Sunday, June 20, 2010

Today's Lesson

I've been trying my best to introduce Danny to something new every day. Many days, life and its time restrictions get in the way and I end up just repeating what we do every day, back up, side step and walk on pressure and voice command. Danny is getting quite good at all but the walk forward. He's still a bit stubborn about that one which probably has more to do with my using a tug on his halter along with the pressure on his rump. Today, I decided to bring the clippers back out. I had rubbed them all over him when he was just two weeks old and he didn't mind them at all but that was before live buzzing things that bite appeared and began to plague his life. He wasn't so sure about the clippers especially when I touched them to those wild chin whiskers of his. He acted as if I shocked him. I know those whiskers are sensitive but I don't think clipping them actually hurts. We will continue to run the clippers each day until it is old hat for him to hear and feel them and then we'll have a go at those whiskers on his chinny, chin, chin.

One good purpose the clippers served today was running the two big "boys" out of the run-in so that poor, old Brandy could get in out of the sun. They have a tendency to get selfish and protective about everything even space and had totally blocked Brandy out. I started using the clipper to finish off her Winter coat that hadn't shed and I saw their reaction. So, it might be bad of me but I decided to walk into the run-in with the clippers running. I wasn't aggressive but then I didn't need to be. In a few seconds, Brandy was able to claim that coveted back of the run-in spot and the boys had that, "What just happened?" look on their faces.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Lesson and New Blog

Rain showers off and on all day today so it was almost dusk before I was able to get updated photos of Danny. I'm sure you will be shocked by how much he's grown. He is still such a sweet boy although also still mischievous. Today's new experience was fly spray. Everyone from Huston to Dale, our farrier, has assured me that Danny is old enough, at seven weeks today:), to handle the spray. I think too that Huston keeps telling me to spray him so that Danny will stop rubbing his hair off trying to get to the itch left by fly and tick bites. He has several bare spots and, if I do get him trained well enough to show this September at the MFT Celebration in Ava, Missouri (like Huston wants me to do...I think he mainly wants us to visit and certainly wants us to bring Mouse and Danny along;), he will need to be in pristine condition. It is so hard to keep a little boy of any species in pristine condition. He seems to constantly be into something new and usually stinky. Although the introduction of fly spray went well this afternoon, he's not so enthusiastically agreeable when it comes to baths. Of course, we haven't even attempted a full fledge bath yet...with soap and everything. No, the tiny baby steps we've taken, that are usually met with such protest and end with him running to Mama, are just the introduction of a dripping garden hose and a wet sponge. As Steve has pointed out numerous times...although he doesn't need to because my nose is working perfectly well...., Danny stinks. It doesn't help that he "marks" everything just like a dog and that means there are very few "pee free" areas for him to lie down. He even peed in his mama's food bowl....I mean, give me a break! So, I think the next lesson to be learned is definitely proper bathing and a halter and rope are going to be required.

Ok, one last note...I am aware that the last thing I need is another blog to keep up with but there are several people who have been telling me since I first got Mouse nearly six years ago now, that I need to write down all of the adventures and misadventures I've had as a first time horse owner at fifty. There have certainly been very few dull moments. So, I'm finally listening to them and I've started a new blog with Danny's name in the title over on It's not all about Danny for sure. In fact, I doubt he will even be mentioned until the last few posts/chapters but I hope that, if you decide to venture over there, that you enjoy reading it. Let me know what you think and have a great Father's Day weekend. My best wishes to all of the Dad's out there whether your babies have two legs or four:)
Not a great photo...if you look closely, you'll see the fence wire running through the middle of the image...but still a good example with the one above of Danny at seven weeks old! What looks like a sore on his shoulder is just a bare spot where he's rubbed the hair off.

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Trim!

Danny was a bit suspicious when our farrier, Dale Collis, began to trim Mouse's hooves. I was holding Mouse so I had Steve walk Danny around so that he always had a good view but was also under control and not in Dale's way. Danny didn't understand and he thoroughly examined Dale's tools. When Danny's turn came around, Steve was holding him by the halter and they were having a difficult time getting him to stand still and not move away. I let Mouse off of her halter and left her with some food...always a good distraction for her because if she has food she doesn't care if the world is exploding around her. I held Danny with an arm around his chest and a hand on his rear. We had some movement after that but not as much. Dale asked if I'd been picking up his feet since he was born. I apologized and said, no. He told me that he wasn't criticizing me, he just thought I had been because Danny was behaving better than most foals during their first trim. He said that it must be because we have handled Danny since he was first born and that attention showed in a well behaved little colt. Still, when Dale finished with Danny, Danny was finished with him. He left quickly and totally ignored the offer of treat or petting. He did however go straight to Mama to nurse so maybe that was what his speedy exit was all about. I think I always expect too much out of him because he is a baby after all and every experience is a new one for him. So, it is better if I listen to someone with Dale's experience when he tells me that Danny was the easiest first trim he's ever had!....He also said that Danny is beautiful but then that is a given;-)

And thank God for Dale, the best farrier in the ENTIRE WORLD in my opinion. The other two boys in our horse family were not so agreeable. Riley was hurt by a halter last year and he still hasn't gotten over it. In fact, he is getting steadily worse. I should be working with him every single day because I haven't been able to get a halter on him since Dale's last visit six weeks ago. When Dale arrived, I'd been chasing Riley around the round pen for a good twenty minutes and had already used ever trick in my thin book but with no success. Dale however is also an excellent horseman as well as farrier. He got the halter on and calmed sweet Riley down and then did equally well keeping the usually excitable Django calm during his entire trim. Brandy and Mouse were their usual well behaved selves which makes up a bit for the boys' bad manners. I hope that Danny, who was watching with his head stuck through the gate, didn't pick up any bad habits or manners from the other two boys. It was funny because as I was packing up to leave, I wondered why the other two boys weren't bothering me like Brandy was. I looked around and there they both were, standing at the fence and "examining" Danny as if they were trying to see what Dale had done to him, haha.

I'll put up at least one 7 week photo up later....when I finally get the time to dust my camera off;-)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mirror Image

On his first day, he was mimicking Mouse's grazing perfectly. It amazes me as I watch both mother and child follow natural instincts to train and learn. How do they know to do this and how does Danny so perfectly mirror his mom's movements? It sometimes seems as if we are watching  ZZ Top in concert.

Skipping Along

After following the advice of both Huston, the wisest horseman I know, and my friend, Fran Forester, who is an extremely experienced horse woman and breeder herself(she bred and raised the famous, Country Frank, the MFT World Grand Champion in 1999), I decided to cut out all of the rich sweet feed that my vet had us giving to both Mouse and Danny twice a day. Mouse was on a diet of five pounds of that overly rich and sticky stuff a day and it was showing on the girl's waistline. I think it was also showing in Danny's behavior because, since we not only cut back but switched to a low fat-low protein substitute, Danny is back to being the sweet, loveable little guy that we started with. I do realize that he is still a little stud and will show typical stallion behavior and aggression as he grows older. We are doing our best to train him now while he is young and hopefully eliminate or at least alleviate future problems but for now, he is just a typical little boy full of energy..... and good portions of spit and vinegar... sorry, my Southern roots are showing again;-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wild Thing

You make my heart sing but you're still a wild thing....who hates that darn thing I keep attaching to his head.
Thought I should add a little more explanation here since I have written more in both emails and on my facebook page when this blog is where I should be using the most words to describe our life with Danny Boy. 
First, Danny seems to now officially be in what has to be the equine equivalent of the "terrible twos." It sometimes feels as if we must be raising Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One moment he is sweet, gentle and obedient and the next that tranquil persona is replaced by the radically different, demon child! 
Of course, that hated thing that I keep attaching to his head doesn't help his mood. In the photo above, he is trying his best to both see what is hanging from underneath it and to dislodge the entire thing. Lucky for us, he's not had much luck with the latter but that doesn't keep him from trying.
Now, I have friends who tell me that I humanize Danny's mom, Mouse. I also have other friends who think like I do that Mouse is smarter than the average horse and often smarter than me. So, I decided to have a talk with her yesterday about the behavior from Danny that she's been ignoring. While we try to keep him from trouncing us, pawing or nipping during his Mr. Hyde stage, Mouse just ignores him completely while he bites at her sides and climbs her back. Now, I'm not saying that my horse understands human speak but I am saying that, after our conversation, she stopped being so complacent where Danny's behavior is concerned. Not only did we see her correcting him last night but he had several patches of missing hair this morning that surprisingly...or not... resembled Mouse's mouth in shape and one definite nip to the nose that I'm sure he earned. I don't want her to hurt him and I'm sure she won't but come on....she has to help me out with this mothering thing....don't tell her I said that!

Friday, June 4, 2010

First Accident

Ok, he has had the usual little boy scraped shins and tumbles from those still too long, stilt legs. I've long held however that if there is something in a pasture that can hurt them, a horse will find it. We tried our best to "baby proof" his paddock but Danny proved yesterday that we hadn't done a very good job of it. I'm still not sure what the offending weapon was but something sliced a two inch gash in his neck. When I first saw the blood, it blended in so well with the color of his coat that I thought that Mouse had just dribbled on him after getting a drink of water. But I pulled apart his hair and there was the cut. It is thankfully a clean cut and very straight. It won't need stitches and shouldn't leave a scar. I'm flushing it twice a day with saline wash and then applying that "good ol' sticky yellow stuff" which I know has a correct and technical name but don't ask me to remember it. All I know is that it keeps the flies away and will have our boy healed up in no time flat....and ready for his next accident which I'm sure is coming. I just hope that all of his injuries are this easy to fix.