Sunday, May 30, 2010

Danny Boy - Eric Clapton (EN VIVO)

My friend, Doug Presley, shared the video below with me on facebook. I think it is one of the most beautiful renditions of Danny Boy that I've ever heard....and it's Clapton!

Wild Hair Days

For those of you who have never experienced life with a foal, I will give you the same warning I was given four weeks ago: colts are drastically different from fillies. It isn't just the obvious differences between boys and girls; colts are far more aggressive. I will think that I have this aggressive behavior under control because for several days, Danny will be sweet, calm, attentive and obedient....and then he gets a "wild hair" as we say in the South. 

Wild hairs are basically an ingrown hair which, if you've ever had one, you know can be irritating and grating on your nerves until you pluck it out. Just so with someone getting an emotional "wild hair" They have to act on all of that pent up energy or they feel like they might explode. Young colts, like young boys, seem to get more than their fair share of these and then the energy and mischievousness just seems to burst from them. 

Today appears to be one of those days because Danny was determined to exert his presence on both Steve and me this morning. Heaven forbid that you ignore him when he's like this because then he demands attention. He nipped me more than once during our visit. And, even though I immediately corrected him each time by inserting my fingers in his mouth and pressing into his soft palette, it did not deter him from doing it again usually immediately after my correction as if to say, "There! That's what I think of you and your rules." He also kept pushing us if you could call it that. It was more like slinging himself against me with as much force as he could muster. Again, I pushed back with Steve behind me, saying, "Don't let him do that to you." Steve says this to mock me for always saying it to him, the "good parent" who lets Danny get by with far too much (because he wants him to like him the best.) When Danny gets that proverbial Southern wild hair though, there is no plucking it out. You just have to ride out the storm until the calm, sweet Danny returns and the demon child hides from view for a few days at least.

Flying Horses

I need to get some good shots of Danny running. He certainly lives up to the name Huston gave him, Fly-by, because he literally appears to be flying at times. I'm amazed by both how fast he is and also how graceful on those overly long legs. Steve came home last night talking about seeing Danny running solo and making sweeping circles of the pasture like his mom loves to do. At thirteen, you'd expect Mouse to become laid back and slow but she still loves to let off steam occasionally. When she was eight months pregnant with Danny she was making her runs around the big pasture, hills and all, with Django, her first born son, by her side. The two of them would jump over the fallen logs and a large pipe/conduit that Steve is planning on using as a culvert for the road run off. Like Danny now, the two them did this for entertainment and the sheer enjoyment of it. Sometimes, Mouse takes Danny running like that. At first, she'd run slowly and let him run beside her. Now, she doesn't hold back at all and Danny really has to stretch out to try to keep pace with her. That has to be good for him and being the good mom that she is, I'm sure Mouse is aware of that. I will do my best to capture his youthful equine exuberance soon. The only problem is, it is very hard to capture on film because neither Mouse nor Danny move around much in the heat and humidity brought about by the high noon sun on these Southern Summer days. It always seems to be in the low light times, very early morning or very late afternoon, when my camera just refuses to cooperate and put in the effort needed for a good shot that the two of them take wing.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And Time Marches On

So hard to believe that four weeks ago, we were just welcoming Danny into the world. He's grown so much and learned so much in one month. It makes me look forward to the future even more just to watch him develop into a young horse. I forgot to add earlier that Danny got his own food bowl last night and he thought that was something. He liked even more the handful of food that he didn't have to steal from Mom;-D

We did a pasture shuffle last night because the oats in Mouse's pasture had headed out and were too rich for my easy keeper girl. She's not very happy about being in the poorer middle pasture but she should be glad that she's not on the hot hillside pasture where I had to move other horses so that their usual pasture could be occupied by Mouse and Danny. No one was pleased with me this morning.

I'm surprised that Huston is still answering my calls. I had two long conversations with him yesterday, one to catch him up on Danny's latest antics and the other seeking mucho advise. I told him that I don't know what I'd do without him. He's been involved with horses for his entire 86 years and he is just a wealth of knowledge and "horse sense." I'm so grateful that he's willing to help us out or we would be so lost. It seems whatever problem or question I come up with, he has been there and done that a hundred times. Thank you, Huston!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Stepping Back

I wanted to share this photo from ten days ago. Mouse is "herding" Danny away from the "big boys." You can see Django and Riley looking on from the round pen. A prime illustration of good horse mothering.
Another image from just a few days ago of Danny and Brandy getting acquainted. Although Mouse is now letting Danny wander further afield, she still quickly spirited him away with a screaming rebuke to Brandy right after this photo was taken.

Comical Little Guy

Photo thanks to Paula Price (excuse my pudgy, pale hand but he wouldn't turn his head to the camera:)

I realize that most "grandparents" are a bit biased when it comes to their little ones. So, it may be that no one else finds this story as amusing as I do but if so, I'll add, you had to be there.

My day with Danny really started mid-afternoon yesterday and it was a hot one, down right scorching air that was so humid it seemed to stick to you like the flies. I was hauling water to the horses which always takes several trips since the big tank is 150 gallons and I can only haul 30 gallons at a time. Usually, this is not an unpleasant task since I just hook up the hose and open the tank spout before retreating to the air conditioned cab of my truck with a good book while the water slowly leaks down the hill and into the big water trough. It was so hot and sticky yesterday that the horses were all inside, shaded from the sun and protected from the biting flies. During my second trip, Django slowly wandered out and looked toward the literally greener pastures across the road. I let them all over to the other pasture. We've been trying to keep them off the richer grass there because the boys are getting way too fat but we also know that they eat less and stay a shorter time during the heat of the day and you couldn't get much hotter and unpleasant than it was at that hour on that day. So, across went the three big horses just as the last of the water trickled out of the hose. I decided to check the big tank to see how much more water I needed to haul.  I started walking down the hill and I spotted Mr. Danny and his sweet mama waiting for me at the fence. I decided to pay them a quick visit since I hadn't been able to spend much time with them during breakfast that morning. I'd already packed all of the horse food for the evening meal because a friend, Paula Price, was dropping by around 6:00 p.m. to visit Danny and I'd thought I should go ahead and prepare the horses' food so that task would be done and not distract from her visit. The flies were all over Mouse's face and evidently irritating. I hadn't put a fly mask on her in the morning because on Wednesday she'd removed it herself for the second day in a row. At that moment though, she looked as if she'd appreciate the mask's screening. I went back to my truck and picked up both her food and the mask. She did seem happy to see both and Danny shared her enthusiasm for the small afternoon snack I let them have from her food ration. He even got down on his knees in order to eat out of her ground level bowl.

As I mentioned in my last post, Danny and I had a bad experience with his new leather halter. I thought that this might be the perfect moment to give it another try. After two failed attempts at the leather halter however, I decided to go back to the easier to apply nylon halter. It was a grand battle but I finally managed to slip the halter over his big donkey sized ears and clip the hook closed under his jaw. Then we were off to the rodeo. I've never seen such bucking and kicking or running out of him. I gave Huston a call while all of the commotion was going on. He told me to let him run himself out and to leave the halter on until nightfall or as long as possible so that he could get use to it. I would think that all of the histrionics had finally subsided when he'd start carrying on once again with drastic movement evidently intended to dislodge this hateful contraption on his face. Finally, he did calm down and came into the barn with me. By the time Paula pulled into the drive with Steve, home from work and also from picking up his tractor, right behind her, Danny was calm and standing in the barn while I brushed and groomed him. For some reason, Mouse was alerted by Paula's arrival; maybe she thought she was the vet or someone else who was up to "no good" in her horse mind. She threw her head and ears up, gave a warning whinny and took off with Danny in tow. Since she appears to be the alpha mare of our herd, her whinny was heard by the other horses on top of the hill and they all came galloping down to the lower pasture. I'm sure Paula was standing in the drive glad to be getting some good shots of such active horses but not wanting to walk out into the pasture with them. Finally all calmed down and Mouse checked Paula out and decided it was Ok for her to be around her baby. She stood guard in the barn for a while as Danny lay down and slept. She kept checking him out and making certain that none of us had harmed him and then decided that we could be trusted enough for her to go back out in the pasture and graze.

So, she left us babysitting once again and that is where the funny part of the story begins. Paula and I were talking as I filled Mouse and Danny's water buckets and fed the other horses. Danny was vying for our attention for a while and then wandering off to explore....or else see what he could get into. When I finished feeding, I put my feed containers and the cloth bag which carried fly masks and grooming tools under the shrub by the fence. Paula was petting Django and Riley and getting some really good photos of them as she and I talked. Brandy had finished her dinner and had wandered over to the fence where Danny was playing. Danny is fascinated with all of the "big horses" but mostly with Brandy. He will throw his tail up and start prancing about and showing off whenever she comes near. Because of the wrath of Mouse if she gets too close to him, Brandy has learned to keep her distance. So, she was keeping an eye on him but an eye on Mouse as well. Danny was trying his best to get her full attention. He got into my cloth bag and started pulling things out. First came the bright red scoop that should have been in the boys' feed container. He licked all of the food off of it and then picked it up and appeared to be offering it to Brandy through the fence. I was telling Paula to look and saying it looks just like he's trying to give her a gift. I didn't really think that was what was going on at the time but when Brandy didn't notice the offered food scoop, Danny goes back to the bag and begins to pull out the fly masks. He shoves an entire mouthful of them through the fence but Brandy doesn't acknowledge the offering. Instead, she turns and starts moving away along the fence. Danny starts running after her carrying the masks with him and dropping them one by one along the way. Paula and I were both laughing at his antics by then. When he tries to shove the last fly mask through the fence and didn't get any response from Brandy, he dropped it on the ground and came back to us. Of course, after that, ever effort to pick them all up and put them back in the bag was answered by him grabbing the bottom of the bag and dumping them all on the ground as soon as my back was turned.....Ok, that's the story and I warned you from word one, that you wouldn't find it as amusing as I do:)...sorry for any disappointment or anger over wasted minutes of life, lol

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Vistitors' Log

Patty Watson-Pulignano came by for a visit today. I'd like to think that at least part of the reason for our increase in guests is me but I know better. It's all because of Danny. My sweet boy was on his best behavior. He's getting shyer but it didn't take long before he warmed up to Patty and was trying to get her attention. Mouse let us play with him for a while and then called him back in. I told Patty that she's welcome back anytime. She's a photographer and she's more than welcome to take photos of my handsome herd of horses anytime she wants. As for Danny, I think he needs an appointment book for all of his fans.

I made a mistake with Danny yesterday. It wasn't my first and I know it won't be my last but it still upsets me. His new leather halter came in. He didn't want any part of it and was fighting me the entire time I was trying to putg it on him. He started jerking his head about the second I slipped it over his nose. I had a hard time buckling it and then he bolted out into the field. The idea of him running loose in the pasture in an ill fitting halter scared me and I worried about the little lead thingie hanging down from the center ring frightening him.  I tried to take it off right after putting it on which  only upset him more. He jerked his head and the halter went flying and I'm thinking disaster. I thought I'd never get it back on him again but I spoke with Huston this afternoon and he told me to just give him a few days and then gently introduce it. He also said that I should leave it on him all day long so that he can get use to it. He then gave me advice on teaching Danny to lead. I don't know what I'd do without Huston and the wealth of information and horse knowledge he has to share.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Danny Featured Again

Danny is certainly the center of our universe right now and justifiably full of himself. But he also has lots of fans from around the world since photos of him have been featured on the site 13 times in the last 3 weeks since his birth! That is certainly a record for me. In the past, I was lucky to have one photo featured in a month but our Danny is a star....and he seems to know it, lol.
This photo, that I took late yesterday afternoon, has been featured in the Pets Are Us group. I titled it "On Point?" because I'd just posted a photo of Danny looking as if he was fetching a stick and now this one of him looking like he's a on point over a covey of quail. A friend told me that I didn't need to worry until he starts barking and chasing cars, lol.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Flying By

Well Danny is three weeks old today which means he is starting into his fourth week and this time next week he will be a month old! I've started putting his halter on for about ten minutes every morning. He still doesn't like it too much and there is a mild battle every time I start to slip it over his nose but at least the removal is calmer. When it is on, I pull lightly from side to side until he yields his head to pressure. He is usually good about this but will occasionally put up a fuss. I just hold with gentle firmness until he calms down and yields and then I release and praise him. He did try some horse play with me this morning. It was when I was bent over and not paying attention as it always is. He does seem to wisely choose his moments to misbehave. Of course, he doesn't yet realize that this is a bad thing but we must convince him now before he is old enough for it to be dangerous. I'm never mean or cruel to him. I simply stand firm, hold my hand out with the palm toward him and say, "Whoa!" in a commanding voice. It always works even when he is being particularly frisky. He already whoa's on command and backs with light pressure and command so I think he's doing quite well for one so young. One thing I have learned though, if a grown horse's attention span and interests in an exercise only lasts 15 minutes, you can figure that a three week old foal's is about 15 seconds. I try to repeat each exercise at least three times on each side but no more than six. I've also been throwing a hand towel across his back and around his legs, behind and neck. He doesn't seem to have any problem with the throwing but when I left it on him this morning, he reached around and attempted to pull it off.  I'm doing my best to get him desensitized to as many things as possible while he is still young and curious.

I will try to get some more shots of him later today. I'm having camera problems at the moment and could not adjust my shutter speed for some reason. That is why this shot is a bit blurred but I still love that flying mane and tail!

Our good friends, Tammy and Chris, stopped by last night to meet Danny. They've been trying to find the time to visit since he was born but they are so busy these days trying to get their new barn and arena finished. Danny was not on his best behavior; he was more than a  little rambunctious but he was still sweet and let them both pet him. The other two boys, Django and Riley, made up for his rudeness though since they haven't been getting the attention they are use to since Danny arrived on the scene. I think that Django is just a little bit jealous of his little brother; he is after all use to being the "baby" in the family. Both horses did totally enjoy the visit and all of that petting and affection. Even the usually shy Riley was eating it up.

Week Three-Species Confusion

This photo was taken last night, the day before he turns 3 weeks old! A friend told me that we were Ok as long as he doesn't start barking and chasing cars. He's teething and soooo mouthy. I said this morning on his facebook page, better the stick than us. I have been correcting him every time he nips. Usually, I put my fingers in his mouth and press into the soft palette until he tries to spit my fingers out. Now, he thinks about biting me but hardly ever does. Steve, on the other hand, needs to learn how to be firmer with him. He tries pinching Danny's nose when he bites but Danny has learned to nip and run or at least jerk his head away from Steve's pinching fingers.

Two Weeks and Growing

It has been amazing watching Danny grow. By the second week, he was beginning to look like a little horse instead of a baby. He was not only taller but more muscular and he was much more active. Mouse had begun to give him more space by then and was no longer chasing after him when he'd take off on one of his wild runs. She actually seemed to be leaving him with the "grandparents" to watch whenever Steve or I were at the barn so that she could actually get a moment or two to graze in peace. The first week had been rough on her and she'd looked exhausted since she never left the baby's side but by the start of the second week, she was looking more like her old self. She would occasionally take Danny out for runs and he was keeping up with her quite well. I wondered if the runs weren't a way to exhaust him though so he would sleep and let her rest as well.

Although Steve and I quickly learned that we weren't suppose to horseplay with Danny, he found other ways to amuse himself. I'd gotten him a little exercise ball made for miniature horses. The handle was still too big for Danny's little mouth and try as he might, he could not get it to roll forward by kicking it like I did. He would try nudging it with his nose first, then he would try to kick it forward. When that didn't work, he'd paw it and it would roll backwards. That frustrated him so he'd end up just leaping on it. He is so much fun to watch.
My how we've grown....Danny at two weeks!

Lessons Learned

The first week was full of lessons for both Danny and for us. Mouse was terribly protective of him at first at least with strangers. Neither Steve nor I realized that the afterbirth should have been expelled within the first three hours. Mid-afternoon, on the day Danny was born, I called Huston and asked him. He told me to call a vet immediately. As I said before, my vet was out of town so, once again, Brandy McDonnell came to the rescue. I called her and she said that her vet, Gretchen Laws, had just left her farm following a Coggins clinic. She called her for me and sent her over to our farm. When she and her assistant arrived, Mouse was not letting them near her baby. Mouse had to be sedated but the afterbirth was quickly dispelled and found to be whole and clean. Still she put Mouse on three days of antibiotic and said that she'd return at 6:30 the next morning to check on Mouse and test Danny's blood for antibodies.

While the vets were there, our farrier (who'd predicted Danny's birthday the day before), Dale Collis dropped by with his two sweet kids and a little friend to meet the new baby. Mouse was fine since she was still sedated and Danny had no fear of the little strangers and seemed to truly enjoy the attention. The vet commented on how imprinted he was and I said, "That's what two hours of intensive handling right after birth will do but it wasn't intentional (just done out of our ignorance and fear actually, lol)." We hadn't left his and his mama's side for most of the day. I will always have the memory of sitting in the barn with Steve while Mouse, he and I watched the baby sleep with a gentle rain falling outside. And also, there was the time the baby was awake and kept darting out into the rain with Mouse chasing him and guiding him back in, grumbling the entire time.

It was obvious that this little guy had as much to teach us as we did him. The first week, we watched him seem to grow and fill out right before our eyes. It was magical. He was so full of life and already exerting his independence which Mouse wasn't ready to relinquish for at least another week. We made one mistake right from the start, we let him lean into us because we thought it was offering him security. It actually might have been but we were told by both Huston and Fran and an anonymous internet source never to do that because it makes them think that you are a horse as well. It is an on going process but we are finally learning to be firm with him and establish respect and trust.

I joked the first week that I needed to get Danny an appointment book because so many people wanted to come by and meet him. My friend, Paula Grimes-Price, dropped by the next Saturday when he was a week old. Danny warmed up to her quickly and we had a great visit. I told her that my idea of the perfect guest is one who actually enjoys hanging out at the barn.

One thing is for certain, that sweet little guy who seems to be all legs and ears, has changed our lives forever....and life is so sweet!

Friday, May 21, 2010

B~Day Arrives!

We brought Mouse home in November of 2009. My worry wasn't so bad at that time but anyone, who's ever had a mare foal, knows how quickly those last few months can fly by and how unprepared for the actual birth you usually are. According to the foaling calculator I'd found on the internet, her foaling day was May 1st. A month before, I started worrying because she hadn't made milk yet. I was certain she'd somehow managed to get hold of some fescue which will keep them from making milk. Two weeks before due date, she finally started to "bag up." A week before, we started practically living in the paddock with her. Despite the heavy rains all Winter long, my husband had managed to at least get the little barn he was building her under roof. So, we knew she and the baby would have shelter. We brought in the straw and got safe water containers and otherwise, did our best to baby proof the entire paddock. I gathered up the towels, gloves, scissors, and betadine that I'd been told I might need. I asked my vet two weeks before, when she'd come to the farm to give the yearly shots to all of the horses, just what I needed to know. She told me that most likely Mouse would have the baby with no trouble and without me and that I'd just come out one morning and find and baby running about. She told me that the only problem might be if one leg or both was folded up inside and if that happened, she could talk me through it on the phone, telling me what to do to deliver the baby.
Our farrier, Dale Collis, visited on April 30th. He took one look at Mouse and told me that we would have a baby in the next 24 hours. That night my husband was working late in the fields trying to get our hay sown before the rain predicted for that weekend arrived. He would stop and go check on Mouse every two hours. When he came in at 2:30 a.m., he told me that there was no change and she was showing no signs of going in to labor. I set my alarm for 4:30 when I'd go and check on her again. When  I arrived at the barn, Mouse was still hungry. We'd been told that she'd lose her appetite in the six hours or so before delivery but I always doubted that; nothing keeps Mouse from eating. I even joked that she'd probably continue to eat as she delivered and she did, lol. I'd only been there about five minutes when she had her first contraction. It was huge and seemed to send her entire body into spasms but it passed quickly. I waited but there wasn't a followup. I went into the barn and sat down on a straw bale and waited, watching her closely. Around 5:30, she became very restless. I went out to check on her and before I could reach her, her water broke in one big rush and there was the baby already making his way into life. Thankfully, he wasn't breach but only one leg was sticking out. The other leg was folded up. Unfortunately, my vet was out of town that weekend so I had no one to call that could talk me through this. I forgot the gloves and grabbed the towels. I pulled on that one little hoof every time Mouse pushed but I was surprised by how slippery the leg was and I couldn't seem to get a good grip. Mouse kept lying down and trying to push and then standing up to walk around and to try and straighten out the baby. I was panicked so I called Steve. He had to get dressed and walk, or run, the 1/4 mile to the paddock because he'd left his truck there the night before. I continued trying to help but I wasn't being very successful. I was so scared because I knew that every minute that passed was endangering the foal's life and maybe even Mouse's. When Steve arrived, he took over. It took him and Mouse, at least two more good pushes and pulls but the leg finally popped out and almost immediately the baby followed. The moment he hit the ground Steve checked the time, 6:05 a.m. on the dot. He broke the sac and wiped it away from the baby's  mouth. 
Neither of us had any experience with birthing foals. We were so worried when the little guy didn't immediately get to his feet like they always seem to do in the movies. At 6:15, I called my friend, trainer, Brandy McDonnell to ask her advise. She was so sweet and nice despite the fact that I'd evidently woken her up. She even called back twice that morning to check on the baby's progress. And she patiently answered all of my stupid questions: How long before he stands up?...can be at least two hours (also suggested getting some colostrum into him via a syringe to jump start him),  Is he suppose to be this skinny?...yes, Sande, he is....What about the hairy hooves?....normal, She won't let him nurse; how do we get him to nurse?...she's sore; guide him to her udders and help him. I don't know what I would have done without Brandy! She has my eternal gratitude. And two hours later, he was on his wobbly little legs, nursing and getting to know Mom Mouse. He was also very, very imprinted thanks to that two hours of handling right after his birth. I think he thinks that Steve and I are his parents, too:)


I wasn't planning on breeding Mouse at all. I'm just too much of a worrier especially where Mouse is concerned. From the moment I first set eyes on her, nearly six years ago, she owned my heart. She was a gift from my husband. We were sitting on a sunny beach in Cozumel celebrating my husband's fiftieth birthday. The trip had been my gift to him and he appreciated it not only for the obvious reasons but because it had saved him from the inevitable birthday party which our families were planning for him (and which he would also have inevitably hated.) So, he was in an extremely happy and agreeable mood when he turned to me with a smile and asked, "Now what are you going to want for your 50th birthday that will be as nice as this." He was a bit taken back however when I didn't even hesitate before I answered very simply, "A horse."

I did go on to explain to him that I'd wanted a horse as long as I had memory and I felt (as so many people approaching that landmark birthday do about so many things) that, if I didn't get a horse then, I never would. So, as soon as we were back home, the search began. I, of course, had no idea what to even look for in a horse. I was told that, at my "ripe old age" of forty-eight, I most certainly needed a gaited horse to carry my rapidly deteriorating old bones in comfort.

I started my search where most everything starts these days, on the internet. I researched different breeds and various sellers and listings. When I'd gone to check out a Paso Fino which was for sale and located nearby, the lady who owned him told me that I didn't want a Paso. She said, "What you need is a Missouri Fox Trotter. Come out and look at mine." He was a big gray and when the lady's husband came riding him across the barn lot at a fast clip and in a gait we didn't recognize and the rider was not moving one iota, both Steve and I were sold. Their Fox Trotter was not for sale but they told us about their trip to Missouri where they had purchased him and another. As we were leaving their farm, Steve asked me, "When are we going to Missouri?"

So, back on the internet I went with at least a specific breed in mind now. I sent out a a lot of emails and received a lot of responses telling me why I should choose their particular horse but only one responded that they wouldn't sell me a horse. That breeder was Fran Forester and she wasn't being rude. She told me that all she had available were young horses and she wouldn't put a green rider like me on a green horse. I've since learned that green on green leads to black and blue. What Fran did offer to do was help me find a horse and advise me on what to look for and who to trust. Over the next six months, we grew to be great friends but as my forty-ninth birthday drew near, I still hadn't found my perfect horse. Fran had told me about a man who knew more about horses than anyone she'd ever met...and that was saying a lot coming from someone as experienced with horses as she was. That man's name was Huston Jenkins . He was at that time eighty years old and still raising, breaking and training horses. He did not however often offer any of his horses for sale and he was very picky about who was allowed to buy one of them.

A few weeks before my birthday, I received an email from Fran. If an email can be described as excited, this one was. Fran told me that she'd just gotten a call from Huston's niece, Cathy, and he had a mare...and she was gray. You see, horse idiot that I was at that time, my only criteria besides the breed was that I really, really wanted a dappled gray horse. I'd even decided on a name for this horse once I'd finally found her, Mouse. Cathy was suppose to send me photos of the gray mare but they were delayed because of a family emergency. She emailed that she'd get them to me asap. So, I waited and I actually didn't sleep I was so excited. Somehow, I think I knew this was the horse of my dreams. Finally, the email containing the photos arrived and I knew without a doubt. I printed them off at 2:00 in the a.m. and I pinned the photos to the wall beside our bathroom sink so that they'd be the first thing Steve saw in the morning. Across them, I'd written, this is the ONE in big red letters. The next day, I called Huston and asked if he'd hold the horse until I could get to Missouri to see her....and I asked her name. He told me that it was, MOUSE'S Funny Face. The rest as they say, is history:)

The rest is also Mouse's story and this is Danny's story. In 1999, we went back to Missouri to visit Huston and to pick up Mouse's first born son, Sensational Boy J (Django). We also took Mouse with us so that Huston could see her and ride her again. He loves her as much as I do and he knows that, even though she lives most of the time with me now, he will always own part of her because, as with me, she owns part of his heart, too. Huston often says that she is the best horse he's ever raised. She's bright and beautiful and just special. Huston was so happy to see her again. Steve and I started discussing how we could leave her with Huston for the Summer so that he could enjoy her for a while. Huston had been trying to convince me to breed Mouse for sometime. He always said that her breeding was just too good not to carry on the bloodline. So, we asked Huston if he would get her bred for us and if he'd keep her until we could return for her in the Fall. He readily agreed and before we left, the breeding was already arranged and we'd already met the breeder and the stallion, a sweetheart of a horse named Traveler's Sensational Zane. And for those of you familiar with MFT breeding, yes, he does have all three of those famous stallions on his papers and so does Mouse. So, we were pretty much assured for the beginning that this would be a spectacular foal.