Friday, July 30, 2010

Lessons and to Geld or not to Geld, that is the question???

Danny is actually responding well to his leading and tying lessons. The first time that Huston put a rope on his halter last week, Danny was a reluctant to follow and reared up, clipping Huston's ear and cutting it. Houston said that he wasn't trying to be mean or aggressive, he was just trying to get away from the restriction and control of the rope. The next day, when Huston wrapped the rope around the fence post to make him stand still for awhile, Danny threw a righteous fit. He reared, pulled, jerked his head and pawed the air.

Huston left us with orders to "tie" him two or three times a day for the next week and then to try leading him again. Unfortunately, the extreme heat, whatever bug I've managed to pick up which has upset my stomach for the last week, and unexpected errands and appointments, have kept us from working with Danny like we promised to and should have. Still, the times I did tie him up, he only showed a little impatience, occasionally pawing the ground and chewing on the rope. And, on Wednesday, I put the rope on him and led him around in his little barn. It was too hot to go out into the sunshine and work in the confined place forced us to work on turns and backing more than forward movement but he was great, doing exactly what I asked of him.

The boy is coming along and growing into a horse so quickly...almost too quickly. We've been going around and around about the question of to geld or not. My mind keeps up a constant argument with my heart. I hate to waste the conformation and breeding that the little guy could pass on to future generations of Missouri Fox Trotters. I'm certainly no expert but plenty of people who are say that he is an amazingly well put together little horse. That includes Huston who tells me that he is the finest looking foal he's ever seen in his entire 86 years. We will be able to gold paper his registration and he has three of the most famous MFT stallions on his papers numerous times, Missouri Traveler, Merry Boy Sensation and Zane Gray. A sweet disposition was bred into him as well and intelligence which he's already displaying and both of which he gets from both his sire, Travelers Sensational Zane and dam, my sweet Mousie (Mouse's Funny Face J.)

On the opposing side, is the life of a stallion or a show I really want that for Danny? It would mean isolation, most of his life spent in a stall or small paddock alone. There are also things that are necessary to do during training, especially when dealing with a stallion and alpha male which our Dan appears to be, that I don't want to know or think about. Also is the question of whether Steve and I are capable of handling a stallion. It can be difficult even for seasoned horse people which neither of us are. A friend who stood two very well known and sought after stallions for many years has told me many times that the reason she sold her stallions was not because they were difficult but because many of the mares that people brought to breed were unbroken and unmanageable. There is also the question of cost. Training a horse with a good and reputable trainer is expensive. Building the facilities we need here to keep a stallion would be expensive and with mares both on our farm and on the farms on either side of us, what type of fencing will keep a stallion in during breeding season? Heavens, he's not even three months old and we can't keep him in with the electric fence when he wants through it!

Huston has told me that another option would be selling him to someone who would and could train and use him as a stud....but you know what my heart has to say about that. I've considered getting a small herd of good brood mares and letting him just pasture breed with them and hoping that would keep him "satisfied" and away from the neighbor's mares. I don't think that I would mind selling the babies of these yet unknown mares but I know that I could never sell one of Mouse's babies and certainly not my Danny. As I told someone last night, he's my horse, he's my baby and he was from the moment he dropped from his mama and rolled down that hillside with me running after him to catch him before he hit the creek, lol. I would have felt that way even if his birth hadn't been such a frightening and traumatic experience for me. Brandy McDonnell, who served as my phone a friend that early Saturday morning when Danny was born, asked me if this wasn't the most wonderful, magical experience and I told her, no, it's terribly scary and traumatic. I remember her laughing because I guess she realized that I'd change my tune soon enough. As soon as I saw the way Mouse looked at the baby, with such love and tender devotion, I felt the magic and I knew that I could never part with him.

So, those are the pros and cons of whether to geld or not. I'd love to hear your opinions or alternative ideas. I've got about 15 more months to make a decision and already I can tell that it won't be an easy one.

Bobby Watts and his very pretty and sweet, daughter, Miranda stopped by to meet Danny last night and gave there thumbs up of approval. He kept picking up sticks and offering them to Bobby which made Bobby laugh and Miranda giggle:) Bobby asked me if I was leaving Danny as a stallion which got me thinking anew about all of this and led to this post asking for advice and thoughts.

Three month old photos coming this Sunday!

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