August 2020 archive
I am SO excited it is the final Friday in August! SO EXCITED! This August hasn’t been terrible, but I just don’t love the heat. And this weekend is going to be HOT! Temps forecasted to be over 100F. Gross.
We were fortunate to get a little bit of rain from the remnants of Hurricane Laura. She certainly was a b$tch, but at least she wasn’t as horrible as she could have been. I was reading possible comparisons to Katrina! Yikes!
I love it when it rains, but it’s still sunny! This storm was prefaced by possibly the most beautiful rainbow I’ve ever seen! The colours were SO vivid!
One of the bad things about storms is that the hounds get really scared. Usually we have to let them into our walk-in closet and they hide under the hanging clothes. The closet door was closed and Linda had to make herself comfortable in a pile of dog beds.
This is her “Princess and the Pea” impersonation.So. Many. Dog. Beds.
Gene begins his journey south and west very soon! His caretakers have been working hard to get him socialised and he leads a little bit. He’s also had a HUGE growth spurt since he left the island! We are SO excited to have him in Texas! Hopefully the heat subsides before he arrives.
Gene modelling his nice conformation. He’s pretty “basic” chestnut, but I really do love his color.
And last, but CERTAINLY not least we acquired another chicken. Our chicken coop is in our “old barn” that needs to be torn down before it falls down, so we haven’t gotten any chicks in a couple years so are down to 8 chickens. We will start anew with all new chickens in a new coop so are kind of just waiting these ones out. When I drove to work on Monday I noticed a feather-footed chicken by the road near our house and convinced Boot City to go catch it. Well, chickens are hard to catch (see Rambo). I saw the chicken again today on my way to work and we agreed that if she was still there at the end of the day we would try to catch her. Lo and behold there she was. I mean, who doesn’t go catching chickens in their work clothes on a Thursday evening?! It took about 20 minutes, but we got her!
We are going to call her Melania; she is so pretty, but doesn’t do much other than be pretty. Feather footed chickens aren’t good for meat and they don’t lay many eggs. LOL!
Have a GREAT weekend and if you live somewhere there is real fall, know that I’m crazy jealous because this is my FAVORITE time of year in Montana!!
After complaining last week about the scorching heat I’m pleased to say that things have taken quite a turn for the better! We got 1.25″ of rain on Sunday night and it’s remained in the low 90’s for highs all week! The humidity is also low so it almost feels like a Montana summer, but with a lot more dead grass and way more people around.
Regardless of the weather, Ouiser prefers to be inside. We let her wander around outside every once in a while, but she tends to make poor decisions and get stuck in trees or overstimulate the dogs, so that is a privilege she doesn’t get often.
I call this her “Olan Mills” pose. Google Olan Mills and you’ll see what I mean. It’s a cheesy pose with a silly accessory. Boot City loves that she covers his bag with cat hair. LOL!
I’m generally an early riser and Simon doesn’t do great in the heat, so all of my riding lessons this summer have been at 7:30a. Lately this has made for departures in the dark of the morning and the ability to catch a pretty colourful sunrise!
All hooked up and ready to go. This was a super hot Saturday with temps well into the triple digits. I’m hopeful we may be done with those for 2020.
Just because she’s pretty and very photogenic.
She spends quite a lot of time looking towards the back of the property from her stall run. I guess she will warn us if there are ever invaders from the back.
On lesson days I take along my Ice Horse tendon wraps to ice whomever gets to lesson that day’s legs. Sunday has started spending his morning asleep on the boots left in the boot basket. Most of them are Back On Track so I guess he likes the stimulation.
Sunday napping in the boot basket.
Last, but certainly not least, is a Gene update! He’s been wearing his halter for about a week and we learned today that he’s growing like a weed and will need a bigger halter soon! He’s reported to be pretty quiet and it sounds like he should be fairly easy to train, but only time will tell. His caretaker is going to start working with him on leading this week since he will embark on his trip south by the end of the month!
Gene outside. He reminds me a lot of Jaguar as a foal. I’m so excited to see him in person and see if the likeness remains. Jaguar was the easiest horse to train so it would be delightful if Gene is, too!
Have a delightful weekend! Wear your mask. Practice social distance. Wash your hands. And do something fun outside!
Even before Coronapocolypse came into the picture in early 2020 I didn’t have big plans to do much horse showing. The trainer I’ve shown with the past few years had moved away from Texas and I was really focused on my new fun fox hunting friends and trips. I was hoping to go to Belle Meade’s hunt week in February, but life and responsibility got in the way. However, the planning made me stop and think that I really ought to get more experience and coaching to prepare for jumping some bigger jumps. The highest I’ve jumped at shows is 2’6″ and in schooling is 3′ and only a handful of times. Most of the jumps in hunt fields range from 2’9″ up to 4′ at the more ambitious hunts. The coops Simon jumped at Burwell in October were more like 2’9″ to 3′. To that end I started researching hunter/jumper barns in my area and decided to take a few lessons at a barn called Bay Yard Farm.
I was attracted to Bay Yard for a few reasons. I knew a few people who rode there and seemed very happy with the program. Fellow blogger Kelly of Hunky Hanoverian has ridden at Bay Yard for the past few years and had blogged about her great experiences there. Most of Bay Yard’s clients are adults or mature junior riders and after riding at a more pony/kid focused barn I was definitely looking for a barn with riders I have more in common. They go to a few A shows every year and sometimes add in a local show here and there. Lastly, they do haul in lessons and and have a focus on hunters with a dollop of jumpers which suits my 2020 goals and my foxhunting hobby.
My first few lessons were delightful! It isn’t terribly unusual to start at a new barn and feel pressure from trainers to get a new horse, go to a bunch of horse shows, or do other things that can be perceived as high pressure. I have ridden with two of the four trainers at Bay Yard and both have been nothing but supportive and complimentary of my horses and riding goals.
At the end of July trainer JB texted and asked if I would be interested in going to a schooling show nearby. With no hesitation I responded “Yes!”. I was hoping to take Coco and started making plans to be sure she and I would be prepped and ready to show in mid-August. Coco then promptly whacked her leg on something and subsequently got a “no jumping for 2 weeks” order from the vet exactly 2 weeks before the show. Horses! Her 2 weeks would expire on Friday before the show that was on Sunday. I opted to continue to ride her on the flat with hopes she would be healthy and sound to show, but knowing that I may need to take Simon if she weren’t ready.
Photo from a fabulous BYF Junior rider/photographer. Coco is not very affectionate. LOL!
Thankfully she was sound and prepared in time to horse show! We entered the 2’3″ Junior/Amateur division mostly because it was the first division to go in the morning, but partially because it didn’t seem fair to ask her to jump bigger jumps after a few weeks off jumping and a couple of minor injuries.
To say that Coco was a good girl is an egregious understatement. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous how she would act. In the past she has been either a bit hot or very agitated at horse shows. She will seem calm and accepting of the situation only to blow up and express her disdain by misbehaving. She’s never been naughty or dangerous, but I’ve never felt relaxed with her at shows. This was completely different. We had hacked around the show grounds the day before and she had been a bit fractious, but on show day she was aware of surroundings yet amenable to do what I asked of her.
Scope has never been a problem for Coco. These jumps were quite small so she didn’t have the loveliest form.
We did two hunter trips and an equitation course and she answered every question I asked perfectly. She was a bit crooked in the lines and she has a bad habit of veering to the right, but she happily jumps the jumps and mostly gets her lead changes (especially when her rider asks for them correctly).
Here is a video of our second hunter trip. Pardon the ridiculously long trot around the ring before we actually start the course. She was a bit looky after the first hunter trip so I wanted to just trot around the ring calmly before we jumped again. And I couldn’t figure out how to mute the talking from the video so inserted some ridiculous YouTube music instead. Feel free to mute your computer now. Haha!
She is calm, keeps a consistent canter, gets her distances and looks like a lovely hunter. I couldn’t be more thrilled with our progress. The regular lessons have made a world of difference and I can feel that my riding has made drastic improvements. This is the first time in my life that I’ve been getting regular lessons and it’s helping so much! We got second place in the second hunter and we won the hack to end up as Reserve Champions in our division!
Happy girl over the tiny jump.
I’m hoping we can make it to at least one or two more schooling shows this year. If a rated show works out I might go to one of them since Bay Yard goes to those shows more frequently, but it’ll depend on my fox hunting trips. I’m going to start getting Simon fit for Burwell so will be taking him to more of my lessons and (hopefully) getting some practice over bigger fences. Learning and getting better is so much fun!
No scope no hope! The best girl!
Does anyone else feel like we really dodged a bullet by today NOT being Friday the 13th?! The next Friday the 13th will be in November, but hopefully 2020 will be done torturing us by then. This week has been H.O.T. in Texas. Like I feel like I’m living in someone’s armpit after running a marathon hot. The forecasted high tomorrow is 107, but thankfully next week looks MUCH cooler.
The black kittens are smart kitties and they prefer to stay in their air conditioned cat/feed room rather than hanging out in the heat. Their cat gym isn’t the sturdiest thing ever made, but Black Caviar is brave enough to nap on the top floor of the thing.
Black Caviar and her brudder Sunday Silence keeping cool in the AC.
Don’t tell the other dogs I said this, but Quila really is the BEST girl! She keeps as close to me as possible and is a bit protective yet snuggly. Her only misbehaviour is that she likes to open the freezer and help herself to frozen meat and ice cream. She went out on a pasture inspection mission this week to help try to find the hole where Dickens and Lilybet snuck out and didn’t return home until 3a the next morning. BAD DOGS!
Quila AKA the BEST girl.
Boot City sent me this photo the other day. This is Annie nonchalantly resting next to the wheelbarrow while the chickens root through it and kick urine soaked shavings and manure ALL over her. SO gross. But, truth be told, Annie likes to roll in the dirty bedding when it gets dumped. It is extra disgusting because I let it sit in the wheelbarrow for a day or two and fill it with water so it’s an extra disgusting poop soup. Why are dogs so gross?!
Annie and her hen friends.
Last, but not least, is a lovely sunset from the top of the driveway. I have a love/hate relationship with this paved driveway. I love that the road isn’t as rough for the horses to ride up and down in the trailer, but I miss watching people freak out and park at the end of the road and walk up and get to the top to drop off their cars for Boot City to work on. It really was the best judge of character to see if people could or would at least try to drive up.
Hot August Texas night.
Y’all have a great weekend and stay cool!
Our story left off with our pony being purchased and a semblance of a plan was coming together to get him home to Texas. It has been nearly two weeks now and Gene is currently hanging out at Stoney Creek Chincoteagues with a few of his island buddies. We are so grateful to have connected with Tipson and Allison to care for Gene and give him some time to mature a bit and acclimate to life not on the islands with his Mom.
A lovely photo of Gene with his Mom (Lefty’s Checkmark) at the Carnival site in Chincoteague from photographer Nicole Menta.
While he’s in the care of Stoney Creek Chincoteagues he will learn to wear a halter, eat commercial feed, socialise with humans and (hopefully) be taught to be led or halter trained. Right now he lives in a stall with a few other Chincoteague foals and it appears he’s one of the bigger foals right now. Gene’s co-owner has done some research and it turns out that Gene’s dam and his sire are two of the taller ponies on the islands, which we are VERY excited about since I’m 5’8′ and his co-owner is a bit taller than me so hopefully we will both be able to ride him when he’s full grown.
Gene with one of his stall buddies.
I purchased the book Your Chincoteague Pony Foal’s First Year to help prepare for Gene’s arrival in Texas, which is projected to be at the very end of August or beginning of September. I’ve brought along plenty of foals, but wanted to be sure I was prepared for a feral pony foal who will undoubtedly have some different needs than a domestic horse foal. One of the primary things is that Gene will need some pelleted milk based feed for a couple months. Since he was weaned from his dam at only three months he will need a bit of extra milk nutrition. When he gets closer to six months old he’ll start getting a commercial foal feed and phase out the milk based pellets.
We also plan to keep him isolated from my other horses (and pony and donkey) for at least 14 days. He will only have had one round of vaccinations due to his age and he will have been exposed to some bacteria/viruses that my Texas equids haven’t been exposed to so this should assist everyone in staying healthy during Gene’s transition to Texas.
Gene in his stall yesterday with his same palomino buddy.
Last, but not least, we HAVE to tell you about Gene’s OFFICIAL registered name! Gene is registered with the Chincoteague Pedigree group as Ginuwine Lefty II. We have long been obsessed with the song “Pony” by Ginuwine. Now that we actually own a PONY and we got to name him ourselves, this was really inevitable! The rest of his name is derived from his dam (Lefty’s Checkmark) and his sire (Don Leonard Stud II). Had we gotten a filly, her barn name would have been Winnie, but since it’s a colt his barn name is Gene!
He’s SUCH a ham and he has some large ears. Hopefully he grows into those ears!
Boot City and I are prepping the barn and getting things together to prepare for Gene’s arrival. His trip from Pennsylvania to Texas should take 2-3 days and he will have a travel buddy and a roommate in Texas for a few days as another foal was purchased by an Oklahoma resident and will be making the trip west with him.
We are a full week into August; AKA my least favourite month in Texas. This is always the month when I question my sanity in moving here. Which is a bit ironic considering the only times I visited prior to moving to Fort Worth were in August. I shouldn’t complain too much since June and July were actually fairly nice as far as weather goes. I (always) wish we had gotten more rain, but the temperatures were not awful.
I’m fairly certain I’ve gone on more trail rides since March than I have gone on in one year ever in my life previously and I’m not mad about it! It’s been really good for my horses to get out and about. Simon even finally let me open and close a gate while mounted! He’s nearly perfect most days, but for some reason has remained apprehensive and even a bit fearful about opening and closing gates. I went trail riding on a family’s place outside of Waco a couple weeks ago and we finally conquered the task!
Here we are after completing our mission. Simon is still a bit unsure about the gate possibly attacking him. I’m proud as can be and Quila is in a constant state of supervision. Photo credit to our trail riding buddy and Chincoteague Pony co-owner.
Today’s post is very cat and Simon centric. Sunday Silence showed up at the barn this past weekend with a fat cheek! He had a fat cheek a few weeks previously. I presume he’s getting in fights with his cat friends. We had a cat with a somewhat similar fat cheek a few years ago and it was some disgusting larvae parasite thing, so I was REAL glad when the swelling had gone down the next day. Yes, my cats are named after racehorses.
Sunday with his fat cheek. He’s a sweet kitty who was rescued by a friend from the Weatherford Shelter this past spring.
And here we have MORE SIMON! Last weekend we went trail riding with a bunch of our OTTB friends. I dearly love trail riding with this group. Our horses all get along. They keep a similar pace. We can change spots in order 10 times and none of the horses get upset. We got a tiny bit lost and ended up off the trail for a bit, but we found our way and had a delightful ride.
Simon nearly ALWAYS has his ears forward during trail rides. He’s so cute.
And, last but not least, is my Work From Home Administrative Assistant. She doesn’t work very hard and she sheds quite a bit, but she’s sure cute! I may have to write her up for spending so much time napping in sunny places, though.
Pardon my dusty trim and nose prints on the window. She slept like that for at least 6 hours!
I foresee more trail riding this weekend. It’s going to be stupid hot, though, so we won’t be out too long. Hopefully we will have some updates on Gene this weekend. He’s eating well and becoming friendly so that is good news! Happy weekend, y’all!
A few weeks ago Boot City and I were cooking dinner together and chatting about the things going on in our world right now. New LQ trailer. Lots (so much really) of fencing projects to do. A never-ending stream of cars for Boot City to fix. Not much fun travel in the near future. Somehow we go to talking about bucket list things. Boot City has a project car that we hope to take on a long road trip to stay at Blackberry Farm when it’s done. He’s got a super fancy motor for it and is going to have it repainted and put new seats and such in it. His bucket list is mostly wrapped up in that car. However, I’ve never been much of a “bucket list” person. I feel like wishing for more than I have is disingenuous and a bit selfish. But we all have things we’d love to have or do. So, during this conversation I mentioned that one of the very few things on my list would be to own a Chincoteague Pony.
I (oddly) didn’t read the Marguerite Henry books as a child, but I did have them all and I pretty well knew what the stories were about. I knew about the pony swim and the auction. I started listening to the Horses In The Morning (HITM) podcast a few years ago and every year they interview someone who is at the pony swim so I’ve learned more about it there every year. This winter Costco had a boxed set of the most popular Marguerite Henry books that I bought and started reading. Thus far I’ve read Misty of Chincoteague, King of the Wind, and Justin Morgan had a Horse and LOVED all of them!
This year, because of Coronapocolypse, the swim and associated events were canceled. The pony auction is a significant fundraiser for the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company so the loss of the events could have been quite significant for the organisation. However, the pony auction was moved online for the first time ever this year! I briefly pulled up the website where the ponies were being sold after listening to the HITM podcast interview, but didn’t really think much of it at the time. Fast forward a few days and a friend and I got to chatting about the Chincoteague pony auction and an idea was sprung. This friend has two young daughters, one of whom has shown an interest in riding (I may have helped find and picked up a pony for said child earlier this year….). The friend grew up riding, much like I did and now has a lovely OTTB she rides for trail rides and does some jumping with. We thought it would be SO fun to buy a Chincoteague pony together! I could keep it until it was old enough to be trained to ride, then she would keep it for her girls to ride. When they grew out of the pony or for whatever reason the pony could come back to live with me.
We started stalking the auction page. Color. Parentage. Bids. We established a list of our favourites and we set ourselves a budget. The auction opened on July 23rd (my Mom’s birthday!) and concluded on July 30. We could tell fairly quickly which ponies on our list were going to be out of our budget before auction day and eliminated a few. Then came auction day. Prices started really going up on a lot of the more colourful ponies. Many more were struck off the list by midday. We texted and decided that if at least our two favorites were still within budget at noon, one of us would register to bid. I was working from home and checked the auction again in the late afternoon. The lots started closing around 3p my time. They were set to close in 3 minute increments, not all at once. We really liked the first pony, but my friend still hadn’t gotten a bidder number, so we missed that one. Then came our favourite, #12. Still no bidder number and he was above our budget. Another colt came up that looked like he might be in our budget, but alas no bidder number. We again had high hopes for Lot 24, but (again) no bidder number.
My friend finally got frustrated and called the auction company as their website said qualified bidders would get a number within an hour of registering on auction days and it had been nearly 2 hours. It turned out a tiny bit of contact information was wrong, they fixed it and she had the number! Just in time for #31! He was in the final 3 minutes of bidding and was below our budget. She texted and asked if she should bid. I texted back; “Yes!”. She placed our bid. 3 minutes to wait. The price stayed the same. 2 minutes. No change. Less than 1 minute. In fewer than 5 minutes we went from having a not having a bidder number to winning our pony!
Everyone, meet Ginuwine Lefty II!!!!
It was SO exciting! And then it became a bit overwhelming! We had bought a pony foal. A pony foal that was in Virginia! HOW were we going to get a pony foal from Virginia to Texas?! As it turns out, owning a Chincoteague Pony allows you into an exclusive group of horse/pony loving people who are the nicest and most helpful group of horse people I’ve ever encountered! So, over the course of the next few weeks, months and years I will be chronicling Gene’s journey from Virginia, to Pennsylvania (where he’s headed tomorrow) to Texas and beyond. On an upcoming post I’ll explain how he got his name. For now, just know his barn name is Gene.
Part of being in the CPOC (Chincoteague Pony Owner’s Club, I made that up myself) is getting connected to the photographer who goes to the island it seems like every day and documents the first sighting of the pony foals and makes those photos available to pony buyers. All the photos below are from DSC Photography and we are SO grateful to have them!
A quite young baby Gene. He was first seen on May 4, 2020.
Grazing with his Mom. It looks like so far all the foals from this mare have been solid chestnuts, like Gene.
Part of what we loved about him is his kind eye. He really reminds me a lot of Jaguar!
Gene walking on the beach with his Mom, Lefty’s Checkmark. I love the fog behind them.
Last, but not least, this one is our favorite of Gene!
Gene and his reflection in the water.
I’d love to hear if you own or have owned a Chincoteague Pony! Gene will start his journey to Texas at the end of August and I promise to provide updates! Please send him good thoughts that he makes all his trips safe and sound.