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.