When I first weaned Jackson, I left him and RT in the familiar stall/paddock where Jackson was born, and had lived all his life, when not on pasture. It's the most secure and sturdy, as well as being familiar, and the stall was bedded with straw instead of pellets, for the health of immature eyes and lungs, as well as somewhat fluffier bedtimes.
Last weekend I finished the last bale of the half ton of straw that I got last spring prior to Misty foaling. Plus, the smaller paddock was getting pretty muddy from having two inhabitants, one of whom was always romping around, trying to get the other to play. So I switched the guys with Misty, giving them more room and slightly nicer footing (at least for the moment).
Jackson got all excited! At the larger expanse. Oh boy, Oh Boy! GO BOY! At all the new sights. I've NEVER seen the EAST side of the farm! At the chance to play! Hey, Old Man. Let's go!Come on! Leave me alone, Kid!
RT, on the other hand, decided the clean snow provided an opportunity to get a good back scratch. Wait, RT, wait....I'll take your coat off for you.
Hey, Lady! Aren't you supposed to be taking pictures of ME?!? Get out my shot, Squirt!
Meantime... Wait a sec. What's this doin' here? Is it a new toy for me? I don thin so. It don belong here. Bye bye, blankie. Thar she goes. What, Mama Laurie? I don nos hows it gotz there. This is only a few of a series of over 30 photos I took over less than two minutes, while Jackson took care of that misplaced blanket. When I run through them quickly on Picasa, I get a cute little mini-video. But I can't figure out how to share that with you folks.... I'm asking Santa for a video camera for Christmas, seeing as how my little Cannon, with which I shot earlier short clips of Mr. CutiePie, is on the fritz.
Hey, Lady. Why didn't you just put my mare back in with me, and leave this little snot by himself? All you'd have to do is open this here gate just a bit... Pleeeeese? See ya later, guys.Play nice!
So little Mister Jackson is coming into the stall regularly for his grain.And eating it mostly all at once. Occasionally, he will whirl around, race out to the paddock as if the gremlins were about to devour him, buck-fart a time or two, then leap back in the stall (there's a half-buried two-by-six holding the bedding in and the mud out) and return to eating. This, of course, delays his consumption a bit, and RT will usually finish his grain outside and come in and jostle a little with Jackson for the remaining baby food (unless I'm right there to growl at him). But for the most part, Mister Growing-Like-A-Weed is cleaning up his goodies.
Until last Tuesday night. I needed to catch him up long enough to give him the second of his series of baby shots. Since he was such a late baby, we'll wait on all the mosquito-borne viruses (EEE,WEE,WNV) until spring--for now, he's getting a flu-rhino and a tetanus vaccine at 5, 6, and 7 months. (Jackson had his 6-month birthday last Saturday...Can you believe it!?!) I let him get started on his grain then went over to close the outside stall door. Whatdya doin, lady?!? He raced outside, but returned shortly. I hesitated a moment, letting him settle, then closed the door. Now you might have expected a half-wild wrestle to corner him and get the halter on, but Jackson came right over to me and I slid his halter half-way on. Why only half-way? you ask. I had to let his halter out: two holes on the nose piece and two on the crown!! But he stood quietly through all of the adjustments, so I led him over to his bucket as a reward. No, not interested. So I gave him his shots, for which he again stood like a champ. So I offered him his bucket again. Nope! It was obvious to me from the undersized halter that I have been neglecting my training lately, so we practiced picking up feet (he will give me the fronts, loose in the paddock, but wanders off when I move to the rear). Again, after a few distracted circles, he stood like an old hand, so I dropped his halter and told him he could go finish his dinner, with no further fussing from the old lady. Did he dive into his dinner? No way! He didn't do any of the stomping and carrying on that we had earlier times I locked him in the stall, but he was NOT going to eat! Knowing that RT was lurking just outside the stall door, I settled in on the straw bale in the corner to wait Jackson out. And wait, I did....Whatcha up to? He absolutely refused to eat any more of his dinner, unless I hand fed him, and even then, he only took a few half-hearted nibbles. After 45 minutes, I was starting to get cold, so I gave up and let him out. I half expected him to return to the stall as he often does, once he had confirmed his freedom, but he trotted out briskly to the hay feeder and settled in next to RT. I took the bucket back to the feed bin to wait for breakfast (when he ate it wholeheartedly) and retreated from the chilly power struggle to the warmth of the house. Nite-nite, silly baby horse!
After a lifetime of working with other people's horses, I was able to start a small Paint Horse breeding farm, on the outskirts of the Kittitas Valley of central Washington state. Beginning with just one broodmare, then adding another, 2005 was the first year we had TWO babies to run and play and grow up together! Canticle (Kate) and Madrigal (Maddie) are now seven, and may someday become my replacement broodmares. But now is the time for them to learn to be riding horses, and, hopefully, to earn a bit of a performance record.
I am not so much into the "round-and-round" experience of the pleasure arena, so I will be looking at the girls gaining some trail mileage out in the "real world" in the coming years, and completing some Mountain Trail clinics and competitions. This blog will be the story of that adventure.