A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses

I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Name Ideas - Amber's foal

And now, for something a bit different!  Amber, registered AQHA as Crystal Lynx.  This is my test breeding for Scorch, aka Rorschach's Slow Burn.

And the stallion she is bred to, is my Stonewall Sport Horse, Scorch (Rorschach's Slow Burn)
This makes the color of this foal a fun game!  Black, grullo, black champagne (aka classic champagne) grullo champagne, bay, dun, dun champagne, amber champagne, and there's a slim chance of an e/e foal, so chestnut, red dun, red dun champagne, and gold champagne.  The foal has a 50% chance of LP, but it would not have much if any pattern visible at birth.  The suppression factors are high in both parents.

This foal needs a name that includes or plays on Rorschach (or the ink blot test) and possibly the lynx.  Bonus points to names that some how combine the play on spots, ink blot tests, and cat colors.
This foal is due mid April.

Yep, that's 5 babies due within 2 weeks for me.  Of course, mares being like they are, it could be up to 2 months apart, but I'm hoping they get them all done close together (so I can stay sane!).  I do have another mare that I believe to be pregnant, and am treating as if she is, but due to a bit of a mess, I didn't have her tested.  I exposed her to the stallion, she seemed receptive for a day, and then the stallion became aggressive with her.  I removed her, thinking that she had not fully come into heat (it was a pasture breeding with a calm and experienced stallion who just took an odd dislike to her).  Because the time of exposure was seriously limited, and my luck is NOT that good, I assumed that I needed to worry more about her boo boos then her being pregnant.  Well, lets just say that for the last few months, she's been, ahem, rounder then normal.  I have plans to test her soon (tm) but my luck hasn't been so good with the cash flow lately (can you say expensive vet bills for my sick dog?).  When I know for sure, I will announce it, and put her up for name suggestions as well.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Name Ideas - Dove's foal

KCF Olympic Dove, ApHC registered and half sister to Dream.  Dove is a mare that Sig "forced" me to lease from her, and whom I "inherited" when she passed away.  And yep, she's also bred to Sugarbush Harley's Classic O.
Ok, I actually don't have a picture that's more current then these that I would show publicly, but she's roaned a bit more, in the most amazing way.  I'll see if I can get one though, and update this.

And the sire, O

This foal will be either bay, seal bay, possible black (very small chance of that) or chestnut. So a complete toss up!  It will have a 75% chance of color, with 25% of that being homozygous, or a 25% chance of a solid.  This foal will be a Stonewall Sport Horse.  The pattern could be anything from leopard down to roan, if it gets one.

Names should reference metals and/or play on the Olympic theme.  I would like something with a bit of a regal sound to it.  Dove's last foal was named Olympic Torch, so that obvious name is out (that's Tori, for those who follow my horses).

This foal is due early April.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Name Ideas - Dream's foal

Next, is Dream, KCF Olympic Dream, registered ApHC.  She is also bred to Sugarbush Harley's Classic O.  Dream is the first horse I ever purchased from Sigrid Ricco of Knight Creek Farms, and this will be her first foal.
This foal will be a Stonewall Sport Horse, and my fingers are crossed for a filly.  
And before anyone has a tirade about my breeding a light horse to a draft stallion, let me assure you that I've done the research, as well as done this style of breeding before.  Unlike most animals, the horse's placenta completely wraps around the foal in utero.  This means that the horse can not have a foal that is truly too large for the dam.  Many studies have been done on this, in some cases breeding Shetland mares to draft stallions.  There is no higher incidence of distocia in this type of breeding then in any other.  (Sadly, if I don't post that, someone will go off on it)

And again, she's bred to Sugarbush Harley's Classic O.

This foal will likely be seal bay or chestnut.  Both sire and dam are Ee, but dam could be heterozygous for bay (At/a). As you can tell, color is not exactly the highest thing on my priority list, and I don't really believe in color testing horses that meet all of my other requirements for breeding stock.  (I don't disapprove of it, I just don't see it as a priority).

This foal has a 75% chance of some type of appaloosa coloration, a 25% chance of that being homozygous, and a 25% chance of a true solid.  I figure that means that I'm getting the most adorable seal bay colt, since I want a leopard or fewspot filly.

Names should include either Knight Creek, a reference to that, or a reference to thanks, heirlooms, or such.  I would like this foal's name to be a tribute to my late mentor, and a small thank you to her for giving me the chance to own a mare this nice (not to mention all the help she gave me over the years).  Names that touch on both Sig's farm, as well as my debt to her are even better!  It can be a subtle or a blatant reference though.

Foal is due early-mid April (second week of April or so).

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Name Ideas - Nazar's foal

Next up is Nazar, my other Foundation SDHR mare.  Nazar is the name of the charm used to prevent a "Jinx" (can you tell which mare I got first?).  She is also bred to Sugarbush Harley's Classic O.
Nazar is my "little girl" standing only 15.2 hands, but wow does she have the moves.

And of course, a picture of the foal's sire, Sugarbush Harley's Classic O

This foal will likely be either bay or chestnut, but there is a small chance of black.  We have a 50% chance of LP color (Appaloosa color) but it will not exceed the pattern O has.  My gut tells me that this one is a boy, but if you've known me and my guesses on gender, you'll know that I do tend to be 100% wrong on gender.  Oh, I can guess color almost exactly, but I have only ever gotten the gender of the baby right one time (Zire!).

Names are the same as with Jinx's foal:  they should have some relation to metal (ANY relation to any metal) and can not have the word "Sugarbush" in it (my version of respect to Everett Smith and his exemplary breeding, I don't want to copy his name).  I do not need any relation to the parents names, but don't mind if it works out that way either.  I tend to like names that are a bit different, and have a logical one or 2 syllable shortened form (not necessarily a word in the name.

As an example, "Little Red Corvette" was called Crash.

This one is also due in early April.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Name Ideas - Jinx's foal

So, I said I'd be asking for help with baby names.  Well, I have a few mares expecting next year.  I'm listing the mares in the order of their breedings.  First up is Jinx, a foundation SDHR mare, bred to Sugarbush Harley's Classic O.
 Jinx, shown with her first foal "Jinxed Diva"
Jinx, about ready to pop with Soliloquy, her second baby.

And the stallion of her foal, the famous Sugarbush Harley's Classic O

This foal should be black.  There's a slim chance of red (O is Ee, and Jinx has never been tested).  Jinx has had 2 foals for me, both fillies, and while statistically, she should give me a boy this time, she looks and acts just like she always has when pregnant.  Granted, I want hers to be a girl SO BADLY.  If it is, it's a keeper.  We have a 50% chance of Appaloosa coloring, ranging from roan, up to a bit more then O's level of expression (due to Jinx's white enhancers, sabino and splash).

Names for this foal should have some relation to metal (ANY relation to any metal) and can not have the word "Sugarbush" in it (my version of respect to Everett Smith and his exemplary breeding, I don't want to copy his name).  I do not need any relation to the parents names, but don't mind if it works out that way either.

Foal is due in early April.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Have you ever had that time, when you just have no time....

...And you don't have a clue where it went?  Yeah, that's so me lately.  I just feel completely swamped, like I always have something on the go, and like I never have the time to actually pay attention to the people and things I should be paying time to!

So, for everyone that has tried to call me, and failed recently, that means YOU.

But in all honesty, I can't really figure out where my time is going.  I'm absolutely exhausted, I'm always rushing to do SOMEthing, usually something silly, and I've got almost nothing done that is worth bragging about.  Oh sure, I've cleaned stalls, fed horses, tilled the arena, cleaned my desk (which is a monumental task in itsself), fought with the computer...

And tomorrow I will do it all over again.

So, this weekend I am taking a nice vacation from stupid hectic things, and gonna play with my ponies (because it's predicted to rain most of next week) and then I'm going to take some time off from "work".  During that time, I plan to completely screw off, and do things that I WANT TO DO, like watch movies, and such (while staying warm and dry).

It's also very likely that I'll catch up on some blog posts.  I haven't forgotten about the tack stuff, but I am stuck needing to do some research (to make sure I'm not lieing to people) before I can continue.

But, to pass the time, for the next few days, I have a few things lined up.  Starting tomorrow morning, I will be posting a breeding cross a day, and asking for name suggestions.  These will either be Sugarbush or Stonewall babies, and I'll list the naming criteria for each one.

Names of course will be selected when the foal is born, and we know what it is!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Slaughter and horse value

Uh oh, I'm going to do it again.  Yesterday, I couldn't take it any more.  All the conversations about horses and slaughter going around facebook made me almost bonkers.  It's not that debate is a bad thing.  In fact, I really like debate - both doing it, and as a principle.  The problem though, is that people are simple regurgitating the information that someone else said.  Many people don't even stop to THINK about the concepts.  On the surface they look good, so they are accepted as fact.

This is not always the case.  As a very wise man once said, "For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong." (H. L. Mencken ).  In the case of the value of a horse, it seems that nothing is simple.

Now, having a meat value for horses will bring some prices up from $0, but not all of them.  If your horse horse, say, has no meat on it, well, it's not exactly going to be worth much.  If your horse is sick, ill, or too lame to be transported, then it won't be worth meat prices.  Why?  Because these horses are NOT in demand by those wanting to eat their flesh because they have no flesh.  I'm sorry to be crass, but that's the sad truth.

So, right there, the theory is busted.  "But, for a healthy horse, there's now a minimum value" some will say.  Um, maybe, but is that value really any more then we already have?  Here in my area there are tons of horses listed for free.  There are thousands listed for under $500 bucks.  That's way more supply then even the slaughter houses can demand.  And for every horse that is sold, it seems that 2 more take its place, especially with the feed prices going up as high as they have.

But of course, that's not even the whole story.  Just take a look at those cheap horses on Craig's List, or the classifieds.  I will guarantee you that there's something wrong with them.  From my recent searches, it seems that most of the free and almost free horses are pretty much untouched.

Most people who purchase a horse do not have the skills to train a rank and unmanageable animal that weighs around a half ton.  When you consider the cost of training, you quickly realize that it's cheaper to buy an already trained horse.  Why, at nearly $500/month for training, and a bare minimum of 50 days at the trainer, plus the purchase price, you're looking at a horse that's already over $1000 dollars.  For what?  An unregistered horse who is green as grass?  Lets say the initial purchase price was only $500, you now have $1500 invested in a horse that's most likely still pretty touchy and inexperienced.  When you check out the horse sales, for the same price you can get this:

An 11 year old, grade gelding, ridden often but able to be ignored for a year and picks up like he never left off, trained through first level dressage, learning western, and about as bomb proof as a horse can get.  Ok, he's mine, and yeah, he's got ulcers, but still.  If you want a "plug and play" horse, well, this is what you get for the same price as some one else's garbage plus training.

So, if you think about it for a second, you'll quickly see that it doesn't make any sense to go out and "save" that horse some idiot didn't put the time into.  Not if what you're looking at is your pocket book!

Now, I have to mention here that I completely support people buying the "worthless horse".  I think it's wonderful, and tend to do it myself, but I do it knowing that the "cheap" horse is rarely a good value.  We should do this because we can help the horse, not because we can save a buck.  I also want to point out here, that the "idiot" I refer to who has horses of little to no value, are not always the back yard breeders.  Have you ever seen the prices that race horses go for?  Or look at the big breeding farms and their culls?  "Idiot" and unethical breeders are not based on their size, nor their profit margin.  Because trust me, I could make a hell of a lot more money if I didn't care about my horses so much.  It's not really hard to get people to spend money after they have fallen in love, but it's also not really the most ethical way to do business either.

So, back to my point.  The free horses won't really be affected by reopening slaughter.  The cheap horses are too prevalent to go away due to slaughter.  So how exactly does slaughter help the value of horses?

It doesn't. 

The value of a horse is based on what someone would pay for it.  The economy is in the tank, so people don't exactly have a whole lot of extra cash running around.  Even the best breeders are feeling it, and reducing the numbers they breed.

Now, from my experience selling horses (and I've sold a few) what buyers say they want, and what they really want aren't always the same thing.  People will spend more money on a well trained horse, regardless of how it looks.  Cross train that pony, and you'll get a decent price for it, it doesn't matter if the horse is GOOD at what you've trained it to do, so long as it's WILLING to do what it is asked.  Most of us will never ride the level that our horses natural talents can achieve, so a decent ability in many things is a very appealing thing to a buyer.  If my dressage horse can cut cattle one weekend, and trail ride the next, while bringing home ribbons, then I only need one horse, not 3.

Then of course, there's the looks.  I don't care what you say, a pretty horse brings more money.  Add some color and hair, and the value just went up again.  People will save for years for a bit of hair (why, I don't know, because in all honesty, it's SO much work!).  Add in big eyes, little ears, and a pretty head, and the price increased again.  Ewe necks, knock knees, cow hocks?  Yeah, about 90% of the horse population can't see those things for themselves.  I mean, just look at Boo, my Arabian gelding.

He's sickle hocked, super short backed, short necked, straight shouldered, and behind in the front, as well as a touch club footed on the front left.  But, he sure is "pretty" isn't he?  In reality he's a conformational night mare.  Nothing is bad enough to cause problems for the average rider, but he's most definitely NOT breeding quality.  I can't tell you how many people think I've lost my mind when I mention that he's a conformational wreck.  I love him, but he's not perfect - no horse is.

So, should his conformation set his value?  Or should his pretty?  Or should his training?  Me, I think it's the training.  Boo will pack around just about anyone, for as long as you ask, and be happy enough doing it.  He's lazy, so running out on his rider is not likely.  He's the perfect horse for any kid, basically!  And the fact that he actually likes kids makes him that much better.

So, does the fact that horses are being sold into slaughter make a horse like Boo more valuable?  I don't think so.  A horse like Boo is the type of horse that people don't sell, not ever.  I almost sold him, but I admit, I backed out at the last minute, because I knew I could never truly replace him.  His value is set by what he'll tolerate, not how much fat he has on his ribs.

If you're going to value your horses by the bare minimum, then you are doing something wrong!  I know I won't make a lot of friends by saying that, but it's the sad truth.  I got away from Appaloosas, because I felt like there was no way to break even at them.  With so many other people pumping out horses and doing nothing with them, then selling them based on some value that they had decided was more important then what the horse was able to DO (color, papers, or what ever) I just wasn't able to compete in that market.  Hell, I was barely able to keep up with it!  Don't take that wrong, I still love a good App, but I sure won't be breeding any myself.

And if you're going to be basing your minimum price on the meat value, you'd better get into drafts!

I'm kidding.  As most people know, I love a nice draft horse, and think that there are so many good things about them.  But they are bigger, and you would think that would make their minimum value higher, especially if you're basing the minimum value of a horse on its meat price, right?  Oddly, it doesn't.  The minimum price of a draft horse in 2005 was about the same as that of a 14.0 hand AQHA horse of unknown lineage, is neither had been trained to do anything.

And even in the prime of the horse industry, back in 2000, I was given a lovely little Anglo Arab mare, for FREE, because they couldn't even touch her to get her to auction.  By the time she left my place, she was started under saddle, and a real pest for love.  When I got her, she was healthy, so why was she free if the slaughter of horses places a minimum value on them?

Could it be that the value of a horse is more on what their person teaches them, and less on how much they weigh, and that slaughter will have little impact on the prices we see for horses?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Horse Slaughter Debate

Yes, I'm going to touch on it.  As any one with Facebook knows, slaughter has been re-legalized in the US.  My Facebook wall is already filled with the "we need to stop this" type of comments.  Sadly, I'm not sure that's really true. 

Let me explain.

In 2006, horse slaughter was made illegal.  (Edit at the end of article, and thanks to Linda from Facebook for the correction) It is now 2011, and the reduction in breeding horses with little to no value has not stopped.  The reduction in horses being sent to slaughter has not really decreased either, but the market value for horses has.  Instead of shipping horses to local slaughter facilities, horses are instead shipped longer disstances, in just as poor of conditions as they were hauled before, to slughter plants in Canada or Mexico.  Now, I'm not sure about the horrors of Canada's slaughter houses (I'm sure someone will know, and likely fill us all in on them) but I do know that Mexican slaughter plants have much worse regulations for the welfare of the animals.  Things like stabbing a horse in the spine until it's paralyzed are considered 'good enough' there. 

In American slaughter facilities, there were at least some (basic) rules about the standards of death.  Was it perfect?  Oh Hells NO!  But 2 shots (which is still bad) of a captive bolt is much better then 30 something stabs with a knife I think.  But, that's a very small portion of why I personally am OK with slaughter facilities reopening.

You see, what people forget, is that US citizens have some things we can do to prevent our own horses from suffering this fate, IF we are willing to do a bit of work.  I know back in 2005, I could register a brand, and then list that brand as "no slaughter".  If a horse branded in that manner hit a kill pen, it would have to be inspected.  A brand inspector would see that, and then the facility would have to contact me to remove the horse.  Yes, this means that I need a "safety net" fund for any horse of mine I sell, but I would still be able to get that horse out of the slaughter pipeline.  I like the option of that!

The problem, as I see it, is that we don't like death.  Granted, it's an ugly thing, but oddly we accept it in some forms, and not in others.  Humane euthanasia is the best option for a horse with no future, or so many people believe, but lets be honest here: people suck.  Do you really think that we can simply wish for a better world, and it will happen?  No, people suck, and there will always be people who suck, and who care very little about their animals.  With out some form of government (of some type) regulations/laws we will never be able to completely reduce the unwanted horse population. 

You see, we're free to breed horses.  Any one can do it, and it's not hard.  Producing quality horses on the other hand, then training them, fitting them, and screening homes for them IS hard.  It takes knowledge and work.  There's this mentality out there, that you can get a foal, and sell it for lots of money, and so people are willing to try.  Besides, babies are so CUTE!  (They really are, trust me on this one).

So, if there's no way to force people to stop breeding, then there will always be the people who just have to breed, who are completely unprepared for the results.  Horses live a long time.  Horses take a long time to grow up.  Horses take a lot of skill to make desirable (training, etc).  Babies like the one here are not something that just happens.  They are made, with skill, love, knowledge, and attention to detail.

So what do we do with all the extra horses that are created?  Will society absorb them?  Sure, in about 30 years, during which time millions of horses will suffer.  There simply aren't enough GOOD homes out there for all of these horses.  Lets not even talk about the big breeders poping out 400 foals each year, with no care as to their future!  The numbers quickly become mind boggling.

So, what can we do?  Well, we can accept slaughter, that's the easy and brainless solution.  Because it's easy, it's the solution that so many people will naturally want.  No effort on their part, and they can simply ignore the ugly side of the mess humans have created.

Or, we can work to form a safety net for animals of all types.  No solution is going to be nothing but sunshine and butterflies, I'm sad to say.  When there aren't enough homes for an animal, then there needs to be less animals, and that means killing some, in some manner.  We do this with small animals, and even with spay and neuter laws, the public sensibilities changing to embrace altered animals, and the systems in place to destroy excess animals, we still have people breeding them.  And no, I'm not talking about the good breeders here.  I'm talking about "hey, lets have chihuahua/boxer pups!" type of people.

The question isn't "should we allow horses to be slaughtered" but rather, "what are we willing to give up in order to prevent any horse from being unwanted".  Are you willing to pay more taxes?  Are you willing to know that horses die a horrible death?  Are you willing to simply ignore the problem, and become numb to your own love of the horse?  Are you willing to spend money in order to help reduce the number of unwanted animals?  No matter what answer you want, there's something you have to give up, because we simply don't live in utopia.

See, horse gelding clinics are not cheap.  Horse euthanasia is not cheap.  Holding facilities for "unwanted" horses are not cheap.  Horse slaughter though, makes people money, and unethical horse people prefer to make money not spend it.

With all that said though, reinstating slaughter in the US does protect MY horses a bit more then they were before, and for me, I like that.  I'm willing to do what is needed to keep my horses in good homes, even if that is mine.  I'm willing to spend the money to take care of my responsibilities.  Sadly, I can't control everyone out there, and there's a good chance that horses I have sold, will eventually be sold on to homes that I did not check for quality.  That's the nature of a long lived animal like a horse.  The safety features in place with local horse slaughter give me a means to keep my own horses out of there.  Sure, it's a hell of a lot of work, but I chose to make those lives, hence I'm responsible for them, and I owe it to those horses.  I'm glad to have the option to protect my babies back, in some small way.

Correction: The recent bill did not re-legalize slaughter. Horse slaughter never been illegal on the federal level, just in a few states.  See Chapter 149 of the Texas Agriculture Code which makes it a criminal offense for any person to sell horse meat as food for human consumption, possess horse meat with the intent to sell it as food for human consumption, or transfer horse meat to a person who intends to sell it as food for human consumption

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Here's hoping for a merry feast, good friends and family to share it with, and a wonderful safe and happy holiday.  

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 11.11.11

Today is a day to show our thanks and appreciation for all those who serve.  With out the men and women who are willing to risk their lives for what they believe in, none of us would have the ability to take so many of our freedoms for granted.

Today, I would like to say thank you.

Thank you to those serving now, and the families they leave at home praying.

Thank you to those whose lives will never be the same, so that mine could be.

Thank you to those who gave their all, and those who fought beside them.

And most of all, thank you to those whose service is no longer blazing in the front of our minds. With out you, we wouldn't be here.

Words can not express the debt we as citizens and civilians owe to you all, but today, we stop to say Thank You.  It's such a little thing, and doesn't seem like enough, but it comes from the bottom of my heart.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good things come to those who wait

I think it all started about January.  My good friend Kris H (not to be confused with Kris K) decided that she had a desire for a champagne version of Scorch.  This lead to a few days of fun "shopping" the pony classifieds, and long nights of horse crazy girl talk.

Well, then she stumbled upon the American Cream Draft horse website, and the classifieds listed there.  Some weren't the best images, others weren't exactly what she was looking for (great driving horses, but not dressagey riding types) and there, screaming ME ME ME, was a picture of a little pale colt.

Now, Kris wasn't really thinking about buying a COLT.  I mean, she and I both own stallions, so what did we need yet another boy for?  But something about this one just screamed at us.

Here's the picture that made us day dream of little champagne drafties:
There's nothing about that baby that isn't just nice.  So, Kris decided that she HAD to have him.  THEN she decided that she would stand him at Iron Ridge (here).  Of course, she really had to talk me into it, and twist my arm all the way around.  (It didn't take much, what can I say).

So, buying him was the easy part.  After that, we had the EHV-1 outbreak, right in his area.  In fact, his mother was quarantined.  Yep, not shipping him HERE if he's been exposed!  That lasted through the summer.  By this time Kris and I are about to pull our hair out.  Once everything is given the all clear it was the end of summer!  Our "baby" had spent most of the year in the Pacific NW, growing up with out us.  So we start looking at rides, and WOW, the cost of fuel, and hence transport, has skyrocketed.  The price had almost doubled from the previous spring.

Well, doing what 2 horse people do, we snagged him a ride to Worlds in Ft. Worth.  That trip takes almost any one right past my place.  We thought everything was good, and were expecting a Halloween delivery.....

And then she cancelled.  AHHHHHHH

So now, it's almost November, and our bay is almost a 2 year old!  How did that happen??  Well, of course we wouldn't give up.  Stephanie got onto a group on Facebook, and began looking for transport headed this way.  She found us something that looked promising.  Kris and the hauler, Kim, worked it out, and while it was higher then the spring haul, the price was VERY affordable.  Basically, the cost of fuel.  I couldn't haul him myself for that price.  Being sane, we jumped on it.

And then NY got hit with a freak snow storm.  Kris couldn't get out of the house to get the payment to the shipper in time.  She asked me if I could, and I said yes.  The next day, my dog gets seriously sick.  I refused to leave him.  But eventually it worked out for Red's ride, although sadly not for my poor Anvil.

So last Friday, we got the news that Red was being picked up, and had loaded onto the trailer.  I don't know about Kris, but I had a moment of panic.  We have been so cursed with this horse's trip, that I was paranoid.  I had visions of horrible accident, and cream colts dieing on the side of the road.

Thankfully, it was nothing more then my imagination.  Yesterday, Kim thought she would arrive in Texas, but an accident, which did NOT involve her, closed a highway, putting her behind.  She thought about pushing through, but by 2am, she was wiped.  We decided to wait for morning, and let her catch some shut eye.

At 6:30am, I got a text "Hitting the road, headed your way".  At 7:34, a rig pulled past my drive.  WEEEEEE!  He's HERE!

Red unloaded like a pro, and walked so nicely into the barn.  He did scream in my ear twice, but a verbal correction was all he needed.  Not bad for a baby that had been on a trailer for 5 days (with breaks and all, but still).  Got him settled, filled his water bucket (twice) and gave him breakfast, then went in to share the news.  By the time I was done letting everyone involved know that he was here, Red was ready to get OUT of a stall.  He had his land legs back.

So, I did some moving around, and turned him out with the geldings.  He was VERY excited to meet the other boys.
The first one to say HI to him, was Leah's boy Jaz.  Mr. Prancy pants there thought the idea of a new buddy was awesome.  He of course drug Red right back to meet HIS baby.
Daltrey though, wasn't quite as sure of the new guy.  But within seconds he realized that this was someone HIS age who he could play with, who also thinks running is pretty stupid.  Ah, drafts!
And then, Red wanted to meet the others.  Boo, Doodles, and Diesel weren't nearly as pleased about having a new guy to deal with, especially a baby THIS size.  From left to right above is Diesel (grey), Doodles (chestnut), Boo (bay), Red (white), Daltrey (red and white) and Jaz (mud and white).  Red was so excited to have buddies, but the older boys were being stuffy.
Boo let him know right off who was the big guy... er I mean, um... Ok, so Boo is the meanest horse here.  This picture is really funny to me, because Boo is all of 14.3 hands, and about 900 pounds.  Compare that to Red, the "little" yearling, who simply dwarfs him.  But Red responded by chomping at Boo like a good baby.
So hey, he'd spent the day next to Diesel, maybe he'd be friends?  Yeah, not so much.  Diesel took his hints from Boo, and tried to be all tough.  Sadly, Diesel is the world's wimpiest horse, and this was about as mean as he could get.  I do love the trailer marks on Red's behind though.
It only took about 15 minutes for them to sort it all out, and these pictures are the "most violent" behavior that any one showed.  Not bad!  Not a single kick or charge in the whole meet and greet.

So, Red is a very happy kid right now, and Jaz just LOVES having 2 babies of his own.  Never mind that BOTH are bigger then he is now.  He's such a good momma!

It may have taken us many long months of waiting, but he's finally here.  Our American Cream Draft colt has arrived, and he's everything we could have hoped for.  He's in his "uglies" and still is rather pretty!  His personality is better then we had hoped for, and while he might not know a lot yet, he's very willing to learn.

And I feel like I should probably explain his name.  Trying to call a horse "Joker's White Russian" all the time, well, sucks.  We hadn't met him (his purchase was made by calling in a LOT of favors to check him out for us) so we really didn't KNOW him to give him a personality based name.  So that leaves colors, right?  Kris and I are both complete genetics dorks.  Red is genetically ee AA CRcr CHch, or Ivory champagne.  But, the ee, means that with out the extra modifiers, he'd be red based.  Now, his name has Russian in it, you know, Red, commies, and all that?  I'm seeing a theme here.

Considering that I'm the person with a white stallion named "Spot", a cat named "Fido" and thought it was a great idea to name a Second Chance horse "Red Rover" well....the irony of calling him "Red" just seemed to fit.  Doing most of our coordinating over texts, emails, and Facebook messaging, well, Red is a nice easy name to type.  AND, I like to have a single syllable name, that doesn't sound like someone else's name here.  Red fit all those criteria.  At first, it was a stop gap name, but in the months of trying to get him here, it seems to have stuck.

All in all, I'm on cloud 9.  Seems the old adage really is true.  Good things DO come to those that wait.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting back to Normal

So, losing Anvil has hit me pretty hard.  There's a few reasons.  First, and most obviously, I loved him. Secondly, I have had just too many deaths this year.  Hex, followed shortly by Rowdy.  2 of my cats have gone "missing" (I know, they were outside cats, and that happens, but still) and now this.  And thirdly, because it was so unexpected.

Unfortunately, it's much easier to accept the loss of a 17 year old dog (Hobbes) or a 14 year old Rottweiler with strange medical issues (Calvin) or even my almost 10 year old Rottie mix who had been on serious levels of medication that we knew would kill her early (Rowdy).  Having a dog that is playing one day, and dieing the next is just so hard to accept.

Anvil was never a "do much" dog.  I always called him my sofa dog.  He made sure the sofa didn't move!  But, since he's been gone, it's the strangest things that just get to me.  Hearing the dogs howl in chorus when I come home, but not having his voice in the mix.  Walking into the bathroom, and not having him look up from the bathtub (he did love laying in the tub!).  Or even feeding the pack, and having to remind myself that we need one less bowl.

The hardest thing has been realizing that I only have 4 dogs now.  I've always had a pack, and a pretty big one.  Yeah, I wanted to slim down, but not like THIS.  I was hoping that old age would be the cause of death.  So, instead I cope. 

My friends have been a boon though.  Saturday they all arrived for pony time, and made sure it was FUN.  Ojo, the young lady who owns Melody, celebrated her birthday on Saturday.  She rode Boo, and I must say she rode very well (Since Mel is still on medical leave).  Her father rode Midnight.  I was so proud of Midnight for doing her duty.  She packed him around behind Boo, and even carried him for a few very smooth trot steps.  Such a good girl!

And then, when she was between riders, I climbed on, and rode around.  I found myself smiling, and actually enjoying myself.

Kris worked with Voodoo, and they both did very well.  Nothing overly complicated, just trying out a new bridle, and getting back into the swing of things. 

And Rachel managed to finally keep her husband off Moon long enough for HER to get a ride in.

Moon trucked along carrying a rider for almost 20 minutes before she showed the least sign of fatigue.  At which point of course, she was done, and praised to the hilt.

I have to say though, that I find pictures of her kinda amusing (Moon that is).  Her black areas on her top line make it look like that horse's hip is only 3 inches deep, and like her hip doesn't match her fore hand.  Oddly enough, in person, I was shocked at how nicely she's sized for Rachel (Who's like a million feet tall, and all legs).

Sunday, I decided to hop on Sweetie again.  This time I didn't do any warm up.  I just pulled her out of the pasture, tacked her up, and climbed on.  No ground person, no baby sitting... just riding.  It was Sweetie's first time to do this ever.  She did really well too!  Ok, so I learned that she will walk, stop, and turn left with out a problem, but back is confusing, and right hand turns are simply impossible.  Poor Sweetie is very left hoofed it seems.

But not a big deal at all.  In the past, she'd been using a ground person to give her the reassurance of what that command meant.  With no visual aid, she was baffled.  Her default answer:  stop and stand.  Can't complain about that at ALL!

So that brightened me up a bit.  It was a good weekend all around.  Moose is still acting like velcro, and won't leave my side.  Suzie is better, but is now needing extra attention (she was depressed for a few days there) and Hobo and Sharra are, well, Hobo and Sharra.

But, the best thing to cheer me up is ....

Well, do any of you remember this picture?
That's the little American Cream Draft colt that will be used in the future to help revive 2 rare draft breeds (the ACD, and the SDH).  Well, on Friday, I got this"
My how he has grown!  He also got on a trailer Friday afternoon, to begin his journey to Texas!  I am expecting him mid week, and yes, there will be a lot of pictures of him.

This little man "should" be in his gangly fugly awkward stage, but even so, he's still rather attractive.  We're all so excited to have him here, and to start working with him.

I will begin getting back into my discussion of tack again in the next couple of days, and I promise that I'll over load you all with pictures once Red, the ACD colt, arrives.