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' ;-)