Posts Tagged ‘Chincoteague Pony’
This guy is 29 years old today! It never ceases to entertain me that my horse is older than at least 25 percent of the employees I work with. He could really teach them a lot about hard work and tenacity.
All of his food is mushy these days.
I’m grateful that this past year has been relatively uneventful for the old guy compared to the couple previous years. All his food is now soaked in water and he can’t eat any hay because he doesn’t have many teeth left, but he still enjoys turnout and nibbling on grass. He’s been an amazing mentor to baby Gene (who turned 2 last week!).
Teaching the Gene the ropes
It has been hard to see him fall in the pecking order. He was always the boss of the herd, but the past 3 years he’s slowed down a lot and just doesn’t have the body conditioning to stay on top of dominating around a very bossy and athletic warmblood mare and a fit, young thoroughbred gelding. He has some arthritis in his knees and the farrier notes that it’s getting harder for him to hold his feet up very long for trims, but thankfully the farrier is incredibly patient with my old man.
He still likes to play in the snow!
Cheers to 29 Jaguar Juniper!
The oldest and the youngest permanent residents at the farm.
Ah, spring! I really do love the changing of seasons. Well, except summer. Since moving to Texas I do not like summer. The past couple weeks we have had idyllic spring weather. Not too warm and not too cold. The trees and plants look to be mostly recovered from snowpocalypse in February. Only the Crape Myrtles still have us wondering. We have one VERY large one and will be incredibly sad if it didn’t survive.
I don’t think I’ve ever introduced Lilybet on the blog. She hails from North Hills Hunt in Nebraska. Her mum is a Welsh Foxhound so has a wiry coat and her dad is a Deerhound mix. Lilybet is about 50lb and much taller than a foxhound, but lean like the Deerhound. She is nearly 2 years old now and is starting to fill out and look like she’s done growing. She adores romping around in the grass with her dog friends and occasionally getting into trouble chasing goats.
I got some new bedding to use in my LQ trailer. It is called Beddy’s and I learned about it from my blog friend Hillary. I’ll do a separate post later all about it and if I like it, but it arrived in the mail last night. Linda approves, at least so far.
Linda trying out the new bedding for the LQ.
We have 6 total cats and 5 are barn cats. This is Black Caviar (all cats except 2 are named after racehorses). We have lost SO many of our barn cats to coyotes and hawks and owls so I make most of them stay in the barn rooms at night. When they get out in the morning they run and find places to hide from the dogs. The hay wheelbarrow is often a favourite spot for hiding.
Black Caviar safe in the hay wheelbarrow
Gene has grown a LOT since he arrived late last August, but when I look at pics like this I’m reminded how small he is compared to my horses. He turns a year old in May and I’ll do a string test (explanation will be forthcoming on that) to estimate how tall he will be at adulthood. His co-owner is hoping for right at 14.2h because that is the size of a large pony for horse shows. I selfishly want him to be more like 15h because then he’s a better size for adults to ride. Regardless, he’s well loved and is an adorable pony!
Coco on the left and Gene on the right after breakfast
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and gets to be outside in lovely spring weather!
I’ve been remiss about posting in general, but ESPECIALLY about Gene! My last Gene update was in September 2020. While a lot has changed, not a ton has changed. You see, I don’t like to push baby horses (or in this case, ponies) too hard. Gene was weaned at the wee age of 3 months, so I wanted him to have lots of time to just be a baby pony. No training. No lessons. No pressure. Just be healthy and grow and learn from his pasture mates.
His travel buddy and temporary roomy stayed with us for about a week and then headed to her new home in Oklahoma. I wanted Gene to have a solid 2 weeks of zero nose to nose interaction with my horses, so after Nina left he had a week just by himself and he did great! But he was SO excited when he could finally touch noses with the big horses!
Gene’s first nose touch with Simon. SO CUTE!
When his quarantine ended I kept him by himself in a stall with a run so he could interact with his neighbours, but not be in danger of getting kicked or cornered or anything. Once I felt like he was comfortable with the big horses I moved him to the paddock with Jaguar (my 27yo QH). I know I can trust Jaguar with youngsters and he won’t be a bully. I also put my older pony Samson in with them just because he seemed to feel left out.
Gene easily transitioned to the paddock and a few weeks later started going in pasture turnout with Jaguar. I knew he would run around a lot the first time out, so it needed to be safely and without big horse shenanigans. As always, Jaguar was Mr. Perfect. He appropriately put Gene is his place when necessary, but allowed plenty of sillies to get worked out. It wasn’t too long before I felt that Gene was ready for full turnout with all the horses, pony and donkey. My horse pasture us about 7 acres, so they have plenty of room to run and play without getting into bad situations (however, they still get into trouble plenty. I’m looking at you SIMON).
Just before Thanksgiving Gene had his “brain surgery”, which to horse people means he got gelded. My vet came over to do the procedure and it went perfectly. He came out of sedation faster than we expected and had to be kept off his feet for another 15 minutes, but he healed easily and was back in turnout within 24 hours! Horses do best after gelding if they can walk around. This keeps the swelling down. Being with the other horses assured that he would move around more than he might left alone in a paddock. I worked from home and it was a holiday week so we had someone home with eyes on him all day for enough days that we knew we were out of the woods as far as having complications.
Poor little guy is a bit drunk and had a mishap trying to stand!
Gene has also had a couple farrier visits. My farrier has been wonderful with him. Incredibly patient and he makes sure Gene always has a good experience and is never frightened. Gene has great feet and our ground is rather rocky, so they haven’t been a problem. Not being pressed to get them “done” has helped a lot.
Gene was born in early May on Assateague Island, so I don’t think he ever experienced winter as a foal. Texas made sure to serve up some REAL winter in early February. We were incredibly fortunate and never lost water or power. I had plenty of blankets for all the horses and ponies so no one got cold. They got turnout every day and played in the snow. All these experiences where they have to get blanketed and led and what not are so good for the babies. He saw all his buddies get blankets and was a very good boy when he got his on for the first time. They were all ecstatic to have them removed the next week, though. Lots and lots of rolling because blankets are itchy!
I think he looks adorable in his cute blue blanket!
Gene will turn a year old in just a few short weeks! Once he hits his first birthday we will start Charm School. He will begin to work on being a real pony; leading, standing tied, getting in a trailer and eventually going to some little horse shows. He really reminds me a lot of Jaguar at the same age. A little punchy, learns quickly, not easily scared, and has a good general sense of himself. I really think this is going to be a very nice pony who we will enjoy having for many years to come!
And he gives to best kisses!
I am SO excited it’s September! AND it has rained about 4.5″ here this week! I think we were officially in a drought, so the rain is AMAZING. I can’t wait to see how good the grass looks in about a week. There is more rain in the forecast, but I don’t think we will have Flash Flood Warnings again next week!
While we were preparing the stall for the arrival of the Chincoteague Ponies this week Caviar decided it would be a fun time to climb the stall barrier and hang out on the stall walls. She was up there for a few hours and took a nap even! Cats are so silly.
Kitty exploring on stall walls. Like the high beam for cats?!
There was much cleaning to be done to prepare for Gene’s co-owner to come stay for the weekend in anticipation of his arrival. Red Rock Linda wasn’t much help with the vacuuming and mopping.
That is one VERY sleepy hound!
We had SO much fun with Gene for a couple days! Gene’s co-owner’s kids spent lots of time in the stall with the foals feeding them by hand. Chincoteague foal owners recommend spending lots of time in their stalls feeding and hanging out with them to get them accustomed to being around people. And, of course, there is a special bond between the foals and children.
Gene being sweet!
After all the rain this week it was fun to see a rainbow!
A beautiful morning rainbow on the farm.
We still get fair amount of erosion after heavy rains so I like to check the fencing in the back pasture to be sure that the dirt hasn’t pushed down or through any of the fencing. The dogs always like to come along to help test the perimeter (LILYBET!).
Dickens helping to check fencing while Chivas looks for snacks.
We are very much looking forward to the long weekend. Lots of pony and horse time will be had as well as some farm projects. Have a GREAT weekend!
At about 8a EDT on Sunday, August 30 Gene and his friend Nina began their trip west to their new homes!
Gene’s luxury accommodations for his VERY long trip west! Pennsylvania really does look lovely this time of year, especially when compared to the inferno that is Texas in August.
We were SO very fortunate to connect with a fellow Chincoteague Pony owner who happens to live within 30 miles of me and already had a trip back east scheduled with an empty trailer! She offered to bring Gene back to Texas for us and another future Oklahoma resident joined the trip. It was probably good they were travel buddies, it would likely have been a much more stressful trip for a baby pony to make alone.
Gene’s drivers stopped many times along the way to allow the foals to stretch their road weary legs, drink water and grab a bite to eat. They evidently turned their hay into their bedding! Chincoteague Ponies are known to be good drinkers, which is SO good especially for foals on a long road trip. These kids drank lots of water and never went off their feed.
Gene napping at a stop. Nina never laid down the entire trip. Poor girl!
I can imagine how exhausted A and M were after 30 hours of traveling. They arrived at my gate at almost exactly 2p on Monday, nearly exactly 30 hours after leaving Pennsylvania!
The best site of August! Gene’s ride arrives at the farm! Too bad it was 101F. Yikes!
The ponies were very easy to unload and they happily went into their new stall. I was impressed because the very first thing they did was take a big long drink. Why don’t big horses do this better?!
Babies getting a good long drink of water, likely glad that the floor under their feet is solid and not moving!
Boot City made a makeshift barrier to prevent the foals from touching noses with their neighbour (a very grumpy Coco). They will be as isolated as possible for at least 10 days to prevent them and my horses from sharing cooties. Nina will probably go to her permanent home later this week or weekend. I think it was a huge help for both foals to make the biggest part of their trip with a friend. Nina is quite a bit more apprehensive about humans than Gene so his presence has given her some confidence with all the new things. She will even eat out of a feed pan held by a scary person with him.
They also eat like champs! Jaguar is teaching them to nicker every time the barn door slides open in hopes of more food. It’s pretty cute.
They laid down to sleep a LOT in their first 24 hours in a stall. Most foals lay down to sleep more than adult horses and it speaks a lot to their development from feral foals to domesticated ponies that they felt comfortable enough to lay down almost immediately. We are SO excited for our journey with Gene! I’m so glad I’ll have a long weekend coming up to just hang out and get to know him. His co-owner was here for his arrival and i’m sure will be back again VERY soon!
And now, we nap under our fans.
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!
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.
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.