Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's December 3rd

Wow, time sure flew the past couple months. I can't believe it.

Since my last blog, 4 ponies have found their way to my farm. Haven, who is a Dun Haven Fashion King daughter, Holly, who is a Maestro daughter (she's on loan), Kitty, who is a niece (in human terms) of my stallion Cowboy, and Etta, who is an AGS pony (she's on loan as well).

Haven took to the herd well and integrated easily. Holly is a weanling and she had a month before she became accepted by my weanling pack. Kitty is also a weanling and is low man on the totem pole right now. Well we'll see for how much longer. She's gaining in strength and attitude.

And then there is Etta. Holy cow Etta has been a trip. She came from a herd of 70 mares. She had not been touched apparently since the day she was born and you can tell. I have had her for 4 weeks now and we just now got her halter taken off of her. I couldn't even catch her when she came. Not only that, she left a nice hoof mark on my right inner thigh. Silly girl.

Just a couple days ago she got her feet trimmed for the first time in her life. And it took a long hour to do what we did. But no one got hurt and by the time we were done, she was dealing with everything well. Then two days ago, I took her halter off for the first time in her stall and let her have the night off. I was able to catch her easily the next morning. And then again this morning. So today, I got brave and took the halter off so she's out in her paddock without her halter. I am trying to prepare her to be integrated with the other mares and fillies. She wants to go play with them, but I need to be able to catch her. So we'll see how today goes. I am hoping by the weekend I can split the older mares up and put Etta in with the younger babies for a couple days and then turn everyone loose together.

I also put a young stallion and Cowboy together and they play, all day. They come in very tired. I am very happy that they are getting along together, gives them plenty of exercise. Shiner still has the whole paddock to himself on his days out. But he tells me he is bored all the time. Poor baby.

The weanlings are growing by leaps and bounds now. Ringer is about the size of Cookie who is now going on 2. He actually maybe be a bit taller than her. But he has a nice top line and pretty face for a Show Pony. Biggie isn't going to be huge, I can tell. His growth pattern is that like Cookies, who is not tall either. She's about 42 inches tall. But he is pretty!

Most of the barn has been cutting teeth this past month. Everyone has been really crabby. But I am starting to see signs of teething slowing down. My little girl Honey is all kisses and hugs now instead of bites and dirty looks.

I see the first signs of winter, cold weather and snow flakes falling slowly. Can't wait for snow on the ground. Tulip is a blast when there is snow on the ground.

Monday, August 31, 2009

End of Summer

Labor Day weekend is just 5 days away. Its sad really. The end of summer is near. Everyone goes back to school life, full time work life (we hope this year!), and finally, cold weather.

The ponies have had a full summer, lots of training, lots of attention, shows, and finally Congress. The past three weeks they have had off, just being ponies. But several have told me they have had enough time off, they want to go back to work. WOW! Really?! So I need to start thinking about getting the kids back into training.

The farm is slowly winding down for fall. Fall clean up, small construction projects etc. all happening. And time to spend with family as the hours of warm weather start fading.

This weekend my sister made it up with the kids for a visit and birthday party for Jellybeans, who turned one on Sunday. Let me tell you, she was more excited about the ponies and horses she visited than the birthday cake she had in front of her to tear into! (There's hope there!) After cake and chores everyone hopped on 4 wheelers and went out back into one of the hay fields looking for fall goodies. We were in luck - wild plums were basking in the sunlight ripening. So we stripped the tree of 60% of the plums to make wild plum jam. The kids had fun, its was one of the most low key entertainment things we have ever done and it was a lot of fun! We skimmed the perimeter of the field for other goodies and realized there was a bonanza of raspberries available that we have never taken advantage of. So that will probably change next year. Other than that we only saw a few choke cherry trees and a lot of non-eatable trees. But still loads of fun.

The ponies are out this am, all protesting the cool weather and the lack of the wonderful alfalfa hay they get at night. Oh poor babies! You will survive. Tucker is doing the rounds of fencing and barking at - well nothing really, but he's having fun. The kitties inside have gotten their pets, etc. Guess I need to go get some of those fall projects going again.

Have a great pony day!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Congress 2009

Despite many set backs this year, my show string made it to Congress 2009. I first want to Thank all my supporters (support system) for their support! I wouldn't have made it all if I didn't have that support system.

To one friend in particular - Thanks for listening to hours and hours of pony talk. I know its been a tough year and you were a life line. And yes I know I am way obsessed with my pony world. But as you know this keeps me going and is my entertainment of choice.

As far as competition goes, we did about as I suspected we would do. We on a national level, were showing in the middle of the pack. We've been in the middle of the pack for the past three years.

I asked myself why were we in the middle of the pack when some of the show string is exceptional?

One very poignant answer - because I am an amateur and don't know all the tricks of the trade. For instance, when I stand a pony for the judge, I can get the rear end and the front end, and even the stretch of the neck, but then I loose the facial expression and ears of the pony. Or I get the facial expression and ears and loose the rear end and middle of the stance.

How do I over come that? I guess I need to break down and find some help in collecting all parts of the pony at one time. So far only one pony does exactly what she is supposed to do when I ask to pose and that is Tulip. She just naturally gets it. Her sister Lady will be the same if i spend a little more time with her. So in the Show Pony division -seems I get it.

In the Modern Pleasure division, Smokie finally got the lift up my carriage and pull out of the basement into the air for me, but I couldn't get his ears and eyes. He twisted his neck and tried really hard to get the treat. I got one pic where he was seemingly all together - it was his last class of the show. Probably why we placed 4th overall.

In the classic division - Opal just is sour. I need to reset her, find a new job for her so she enjoys showing in halter again. I know these ponies are way smart and they get bored really easily. (Testament - Shiner, while I was gone at Congress. The caretaker left his halter tied to the gate of the pen he goes out to. He was bored, so he decided the halter needed to go for a run like his jolly balls do. Except, the halter was stationary. So he chewed the crap out of his brand new halter! Stinker!)

Cookie - well this was her third show and we only had limited amount of time to work together. I got her to stretch her body, but couldn't capture her neck and head and ears/eyes. While at Congress, I put her in every single class I could. And by the last couple classes I had her stretching and giving me everything but her ears. Stinker.

So I contacting someone I really respect, she always gets her all halter ponies to give them her all. Hopefully she can help re-tune one, get another one to put the picture all together and the third - well I need him to give it his all (and not be bored).

Work on the two show ponies - I need to get them set up with a new headstall and bit and work, work, work. They need to learn to drive.

So off to a new year of getting prepared for Congress 2010. And again, Thanks to my support system!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Manes and Tales

So its been warmer, much warmer, so one wants to stay out as long as one can. But what to do when you are in a flooded state, the round pen still has a sheet of ice on it, and you personally sink to your knees in the muck and mire?

Well – the barn is still dry, mostly anyways. So you decide to start tackling manes and tails. Of course everyone thinks you are nuts because all of sudden you care about their personal hygiene?

But as you work your way through the barn, everyone stops eating and watches you groom somebody else, with such disdain and jealousy……to the point that we try squirming our way into the way of you and the pony being groomed.

Everyone has their own stall you see, but everyone can see everyone and most ponies are paired off in teams of two.

Tonight I was determined to get to Opal’s mane and tail, she has the most damage this year it seems to her mane. So I pull out the hanging bucket of supplies. Tie her to the end of the stall and start the long process of picking out all the mud caked in to her coat, her mane and her tail.

Now she is paired off with Tulip, who normally could care less if I am working in the barn, until I start messing with her partner. Tulip watched with extreme interest. Often trying to move Opal out of the way so she could see what I was doing. She careened her neck, stretched it 3 feet longer than it really is, stuck her nose into the liquid I was putting on her mane and tail and had the biggest eyes I have ever seen watching me apply Listerine and baby oil.

Several times she thought if she just backed up to the wall between her and I, I would take the hint and scratch her butt. But each time she was a tad disappointed as I was seriously into getting Opal’s tail unraveled from the mud that she had carefully placed there today whilst rolling in the fresh mud patches.

I have never seen a pony quite so taken with the grooming process before. It was as if she was living vicariously through Opal.

Mind you, she was just brushed last night, but I didn’t add oil to her tail.

So where did that leave me….I couldn’t leave her without doing her mane and tail, after all, she did so kindly presented her butt to me without hesitation. So I transferred the products to her stall, got her halter and proceeded to start grooming her. Of course I started with the curry comb and then the wire brush and then the dandy brush. By the time I was coming around third base and heading home, she had had quite enough of being brushed – she wanted her tail done! She promptly side stepped into position and lifted her tail for me.

‘Silly girl’, I told her. ‘There is a process and you have to be patient for me to finish brushing you.’ So I pushed her back into place and proceeded to finishing the brushing part. She watched me carefully, waiting for me to finish with the brushing – PLLLLEASE ALREADY!

So I finally started on her tail. She lifted it up again and I started adding the Listerine and baby oil and started rubbing it into her tail bone. OH MY – you would have thought I had struck gold. For 20 minutes I massaged the mix into her tail and she blissfully stretched her upper lip out higher and higher. I could just hear the ‘AHHHHH’ coming slowly out of her breath.

To Tulip’s disappointment, I finished her tail and started working on her mane. Ah yes folks, we have grown about 6 inches of mane over the winter. So I explained to her we needed another 4-5 inches by Congress, so please don’t tick anyone off that might want to chew your mane off this year—and I looked sternly at Opal as I said it!

Tulip didn’t appreciate her mane being done as much as her tail, so she fussed some, but we got it done.

So what was the point of this blog??? None really, just that it was a great evening out in the barn, making ponies blissfully happy (and myself, i secretly enjoy doing it!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Coughed up a lung yet?

That's the way its been for 9 days now. I ran into the flu bug about 2 weeks ago. When I didn't get sick in the first 5 days I thought I was good to go. But oh no - it took 2 weeks to incubate and then whammo - I spent 5 days in bed. Barely making it through chores each day and since.

Let me tell you a well run farm can come to screeching hault in a quick hurry if the primary person (and only person) is sick in bed. And when you come back in after 50 minutes of chores, drenched in sweat, that's sick.

So now I am only dealing with a few after effects. I still get played out, and I am coughing like I want to donate a lung to someone. That's the hardest part - this is the type of coughing that makes every muscle in your body participate whether it wants to or not, including your bladder. Yeppers, depends city!

I hear this flu is sweeping the country. I wouldn't wish on the worst person I know, well maybe as punishment to people who break the law, but anyways - its bad.

So what has happened in two weeks. We know I spent a week flat on my back, barely able to keep up with chores. Today I finally got all but 2 stalls cleaned. Let me tell you - after 8 days without them getting cleaned, that's a lot of poo poo! But I am happy. The mommies are in clean stalls again. I got the barn switched around despite everyone's protests on Saturday.

The first mare up is Sugar and she is all but ready. I am waiting for her milk to drop into her nipples and then it will be hourly watching her. I have the foaling stall ready, camera is up and I have been getting up a couple times a night to check, just to make sure she is okay. She's in great spirits, loves that she gets mommy attention, so the foaling stall is the bomb right now.

The next up is Laptop - she started bagging 10 days ago, so we have about 4-5 weeks left before she foals, which puts her two weeks out from her due date. But that's okay. Sugar and foal will be ready to go their own pen then.

And then Silhouette will come right in around Laptop. Bringing up the rear is Carnation, who isn't due until mid May.

All mares look great. And all stallions think so too! Let me tell you, 4 boys in the barn, gets a little noisy at times. But Smokie was moved over to the east wall, into Sugar's old stall and he likes it. Its right next to the door where the women go in and out. Let me tell you - he often is tied up for an hour or so because I am moving mares around. So he is learning patience.

The girls are doing great. Lady is huge! I need to get pics, because she is not the sweet little filly from last June anymore, she is as impressive as Carnation is.

Cookie politely reminds me not to forget her. I fuss with Lady more because she needs it. But Cookie butts her way into the middle to get her scratches too.

The kids (2-4 year old fillies), are all about getting my attention and seeing if I will come play, its warmer you know. But since I have been sick, I have only been able to pat noses for a few seconds.

Everyone is telling me they are bored to tears. I wish I hadn't gotten sick, there has been some great training days missed. And the clock is ticking down.

So the farm is on a low hum right now. The next two days (which I didn't tell Tulip about yet) will most likely be days the kids have to stay in. And that is a bugger because I will again be behind in stall cleaning, but hey - life keeps going on.

So on the personal front - still looking for work. Let me tell you, appreciate what you have right now. The funniest thing I heard was "Well, we don't need someone with your years of experience." Right - did I just hear you say, you don't need someone with my level and years of experience - that's a first.

So the circle of finance works like this - You have a job, you need someone to fill it. Your company has changed its policy on payment from net 30 to net 60 or net 90 now. You send out the request to people who know people. They contact people who do the work. Great you think - a job finally. Then you find out that you getting paid is now net 90 or net 120. Why you ask? Well because the people who contacted you can't get financing to carry you from any lender. Okay - so can you work for 4 months without getting paid, before we can pay you, because we aren't going to get paid for 90 days.

Right. So the job goes unfulfilled. The work remains. The company fumbles because much needed work isn't getting done.

Anyone got a couple million to float a bunch of people for 4 months? I could put 20-30 people to work for 4 months, easy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Out with the Old

It's taken me 4 long years, but I am finally cleaning my closets of full horse size tack and items (you can see them on ebay). It's amazing how much I accumulated for 1 horse. But then he was a special horse. We did a lot together.

The last couple days - or week- have been cold again. So on the farm, not much has been going on. Just basically maintenance.

Although - my youngest stallion, Smokie, decided to show me how talented he was. He thought he could be like his Daddy and beat the heck out of a jolly ball. Well he eventually did--but not before he had all four hooves up in the air! I never laughed so hard. It didn't help that he was on glare ice when he decided he was going to beat the jolly ball up. Guess that is what made it so funny.

He did get right up and shook himself off - then proceeded to beat the jolly ball.

Beating a jolly ball is an art. You can't just do it like normal. You have to craft your approach. Build up to the stomp. And generate an effective dismount. You might think this was easy, but obviously in Smokie's case, it wasn't that easy.

An odd thing has been going on in the stallion pasture. They have a full size 4X5 round bale of hay for the enjoyment when they are out there. Right now, it is about 12 feet from its original location. Giant Jolly Ball?

Tulip has been a bit gassed up this week. I suppose it does have to do with my adding a little extra feed to try to put a few extra pounds on her before we start training. But she has been fun to watch. Actually all the mares have been fun to watch. They too have hay in their pastures - 2 round bales. One on each end of their pastures. Their movement is about every hour and a half. One group of mares will move to the other bale and push the younger ones off to the other bale. Of course how they go about going to the other bale is a whole other story in itself. It is never mundane in their pasture.

Back to Tulip. I have been working on her setting up when I stop her. I try to remember to say 'Whoa' everytime I do, but its about 50/50 right now. But a snap on her lead tells her she should whoa. So tonight I was bringing her and her roomate in for feeding and the night, I put her roommate up and popped the end of the lead accidentally. And to my amazement (or maybe I am just expecting it now??) she stretched out and lifted her head, put her ears up and of course - WAITED FOR PRAISE! Spoiled? Hmmm.

My other little filly, which I have been most concerned about because she is the smallest in the mare pasture, was put in with the youngsters about a month ago. She is back up to her normal self and is happily trotting along side me, trying to figure out what trouble she can get into. I am happy with this development.

On the pregger mare front. The one due on March 25th, has stopped bagging. Thank goodness! I keep whispering in her ear the usual - "FILLY!!!!", but also I add, not until March 25th! So she has slowed her development.

My best mare is coming along nicely and yes I whisper in her ear everyday as well 'FILLLY!!!!' Not that I would not be upset with a colt. Smokie is such a beautiful boy, but--I have enough boys for now, Thank you!

My next best mare, or I should say bestest mare is due in May and she is coming along nicely. I just heard from the great grandson of the founders of the AHHS - that the mare I bought last year is from a long line of National Champions and was impressed that I was able to obtain her. he also noted that this line produces the smaller versions of their breed. So I am very pleased to hear that. I can't wait for the "FILLLYY" from her this year.

So the past few days I have done much shopping on ebay. What a great garage sale out there! I found some much needed Hackney Journals, Hackney World and other small equine magazines that are vintage or close to vintage ages. And at decent prices too! That's how I met the great grandson of the founder of AHHS. He says he misses the mags. That's nice to know.

So out with the old - but finding some old to come in too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Gosh its been almost a week. I have had so much to do this week. I finally located my breeding calendar from 2008. You see one of my mares, a maiden mare, has already started bagging. I just couldn't think when, but I thought the end of March. I was right - March 24th or 25th. But she has half a bag already, so I am thinking we are heading for the first week of March.

Ooohh - Sugar is due in 5 weeks! Did I mentiont that already - although she has already started bagging, so I think she will go earlier. I have been working on the foaling stall. The electrical is pulled through and the box hooked up. I have the insulation for the walls and will be replacing wood because Cowboy and Smokie have been playing with it.

Okay moving on - Laptop was bred about the same time as Sugar, but she hasn't shown any signs yet. But then again, I checked this am, and by gosh I think I felt longer nipples!!!!! Can I say that on a blog? Will be the first miniature foal in 4 years, oh gosh!

Okay so Silhouette is due late April and I am super excited, she looks marvelous! And Carnation is last of the preggers, she comes in early May. She doesn't look like the boat she was last year when I picked her up, but I keep reminding myself, it is only Feb. and she isn't due until May. So that's 4 months yet.

I have started dreaming of the summer show plans. And it is so easy to be taken away - wait Calgon???? No Ponies! LOL!

Okay, I did 5 ponies last year at Congress. I only had Tulip clipped when I arrived. This year I will have everyone clipped before I go!!!! But I am thinking I can handle 7. I have to round up catch handlers for ASPR classes though as I have 3 girls that will be in the same class. Tulip, Lady and Mizzie (I will be double registering Mizzie).

Opal is going to be classic as usual.

I am trying to decide what to do with Cookie, classic or MP? Right now it is so hard to tell. She could do either.

Smokie will continue in MP, hopefully get his other 4 Grand Championships this year and then finish his points out for his HOF.

I would love to pull Cowboy out and show him this summer! If I had room and the boys all behaved, I would take Shiner too.

I need a bigger trailer! I could totally empty my barn out and take everyone that doesn't have a baby beside it! Wouldn't that be a summer!

Off to more dreaming!