Monday, January 23, 2012

And Next Door in Kentucky.....

Famous, winning race horse, Rachel Alexandra, has her first foal, a colt! Boy, does this ever bring back some wonderful memories from a year and a half ago. Congrats to Rachel Alexandra and her owners.

photo is from Rachel Alexandra's webpage and is being used
 without permission but not for profit(I just wanted to share this joyous moment.)

They Might Be Giants

Not the greatest photo but it does illustrate how much Danny has grown. He's just one month past his year and a half mark and he's already taller than his "big" brother, Django.

I measured his lower leg shortly after he was born and it measured 16 inches and 1/4. Even my vet told me that this is an accurate predictor of how tall the foal will eventually be. So, if that is true, Dan is going to be taller than both his mama, Mouse (not difficult since little Mouse is only 14.1) and his sire who is 15.1 because that measurement would indicate that he'll end up at 16.1. I wonder if Riley is beginning to realize this because he not only doesn't pick on Dan as much now but he's also starting to "buddy" up with him.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How I Spent My Sunday

It was just last Tuesday, that I spent over an hour picking cockleburs (I've been told that the plant these evil things grow on is called a Burdock.) out of Django's thick mane. When I returned on Wednesday morning, he looked like this (the Before photo.) It's been a busy, hectic week followed by a very rainy and cold Saturday so I didn't have a chance to work on him until today. Several of my friends made suggestions of ways to make this easier from baby oil (which I ended up using) to WD40 (which I was afraid to use because of Django's previous reactions to some oils and sulpher.) I had a full container of Cowboy Magic but Django doesn't like being sprayed so I decided to make this as easy as possible and go the baby oil route. I don't think that either I nor the people who suggested baby oil realized just how many burrs were in Django's mane. What you see above is just the surface. Those things went down several layers of hair and were in a literal ball in two different spots with mane tangled and knotted around them. It was a mess and the baby oil didn't soak in as promised but just sheeted off of the mass of burrs.

But I am getting ahead of myself because it took thirty minutes just to clear his forelock and bridle path so that I could halter him in order to apply the baby oil and to get him to stand in one spot long enough for me to actually finish this overwhelming task of burr removal with as little loss of mane as possible. I started at the base of his neck and worked my way slowly up the crest one section at a time and then I would lay the clean section to the other side of his neck to keep it from becoming entangled again. I would guess that there were easily over a thousand burrs matted in his mane and on his body, especially his belly and legs. It was over three hours before I finally finished and the sweet fellow who started out with a lowered head and very cooperative was tired, bored, and constantly pulling at his lead rope, laying his head on my shoulder to glare at me, tossing his mane and spraying me with baby oil and making a mess of what I'd already done. Then he started raising his head to the heavens so that I had to reach over my head to pull out the last remaining burrs around his ears. I finally let him go with the promise of an apple for being such a good boy and then I went off to cut down the rest of those d$@*! cockleburs while hoping that I don't have to repeat this anytime soon.....Well, at least not until tomorrow when I start to work on his tail....sigh....

Then there are the other four horses. None of them have as many cockleburs as Django but they still have them and a heavy coating of mud as well. I think I know what I'll be doing for the rest of the week. I forgot to tell you what this has to do with Danny since it is on his blog. While I was trying to clean up Django, Danny was offering his own form of commentary. He would sniff the baby oil and make a face, he would bite and shove at Django until I ran him off which only worked for a few minutes at a time because he'd wander back and if he wasn't bothering Django, he was bothering me by pulling at my jacket or stealing my supplies. He broke one brush, tried to eat another, and stole a third that I found later while clipping the cockleburs. He wanted to be the one getting all of that attention. I hope he feels that way tomorrow when I start to work on his tangled mane and tail.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Say Hello, Say Goodbye

Something happened today which was both so sweet and so sad at the same time. We had to move the horses around so that the boys would have a shelter from the frigid weather that we are supposed to get starting tomorrow morning (expected high of 32!) I thought it would be more difficult than it was since the boys had to pass by the mares on their way to their new pasture. But not only were they concentrating more on the food I'd already put out for them, I'd also decided to put Mouse in the shed and let Brandy go out into the open pasture (don't worry she's thirty-one; she's not going anywhere faster than we can catch her.) while the boys came galloping down the hill side and threatened to run right through the fence. I was surprised that the boys appeared to be so excited by the move since they came from a large and green pasture to a virtual dry lot of only three acres but Danny and Django were especially joyous. They were galloping and leaping about exploring every inch of their new space. I was cleaning out the small building where they'll be staying out of the winter weather while they ran circles around the building and then raced to the far end of the small pasture easily jumping over the gully created by the run off from the last big rain. Occasionally I'd step out and watch them; it always made me smile to see them having so much fun. I was a bit frightened however when I saw Mouse come out of the shed and trot over to the fence as soon as she saw how close she was to Danny. She leaned across the fence until she could touch Danny's nose with her own. All that separated them were two wires of an electric fence that wasn't hot and I was extremely nervous because Danny is still a young stallion.I could just see him busting through the fence to get to his mom or would he think of her only as a mare? Mouse gently nuzzled him just for a moment and then pulled back and walked a few steps away. It was almost as if she was asking him if he wanted to nurse because the trick of lining up with the fence so that he could reach through was what prompted us to separate them by an entire pasture instead of just a fence when we were weaning Dan. Danny watched her intently and then followed as soon as she turned her head to look back at him. He reached across the fence himself and nuzzled her face and then, he just turned and walked away, going back to his play with his brother, Django. Mouse stood there for a long while after he left her. She was so still and she never took her eyes off of her baby who is now as tall as she is...or maybe even a bit taller. It was such a touching moment and I'm so glad that I saw it. But it was also a sad moment because I think even Mouse realized that her relationship with her baby would never be the same. The ties between Mother and child had been tenderly severed.