Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bye Bye, Gunny


Kevin and I have recently been discussing plans for our horses, mainly, our Thoroughbreds. Going through our list of 10 now at the farm, and making plans about who is going to winter where. We simply cannot keep them all; and besides, we got them for the sole purpose of finding homes for them.
At the same time we are doing this, one of my 4-Hers/student's Grandmother had built a barn and had asked me to start looking for a horse for her Granddaughter.
One day an idea occurred to me, and I spoke to Kevin about it, and that weekend, I had arranged to sell our OTTTB Gunny to Libby as her fist horse.


It was a bittersweet arrangement; I love Gunny and hate to see him leave my barn; but at the same time, he is going to an excellent home with a girl who adores him to pieces. He will be local, and I can see them both and help them if need be. She has been taking lessons on Gunny already, and I knew she can handle him, as her riding skills are blooming right before my eyes. Gunny likes her, and they get along great. What more could I ask for?


I had this idea that all my OTTTBs offered for sale would go on to be hunter-jumpers, dressage horses, showing, eventing, being "great" and have awesome careers. Gunny might end up at some 4-H events, but I don't think Libby plans on doing a great many shows. I have to let that idea go. It doesn't matter what the horse will be doing; what matters is that they are in good, permanent homes where their people love them, and care bout them. That is number one, and that is where Gunny is going.

I will probably cry and blubber when we deliver him there next week, but I know he is only about 20 minutes away and I can always go see him. It's hard; as this is my first one I have let go.
I've been through a lot with Gunny; with his aloof attitude it was hard at first to connect with him. Then with his terrible illness this spring, he finally connected, and allowed us "in." Now that he is all well, and I find myself attached, it just makes it hard.

On a similar note; I advertised our mare Jazz for sale on a equine website. A few weeks later I got a very interested person a few hours away. I thought, ok maybe this is "the one" for Jazz! Then suddenly in the past few weeks her weight has dropped, she got rain rot, and thrush - and then when we had work done on out high tensile fence, a strand broke one night, and wouldn't you know but she got her hind legs in it?! Luckily the strand had no tension on it, otherwise she would have had lacerations. As it was broken, she only suffered a lot of small cuts and scratches. Still, she was bloody, and sore, swollen, and miserable. This, coupled with her weight loss, made me decide to contact the interested party, and let her know I was taking Jazz off the market. I deleted the ad also.
I sinply can't sell a horse in this condition, and jazz needs us right now. It was disappointing but I will try again to find her a home in the winter or the spring.

So this is sort of a goodbye, Gunny. But it is the beginning of a whole new bright future for him! For that, I am happy.
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

In Peace....


In peace will I both lie down and sleep, for You, oh Lord, make me to dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8
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(This is my horse Red, on the day he was born in 1987. My Dad took the photo, and may others just like it, of the extremely laid-back little foal he was then.)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blog GIveaway!

Ok this is not really about horses, but anyway. On my other blog, Happily Ever After, I am giving away a "fairy stone" necklace to celebrate the opening of my Etsy shop, Carolina Roses.
Make sure to go over there and get in on the giveaway!
Fairy Stones are found in Virginia, in the Fairy Stone State Park. They are geological mysteries. You can just walk along and pick them up off the ground in many cases.
Many are polished and prepared for the jewelery trade as good luck charms.
I wear one all the time. Although, it has never brought me much luck - I have been wearing it every time I have had a fall, or other mishap, with horses. Including when I was kicked in the face. So, I pretty much think they don't help my luck at all, but they're cute as heck! Go win it today!!! Good luck!
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Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh-oh. What do I do now?

Well. I am a bit stumped.
My sister went over to the barn last night to ride with a friend. I wasn't there. My sister is a great horse person, and knows how to handle horses and the things they do.
She called me up later in the evening and told me something that really disturbed me.

It was the first time she had seen the two new TBs, Montana and Spencer (who has still not gone to his actual home; we have just had no time to make the trip with him yet.)
She said after she and her friend got done riding Jett and Major, who were wonderful little dolls, she went into the paddock with Montana and Spencer to love on them a little bit. Then she dropped a bomb on me:

"Montana bit my face," she said.
"The big chestnut? That's Montana, right? He BIT my FACE."

Of course, my first concern was for my sister's beautiful face. She already had plastic surgery to repair a pet rabbit bite to her face, but a HORSE BITE?

She said it was sore and that the inside of her mouth bled from where she clamped down her jaw as he bit her.

My next concern was what she did about it. I usually punish my horses for biting. She was so stunned she didn't have time and he immediately backed off.

She went back to the tack room and got a jumping bat (just in case) and came back to the paddock, haltered him, and began petting him again to see if he'd repeat an attempt. He didn't; but her was clearly annoyed with the petting around his face.

Kevin said Montana had nipped at him when he was putting out the hay in the paddock the other day.

And thinking about a 4-H meeting recently, I remembered the kids hanging on the fence, trying to pet Spencer and Montana, and as I watched, I saw him getting really annoyed and had to ask the kids to step back away from him. I emailed a friend, jokingly, that he looked like he "....wanted to rip their face off........"

After last night this has obviously become an issue I will have to deal with.
Was he mistreated on the track? Was he hit around the head and neck area as a youngster? Is he just going to be "mean"? Should I just get rid of him now?

I guess I need to do some of John Lyon's "head shy" lessons with him and see how he responds. Teach him to drop his head kind of stuff. As I said, I usually punish a horse for intentional, mean biting. But I don't know if that is the right course of action here...... if he bites me and I smack him and yell at him, it might make the problem even worse, and he'll learn to hate me instead! How do I lovingly, but firmly, discipline a horse like this, who more than likely is this way because people were mean to him and made him so? I do not believe it is in his nature to be nasty. He's just continuing some kind of defensive reactionary mode held over from the track or something.
We've never had a mean OTTTB before. They've all been so sweet. Till now. Golly-Gee-Whiz. These OTTTBs are just not like other horses, mentally.
Darn it!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Love animals. God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled.


Do not trouble their joy,

Do not harass them,


Do not deprive them of their happiness,

Do not work against God's intention.

- Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
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