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 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!
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.