Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Rushcreek Aurora!

On the evening of April 23rd, 2014, nearly 6 months after I first saw her picture under For Sale on a Facebook page, a scrappy 8 month old bay filly stepped off of a shiny transport trailer at the end of our driveway. 3 days previously she had followed a stranger and a bucket of grain onto the first trailer she'd ever set hoof on, in Eastern Nebraska; 1500 miles later she disembarked to an eager redhead, hollering kin, and a  whole lot of green.

welcome to California, have some grass! 

(wait, you already have a Scrappy..)

True, and though the barn name fit her better in that moment than it did the rightful gelding owner, she was to be called something else. On paper she is Rushcreek Aurora, a strange coincidence which leaves her needing yet another name, because THAT one is already in every day use here too. Though there are some current votes for Freckles, this littlest Rushcreek nugget of mine is now familiarly known as Rory.

early days..lying down eating is AWESOME
filly yoga

testing her legs on CA turf
 scruffy 8 mo old RC butt
early clues that Rory is really into Selfies.. <3

Starting to gain weight and pretty pleased with herself

the FIRST mash she ever ate. Took 3 weeks and a different sort of hay pellet to convince her that wet mush is all that is good
starting to shed out, getting interested in human doings, like throwing random ropes around
and that's how exciting her first haltering was! 40 minutes of "I'd rather not" and Tah Dah, halter broke baby 

Oh yeah, this Selfie thing is going to work out..
Weeks roll by and Rory grows in girth and height--as does her affinity for humans
she outgrew her baby halter and moved onto Sheza's old hand-me-down <3

Rory learning about standing for hoof trims
Once she was convinced humans were the bomb, Rory got to hang out with step-momma Desire to learn some more horse manners. They love each other as only mares can...
 ..with caution.. 
 Summer got hotter and the Selfies kept rolling in
riding my other filly Sheza, looking down at her momma Desire and step-sis Rory
Just last week! Rory's front end is finally catching up to her hind :-D

And finally....Yesterday was Rory's 1st birthday! Hard to believe how far she has come both physically and mentally in the *3 months* she's been here (really, that's all?!). As you can see, we have leveled up on Selfies, we don't even need halters anymore. 

Happy Birthday Rory filly, here's to many more! 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Horse Saints and Experiments

A few days ago, my mom and two young nieces came over from the north coast for a summer visit. The girls had their first horseback riding experiences here two years ago and were ready for another go! It was also my younger niece, A's, birthday and on the evening of their arrival we had some great cake made by my mom and decorated by A's sister, M. 
Pre cake, we got our appetites up with some fishing at the local river. My husband made the kid's day as ever getting them set up for fishy success and with just a little assistance my niece A landed this beauty in no time! 
That evening, I also enlisted A's help in a little horse experiment. Trimming hooves has become nigh impossible this summer after a practically non existent winter, the hooves are rock hard and trying to shed out old sole even with nippers is almost a joke. I personally don't have enough water to spare to keep their eating areas wet and get a good soak going that way, so I decided to try packing a damp clay poultice into Scrappy's hooves and then booting and leaving them on overnight. Since I was fairly certain I wasn't going to ruin his feet overnight but caution is the better part of valor, I only did 2 hooves instead of 4, for starters.

bag o' mud and a couple sizes of boot just in case
assistant A gets acquainted with Scrappy
pretty much like it sounds..gob mud into sole and put boot on
 When getting covered in goop but still needing to handle boots in between times, it's best to bring something to wipe your hands off on. Or, you know, this happens: (better than wiping my hands on A though, right?)
 My nieces quite enjoyed the fluffy mini Doxies, and it was pretty mutual!  M and Rip
 Saturday morning A and I went out eagerly to see how our boot experiment had gone, and let's just say Trial 1 is a failure, as Scrappy was standing at his fence line eagerly awaiting breakfast with both boot shells slid off and the boots hanging around his ankles. He had a slight wrinkle of consternation regarding the crap attached to his legs by the silly humans last night, but mostly had eyes only for hay. I'm thinking I'll first try putting less goop in there, as I was pretty generous and I think when he put his foot down into the boot it really smooshed down and got slippery in there. My husband suggested vet wrapping the boot on, which is an interesting idea though I also get a vision of going out in the morning to feed and discovering Scrappy had hogtied himself with slipped vet wrap and muddy boots. Back to the drawing board there, but I've got a few idea and will post what comes next as it works out or doesn't.

 After a hearty breakfast the girls were ready to saddle up, so I pulled my faithful horse saint,Blaze, out of the field. I feel guilty these days that I don't use Blaze more, I think he really enjoys some time out being used, but he is great babysitter/kid/LD horse, and I don't do a whole lot of that stuff lately.  Anyhow aside from basic maintenance and saying hey in his field, Blaze hadn't been worked in the last month, but I knew he would be good for the kids and in fact I decided to up the ante to a "Trail ride" through the neighborhood instead of going in circles in the arena like last time.

<3 my sweet boy <3
The girls were all game for the different riding experience and since my usual kid saddle, the "western" Abetta has been bastardized beyond recognition, including not having any way to attach stirrups currently, I threw the Skito and treeless Sensation up there. I figured with me hand walking him it was a safe enough bet and lord know it's kind on the hind end, especially for those not used to riding! 

M on Blaze
A on board
We had a nice cruise through the HOT neighborhood with my mom and I walking and the girls trading off riding Blaze, though we all walked together on foot on the pavement part heading out where we had to pass the Beast of Doom:

Blaze thinks this mild looking Donkey is devil spawn
A getting toasty riding Blaze. She ditched using stirrups by her second time on board and wanted to know if I didn't have 4 saddle horses we could ALL ride and really go somewhere. Horsey girl potential indeed! 
 We cooled ourselves off at the river after our horse hike Saturday and spent the evening on a great dinner and board games; Sunday was shopping day, and there's certainly nothing exciting to be told about the city consumer experience except that we did manage to find some critters for them to ride while in a mall, too!
The girls loved helping feed the horses every day and after horse chores and breakfast this a.m. my mom wrangled them up and they headed home. It's always great to get to see and enjoy time with the family and seeing the next generation enjoy animals and especially get interested in the horse fun is also rewarding in and of itself.

 My feeding crew led back to the barn by doxie Wilbur
Stay cool out there, it's a balmy 102 degrees here!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Danger Baby

"Danger Baby" first came into my vocabulary about the time my older sister's first born child started crawling. 14 years later she now has 4 glorious children, the youngest of which is currently heartily embracing the original's title. While I don't have and don't plan to have human children myself, I've got some 4 legged babies of my own and true to the age group, they've gotten themselves into a little trouble lately. 

There was of course Sheza's leg banging incident while at training, nicely taken care of and resolved while in trainer guru April's hands:

Now I have two "kids." I took this picture of Rushcreek Aurora (Rory) the other day, as you can see she couldn't be bothered to look up from her groceries, but it does at least show that her front end has started catching up with her hind end. She's been extremely butt high since she got here and believe it or not that's leveling out in this photo. I reflected how calm and sensible she was as I snapped this photo, how unlikely to do silly things, and went on my merry way.
 This morning Rory wasn't at her feeder spot for breakfast. I had 10 seconds of panic that she was missing and then saw Rory stride around the corner of Desire's shed, now in the paddock next to the pasture she should be in. Huh. I immediately looked down to the gate panel at the bottom of the paddock to see if she had somehow finagled it open but it looked undisturbed. Rory cruised around the paddock, completely calm and expectant for breakfast while I walked the fence line until I discovered a break in the hot wire and some smushing at a spot in the fence. That *definitely* hadn't been there the day before, so quickly I finished feeding, unplugged the hot box on the way by, and circled right back into the paddock to splice the hot wire back together and straighten the fence that best that I could. I grabbed her hay next and Rory followed me calmly out the bottom gate into her own pasture, trotted around, then settled to munching as I began to circle her with bated breath, ready for the inevitable wounds to show themselves.

Sure enough:
I could tell by my own reactions at this point that I'm on my second Danger Baby. Where the slightest scratches or swelling on baby Sheza used to throw me into a tizzy, I found myself heavily on the unimpressed, "Well done, I'll clean you up and you'll live." side of things this time. Rory has been in the big pasture for almost a month now, sharing fence line with Blaze *and* Desire, and hasn't seemed in the least perturbed at being "alone" in her field. I can't quite see why she attempted to sprout wings and relocate, except that perhaps she's a bit of a Funder and well, " seemed like a good idea at the time."

She was pretty reasonable about getting it thoroughly cleaned and treated, for a yearling with about 4 months of handling who hadn't been hurt before (that I know of). As of now she notices it's sore but isn't lame at all and seemed quite chuffed to get a mash out of the deal.

Gotta love horses!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crewing Ride n Tie Championships

Last weekend I crewed the Ride and Tie Championships for Team Worst Ever, also known as fellow bloggers Mel and Funder. I had a blast helping get Farley and the gals through the day, as well as hanging out with my other crew members including blogger LCT. My other experiences crewing have been for Tevis and while this was RnT Championships the atmosphere was *ahem* a good deal more relaxed than that! The event was held at lovely Dru Barner campground, site of the Gold Country endurance ride coming up this weekend. The high was about 90 but with the shade in camp and breeze it certainly could have been a lot worse for summer in July (says the lucky/unlucky one not out leaving it all on the trail)

Anyway my activities beyond standard crew servicing (food/water/tack & rub maintenance for all) mostly consisted of whining about saddle fit for hours on end, so I'll leave you all with these links to the ride n tying gals posts to read instead:

Here's a few highlights from my photos of the day: