Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Rough-housing

Ace has reached the age where he really needs a little brother to play horse with. He would love to wrestle with me, and quite frankly, at his size, it's tempting. It's also very cute when he grabs my shirt and tugs, and it's hard to reply to any of his attempts to engage the human species in his idea of fun with a "No" and a finger flick. But, I'm very aware of how fast he's growing and how un-fun it would get to be in a few weeks. So we play a little tag and he has some toys and that's it.

He really has the routine down. He is full of mischief, but he halters and leads like a grown up, only wrestles a little over picking up feet, and is friendly and easy to catch. And oh so CUTE. I like to take his little face in my hands and smooch his nose, and he looks up at the sky or ceiling all dreamy like as if he is just so smitten with his own cuteness. Then he goes back to trying to chew Copy's ear off, or pulling her mane. She is such a good Mommy, but I can tell she keep an eye open for when I have him distracted long enough that she can get in a good roll without being trampled.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Spring has sprung

The grass in the yard has finally started growing, and I had Mom lead Copy to graze while I spent some training time with Ace. Getting ready to go out, we put on everyone's fly masks and got a spritz of fly repellent. Because Ace was wearing his baby fly mask (which is just the cutest thing ever) he didn't seem to notice the sray bottle, and he got spritzed on both sides without even noticing.

He leads like a champ. We took some excursions down the driveway. Copy seemed to say "Good, Brita has the baby, I'm on break" and concentrated on mowing away as much fresh grass as possible. He knows when he is "captured" and doesn't put up a fuss. I even tried wrapping the lead around some things to "tie" him. The hitching rail is too high, and he simply walked under. The telephone pole became his new buddy and rubbing spot.

Here are some pictures of the pipe corral my step dad errected just outside the arena door. Mom can move Copy and Ace easily from their stall to the arena and then to the pipe corral by herself each morning so they can get some sun. When I am there, we can graze
Copy or turn Ace loose in the paddock to really stretch his legs. They get outside twice a day. Soon, we will have everyone juggled around so they can have the back paddock with a run in shed to themselves.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More Baby Wrangling

No pictures today. I've had my hands full. The horse dentist came today to do everyone, which included Copy. The vet/dentist sounded a little skeptical about trying to do teeth on a broodmare with a suckling, but we talked her into it promising that Copy is a model citizen, and that my baby wrangling skills are excellent.

She opted to float Copy's teeth in the stall with me holding Ace for the half hour it was expected to take. The vet's helper coached me on the best way to pin him against the wall so he wasn't scampering all over the place. You grab the root of the tail from the underside, wrap your other arm around the neck, put your knee under their belly and lean against them.

He really wasn't too bad, thanks to his daily handling, but half an hour is a long time for a baby to stay out of trouble with two strangers (who are friends he has not yet met) in the stall doing interesting things. He launched himself a few times getting a few feet of air under all four feet (I know this because he was at my eye level, and I'm 5'9"). I scraped a knuckle. I'm pretty sure I felt a bruise somewhere on my right side, which I will find later. And I have a tight spot in the left side of my lower back.

They noted that Ace is a mischievious little boy, that he wasn't any too happy with me, and that he is guaranteed to be a handful as he grows up. We put Copy and Ace in the round pen for Copy to sober up. He was so frustrated that his mom wouldn't move (poor Copy) and I saw him rear up, grab her withers in his teeth, and start prying, trying to get a reaction out of her. When I left the barn, Copy was pretty alert, moving around, and starting to tell him to knock it off. What he really needed about then was a kick in the slats, but she is a very patient mommy.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

First Day Out in the BIG world



Saturday we took Momma and baybe out to the outdoor arena which doubles as a paddock.

He was so darned cute trotting along beside Mom, leading like a big boy. Mom held Copy so she would not get to running along with him, and perhaps crowd him into the fence. We let him run and investigate on his own. He was a little timid. He has been out in the 20x50 pipe corral, but this was a whole new world.

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He is growing fast. His halter had to be let out one notch, and he is still ass-high, and buck kneed... even when he stands up straight!

I groomed Copy a little before we went out, but not meticulously, because I knew this would probably happen.
As he got a little braver, he started to run. And he ranandranandran...

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Then we went for a walkabout. Copy got to pick some grass, and Ace got to practice leading. However, as Mom pointed out, he already leads better than her horse Hairy. It was a busy day by Baybe standards.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Hey Kid...Get Outta my Hair

Ace has taken up mane chewing. I brushed Copy's mane out then rubbed some Irish Spring into it. I'm going to see if they have a liquid form because it isn't easy to get in there. I think someone needs some toys. Or a giant teething ring.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Attitude is Everything

Someone is getting a bit of an attitude. Bitey bitey... And when you hold his jaw up to stop him from trying to bite, he strikes. Boys!
He is getting very good about leading and picking up feet, although he showed a little temper today and stomped after I won a short wrestling match. When we lead, I can pretty much guide him with a hand on his shoulders pressing one side or another to steer him instead of getting into a tug of war with the rope. But, if he gets fed up, your hand on his shoulder is all the excuse he needs to launch into a bucking bronc episode. This one is going to be fun to ride....
Since you can't swat a baby when they're bad, I just flick him in the neck with my finger. He has gotten wise enough to notice when I'm aiming to flick and straightens right up. Pretty smart - but still awfully naughty.
Copy is coming out of foal heat. We aren't planning to breed her again this year, but I have an idea for next year. We'll see how I feel about that after a few more months of babyhood.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One Foot, Two Foot...

Today we had visitors during my barn time. The only acceptable constructive thing you can get done with visitors at the barn is Baby Wrangling. So I worked on leading and picking up feet. I can get most of everything done with just my arm around his neck, which I prefer to having him possibly dancing around on the end of a rope anyway. Everything went smoothly until I got to the last foot, a hind one. He promptly threw a fit and crashed. I caught him as he got up, so he never got out of my grasp, and I managed to maintain the all important illusion of power for yet another day. I still feel bad when he falls down. He looks so crest fallen. I am more worn out after 10 minutes of trying to keep up with Ace than I am after 30 minutes at the gym or an hour of pilates! The good news is that I finally got the figure 8 foal halter adjusted to my satisfaction.
He sure is filling out.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Baby Bronc Busting

Something Mom said the other day... along the lines of "Ace is getting to be a real armfull when we take him out"... made me think "Gee, I ought to spend some time working with this little guy! Before he isn't a little guy anymore." With a busy schedule and an already full barn routine, it's easy to limit my baby time to picture taking and "aww isn't he cute" activities. So, today I spent some dedicated handling time with him in the stall. We catch him and make him settle often enough, but I decided it was time to pick up feet and fiddle with ears. I got both front feet done and the ears before Mom noticed I was in the barn. With her help we got the hind feet done too, and even cleaned them a bit with a pick. Of course, he got them dirty immediately.
He's very good. He isn't shy or over sensitive, and he likes people so we just have your typical baby attitude to work with. He can still launch himself straight up off all four like a rocket. Luckily, I can still hold on. I did get my feet stepped on a few times, and I stepped on him at least once. But we managed to stay untangled enough to keep our feet. When Mom was picking up the hind feet, he was busy reaching around trying to pinch her butt.
The only thing he really didn't like was having his tummy rubbed. I always make it a point when I'm holding him to reach over and stroke behind his elbow because he is ticklish there. Rubbing the tummy got a really bad pucker face. But I did it anyway, because I'm the boss.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Creepers, Halters and Naughty Little Boys


Our little one is getting quite precocious! As you can see, he still won't stand still to have his halter adjusted any better, but at least he lets me put it on without a battle. He had his hind foot in it earlier during the photo session which is why it is eschew, and why he never wears it unattended.

I installed a creep feeder in the stall for him today. He noticed it right away, and his only comment was "Ooooooo it's Bloooooo!" and then he ran and hid as if an alien had perched on the wall. But, I'm sure he will have it emptied soon. Copy tried to stick her big snoz in it. She leaves most of her own grain, but naturally wants what she can't get at.

While I was grooming Copy in her stall, Ace came and tried to accost me. I caught him with one hand under his throat and held him in midair. He just hovered, threw his weight into my arm and said "You wanna make sumtin of it?" I had to laugh. There will come a time when he will be close to a thousand pounds, and doing some sort of mid-air stunt, and I will remember fondly the weeks when I was still able to pick him up and hold him.

He is very forward and friendly. So far, not nippy or anxious to strike, and he has not yet tried to kick out behind at a human, but I'm sure those days are coming. He is easy to catch and hold in the stall and in the arena. We took a spin on the lead rope in the arena, and he was a pro. I won't say I'm leading him yet, but he has learned to lead me. He doesn't pull, he just already knows where we are going.



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