I had a long, kind of heavy post drafted for today but it’s Friday, we’ve got a holiday weekend (mine is four days and I’M SO EXCITED, and I just can’t brain anymore this week. So instead, how about just a few fun things?
First – holiday weekend equals sales! I expect that a lot will pop up over the next few days, but some notable ones for now: Riding Warehouse,One Horse Threads,and Teddy’s Tack Trunk. Riding Warehouse is doing 20% off sitewide, including new items and clearance. The discount is applied automatically when you add stuff to your cart. I noticed they’ve picked up a lot of cool new brands lately, including LeMieux, Mattes, GPA, KL Select, Dreamers & Schemers, etc, and expanded some of their previous product lines. There’s way more Back on Track, OneK, Charles Owen, Acavallo, Ariat… on and on and on. Not that I like, creepily look through their website all the time or anything.
One Horse Threads is doing 30% off of their apparel. Time to stock up on cute shirts.
Teddy’s Tack Trunk has 10% off bathing supplies with code TEDDYBATH through Monday. Which reminds me, I need more Espana Silk. I’m addicted to that stuff now.
Second thing: There is SO MUCH GREAT STUFF live streaming this weekend. I was sad to not get to go to Germany for Bundeschampionate this year since we had such a blast last year, but Clipmyhorse is showing everything online (both live and on replay). I’ve had my face glued to the event horses and the jumpers. My two favorite 5yos from last year, Gentleman and Mighty Carrera, are back again this year in the 6yo’s, and both are in the top 6 heading into the finals. There are 2 Mighty Magic’s in the 6yo finals! Diarado has also made a good showing for himself, with two different offspring winning a couple of the jumper classes already. Here’s Gentleman’s first round in the 6yo’s, which has put him out in the early lead on a 9.5:
Burghley is live sreaming XC on facebook here tomorrow: Burghley Horse International . My face will definitely be stuck to that, Burghley is my favorite 4*.
And then of course AEC’s is livestreaming at RideOnVideo. XC is today!
Last but not least for today, I wanted to offer a big CONGRATS to Sydney on the purchase of Manny! I’m so excited that Sadie’s 3rd colt (and Presto’s half brother) gets to go live with someone I know, and we’ll be able to follow him as he grows up. This should be a really great partnership, Manny lucked out for sure. Some of you may know Sydney as the owner of Two Socks Designs – maker of all sorts of cute stuff from hats to saddle pads to decals.
I could not have hand-picked a better home for him if I’d tried, so hopefully he grows up to be as spectacular as he seems, and they set the hunter and derby rings on fire. I think the Diarado x Sadie cross definitely needs to be repeated!
I dunno if she really intended for this to be a blog hop or not, but Olivia asked “What would you do if a long-lost distant relative died and left you a zillion dollars?” and this is a fantasy world that I cannot resist. Mostly because I think about it regularly. In excruciating detail. Even though I do not play the lottery or have any uber-rich relatives, nor am I ever gonna wrangle me a sugar daddy. But a gal can dream right?
First, I’m going to assume that the amount I have to spend is infinite, because although her post was titled “Millionaire Me”, she said “a zillion dollars”. And I can blow through a million or ten in a heartbeat, so I’m taking that “zillion” literally here.
Step 1: buy a farm. This 115 acre eventing facility in Aiken, for a cool $1.8 million, should do just fine. The price actually seems really reasonable, all things considered. Gallop track, two barns, cross country courses, and a log home? Sold.
As soon as the ink is dry on that deal, my ass will be on a plane (first class, of course) to go horse shopping. First thing a girl needs? How about an experienced and yet very forgiving 2* or 3* horse to show me the ropes through Prelim and 1*? I’ve never owned a schoolmaster type in my entire life, but I would love to have something very experienced so I could learn from it. Let’s go ahead and see what that’s about. Bonus points if it’s a mare.
The second horse I’m buying is a good broodmare by Heraldik. They’re hard to find these days, but since I have a zillion dollars, I’m sure it’s not impossible. As soon as the mare gets here I’ll do a few embryo transfers using Leprince des Bois, Upsilon, Ramiro B, and Contenda. Maybe even Sea Lion. And Cevin Z and Diarado and Diacontinus. Shit, better hire a breeding farm manager, we’re gonna have a lot of recip mares and babies. Also I may as well buy a nice Mighty Magic mare while I’m in Europe so she can keep the Heraldik mare company. Look at me, thinking ahead.
You know what, lets throw in a world-class youngster for my trainer, too. I wouldn’t mind having a VIP owner’s pass at LRK3DE or Burghley one day. I’m picturing something like Astier Nicolas’ Alertamalib’Or (his Mondial du Lion 7yo winner from last year). Guess we could just go to Mondial du Lion and let her pick out which one she wants. Because ZILLION DOLLARS.
Clearly we’re gonna be in Europe a lot, may as well buy a house there too. Somewhere around Namur, Belgium, I’m thinking. In the middle of everywhere I want to go and near a main train line. Perfect.
Henry and Presto would benefit from all this money too. Aside from their beautiful new farm, I’d be flying in the best farrier I could find, getting monthy chiro/acupuncture, weekly massage, maybe a nice solarium in the barn, a pool so the horses could swim for fitness, a nice salt water spa to soak their legs, why not throw in a PEMF blanket, etc. Henry would still get to show and do cross country and pack my butt around, until he decided he didn’t want to anymore. And since he’d be living on a farm with XC courses, he could have way more fun way more often.
I’d definitely have to buy the two miniature donkeys that Presto lives with now, because I can’t imagine him going anywhere without Dudley and Bob. They’re a staple.
May as well go ahead and buy a fancy air ride trailer while I’m at it, too, to haul all these creatures around. And all new totally custom tack with all the upgrade options I want. Which means navy piping EVERYWHERE.
Better make sure there’s a big closet in the house, I’m gonna need it for all the breeches and custom boots and helmets I’m buying. It’s gonna be like a Stacie situation up in there.
I think I’d also want to start an OTTB retirement program, so maybe a whole separate farm for that?
Yeah even with infinite dollars I feel like I’d be broke pretty quickly.
The XC schooling trip this past weekend also marked several exciting “firsts”. The first time Henry has been in the new trailer. The first time both boys have been in the new trailer together (and thus, the first time I’ve hauled the trailer “fully loaded”). It was the longest haul so far with the new trailer, with horses in it. First time testing out and using all the new accessories we put in the tack room. And of course, the first time using the new camera system.
The timing of the trip ended up providing plenty of opportunity to thoroughly test out the camera system. I loaded up at dawn, and with all the doors and windows closed, it was still pretty dark in the trailer. Dark enough for the camera to be using it’s night mode. The picture is definitely grainier, but it’s still plenty clear and light enough to see what the horses are doing. I was worried it might not be. No issues there.
The sky lightened as we rolled along into the rising sun, and soon the camera switched itself over to regular day mode. The picture is pretty darn good in this mode, and I didn’t have any issues with buffering or dropped signal as we drove – both common complaints that I’ve heard about wireless trailer cameras in general. The picture stayed really perfect the whole time, and I could clearly see what both boys were doing at any time.
Like when Presto ran out of hay and started pawing, and Henry got mad at him. Or when Henry blamed Presto for a particularly bumpy part of the road and kept pinning his ears at him after every bump. Or when I felt some weird bouncing and checked the cam to see that it was just Henry being Henry, bucking in the trailer. As one does.
He has a lot of feelings. Most of them are rude.
Anyway, I made a short video of the monitor so y’all could see the streaming quality. Henry was even kind enough to choose that moment to poop.
So far I’m super happy with this camera setup. It was so nice to be able to just quickly flick my eyes to the camera if I felt something weird, or check on them when we stopped at lights or stop signs. I could see that they were both happily munching their hay (or not) and I didn’t have to worry that someone was in trouble. That security alone makes the camera priceless, especially when you’re hauling a baby and/or you’re a really freaking paranoid person by nature. And for Henry, who has a hard time handling heat, I could check and make sure his respiratory rate looked normal and he wasn’t getting hot and sweaty. 10/10 would absolutely recommend a trailer camera system to anyone. It takes the hauling anxiety way down. This is the one I got, although there are a lot of options on the market. I can’t vouch for how they compare.
Speaking of sweaty, the fan seemed to help keep Henry a bit cooler, too. It’s a small fan, so it’s not putting out a spectacular amount of air, but between having the roof vent open, the screen on the head window open, and the fan on, Henry was getting a pretty darn good breeze back there. He stayed a lot cooler than he normally would, for sure.
The saddle racks also survived their first mission! They stayed put and so did my saddle and the pads. I love these Saddle Boss racks, they’re the only ones I’ve ever had any luck with as far as actually holding the saddles and keeping everything stable. It was so still that even the half pad and square pad on top of the saddle didn’t budge. There’s nothing worse than opening the tack room door and seeing your stupid expensive saddles SPLAT on the floor, so I’m definitely happy with this purchase too.
I still have some organizational things to tweak, but otherwise really happy with everything so far. The trailer pulled great, fully loaded, and the boys seemed to have a pretty comfortable ride back there.
Omg y’all. This baby horse, he is too cute. I cannot handle it.
So, as I talked about in yesterday’s post, the real purpose of this trip was to be an XC school for Henry, dipping our toes back in for the first time since Chatt. But I brought Presto along too, which of course means two different sets of adventures – one for each horse. Since you already got to see Henry’s part, now it’s time for Presto’s! His is a little more… entertaining. More dramatic. Less professional.
My original intention was to leave Presto back at the stalls with some of the other horses, ride Henry, then come back and get Presto for a quick in-hand session with my trainer and a short pony around the field. Presto was not keen on that plan. As soon as we started leaving the barns he pitched a yearling tantrum and I was pretty sure that he was either going to climb up or jump over the little metal gate that serves as a stall door at this facility. Clearly he was Not Okay with being left with a 4yo OTTB as his babysitter, and those gates are not exactly a safe, solid barrier behind which you can let a baby horse work through his tantrum. This was not the appropriate time or place to address his anxiety, so, Plan B: take him out with us.
He walked and trotted next to Henry while we warmed up, then I pawned him off on whoever was available to hold him while Henry and I cantered and jumped. Presto was pretty concerned the first couple times I handed him off and then cantered away, but he got less and less anxious about it as the schooling wore on and he realized he wasn’t being abandoned.
Presto walked through the water (although there wasn’t much water in it – mostly pea gravel and puddles) with us, and then after everyone jumped through there we went over with the group to the ditches. Presto thought those were kinda scary. His first leap across was nothing short of hilarious.
The second attempt was still careful, but much less dramatic.
After the ditches we headed over to the bank complex and walked up and down the little bitty one. Those are no big deal, he seems to understand the concept of stepping up and stepping down pretty well. He might even be better at the stepping down part than Henry is. Of course, he did travel in a step-up trailer a lot when he was a baby, so that might be why he understands the concept so well. But at moments like this, I can get glimpses of his future, and it’s pretty exciting.
So he conquered water, ditches, and banks: the holy trinity of cross country. Check, check, and check.
After that I hopped off of Henry and had Trainer watch me trot Presto in hand. I’m trying to figure out what I need to do to help him get the best trot possible in the show ring. At his FEH show he was quite BLEH, trotting flat and quiet like a hunter and then just breaking to a disorganized canter. It helped that he was a little amped here, and I’ve been experimenting with running more “knee high” myself to get more of the same action from him. As soon as she had me shorten the lead rope and keep him closer to me, we got the last little bit of change that we needed. Such a small simple tweak, but this is why I needed eyes on the ground. Hard to handle the horse and see what he’s doing at the same time.
It’s definitely A LOT taking both of these doofuses to something like this. Many thanks to the ground people that held my baby horse for me, and for everyone else’s patience while we played with the baby. I hope he was entertaining at least. The extra great thing about this venue is that the stalls are at the front, near a semi-busy road, and the XC runs next to a railroad track. He got to hear traffic noise AND trains while we were there! Didn’t give a shit about either, btw, which is good because I’ve been on a couple horses that had absolute meltdowns about that train. It was certainly a productive day for his little brain, with all kinds of good “experience points”. Hopefully by the time he gets to his first real XC schooling, some of this stuff will be old hat!
It’s possible that I’ve said this once or twice (or a few hundred times) on this blog before, but Henry is the best horse that has ever walked on this earth. He is pure gold, through and through, and I officially nominate him for sainthood.
On Saturday I loaded both boys up and hauled out to MeadowCreek Park. Henry was going to XC school, and Presto was tagging along to have my trainer help us tweak his in-hand trot. We have not even so much as looked at an XC fence since Chatt, 7 weeks ago. In fact, I have only jumped Henry once since then – last Wednesday. We jumped maybe 6 fences.
I thought there might be a whole lot of rust to knock off, but Henry, as he does, slipped right back into Professional mode as if Chatt happened last week instead of almost 2 months ago. He was a little TOO gung-ho at the first couple fences, so we had to dial it back a notch and remind him that not everything needs to be jumped at 450mpm. (He says that’s bullshit, btw)
We had Presto out there ponying with us, so when it was our turn to jump we handed him off to a ground person, did our fences, and then went back and resumed babysitting duties of the yearling. The fact that this horse can go from badass XC horse and then flip the switch immediately into Uncle mode is pretty impressive. He does both jobs flawlessly. Although I think he probably prefers the XC part.
After our warmup fences we strung a few together to make a mini course, just a few Training fences. Henry was so happy to be out galloping that he wasn’t sure if he really wanted to pull up after the 3rd one. He’s run that T course at MeadowCreek a couple times now, so he knew where he was going, and he was not keen to stop so soon. Pretty sure he would have just gone on and jumped around the whole thing if I’d let him.
From there we went to the big mound, where we jumped through the Training way first, and then circled back and jumped the Prelim way – an upright skinnyish fence, up and over the steep mound, to the skinny chevron at the bottom of the hill. We’ve never jumped this Prelim combo before but Henry locked right on to both elements and was really super, just skipping right through like it was a gymnastic. That’s one of my favorite things about this horse, he retains everything, always picking up right where he left off even after a break. It’s almost like he’s… seasoned… or something???
From the mound we went to the water, and again Trainer had us jump the Training route through first (which we’ve done like a million times) and then circle around and jump the Prelim route. Prelim had an upright skinnyish rolltop, bending line to a big log down into the water, bending line to another log out. Again, no problem for Henry. He was super rideable and looking for the jumps, but not being rude about taking me to them, and letting me put him a little bit closer to the base.
From the water the group headed over to the ditches, but there wasn’t really anything bigger set up over there so we just ponied Presto over. Same thing at the banks – we’ve done every route several times, so no point in doing it again. Considering Henry has only been back in work for a couple weeks and it was his first XC school, we just let him be done with that.
It was so great to be back on my best boy and out there doing what he does best. And the fact that he could do that job while also babysitting his brother… I’m so proud of Henry. He never ceases to amaze me.
Pictures tomorrow of all of Presto’s adventures. He had quite the day, too!
Even though I’ve had the new trailer for over a month now, we just now got around to installing some of the stuff I bought for it. And when I say “we” I mostly mean the SO because if you hand me a power tool, something will probably be broken within 5 minutes. I’m really good at breaking things. It was literally my job for the first part of my career.
The most important new toy for the trailer is the camera system. I just assumed that this would be a huge pain in the ass to install and get working, because that’s my general experience with electronics and technology, but it was actually the easiest thing of all. We wired it up (ok I watched and held things), mounted the camera, turned it on, and voila. The receiver in the truck found it immediately and the picture quality was quite a bit better than I expected. Deciding exactly where to mount it took longer than any of the other steps.
I played with the camera both in the daylight and in the dark, but the first maiden voyage with the boys in the trailer will be tomorrow. Fingers crossed that it continues to perform well, because I’m pretty pumped about having “eyes” in the trailer.
The next major thing was installing the saddle racks. I wanted the fancy Saddle Boss ones, and of course the brackets didn’t really fit anywhere on the walls. We had to get a little creative and mount the brackets to wood, then mount the wood to the trailer. More laborious, and required 3 trips to Home Depot (don’t even get me started), but they’re in now and they’re really good at… holding saddles.
I also added a fire extinguisher, a whip holder, and still need to figure out where to put the TrailerAid bracket. I also had to buy a new roof vent dome for the big vent over the tack room because the whole thing just broke in half and blew off when I was taking Presto to that little hunter show a couple weeks ago. No, I wasn’t driving with it up! The sun had baked it to the point where it just couldn’t take anymore. Luckily the new dome was cheap, and relatively easy to install. While we were up there we oiled all the vent mechanisms to make them easier to open and close.
Assuming everything stays functional (please let me just go a while without breaking anything) I think we’re pretty much set. I still have a few things I want to put inside the tack room, or re-arrange, but the cameras and saddle racks were the two things I really needed in there ASAP. The rest isn’t nearly as important.
Funny story – we got a nasty, threatening notice on our door the other day from the neighborhood association (no, it’s not an HOA) about the trailer being parked in our driveway. Apparently it’s ok for the people down the street to have a swingset and above ground pool in their front yard, but it’s not ok for me to park my horse trailer (which is nicer than half the cars on the street) in our driveway for a few days while we install things. Asshats.
I’m loading both boys up bright and early tomorrow morning to head out for XC schooling. Well, Henry is XC schooling. Presto is riding along and then we’re going to work with my trainer on tweaking his in-hand trot. That kind of stuff is hard to work on by yourself. I feel so much better having the cameras installed in the trailer, so I can keep an eye on both of them while we’re en route. Between the fans and the cameras, I think those boys have a fancier ride than I do!
I think anyone who has a baby horse probably spends a lot of time thinking in reverse. As in, X is The Big Thing, and then everything gets planned backwards from X. What is X? Starting under saddle, of course. That’s kind of the holy grail moment that we’re working towards with babies, after all.
Where “X” exists on the calendar really depends. It depends on the person, it depends on the horse, and of course, like anything with horses, changes in circumstances can also cause X to move. When Presto’s dam, Sadie, was a baby, I fully intended on starting her at 3.5 years old. However, let me tell you what’s worse than a 2yo filly with a whole lot of smarts and not enough mental stimuli to occupy said smarts.
NOTHING. LITERALLY NOTHING IS WORSE THAN THAT.
My formerly very sweet filly got bored, and when she got bored she got creative, and when she got creative she went through a decidedly wicked phase that resulted in more than one vet bill. Freaking fillies, man.
So I moved up her timeline for starting under saddle, and she went to the cowboy a few months before her 3rd birthday. She didn’t work too hard, but her brain was 100% occupied every single day with things that were new and fresh and different. She came home a changed horse… not even the sweet filly I had before, but a genuinely happy and more confident horse. She needed direction and purpose.
After she came home we spent that whole first summer mostly just hacking and trail riding. Her first “off property” adventure was a trail ride with a lot of other horses, at a place she’d never been. I swung aboard not knowing what to expect, but she was foot perfect and led most of the way. She absolutely loved it, and thrived on having something fun to do. Bonus: spending all that time hacking turned her into a pretty chill horse. Not only did she get exposed to a lot, she also learned how to just be a riding horse without a lot of pressure or demands or heavy expectations. Her body had time to strengthen and develop and acclimate to it’s new job before her work got harder. I fully believe that this is one of the biggest contributing factors to her fantastic work ethic.
Having been through this already with Sadie, I’ve got Presto’s X set in the spring of his 3yo year. He’s a March foal, so basically sometime around his 3rd birthday is what I’m aiming at. Of course, I’m flexible on that. If we have to move it up or back for whatever reason, then that’s what we’ll do. But he will likely go spend 60 days with a “cowboy” (maybe even the same cowboy) just like his mom did. From there we’ll spend several months hacking and trail riding, then he’ll do a month of dressage basics with a pro, followed by having the winter “off” to let everything soak in before starting a more formal training schedule in his 4yo year.
Of course, he’s just edging in on 18 months old, so we’re talking yet another 18 months in the future before any of this happens. This is where we start thinking in reverse. What do you fill that time with? How “prepped” do you want the horse to be before it’s started? When do you introduce what things?
Some people just leave them totally alone. I have no problem with that. I totally see the appeal and the benefits. It’s just not my preference. I made an effort to leave Sadie mostly alone aside from what she really needed to know, and feel like that kinda backfired on me. She wasn’t the type of horse that that approach worked best for, and I don’t feel like Presto is either. They’re smart, they like to learn, and they seem happiest when they have regular interaction. With Presto I’m keeping him more occupied and staying more involved on a daily basis. I try to picture it as if I’m building a house… how solid can I make that foundation? What’s going to help form him into the best horsey citizen that he can possibly be, later in life?
There’s a lot of stuff he already does. He crossties, straight ties, loads, hauls, stands for the farrier, stands for baths (I mean there’s a lot of glaring, but he stands), wears a bridle, knows the basics of lunging, knows what “whoa” and a cluck mean, stands for grooming and fly spray, ponies off another horse, wears boots/bandages on his front and hind legs, knows how to walk/trot/stand in hand, has done some in hand trail obstacles, and has been to a few horse shows.
Right now we’re doing some round penning basics… not much since he’s so young and I don’t want him tearing around on a small circle, but he knows how to yield the front/hind end and back up using body language, and lower his head from poll pressure. We’ve had a couple “rope” lessons with me running a rope all over his body, around his legs, under his tail, etc. We’ve started dabbling in “walk” and “trot” voice commands. He’s a lot like his mother in that most things are almost too easy, because he retains the lessons very quickly. Even with keeping his sessions at 15 minutes or less, after a while you start feeling like you’re running out of stuff to do. Properly torturing a yearling requires some serious creativity.
There’s still a lot I want to teach him before he’s ready to be started under saddle though. I want him to already wear all of his tack comfortably, of course. I want him to long line. Shoot, maybe at some point in the future I’ll even sit on him or teach him about mounting. I guess it depends. I figure that wearing tack and long-lining are things we can play with when he’s 2. I definitely want to keep taking him to shows, too, be it FEH classes or otherwise. The more the better.
A big goal for the fall/winter is hauling him off property just to pony with Henry. I want to take him to show venues and walk him through the water, up and down the banks, and across the ditches. He’s already done this once and we both thought it was fantastic. I’d also like to take him to some local parks to trail ride, let him experience terrain and whatever spooky things might be waiting in the bushes. Aside from the exposure, I think it’s really good for his body. The long walks help him build some muscle and fitness, and the varied footing and terrain helps develop his bone and soft tissue. Plus he’s getting the chance to learn to manage his own feet, without the guidance or hindrance of a rider.
For another horse/owner this schedule might not work, but learning more about Presto and his brain over the past few months has really helped clarify a longer-term plan for him. That’s not to say that it won’t be modified of course… in fact I’m sure it will, but we’ve got a rough outline in place at least. Either way, I’m sure it’ll be fun.
Last year when Presto was very sick and spent those few weeks at the vet clinic, I spent most of those days right there with him. I wasn’t really doing much… I would hold the IV bag sometimes, or go get his vet if he seemed particularly uncomfortable. Mostly I just watched him and rubbed him and spent time with him, but I felt a strong pull to just be there. Those weeks were so up and down, so touch and go, and so… well… ominous.
Why did I feel such a strong need to just be there? It took me a while to really figure it out. When he first checked in at the clinic I don’t think anyone actually expected him to live, and the whole first couple weeks were really damn sketchy, every single day. While I wanted so badly for him to make it, I was well aware of the fact that the odds were stacked against him. I know this sounds crazy and like I’m anthropomorphizing here, but if his life was doomed to be short, I wanted him to at least feel like he was loved, every single day that he was here. At that point it was the only thing I could do for him, so I clung to it.
Are horses really capable of feeling “love” as we know it? My first inclination, from my admittedly skeptical side, is to think of course not. That’s silly right? But then again maybe I’m not giving them enough credit. They understand a lot more than I think most of us even realize. They’re perceptive. They’re intelligent. Their minds are creative enough to dream. Love, though? I don’t know. I guess first you’d have to define what love really is, and that’s tricky enough. I would venture to guess that the definition would vary, depending on who you ask. Is it attachment? Affection? Caring? Kindness? And who’s to say that horses would even define it the same way we do.
Example being: think of what it means to be “cared for”. A human might see a horse that is well groomed and in good weight and describe it as being well cared for. But that well groomed healthy horse might be pretty unhappy emotionally. We see those kinds of things manifest themselves all the time in their behavior. So would that horse agree with our “well cared for” assessment in that case? Probably not.
I do think that horses definitely understand attachment and affection. They have very strong herd instincts after all, and are social animals by default. It’s easy to see horses form bonds with each other, and sometimes with their humans. Just like dogs, I think that some of them are more intelligent than others, and some build connections with humans more easily than others.
I also definitely believe that they know when people are approaching them with kindness and caring, versus when they aren’t. It would be naive to think that a creature that communicates almost solely by body language – down to the tiniest details – wouldn’t be able to pick up on that. Horses and humans are able to form some pretty incredible relationships, and have been doing so for thousands of years.
Yes, these are the types of random ponderings that keep me up at night.
I find myself looking at both of my boys sometimes, wondering if they have any idea how loved they are. Do they have any concept of it, or are they just happy as long as they’re getting food and have some companionship? Hell if I know. But if they do, if they can perceive what it means to be loved, I really hope they know.
I think my favorite part about foals and young horses is seeing their personality develop as they learn and gain confidence. And if there’s one thing that none of Sadie’s babies have lacked, it’s personality. Is there some kind of genetic component to being a goofy little shit? Because all of them are. Manny especially.
Presto’s newest half brother is almost 4 months old now, and boy is he something. It’s almost time to take his advertising pictures and formally list him for sale (if he was a filly I don’t think Michelle would ever let him go), but in the meantime he’s just been running and playing and acting a general fool. He is brazen, super curious, and always in the middle of everything, especially if people are involved. Sadie’s babies have all shared these qualities. They definitely aren’t the kind of foals that hide behind their moms or seem indifferent to humans.
One of Manny’s favorite things is playing with his oversize soccer ball, which he won’t let the other foal, Mari, play with. It’s his. He’s not a sharer. She’s not really sure that she wants to play with that death ball anyway, because she is far too sophisticated for such nonsense. Manny definitely IS NOT.
I see a lot of Presto in that last picture. He was doing the same thing to one of his donkeys the other day (sorry Dudley).
Manny also recently discovered that he can jump, and boy can he ever.
True to typical Manny form, he does it with excessive panache. That video kind of sums up both babies perfectly. Manny: WHEEEEEEEEEE! Mari: Dear God WHY?
It’s so funny how they’re both by the same sire, and yet so very different. Living proof that the dam, and especially her temperament, have so much impact on the foal. Even more so than the sire, really.
Manny is also a big fat chunk. Like… CHUNK. He doesn’t look much like Presto. Typical Sadie, throwing the sire’s type. Manny is so round with a lot more natural topline than Presto, who is way leggier and rangier and more refined. Manny has about 25% less thoroughbred blood, so it makes sense.
I hope someone I know buys Manny so that I can keep comparing them as they grow. It’s just so fascinating to see all the similarities and yet all the differences between them, with how Sadie is throwing her temperament but the foals look like the sires. Surely somebody out there wants a fancy hunter/hunter derby prospect? He might even come with his soccer ball…
Farriers, man. Finding a good one is harder than finding a vet, trainer, husband, unicorn, or Holy Grail. Sometimes it seems as if the combination of good communicator, reliable, skilled, and open-minded are things that can’t coexist in one person.
I feel like Henry is not all THAT complicated to shoe. He can definitely grow a lot of toe, and he’s crooked, and sometimes he likes to trot right out of his shoes, but… he’s very easy to work on and I stick to a religious 5-week schedule. Presto is even simpler: a barefoot trim on the same schedule. I know that being a farrier is a hard job, but really important. I always pay. I don’t hover. I’m flexible. I don’t expect miracles. Just a good job. I feel like that’s pretty reasonable?
When I moved to my current barn almost 2 years ago, I was at a farrier crossroads anyway. The one I’d been using was just getting way too busy to come out for my (at that time) one horse anymore. I hauled Henry off property to him a couple times before it became clear that I was going to have to try something else.
So I switched to the barn farrier, which was massively more convenient. He was out every couple weeks anyway, and in the area a lot, so it was always easy to just write Henry’s name on the board, leave a check, and voila, the horse would get done. I liked that farrier fine, he seemed willing enough to listen to my input when I had small issues. For the most part it was fine.
But over time, Henry’s toes just got longer… and longer… and longer. His heels got more and more underslung. I felt like the length of his hind toes was possibly contributing to Henry’s SI soreness last year, to which my vet agreed, and we discussed some changes with the farrier. It got a little better, then worse again, and we had another talk, after which it got a little better, and then worse again. I like the guy as a person and wanted to give him a chance to fix things, so after Chatt we had one more big talk, and Henry got done again. The next week he did Presto.
Aaaaaand they both looked fairly terrible fairly immediately. Henry’s right front especially (the more crooked one that tends to flare to the inside) was resembling a ski slope, and within 3 weeks his feet were growing over the sides of the shoes and both fronts were so loose they were rattling. Even more frustratingly, Presto suddenly looked like he had 4 totally different feet. Presto’s feet have always been nothing less than exemplary. Seeing him so unbalanced was the straw that broke this camel’s back. That farrier relationship just wasn’t working.
Farrier breakups are the worst. Even when it’s not personal, it’s personal.
But, I had the name of someone else that some of my friends have switched to and been very pleased with. I called him up, explained my situation, and he stuck my horses on his schedule for a few days later – a Saturday morning, no less. If you’re trying to woo me, that’s how.
He spent quite a while on Henry, checking and rechecking the balance from every angle, taking off as much foot as he could, a little at a time. Way more foot than there should have been available to take, considering Henry was done 4 weeks ago. Way way way more. Although we weren’t able to get everything perfect on the first go-round (I know it’ll take a while to fix this), Henry already looks and FEELS so much better. The forging and interfering stopped immediately, and he feels freer through the front end.
After Henry was finished he moved on to Presto, who was so good he earned a few gold stars from both of us. I just stuck him in the crossties, went and sat down a little ways down the aisle, and the farrier went to work. The worst thing Presto did the whole time was take his foot off the hoof stand a couple times. The farrier was quite impressed and asked me if I was sure he was just a yearling.
We’re on the schedule again for 5 weeks, which puts us a week out from FEH Champs, which is exactly the timing I wanted. Fingers crossed that this new guy is Mr. Right Farrier and works out long term. I haaaaaaate farrier woes and farrier breakups and farrier dating.
Also this guy ended up being $50 cheaper for both horses than the old one. I dunno what kind of black magic that is, but I’ll take it.