Monday, August 28, 2017

Baby Firecracker


My little gold nugget is one month old already! Where has time gone already?? She is still the cutest thing ever and I love her. But man, is she a little firecracker! She is gonna be a fun one.

She's starting to shed her baby coat!

We've been working lately on a few simple things, but she wants no part in anything but scritches. And maybe nomming on whatever it is you have handy (wheelbarrow, pitchfork, your arm, etc.) Her current favorite itchy spot is her along her back.

She's got two little teeth on top and bottom with two more making their way in. And does she like to bite! She's always liked to bite, but now it's actually an issue because she can leave a mark! I think my bruise total is up to five now... one bitten arm, two stomped feet, one fat lip, and one kicked shin lol. It's so hard to get after her for biting cause it's kind of adorable... she pins her giant ears back, then a couple seconds later she'll wrinkle her little nose, and then she chomps.

Angry mule baby

We've been working on touching her muzzle, haltering, giving to pressure with the halter, and picking up feet. All are absolutely awful baby torture. Haltering and touching her muzzle is going much better than anything else. She has never liked her muzzle being touched even though she is fine with being touched everywhere else. She's getting much better about it, which helps with the halter. She no longer books it out the door when I bring out the halter. She doesn't quite stand still yet to have it put on, but at least she's not violently flinging her head every which way while I do it.

Never too young to practice our picture posing!

I think picking up her feet has been the most fun. I put down new bedding pellets in the stall the other day which in case you didn't know are SUPER slick. I was working with Maisie on her feet, she's fine with you touching them but doesn't like picking them up... basically I was skiing across the floor with my arms around a bolting baby horse. That was interesting. Her front feet are going well and we can now pick up both fronts and hold them for a second as if I was going to pick them out. Next on the menu is to work on back feet, then to work on both backs and fronts to bring feet forward as if the farrier was going to work on them.

And lastly, I put a lead rope on the halter for the first time and she absolutely hated it. She caught on quickly about giving to pressure and turning her head side-to-side when I asked, so we quit there. But there were quite a few antics leading up to that... bolting and rearing and striking, etc.

This is gonna be a fun ride guys...
Happy, hungry mama
Mama found the apples!

Selfies after our halter training - I'm absolutely drenched in sweat!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Mini Catch-Up

Summer has been absolutely flying past me and I can't believe it's almost over! Trask and I have been plugging along not doing too much interesting. Mainly of note is that we've gone on two trail rides since the first one I posted about and they were a much better experience!

Riding outside at the barn

The first one was on the trails just off the barn property. I am SO excited I don't have to haul to the trails anymore if I don't feel like it! We went with another boarder who offered to show me where to go since I wasn't sure and didn't want to trespass through peoples' back yards to get there. I cannot wait to explore this trail system more!

Trask was on his best behavior. He followed politely the entire time, at the end he even just trailed along further behind like he had no worries in the world about getting left behind (definitely not the case last time we went for a trail ride!). He was a little bit excited at first, especially when we passed the neighbor's horses in turnout, but there were absolutely no shenanigans. It was a relief!

The second trail ride I decided to take him to Willamette Mission. It's one of my favorite places to ride and I haven't been to it in a really, really long time. I'm pretty sure the last time might have been with Misty? Anywho, we made the trip out by ourselves. I was kinda nervous since this was our first ride out by ourselves in a completely new (to him) environment. I checked the calendar first to make sure it was going to be a quiet Tuesday since one time we showed up and there was a trail race going on and another time there was this weird kids camp that for some reason involved throwing hatchets at trees??

Overall, it was not a bad ride. Not great either. I never felt like I was going to die like on the first trail ride, but I was kinda tempted to just leave Trask in the wilderness at one point. His go-to move when he doesn't want to do something - whether it's standing still or going forward - is to rear. Not very fun in my book.

It started at the beginning of the trail where there are some big logs sitting alongside the trail. Very terrifying. Much rearing and trying to run away. As soon as I got off and lead him up to it, they were fine. We walked around the logs a couple times with me on him, making him touch it and stuff until he was no longer worried about it and then we were off. The second scary part was when we got to the river and he couldn't POSSIBLY walk along the trail that led close to the small cliff that led down towards the edge of the river. Spinning and rearing ensued. I got off, it was fine, no big deal. Got back on, walked back and forth a few times and it was no longer scary.

We were able to trot through the forest and he didn't seem too sketchy. I didn't want to do too much trotting or cantering because I was afraid he'd turn me into a lawn dart. But he managed a nice 10 minutes of trotting or so.

Third time was when we got to the big agricultural field. This is a weird state park that wraps around a lot of (I believe privately-owned) agricultural land that is actively being farmed. There was a piece of white plastic, like the kind used to wrap big stacks of hay, that was too scary to walk past so I had to get off yet again.

I was pleased with how he handled the tractor though. I was hoping they'd be done with the harvest and it looked like they were just finishing up and Trask kept a close eye on the tractor going around the field but there was no spooking at all. The fourth scary object was a hill. Yes, a physical hill. The trail is single track up this steep, but short hill and you can't see the other side. Apparently this was unacceptable and we spent some time arguing (and backing into trees) before I got off and led him up and back down in either direction over the hill. I was a tiny bit ticked at him by this point.

We managed to ride over the hill and spent some time picking blackberries on the other side. It took Trask a little while to figure out how to eat them since he kept smooshing them with his nose and then all that was left was some juice, but he eventually figured out that they were pretty tasty.

We got back to the river and I was disappointed to find that a couple who had stopped at the open-use day site, where people boating down the river can stop and eat at the picnic table for a little bit, were still there over an hour after we had previously passed them there. They had their stuff spread EVERYWHERE blocking access to the river, completely taking over the site, which I thought was a tad rude since other people wouldn't be able to share it. It also meant that I couldn't get Trask in the water which is one of my favorite parts about this park is the access to the fairly still water that runs into the river. They did offer to move their boat (slightly huffily) but I didn't want to scare Trask with the magically teleporting canoe that I'm sure he would see, so we headed back to the trailer with no swimming.

"Plz send help"

And of course, we had to end the trail ride with a spook at the exact same log that he first spooked at when we started out. Oh and when I untacked him and went to wash him off and let him get a drink from the water tank he spooked at the water tank too. **Face palm**

Trying out jump tack the other day

So that is the story of the poor baby horse and all the scary things!

To counter that story though, he has been a complete superstar in the arena! He is picking up things so quickly. Our canter has improved a ton since I got him, we almost always get the correct lead, he doesn't panic if he picks up the wrong lead, I no longer have to counter-flex him a tiny bit to get the right lead, and it's just developing into a better canter overall. Our transitions are improving, we're schooling a lot of the training level elements and they're getting easier and easier for him. I'm really having fun with him!

So handsome

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

19 Days

I can't believe that Maisie is already 19 days old! She is very sassy and adorable. I'm a little bummed that she's not the most cuddly little baby, despite me handling her a ton when she was born. She likes to be scritched, you can run your hands almost everywhere on her body, but she doesn't really want to hang out and would much rather be tearing around the paddock instead.

I have several mom friends on Facebook who post updates every couple months on their babies, what they like, what they dislike, what they've learned so far, etc and I thought it was a cute idea.

2.5 weeks old:
  • Likes:
    • Butt scritches
    • Neck scritches
    • Running
    • Walking into mom's head when she's trying to eat
    • Mimicking mom eating and drinking (aka splashing in the water trough)
    • Nursing
    • Laying in the hot sun on the gravel instead of her nice, deeply bedded shady stall with fans 
  • Dislikes
    • Halters
    • Anyone touching her head
    • Being told no
    • Getting restrained

I love how their blazes match!
Laying outside in the rain

First time she's let me cuddle since she was born

First day in the pasture!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Picture Day

I can't even remember which day it was now with how crazy life has been but a week or two ago, KP and I took Trask and KP's filly to get some pictures done just for fun.

It was pretty hectic - KP had to work night shift and we hauled Trask, momma horse, and baby all together, meaning that I had to drive separate so KP could take my car to work while I took all the horses home.

Trask's one fault is that he's a little bit herd-bound. Of course he fell in love with momma and baby during the trailer ride and as soon as we separated them he got very freaked out. After they were done taking the baby's pictures, it was my turn to try to wrangle Trask. He was not very in to standing still... at all. Finally we ditched all the on the ground photos and I lunged him before getting on. KP wanted me to ride outside but I was pretty sure no good pictures were going to be had since the mom and baby were turned outside and all he wanted to do was look at them with his head in the air like a llama.

Once I was on though, he was very good. I think we had one of the better rides to date. He was pretty hyper still, but it made his canter so uphill and wonderful. We did have a little bit of bucking, but he's not very good at it so it was more like leaping across the arena. Overall, I was super happy with him, he listened to my aids and acted almost like a grown-up horse! (Ignore me, I look absolutely awful, I really just need someone to yell at me all the time to put my shoulders back and look up!)

Hopefully I can have this same photographer out to do pictures of Jetta, Maisie and I this fall, I really like how she did them!

The pictures turned out lovely, these will eventually be used for his sale ad. Most of them are unedited, so if we end up using them I'll probably edit them, but the photographer did edit a couple, which turned out stunning (namely this black background one!):

My favorite

My second favorite

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Merely Gold

((Picture dump! These photos were taken between 0 and 4 days old ))

I can't believe that my baby is finally here! What a week it was too.

Starting at the beginning... I started foal watch on Thursday the 20th. I was coming down twice a week or so just to see how Jetta was doing and help out around the barn. When I came down that Thursday and closed up the barn later in the evening, I noticed she was breathing really hard and seemed uncomfortable. Her heart rate was over 70 bpm and she wasn't eating her hay. I thought for sure maybe something was going to happen! I spread out all the straw and stayed up late to check on her. At one point she was laying down and breathing hard and I thought for sure baby was on the way. But when I checked back at 4am she was up eating her hay like nothing had ever happened.

I ended up coming back every night to check in on her which made for A LOT of driving back and forth. And very little sleep. It did help that I ordered a wireless camera to check on her with. I LOVED it. This way I could check on her without disturbing her and it was nice not to have to get out of bed. Very handy! (This is the camera I got - very cheap and the app you use isn't that great, but for the price it is awesome!)

Not bad quality for a cheap camera! Taken at night even

She ended up going at 335 days, so 5 days "early" means that she was born on July 27th (7/27/17 - according to my mom that means she has to be special because she has 3 seven's in her birthday!). Timing was... iffy. Of course this is the one day in the last week that I didn't go down to my parents. I was exhausted from being on foal watch and it was my best friend's last night in town before she moved away so we went to dinner and stayed up late talking. So of course I did my last check at midnight where Jetta was eating away showing no signs of baby and then passed completely out, missing my 2 and 4am checks. I woke up to a phone call from my dad at 6am: "So, uh, your baby is here. Everything is fine, just thought you'd want to know. It's a filly."

I made the hour drive down as quickly as possible (crying of course because 1) I missed my baby's birth and 2) I was so relieved and happy that she was here!).

Cannot handle the cuteness level

Tiny, perfectly matching back socks
She is literally the most perfect thing I have ever seen. I am not kidding when I say that, because though I would probably think that regardless of what the baby looked like, I could not have imagined a prettier baby with more perfect markings. I am absolutely smitten.

She was up and standing by the time I got there and my parents said she was having difficulty finding the right spot on the udder to nurse at and Jetta was making it hard by moving around so much. She is SUCH a helicopter mom. She absolutely has to have baby in her sight at all times and preferably she would have her nose on baby too. Baby couldn't nurse because Jetta kept following baby around so I had to halter Jetta and make her stand for a bit. Jetta was literally spraying milk everywhere and had been dripping milk for 3 days before she gave birth (not much, but still), so I was really worried about the colostrum. After baby figured out the milk bar, I let momma go and just enjoyed watching and playing with baby.

All the naps
Trying to decide how to get the halter off....
Exploring the water tank (don't worry, it got cleaned shortly after this picture!)

I die over those giant fluffy mule ears!

"My baby"

"Did you say I have mule ears?"
I also gathered up the placenta and examined it. Of course Jetta dragged it around and walked on it so there were several holes in it and I couldn't determine if there were any pieces missing. KP was working a really busy week so she didn't have time to come down and look at it so I took it to the local vet (very awkward phone call with the receptionist...) and he looked at it. He didn't think there were any pieces missing, though it was hard to tell in the non-gravid horn there was a hole near, but not at, the tip. We decided to just monitor her temperature and digital pulses to make sure she didn't have any retained placenta. I also got a foal IgG snap test from him so I could check baby's antibody levels myself. This was the main thing I was stressing about due to the fact that Jetta had lost a lot of colostrum and that she was a maiden mare.

Tasting the wood
I needn't have worried though! With a little bit of baby wrangling I got some blood (she was very good for it, but I'm not sure she's forgiven me yet) and the snap test showed she had excellent IgG levels! One less thing to worry about because I was stressed to the max that day worrying about when the baby was going to poop, if she was drinking enough milk, if Jetta was going to step on her when she was laying down, if Jetta was going to founder from toxic shock if she retained the placenta, etc. I am a very worried mom.

Everything's been great though! We decided to go with Maisie for her name. She's a spunky little thing and enjoys bucking and tearing around the paddock. Later this week we'll turn them out on the 3-acre pasture.

Also! Not to be forgotten, the winners of the baby contest! Molly won the guess for the gender/markings while Genny was the closest to the day of birth. I will be contacting you guys soonish about your prizes (my life is still crazy right now, so once I have a second to breathe I will get in touch!)

And lastly, would anyone be interested in more posts on the breeding/foaling process? For instance, foaling kit supplies, cost of breeding, etc.?