Wednesday, December 31, 2008

There be Bison, Captain!

Ok, so I paraphrased Star Trek. But I was raised by Trekkies. Not the ones that follow the conventions around, but I had trekkie shows as the only option if I wanted to watch TV for years.
Today, I learned that Belle is not a fan of bison. There are cutting horses at my barn. They use bison calves instead of steer calves because they are smarter, have more stamina and can really stretch the abilities of the horse. And they are really cool. I normally do not ride with people. I am basically antisocial and avoid people, but I did not feel like braving the hurricane strength winds today to ride outside. I rode with others. Belle is not used to this. I was also too crowded to pony Foxy, which is what I did yesterday outside. Foxy needs the exercise, but she is on maternity leave and the kids are out of town anyway. . .
If I just turn her loose, she runs up to Belle, flips around and starts kicking the crap out of her.
So, today, I had an audience. Belle loves to perform for an audience. That is probably the reason that she was so good at anytime but Christmas when she was a carriage horse. At Christmas, she is not the center of attention.
Any way, back to the Bison.
Belle did great, showing off her smooth as silk jog, her ground eating extended trot (for you carriage drivers, past and present, that is how she always caught the carriage in front of her)and then her unbelievable lope. It is so smooth, but feels like I am driving a V10. Only those that ride a draft or a very tall powerful horse can really comprehend the absolute power trip. One of the other riders asked how I could ride the lope. It looked uncomfortable.
We rode for a while, warming everybody up and then out came the bison.
Now I call them Bison because that is what they are. They may be commonly called buffalo but are only distantly related to the buffalo of Asia or Africa. Google it.
I figured that Belle, being a Clydesdale, would have no clue what to do with an animal of the bovine persuasion. I was wrong. Her goal was to stay as far away from it as possible. All I wanted her to do was stand quietly and watch the other horses work the bison. Everytime one would almost get away from the horse, and act like it might come near her, Belle would get really nervous. She worked up more of a sweat attempting to stand than she did with the arena work. When the first calf was done, I pointed Belle towards it. It was already heading out of the arena, but Belle followed it. She is only nervous when they might actually be thinking about coming after her. I had to dry her out for a while. Foxy had worked up a sweat, too. She panics without Belle. While Belle was drying, I led Foxy to watch the bison. She wanted in with them. She is definitely a Quarter Horse. I gave her a very thorough rub down. I don't normally brush her. The kids love to brush her and she is their horse. With them gone, I can tell that she misses them. She has been very affectionate. I took measurements of her belly today. I figure that it might be one way to document her pregnancy. Her heart girth measurement was 80 inches. The biggest part of her barrel measured 84 inches. At the flank, she measured 77 inches.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dealing with government

Ok, this really has nothing to do with my horses. This is just a pure vent posting.
I got a ticket the other day in my truck. It had an expired registration. Purely my fault. I GET THAT!!! I went in today to get it properly registered. First, they want the title. I am still making payments so I don't have the title. Fortunately, I anticipated this, so I had the phone number of my lien holder so that I could get them a copy. They would not accept a fax, it must be the actual title. This seemed odd to me, but fine, how about a temporary until I can get my plates. Fine, they just want me to take the plates off of my truck and they need my insurance card. Fine, I figure out that I have not put the new insurance card in the truck, so I head home and swap vehicles with the registered one. I go back and give them my insurance card. Great, let's fill out the paperwork. How long of a permit do you need? I don't know, the title should be here within a couple of days. Wait a minute, you have been here since August. We can't let you buy a permit because you have been here too long. We can't help you.
What!?!? You won't let me pay to get a permit to drive my vehicle. You would rather just give me yet another ticket. I don't get it. I was glad that I switched vehicles, otherwise they may have followed me out to give me a ticket. I get that I screwed up and that I should have registered my vehicle, but now that I am, why do I have to wait. I just don't get it. My husband had no problems registering his vehicle. If he had not been so sick, I would have made him do it, but he is still recovering from the freezing rain and snow from Christmas day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Return from the Snowy wasteland

I am trying out new font and colors, let me know if this is any better. I just have a thing for red and black. Belle and Foxy are VERY glad that I am back from carriage driving. I am VERY glad that I rarely drive carriages anymore. I am turning into Belle. I don't like the christmas crowds, either. Fortunately, it did not seem nearly as cold this year. I must be adapting to the cold, desolate wind of Wyoming. It was good to see and drive Bart, Belle's old team mate. Unfortunately, I don't see him retiring anytime soon. He still loves to pull and does not mind the insane crowds of Christmas.
Belle decided to misbehave while I was out of town. She walked right up to Foxy and kicked her square in the chest. I am glad that she did not make a belly shot. This is one of the reasons that I was able to buy her. She is a family horse. She gets extremely upset if she thinks that she has been institutionalized. She always dumps a ton of weight in the winter, but fortunately, she did ok while I was gone for the week. I checked on Foxy, too. She was more interested in the hay and grain, but was glad for the belly scratches. I even got to feel movement from Foxy jr., so everything is ok as far as that goes.
I will be getting all caught up on everything, now that I am back and I will start to take measurements of Foxy's belly. We are now less than three months away from the big day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cold and Cranky

Here is a pic from our last trail ride. We won't be doing this anytime soon. We have snow and with wind chill, it is cold. I was trying to get ready to drive down to Utah for Christmas, but with the awful weather, I decided to wait one more day. Belle appreciated it. We worked on her listening skills. I started with listening to the bit, then listening to leg cues. With her, I need to work on them separately before she remembers that I can cue her with something other than bit and voice. I think it has something to do with the fact that she was a carriage horse, but it may just be that she is ornery. Foxy did not get ridden today because the last ride had her sweating and she is now eight months along, but she still gets out and stretched her legs. In fact, I had to put her in the round pen and out of the riding arena. She tried to kick both Belle and the timid horse that my son was riding. She is really cranky. She used to be content to wait for Belle to be put away, but now she wants to be the first to be put away and she likes to throw around all 16 hh, 1200 lbs, when she does it. Fortunately for Belle, although she is only 15.3, she out weighs Foxy, so Belle just leans back and only one will get out of the fence at a time.

Here are some pics of the road conditions and the reason why I have not yet made it to visit my family yet. Last night, there were times that I could not see past the front of my truck. I took these from the passenger side, I was definitely not driving and taking pics.

Weather bug warned me earlier that it will be -30 F with the windchill tonight. I am glad that my horses are inside a relatively warm barn and out of this wind.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saturday's Adventures

A new adventure popped up this weekend. One of my boys locked the tack room key into the tack room. We wanted to ride Saturday, so we all hopped up with halters and lead ropes, and wandered around the indoor arena. I had Foxy in the round pen because she likes to charge around and my kids are not all that experienced in bareback. Belle is smooth as silk, but has HIGH withers. One of the kids was on a friend's horse. (another reason that Foxy was in the round pen, not the main arena, she picks on him) My son and I both ended up working the girls enough that they started to sweat, so we quit. It was supposed to get bitter cold that night and I did not want to leave them wet. Belle loves her blankie, but Foxy would rather live without hers. Well, Saturday night reached -13 F. The girls (Belle and Foxy) have an automatic waterer. The pipe that goes under Foxy's stall froze. This left them without water. I gave them water in buckets, which they guzzled down. Today their waterer was fixed. Foxy is an interesting individual. She is lead mare. Belle respects that. Belle appears bigger, but Foxy is 16 hh and Belle is only 15.3 hh. They are best buds. I can ride Belle away from Foxy, but my kids can not ride Foxy away from Belle without her pitching a fit. It will be interesting to see what happens when the youngun arrives. Belle adopted Foxy's last foal. They used the same feeder. Since she was a solid, and she grow such a thick winter coat last year, Holly almost looked like Belle's foal, not Foxy's. I had pics for this entry, but I can't find the camera.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

In the Beginning

My personal riding horse is Belle, a Clydesdale. She is retired from Carriage Driving. I started working with her and her team mate Bart, almost eleven years ago. She is way too much like me. We are cantakerous, moody and stubborn. She is actually a great trail horse. I have owned her since I graduated from College. She is the second horse that I have owned. I had an Arabian in High school. My third horse is actually the reason for the name of the Blog. I moved to Wyoming and had to get another horse so that my kids could still ride with me. I kept telling my husband that I bought Foxy for "purely educational reasons". She is infoal to a homozygous tobiano. She is a brown overo with one blue eye. My biology students will be predicting the color, color pattern, eye color, and sex of the foal. This will demonstrate understanding of genetics and will be much more fun than predicting pea color with punnett squares. Foxy is due on March 23. This will be her third foal, but her first since I have owned her.
Here is a picture of the stud. I tried to breed him to my clydesdale, but she was not interested. She was much more interested in his half-brother, the gelding, who is pictured here with Foxy's second foal, and another paint mare.

Here is a picture of Foxy. It's not the best, but you can see her coloring. Her first foal is a sweet, gorgeous buckskin solid. Her second is the sweetest solid chocolate dun on the planet, yes, pun intended.