Saturday, April 30, 2016

Baby Making Time

I have to say that Sassy foaling so quickly and effortlessly felt a bit anti-climatic. LOL.

The last couple weeks of her pregnancy I was getting baby fever like there was no tomorrow, but once I got her in, I didn't even get a chance to build up a good head of steam waiting for the arrival. I hadn't even started midnight and early morning checks. The little booger just dropped out of nowhere. A little bit of golden perfection...even if he is the 'wrong' sex. Hahaha.

(photo at 4 days and beautifully edited by Chelsi)

It's all good though. A person certainly cannot understate the value of an uneventful, uncomplicated birth.

It is now time to start getting mares moved around to various stallions to start working on next years crop. It was a godsend to finally get a colorful foal. The 5 foals before Hawk were all varying shades of bay and 2017 looks pretty 'bay' again. Hah!

Frenchie is going back to SD to get turned out with our Oklahoma Star-bred stallion. 100% chance of bay there. I am really hoping that the cross will produce another Shooter, but hopefully one that is a little more compact.

Miss, the gray Tiny Watch mare, and Sassy are going to a local reining stallion, Starlights Starbrite...

Sassy's 2017 foal by Starlight is already spoken for. The Gray's Starlight/Colonel Freckles/Peppy San Badger cross is a proven nick in reining, working cowhorse and ranch horse versatility circles, so there is no question that this will be a good baby. Although he is a solid bay, Starlight is pretty flexible in the colors he is able to produce. Not always, but very often the foals have the color and chrome of their momma.

Breeding Miss, the gray mare to Starlight gives me slightly mixed feelings. Obviously this is not normally the direction I would ordinarily go with her bloodlines. It's not an unjustifiable cross...It's my standard run/cow cross, just in reverse. It's just not a 'fashionable' cross by barrel racing standards. Basically, it's the best cross I could come up with locally and with a breeder who has experience getting older/difficult mares to carry a foal. I don't believe that actually carrying a foal will be difficult for Miss. Her overall health has improved tremendously over this last year. It is more than likely a hormonal issue that needs to be addressed, something my vet did not take the time to look into with her last year. Even though the cross isn't as 'fashionable' as I have been trying to produce, I do have confidence that it will be a nice one. Both Starlight and Miss have lovely temperaments, both sides are highly proven athletes and the Gray's Starlight bloodline, just like the Colonel Freckles bloodline, readily lends themselves to any speed that it is crossed on.  This cross is really my only chance of any color next year. LOL. Starlight's handler said he is pretty good about reproducing gray, if the dam is gray. Maybe I'll finally get the elusive gray gene to show up. Hahahaha. We are really hoping it doesn't show up on Hawk. To date, he is still the only non-gray, palomino son of Mags and both A and I would really like it to stay that way.

The brown Tiny Watch mare, Scamper is being bred to First Prize Stone...

This cross should be absolutely fan-tab-ulous!!!! With all of Scamper's racing blood, this very well may be my first 'race horse'. Stone's breeder seemed pretty keen on the mix. I already know that the Mr. Jess Perry blood crosses well on the Tiny Watch blood. One of the stallions I picked out, but couldn't afford this year IS a Mr. Jess Perry/Tiny's Gay cross. Of all of the babies, THIS one is the one I hope will be a colt. In spite of the more than likely 'plain bay' color I will get from this cross, this one should be stallion material.

I have been waffling with what to do with Beretta this year. Last Fall, I told A that I wanted to rebreed her to Mags. Then I kind of got freaked out by the number of babies that would be coming in 2017 and thought maybe I aught to leave her open so I don't get overwhelmed by numbers. Now I am debating whether to use the paid-for breeding I have from Letta Hank Do It last year. Obviously, LHDI is dead, but I was offered a breed to Second Painted Sign in place of LHDI. I have thought long and hard about who I have that would cross the best on Second Painted Sign and really the only cross that works in my mind is Beretta.

Second Painted Sign is no 'slouch' stallion...

He's a son of PYC Paint Your Wagon, out of a Vital Sign/First Down Dash mare. He has a speed index of 101 and is multiple grade stakes winner. He is also the racier-type made horse that Beretta needs to take her bulk down a notch (or 2) and lengthen out the muscling. The breeder said he has a really easy going, kind disposition, which is also important to add to the mix with Beretta. It would seem that the easy-going attitude is a family trait because this horse's full sister was so easy going that they almost washed her out of race training, however come race day she blew the doors off the competition.

If I don't use this breeding this year, I will lose it. I hate to lose out on $1,000 breeding fee, but I don't want to put a baby on the ground just because of that reason either. :-/. I think I will continue to ponder this through the month of May. I'm warming up to the idea, but will perhaps wait to see if the gray mare is going to carry or not. If we cannot get Miss to carry past 14 days this year, then I suspect any hope I have of getting a foal out of her is gone and I can move on and breed Beretta to this guy instead.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Little Unexpectedness

Well, Sassy decided to have her baby....In broad daylight....And I still missed the birth!! :-(.

I've had the feeling for awhile that Sassy would foal a little earlier than what her estimated due date. I kept having bad dreams that she foaled unexpectedly while she was still out with the rest of the mares. That would have been bad...very bad.

I wouldn't consider this baby premature, like Flashy was. Sassy did not take the first time she was bred. Right after Cindy D. got her back from the stallion, she came into heat again. An ultrasound confirmed she was open, so back to the stallion she went. The second time around, she was bred and then stayed for a while longer. Sure enough, she came back into heat again. The stallion owner called me and asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her...breed her again.

Since Sassy was ovulating both times (there was a lot of problems with mares double cycling last year), it was hard to guess which time she took. We estimated her due date as May 4th, but it was always a possibility that she took the 1st round of the 2nd breeding, which would have put her due date as April 25th.

Either way...Sassy completely fooled me the morning that she foaled. She wasn't all that interested in her hay, but considering she always has some hay in front of her, it's not like she really goes after it at feeding time. She wasn't overly bagged up, wasn't soft around the tailbone and there was no waxing.

I fed, went about my business and a couple hours later I walked by her pen, heading down to catch geldings to ride and I noticed she was standing in the barn. That didn't seem right, so I got to looking and sure enough...

My heart kind of stopped because it was immediately apparent that I finally got a colored baby. That was obviously a palomino...and such a pretty blaze.

My next thought was...Please be a filly, PLEASE be a filly!!!

Firewater Fooler is pretty consistent in his color production. The boys have all been plain colored sorrel, with the exception of Ruger. Ruger is actually Mags's only bay foal. All but one of the sorrel colts have grayed, except one. Mags's colorful (palomino, buckskin and roan) offspring have all been fillies.

So seeing the palomino color, I was just praying that it also meant I finally got a filly.

Well....It was not to be. It is a colt.

However, I do get the distinction of having the very first colored COLT by Mags. And as of right now, it does not look like he is going to gray out. His eyelids are solid yellow, not frosted...

I have to say, he is everything I knew this cross would produce. The Firewater Fooler/Colonel Freckles nick is a proven good one and even at a couple hours old, I can tell this little guy is exceptionally nice...

He has the most adorable, little head on him...

Well, I didn't get my filly this time around...But suddenly it seems fairly inconsequential. Sassy is a young mare and I will have the opportunity for more babies. Always, always, the most important thing is...Sassy had an easy delivery. Both her and the baby are doing great and he is even more gorgeous than I could have imagined.

Most of the time, I have ideas for names rolling around in my head, but nothing has ever really come to me for Sassy's baby. Sometimes the baby just has to get here and then the name pops into my head. Kinda like Flashy. LOL. I really had no intention of naming Flashy, Flashy...but it just popped out during the fiasco to save his life and it stuck.

Nothing popped into my head when I saw this guy and every time I thought of a name, I'd go see him and feel the name out. Nothing seemed quite right. Last night I got to looking at pictures of Sassy's grandsire, Freckles Cowboy Gold...

And had almost settled on calling the baby Cowboy. I was in the stall rolling the name around...and it kind of seemed to suit him, when his REAL name popped into my head...

He is now named, Hawk!!

He is all soft and downy right now...But he is going to grow up to be swift and deadly. So it just seemed fitting to name him after a bird of prey. :-).

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Got My MoJo Back

I was really starting to wonder if I was ever going to find my motivation this spring. I was really struggling to come out of my winter hibernation and get rolling on all of the usual spring work, not to mention a regular riding schedule. I'm a little behind on the spring work still, but I am finally back to riding 4 head every day. The lucky 4 are; LJ, Shooter, Moon and Frosty.

Moon's breathing remains good and I think that I will be able to take him to a barrel race soon.

I was hoping to have Frosty ready to go to a race this weekend. He's still 'fluffy', but he doesn't seem to be as out of shape, wind wise, as I had feared. Unfortunately, Frosty has a swollen forearm, with a scrape. I suspect someone's hoof connected. He's not lame and I have continued to ride him (which has helped the swelling go down), but it is sore to the touch...So no race for him this weekend. I have since placed Frosty in a bubble-wrapped environment. Last thing I need is him getting injured before he heads to his new home.

Shooter is staying sound (knocked on wood after I typed that!! LOL) and after a couple test rides in the round pen, we are back to working in the arena. I am making it a point of keeping Shooter's time fairly short for now. On one hand I think that leg is going to do what it is going to do regardless of how careful I am with him. On the other hand...I can't help baby him a little bit. I seriously just want to be able to ride the horse this year.

LJ makes me laugh. He's gotten a little chunky and he grunts almost nonstop the whole time I am riding him. It's funny...but it's also kind of annoying. Right now we are just putting around trying to get in a little better shape. I set the barrels up, but am not really working the pattern with him. I figured right now is a good time to work on simply finding the right circle size, where LJ isn't trying to 'work' the barrel and then just work on spirals in and out of the pocket. The last time I worked LJ on barrels, it was really hard to convince him that he DOES need a pocket. Wanting to work a barrel is an extremely natural response in LJ. He needs a lot of convincing yet that going a.r.o.u.n.d. it is what is desired.

I STILL haven't gotten Ruger castrated. I was going to schedule it this week, but...Yep...It's gonna rain again, so I didn't even bother calling the vet. I have been putting the little boys out in the dry lot though. First Flashy went out with Shooter...

That went well, but Flashy was kind of wanting to play and Shooter isn't much of a player. So then I put Ruger out with them. It was going well, until Ruger decided to jump on Shooter. That did not set well with Shooter. He got his mad on and although he didn't chase Ruger willy-nilly, he did keep both boys pinned in the corner. Not that Ruger didn't deserve getting knocked down a notch (LOL), but Shooter took all the fun out of being in a big pen, so I took him out, which made the babies frantic. Oh yea, big tuff boys until they are left all alone in a big space. ;-). So I had to put them up for the day.

The next day, I put Ruger out with The Big Bay...

I will say, he was a lot more respectful when he introduced himself this time. LOL. Once I was sure that was going well, I brought Flashy out to join in the fun. Jet is a lot more playful than Shooter is and the babies enjoyed spending the day with him. Guess who the new baby-sitter is? ;-).

I want to start leaving the boys out in the dry lot full time, but have been building them up to it. Right now, they are both very glad to get back to their individual pens so they can (will) lay down and rest at night. 

Now that the kiddos are settled into a good routine, it is time to start bringing Sassy up at night. According to her breeding date, it's only 3 weeks til she is due, which means she could foal any time. I don't think she is quite ready, but as far as I can tell from everyone else's postings, the mares are foaling a week early to right on their due date. No one seems to be going over their due dates by any significant number of days, so I need to be johnny-on-the-spot this year.