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.
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.