Monday, February 12, 2018

My Very Own Trail Course & a Future Foal

So much happens in a week around here!  My trainer, Rebecca, listed her trail obstacles for sale last Friday, and Saturday morning, we were hauling them over to my arena.  I picked up two bridges, the car wash, a tractor tire, several cones and barrels, poles, and other nick nacks.

I immediately set them up.







Then chose my first victim horse partner.

Leah.


First, we went through by  hand.


Then we rode it.


This one didn't go so well.  She went right in, but once there, I asked her to back out and her foot got caught on the tarp--dragging it out with her.  She flew backwards taking out a few barrels and poles.  But you know the good thing about it?  She didn't fall over or trip!  She's getting so much more sound and flexible now that I'm bending and using her--and she's lost so much weight!  I can pretty much ride anything she throws at me, but I don't want her coming down on me.  And she didn't.

But that did throw us back a few steps.  I worked her with the tarp separately.  Then, I asked her to go back into the obstacle without the tarp on the ground.  She refused no matter how hard I kicked.

I had just read an excellent blog post about how much pressure is too much or not enough by Radek Libal.    It really came in handy here.  She wasn't moving--a sign I wasn't using enough pressure.  So, I dismounted--which made her very happy--lots of lip chewing and patting herself on the back for a job well done avoiding that scary object!  But I walked her to the Cowgirl Cave, put on my spurs, grabbed my crop, and back out we went.

She went right in to the obstacle with not needing them.  (Um, someone is a smarty pants.)

But I asked her to do it again, just to be sure she was okay with it...and NO!  I did all kinds of things, and I kept increasing the pressure, but then I got the signals that I'd gone too far--she started getting light in the front end and spinning out to the left--a sure sign there was going to be either a rear or a bolt--I chose the bolt.  There wasn't much I could do except make her choice harder for her by circling her in tight circles both ways--then approaching the obstacle again.

It wasn't working.

So I took a few steps back with the pressure.

I'd give her a light tap with the crop--keep her straight--and when she took a couple steps forward, I released all the pressure.  Pretty soon we were in the obstacle.  And, I did it again just to make sure she was okay with it.

This obstacle is an odd one, because you have to back out of it.  Backing out tells them there's something to be scared of.  I guess it's good in that way because it shows them that backing out isn't always a sign of retreat and fear.

Today I took Bee, Cowboy, and Leah through in hand and they all did awesome.




Bee also had a clinic Saturday and did great there, too.

********

I told everyone that I have one more horse in my future.  I wanted to raise and train one more baby after Cowboy was no longer ride-able.  But I wasn't ready to go out and look yet.

But at dinner the other night, my daughter told me she wanted to breed her horse Cowgirl, but she wasn't in the position to afford it now or to keep the foal.  She asked me if I would like to breed her.  She thinks Cowgirl is getting up in age and we need to do it now if we're every going to.  She thinks Cowgirl really wants a baby and would be an excellent mother.  She's right.  And, Cowgirl is by far the best, smartest and toughest horse we have out there.  She's exceptional in every way we want in our trail horses.

I needed to find a stud close by, so I contacted a dear friend who was born and raised on a ranch in this area--very well respected--and a wonderful horsewoman.  She got right back to me and said she had taken care of a stallion a while back and bred her mares to him--and he was the smartest, gentlest one she'd ever met.  He was a reiner and he met my conditions of being foundation QH--at 94% foundation.

His owner, turns out, is my equine chiropractor, Dr. Jenny Wells. And, he's from Quincy Dan lines--the same lines as my first ever heart-horse.

Meet Zorro's Dan Quincy, Cowgirl's future baby-daddy.


His owner passed away and he was handed down to his grandson, the husband of my equine chiropractor.  They love him and use him and treat him like a king.  They've never bred him and they're not advertising him, but they're willing to do this. He was bred extensively before this, and everyone says his babies are smart, athletic and super gentle--like him.



He's 24, so not young, but he looks much younger than he is.  He doesn't show any signs of arthritis. His teeth look strong.  He was gorgeous, kind, calm. Shiloh and I fell in love.  If this is his last baby--we'll feel fortunate to have had the opportunity. 

We all know Cowgirl loves the old ones--she was raised from a weanling by Old Red who died, with her by his side, last February at the age of 37.  And, if this works out, it will be like having a piece of Old Red in this foal.  He passed on so many traits to Cowgirl, and now Cowgirl may have the opportunity to share them with a baby.

So, wish us luck as we start down this new path.  I'm praying that everything goes well.  The first obstacle will be finding out when she's ovulating and getting her to him.  We plan to pasture breed, and from what I hear, the ladies love him and he's very good to them.


16 comments:

  1. What a great thing to have those obstacles. And a baby! Whee

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    1. Fingers crossed. He is an old guy--and she's not exactly young. But we'll see what we get. The hardest part is knowing when she's ovulating. How does one even do that?

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    2. By teasing. Watch for her to come in heat and when she is, take her over to the stallion's place. He is an experienced boy, so he will know when she is ready. Lead her near him (hopefully they will have a safe breeding pen, I use my round pen) She will squat and pee when she is ready for him.

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  2. Your own obstacle course - so awesome! That'll make training & proofing twice as easy, & you can invite friends over to play too. Those flying ribbons used to be something that gave my Morgans heart palpitations.
    After all this time with me, a bag in a tree or a new trail marking ribbon might still warrant a snort & some evil side eye, very occasionally maybe a full turn around for a second look. Which makes NO sense, because, please.
    It's been a number of years since the last *sincere* spook over ribbons or witches britches (snagged bags), but they are always quite sure to communicate their snorty ever watchfulness to me.

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    1. Haha. That's funny! Every horse had its thing. For Leah, its definitely the tarp. We were at an organized obstacle course a couple of years ago and she got her foot stuck in one and it followed her, of course, which scared the crap out of her. I was just lucky it finally came off. I would rather she have stood still, but she does not like tarps. So, I need to work the heck out of her with that dang tarp!!

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  3. Good deal to get that obstacle course. I love Dan's forelock. So lush and long. Dare I say it? He almost looks like an Arab. He looks short too, which is a big plus in my book. I'm so glad I shut down my blog. Today I would have been writing an angry post about my drip system breaking and draining my well, my water osmosis system leaking all over my new kitchen cabinets, and my satellite TV receptor going on the fritz all right before I've got company coming to stay with us for a few days. Awesome.

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    1. Yes, he has the most lovely forelock and mane. It is healthy and long. He does have a pretty face like an arab. And yes, he's kind of short--which is what I'm looking for. Cowgirl is tall, but I don't want to be throwing heavy saddles up as I get older. That's awful about your water issues!! We've had a drained well several times and it was HORRIBLE. It always happened at the worst possible times. Yep, right before company comes--it's like a magnet!!

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  4. Obstacles courses are great, and keep things interesting. So many options. You can always change things up, and now you have your own! Can't wait to read more about your upcoming exciting journey!! A future foal to raise & love forever, doesn't get much better then that!!

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    1. I’m so excited, but there are a lot of steps to get there with the foal—an 14 year old maiden mare and a 23, almost 24 year old, stud. But if the baby is like either of them, I will have hit the jackpot. I don’t care a whit about what color, but I want foal and mama to be safe. 🙏🙏🙏. Yes, the obstacle course is really great. It helps us learn to work together. I’m really trying to find the balance between too little and too much pressure. You can only work on that when you hit a thing they don’t want to do and then work through it. It’s fun!!

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  5. The obstacle course looks like fun and a good training tool to add to their repertoire! A foal would be so exciting. Daddy and Cowgirl are beautiful horses so I’m sure baby would be gorgeous too. Good luck.

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    1. It seems you can’t go wrong with an exceptional sire and dam. My most important quality is temperament, smart and calm, and they should have that.

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  6. Foals are so much fun to raise! I've raised 3 and we kept them all, and for me, has truly been highlights in my life. I love working with the babies and their fresh minds. He is a very handsome fellow, and a bay too. :) My little Missy mare has some Quincy Dan in her lineage too. I'm excited for you! For me, the most important aspect of choosing a stud was sensibility, kindness and a good mind. Sounds like you've got that covered in this guy. His handsome good looks are icing on the cake!

    We have a few obstacles that we use from time to time and it does help with lessening the boredom in the ring. You have quite a lot of choices there and I'm sure, will make good use of them. Have fun!

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    1. This week I have to work a lot, so the obstacles are coming in handy for something to do with them quickly without getting them all sweaty. :) You make it sound fun to raise babies. I've raised a few weanlings, but never any that were born from our mares. I've never bred our mares because I'm afraid. If it all works out, it will be an exciting journey!

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  7. Oh, I just now saw your comment about your preferences regarding import qualities in parents. Guess I'm preachin' to the choir!

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  8. Radek has lots of helpful videos. Another one I like is Warwich Schiller.
    I am slowly working on getting obstacles made- you sure have some good ones there! I'll have to try that no exit box some day, it looks like it could be a tough one.
    That is so exciting that you found that gorgeous stallion close by! Meant to be, I'd say! My Gussie also comes from the Quincy lines on her sire's side.
    Maybe, just maybe, you could get a buckskin from that cross :) But I know it is the least important thing. It sounds like his temperament is very much like Beamer's, and I too love his smaller size. I looked up his pedigree, he has wonderful lines. One thing to consider- has he been 5 panel tested as it is required to have the stallion tested to be able to register his foals, and since he carries the blood of Poco Bueno it would be a good idea if he hasn't already been done- and I would also get your mare tested. The test for the stallion has to be done through AQHA, but the mare can be done through Animal Genetics, it's a bit cheaper and way faster.
    I'm excited for you!

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