will put all of the names into a hat and draw out the winner. I'll post the winner's name on both Face Book, the blog and in an email notice for those who are on my email list so that you can contact me and tell me which photo or image you want and shipping information. If someone signs up to follow this blog or the Face Book Page on your recommendation and tells me that(make certain they let me know that you recommended the site), you will get another chance to win. In fact, you will get a chance to win for each person you get to sign on. I'm going to be running a similar contest for my professional sites in the near future where you will have the chance to win not only a print but a photography session and maybe one for the folk art site where you can win a specific carving. I'll announce it soon so be on the look out for that. I just wanted to do this wee promotion of Danny in honor of him finally having an official name, Traveler's Sensational Flyby!
Good luck!

Name Decided

After many months spent worrying over both his name and wondering what his final color would be, both are decided and Danny's registration papers were mailed yesterday. The color was actually the hardest; Danny has been through so many changes and sometimes, I swear, he's been almost spotted...or maybe I should say splotchy since there was never a touch of white on him. Now his face and especially his nose are covered with gray hairs that are starting to spread to the rest of his body. The nice lady that I spoke with at the MFTBA told me that I should register him Black turning Gray. She assured me that this choice was on the breeding certificate but I couldn't find it. What I did find was Black Roan. I had no idea what that was and thought perhaps that was his color but roaning, from any color, never occurs on the face just the body. I never thought he was Black anyway. Huston has always said that Danny is a Liver Chestnut but there is no selection for Chestnut turning Gray either. So, in the end, I just put Gray and in the notes for markings area, I put, "None but born without any markings and now Liver Chestnut turning Gray." Huston told me that he wished he'd registered Mouse as a Silver Dapple instead of a Gray but it is almost impossible to truly determine eventual color at this young age. I did "google" chestnut turning gray and discovered that the lovely rose gray called steel gray is the color he will most likely be by the time he's a yearling. I'm sure that he'll be beautiful whatever his color. I'd planned on showing him at model class but my friend, Fran Forrester, told me that I'd have to keep him out of the sun and free of scars and marks for that. I don't want to restrict his youthful exuberance and also, he's been skinning his knees...shoulders, nose, etc...since he was two weeks old, typical little boy.

Although the color was difficult to determine, choosing a name wasn't much easier. Huston loves the name Flyby which is the name of a horse in a favorite book of his. Flyby was the easiest choice because I searched the MFTBA registry records and there are no Flybys and only three Fly Bys. Danny or Danny Boy was impossible since there was a famous WGC champion in the 70's that was short lived unfortunately but evidently very prolific. His foals were sought after and established a long line of Danny name variations. My next choice was Sandman or Sandeman (indulge me;). Again, there was a stallion named Sandman and many foals named after him. So, I called Huston and I said, "What about just Traveler's Flyby?" He said that he liked that. I said, "Well, why not his sire's second name also, Traveler's Sensational Flyby?" He got very excited and said that is the one! He felt it had impact and he feels people will remember it when Danny is one day WGC. Of course, I'm joking but I'm not so certain that Huston is. He is so happy that we are now planning on leaving Danny a stallion for now. He kept telling me before, when I was determined to geld, that a gelding had never won the world championship. Now, I think, whether he will actually admit it or not, that he truly feels that Danny might have a chance at the championship. He said to me when he met Danny, "This may be the horse that changes the entire breed." I need to get busy and make enough money to pay for all that training, haha. Who actually knows what the future holds for my sweet little guy? I still am not even sure what color he will be and even though a registered name is finally decided, Traveler's Sensational Flyby, he will always be Danny Boy to me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I know I'm more than a little bit biased but Danny gets more beautiful each day. He's growing so fast and he's becoming more graceful, losing the baby's clumsiness. Last night, he came to greet me and made a running stop on the other side of the fence from me. His head and ears were held high, his tail raised and flaring out behind him and I my heart leaped into my throat as I caught a glimpse of how magnificent he is going to look as a stallion. And then he took off at amazing speed as he circled around the copse of trees where the old cabin once stood and met his brother, Django, at the gate that opens into the upper pasture. He is mine but I can't deny that he is heartbreakingly lovely.

His fate, as far as gelding goes, is still up in the air. I was all for gelding him because I know that the life of a stallion is usually one of isolation and confinement. But both Steve and Huston still think he will make a great stallion. Steve is convinced that he can build the fences needed to keep him in and Huston tells me to just wait and see if he gets his father's easy going attitude. His sire doesn't act at all like a stallion and can be used for any task without complaint or objection. He does have the sweetest personality as does Danny's dam, my precious Mousie. Mouse however is a diva and strong willed so let's hope that Danny gets more of his dad's personality, lol. If I do say so myself ;-), he is so well bred and developing into such a gorgeous and well formed little horse that I think it would be a shame to geld him as well. I just hope that inexperienced Steve and I are up to the task of keeping a stallion!

If we do keep him as a stallion, we are hoping to keep him with the geldings until breeding season. They are already attempting to keep him in line with little success so I think he's starting to establish himself as alpha male. He is submissive to Riley but big brother, Django, has a more difficult time with him....or maybe is just far more patient than the older horse. Occasionally, as you can see in the photo above, he pushes even Django too far. :D

Friday, October 1, 2010

Farrier Visit

Dale beat me to the barn this morning. I was at the Farmers' Co-Op buying wormer....dovetailing tasks. I'd already gotten all of the horses into the round pen and haltered and I'd prayed all of the way to the Co-Op and back that none of them would hang themselves with their halters while I was gone. Still, I managed to pull in the drive right behind Dale about 8:15 AM. We started with Mouse and she was a doll as usual but we both had to keep pushing Danny and his curious nose away. I want him to get use to Dale and his tools so that he won't be fearful of his visits but I do not want him taking a chunk out of our farrier's back as he's bent over working on Mama's hooves.

Django was second and I'd lost my chain so we tried it with just the halter. He was, surprisingly, a perfect gentleman even though Danny, the antagonist, was now climbing up on his back and biting him on the rump....well out of range for one of Mama Sande's slaps. Django didn't even protest much over the wormer.

Next came Riley, who, since we've overcome his fear of halters, is never any bother. He did object the most to the wormer but we didn't lose much.

By the time we'd finished with Riley, Steve arrived at the paddock gate. He wasn't suppose to be helping us today since he'd already agreed to help a friend cut and clear a tree but unfortunately, our well pump went out late last night and so he was trying to fix the problem without resorting to buying a new pump. I was so glad to see him because trimming Dan's hooves is at least a three person job. I do have to say that the boy is improving every time. Despite the battle that ensued, Dale assures me that he will be better than most older horses by the time he's two. At first he tried all of his tricks and even added a new one by lying down completely. Steve and I had switched "ends" and I had rear end and side duty on that one which meant I was trying to hold up, with all my might, 400 pounds of wiggling baby. My back still hurts. It was with almost gleeful pleasure that I introduced Danny to the wormer after we were done with his hooves. In his defense, by the time Dale reached his last hoof, he was standing there still and calm....and upright!

The boy is 5 months old today. I just got back from visiting them all. The other horses were grazing in the pasture. It is a good day for it, sunny but cool with a nice breeze, perfect weather for the first day of October. I found Danny asleep in the sunshine. I sat down beside him and pet him for a long while. He'd occasionally nuzzle me back. It's those moments that make life so sweet.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And So He Grows

Tomorrow, Danny will be five months old! It still amazes me how quickly he is growing. Also tomorrow will be his third visit with Dale Collis, our farrier. It will just be Dale and me this time since Steve is working so I hope I can handle him on my own. He still hasn't quite adjusted to the fact that Dale is not trying to cut his feet off. It terrified him the first time he saw Dale trimming his mom, Mouse, and Mousie loves her "pedicures."
I'm going to tell you a story which may not be as funny in the retelling but it sure was funny when it happened. Miss Brandy has a hoof abscess and while it is healing I'm keeping her separated from the others so that I can give her medication in sweet feed and not worry about some other (always) hungry horse grabbing it. Tuesday evening, it was raining, finally at the first of Autumn since we've been very dry this Summer, and so I didn't have my camera with me which always seems to be when I really need it. I let the four horses out into the upper pasture and hopped back into the truck to drive down to the lower pasture to take care of Brandy. As I was getting out of the truck, I heard an odd, high shriek. I turned around to see Danny running down into the middle pasture and around the copse of trees where the old cabin use to sit. He was screaming as he ran. I looked back to the top of the hill where the two geldings were leaping about joyfully like two mean little boys who'd just gotten away with something. Mouse was on the very top of the hill and she came running when she heard Danny screaming. She didn't go to the foal; instead she stopped at the fence which separates the pasture from the road and she craned her neck as she peered at Danny's wild run. Then she gets this really cold but angry expression on her face as she slowly turns her head and looks back at the geldings. As soon as she looked at them, the two boys stopped leaping about and stood stock still watching Mouse. I'm sure they knew that they were about to pay for whatever they'd done to her baby. Both of them suddenly turned and started running away just as Mouse pinned her ears back and started chasing them. She was at least a hundred feet from them but quickly caught up to them and was biting Riley's behind as they all ran. When he sees the other horses galloping around the field, Danny forgets all about whatever injustice had been done to him and decided to join them. He lived up to his name of Flyby as he quickly caught up with the other three horses and then easily, fleet as a deer, he outran all of them with his head and tail held high. In defense of the geldings, I'm sure that he most likely deserved whatever they'd done to start all of this. He is a bit of a brat but he's my bit of a brat ;-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Even after the rain we received on Saturday, it's still pretty dusty around here ;-)...just up from a nap.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I have to get some new photos taken but I just had to do a bit of bragging on my boy. It's been almost a month if not longer since I've had a halter on Danny much less a lead. It was partially laziness on my part and the fact that he's already outgrown three halters and now seems to be somewhere in between weanling and yearling. The weanling halter could no longer be forced on and the yearling hung much too loosely. Finally, this past Sunday morning, Steve punched some extra holes in the yearling halter and we took it to the pasture with us. Danny saw me and he whinnied and came running down to the fence to greet me. After we had our little love fest, I pulled out the halter and held it up for him. At first he was hesitant but only for a second and then he put his head right in and let us adjust it. I hook the rope to the halter and expected a small battle but he was perfectly behaved. We turned to both sides, walked forward and even backed on cue. He was a doll!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Music Appreciation

I was listening to the NPR jazz broadcast yesterday evening as I drove over to take care of the horses and turn them out into the large pasture for the night. I left my truck door open so that I could listen to the music as I fed Brandy. I then walked down to let the other horses out of the lower pasture. Everyone got a treat...I know, I know, a very bad habit to start but they do love it and with the exception of sometimes naughty Django, they are all very polite about it... although diva Mouse always grumbles that I'm too slow dispensing them and also insists on always going first. After Mouse and Danny received their treats, Mouse took off at a trot and led Danny up the hill and through the double gates that cross the road that divides the pastures. The boys were wanting a little extra attention so I spent some time with them. Riley especially has turned into a regular love bug over the last year and half since he moved here. In the beginning, he was so stand-offish and the least affectionate of any of my horses. Then we went through over half a year when it was a battle any time I tried to catch and halter him. In his defense, he was staying at a friend's barn and someone there had put a halter on and left it when they turned him out. He'd obviously gotten it caught on something and the next day his face was covered with sores and his right ear was cut from one side to the other. So, it is no wonder that he became extremely head shy. Oddly, all of that fear on his part and frustration on mine changed quite suddenly in a matter of weeks. I started by just trying to get him to let me pet him a bit without him moving away. The scratching started on his back and then I slowly moved to his head. Before I knew it, he was actually leaning his head into me as I petted or brushed him and then he stopped running away when I pulled out the halter. It helped that Huston showed me how to make a halter from a rope with a loop on one end that I could hide in my pocket and slip on  around his neck. Once Riley realized that I wasn't going to hurt him with the halter, he was a changed horse. And he also seems to love affection more than any of the other horses now. Django who is jealous of all of the horses and any attention that they're getting that he's not, lol, is always standing beside us and usually sniffing my pockets to see if there are any forgotten treats hiding there. I think the boys might have stood there all night as long as I was petting and scratching them but I had to get back to the house and start dinner. As I started walking up the hill to leave, Riley and Django walked along on either side of me. When I reached the gate, Danny spotted me. He whinnied and came running down the hill to see me. Django quickly moved to block Danny's access to me and then started nipping the little guy on the back to move him back into the other pasture. When Danny reached the other side of the fence, his ears suddenly perked up and he seemed to have forgotten that Django was even there. He walked over and leaned across the fence, virtually putting his head inside the truck cab to listen to the music. He was fascinated. He stood there for several minutes and then he started quietly grazing but staying close to the truck and the music with his ears still up, alert, and listening. I managed to get around Django and I started petting Danny but when Ella Fitzgerald started singing, Danny deserted me and stretched his neck and head across the fence once again to get as close to the music as possible. Once the song was over he relaxed and came back to my side. Evidently commercials held little interest for him....much the same with me. Who knew that I was raising a little horse with such good musical tastes?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Had to Share

This photo of Steve and Danny was taken on the 22nd of August just one week short of Danny's four month "birthday."

Growing, Growing, Gone

He's four months and exactly one week old in this photo that I took yesterday afternoon. He's not gone yet but he is growing up so fast. Mouse not only looks worn out, she also looks worried. I think she realizes that I'll be taking him away from her soon. Of course he is pulling away from both of us. I still occasionally get the excited whiny when he sees me and then he comes running up for a "Sande hug" which has moved from his middle to his neck since he's gotten so big. He is out with the big boys now and that is where he stays most of the time. He and his big brother, Django, seem to be best buddies. Riley tolerates him and has the scars to prove it. I turned them out together on the 20th of August and at first their was a bit of protest from the two geldings. Mouse set them straight fast enough and when I saw the bite marks start showing up on Riley's sides over the next few days, I assumed that Mouse was the culprit. She wasn't. Danny is just like a bratty little brother, constantly picking at the big guys and irritating them but even their corrections are gentle. All of their beautiful manes are starting to look scraggly. I saw Danny actually grab hold of Riley's beautiful copper tresses with his mouth and then go completely limp so that he was just hanging from Riley's side....bratty kid. I think maybe he carried it a little too far a few days ago because Danny now has a nice sized bitemark on his shoulder which he most likely earned. Some photos of the excitement:

Riley takes chase as Brandy looks on.

Mama Mouse to the rescue

and it's all over but the shoutin' ;-)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New Calendar on

Currently a 2010 calendar but I'm sure they will switch it over soon...??? I'll check on that.


I played a bit with Mother's Love from the last post.

Sweet Memories

It's so hard to imagine now that Danny was ever this small. That May Day is now just a sweet and cherished memory. It still touches my heart to watch the video of Danny's first day and to see the tender, loving way that Mousie would look at him, constantly checking him out from front hoof to back in the same way human mothers count every finger and toe. I told someone just yesterday, that she still looks at him that way....when he's asleep. Our farrier, Dale Collis, said during last week's visit that Danny was in his teenage stage now. I guess that means that he is occasionally stubborn and disagreeable as well as more than a little rambunctious but despite the fact that he can be a demon at times, he is also still so very, very sweet. Mouse might not always agree with me about that. Danny seems to think that I belong to him and that my sole purpose in life is serving the Dan Man. Last night, I was trying to give Mama some attention. It's been so long since I've been able to spend some one on one time with Mouse and pamper her. I'd tried brushing her earlier in the day but Danny had pushed between us and indicated that his back needed scratching. I thought that last night, Steve could keep Danny occupied while I groomed Mouse. So Steve started brushing Danny and I brushed Mousie which she thoroughly enjoyed. Neither horse was tied up or haltered. Usually, they don't have to be when the brushes come out. It might have been nice to have them tied last night though because Danny kept edging away from Steve and closer and closer to his mom and me. He eventually was right next to us and constantly trying to get my attention. Finally, he shoved his way between us and started leaping up and biting Mom's neck and withers. This was not an attempt to groom her but rather to drive her away and he accomplished his goal. With one last look back at me and the much loved brush, Mousie walked back out into the pasture. And Danny came back in and took her place in front of me, pointing with his nose to an itchy spot just like his mom does. I don't know if I should allow him to get by with this or not. He's getting far too use to getting his own way. I'm thinking of giving another try to turning them out with the other horses. I'm hoping that maybe the other boys will make Danny walk the line a bit more....but I doubt it.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Three and a Half Month Photos

Sorry that I missed the 3 month "b'day" although the photos with Huston were just a week short of that date. I'm blaming my photographic lethargy on the weather. The heat and humidity have been unbearable this Summer. No one is riding until this heat wave finally breaks. We put up hay this past week and it was so hot that the top of the hay was burning up while the underneath was being kept damp by the humidity despite several rakings to stir it up. We finally managed to get it baled but it is not as sweet as the Teff we put up in the Spring and the horses don't like it as well. Of course, "The Weather," is the number one subject of conversation of anyone who lives on a farm especially during hay season.
Dale Collis, our farrier, came early yesterday morning for Danny's second trim. The other horses were so well behaved....for once! Riley was an easy catch with the "hidden rope trick" that Huston showed me while he was visiting us a few weeks ago. He was a doll actually and I let Steve hold him and brush him while I captured the other four. None of them gave me a problem and when Django's turn for a trim rolled around, he was exceptionally well behaved...for Django, lol. Mouse was the doll she always is. She actually will lift her feet in anticipation of what Dale wants. Brandy was surprisingly the only trouble maker out of the big horses and she was just throwing her head around like she loves to do......but she can do a lot of damage with that head, lol. Then we came to Danny. He went into his halter easily and when Steve hooked the rope to the halter, Danny allowed him to lead him around the round pen like an old pro. Then we tied him to the fence and the fireworks ensued, haha. Not that bad actually. At first one side of him was up against the fence while Dale worked on the other. I couldn't get in a spot where I could hold him. When Dale moved to the opposite side though, I wrapped my arms around him and held on. The problem is, Danny is clever and quickly figured out that it was far more difficult for me to hold him if he leaned his shoulders toward Dale and then twisted his hips toward me. We did manage though and by the time the last hoof was done, Danny was standing there calmly and actually patiently. Dale and I both were wet with sweat and it wasn't even 9:00 a.m.! Steve of course kept giving me instructions while he casually held the rope. I was silent until finally I told him that I wanted to trade places. I think it was good for him to experience what it's like to attempt to hold 300 pounds of squirming baby. haha