Life on an Arabian breeding farm in Capitan, NM.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

AB Moraddinn

Like many young girls when I saw National Velvet, and Pie, I dreamed of jumping. Let me give you a word of advise mid forties is not the best time to learn to jump, unless you have lots of riding experience to begin with. Rudy knew I wanted to learn to jump so when we went to an auction in Phoenix, we looked mostly for me. All the horses were in stalls so the most we could see was their heads. There were two gray geldings stalled next to each other. One was a Khemosabi grandson, and one an Aladdinn grandson. I had no clue who those stallions were, but Rudy had trained decedents of both stallions. He was partial to the Khemosabi grandson, and I of course wanted Moraddinn. We found someone working there and he took the Khemosabi colt out for us. I looked at the horse, and in my mind I thought no, he’s not that good of a horse. The only thing I had to draw on was my artistic sense of balance. I knew nothing of length of shoulder, free moving shoulder, properly angled hip, or short back, all those things I learned about later. All I knew was that he didn’t look right. Thankfully that sense of what looks right held me in good stead because Rudy took one look at the Khemosabi grandson, and asked to see Moraddinn. Even at not quite two Moraddinn was tall, and straight. He was a little long waisted, but I just knew he would be able to jump. I look at old pics of him, and wonder what it was I saw in that skinny, gawkey 2 year old.

Moraddinn became my very first horse. He was skinny as a rail, but not because of neglect. I swear his stomach was like a deep dark black hole. No matter what we put in it, it just disappeared into nothingness. He was a growing boy, and I do mean growing.  At the time I was 5’6” so a tall horse didn’t bother me. I had ridden tall, medium, and short horses, and it really made no difference, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking tall horse, good jumper. Ok, I have already said I was very ignorant when it came to horses, and am only slightly less so now.


Back to Moraddinn. By the time Moraddinn was ready to ride I was ready to ride him. When Rudy felt he was safe, I began riding. It really was great for me because it was the first time I had ever ridden a green horse, and I was the one who was going to have to teach him what I wanted him to do. In a way we learned together. We learned how to understand one another.  I learned what he could, and could not do. For instance he had a straight neck, and I do mean straight. That combined with his longer back made him less flexible, and quick than for instance Marina, who naturally arches her neck, and collects herself. Moraddinn was a different story.

Moraddinn was not only stiff, but a clutse as well. It wasn’t his fault, he just wouldn’t stop growing, and of course his growth wasn’t exactly even all the time. I spent hours working on flexing exercises. We put special shoes on him so he wouldn’t forge so badly. I tried numerous bits to get him to properly collect finally deciding on a Pellum (sp?), and a Kimberwick.

We went to one show in Phoenix, a Paint show actually, and I rode western. It was all I knew then. The first class I think I got like 6th place, but with each class we did better, and I finally got a blue. Boy was I impressed. Mind you I was terrified the whole time, but we managed to do quite well. I was very proud of my boy.

It wasn’t until we got to Ca. that I learned to ride English. First Rudy found me an old military saddle to learn on. Oh how I loved that saddle, unfortunately you can’t show in an old military saddle. They are so picky about things like that. It’s a horse show not a people show after all. Anyway, I did finally get a real English saddle, but I had to give up my military saddle to get it. Oh well you can’t have everything. I showed in practice shows in Gilroy, and finally worked up to getting a blue.

Still I hadn’t tried jumping. One day Rudy came home with wood to make some jumps. I was going to learn how to jump. Marina loved it, Moraddinn not so much. I’ve never fallen off a horse, at least not until I got Moraddinn. Rudy told me you aren’t a real horseman unless you have fallen off a horse. Well I finally did, twice. I worked hard at jumping, and it wasn’t because Moraddinn couldn’t do it, he could. He was racing around our pasture one day and he took a turn too wide. The only choice he had was to jump our fence, our 5' fence, and he cleared it easily. The problem was me. I wasn’t really comfortable in the English saddle even though by then I had been riding English for a number of years. Still, that really wasn’t the problem. I just couldn’t figure out how to set him up for the jump. I couldn’t get the timing right. When we moved to Auberry we didn’t have a flat area for jumping so I sorta just stopped trying.

It was in Auberry that we finally got into breeding and we decided to try to sell Moraddinn or trade him for a mare. One day a lady called, and sent us a picture of  a gray mare in foal that they were interested in trading for Moraddinn. They were endurance people, and Sadie just wasn’t an endurance horse. She was too hot for one thing. We traded videos, and then found a place halfway between the two of us to trade horses. Moraddinn was nine by this time, and a whopping 15.2 hands. It was the best thing for both horses. I loved riding Sadie who is a great brood mare, and Moraddinn found his calling. He and Lynn are devoted to each other and he has excelled in endurance. She told me that one day she was riding with a veterinary friend of her’s, and he commented that Moraddinn was perfectly built for endurance. He could canter for miles, and his trot was the most efficient trot for endurance that he had ever seen.

I still hear from Lynn, and she always sends me a pic. I love Moraddinn, he was my very first horse after all, but he’s where he belongs. He taught me the most important lesson of all. Regardless of what you want a horse to do, they will only excel in the discipline they are meant to do. Every horse is different, and you must treat each according to his or her individual talent, and temperament.

I’m really not that disorganized…

I’m actually a very organized person it’s just that no matter how I plan out my days, something always seems to interfere. The first few hours are always the same. I get up wait for my body to unclench itself while I have coffee, feed, and then start my day. That should only take me to about 10:30 am or so. If things haven’t fallen apart by then they will soon after. I have discovered that it takes about 4 hours for me to get water, and siphon it into the storage tank. I have another 250 gallons to get this weekend, then on Monday I will buy another 750 gallons, and start the process all over again. Father came up with an idea, and he is now going to watch the water (weather permitting) as it goes from the tank to a bucket to be siphoned out by our sump pump (that is trying to die) into the storage tank. He said he could read while he watches the water. You see no matter where I have the truck either the sump pump siphons faster than the tank the water comes out of, or vice verse. Where I have it now for the first half of the tank the water comes out of the tank faster so periodically you have to shut off the water from the tank, and let the sump pump catch up. Then for a while they go at the same rate. Once you get closer to the bottom the sump pump is faster so you have to turn it off, and let the water build up in the bucket again. Nothing is easy in my world.
To give you an example, there was the day petty much everything was going wrong. Sadie decided to colic, at the same time (I was feeding of course) Katy brings in a roll of grass hay. Now I can’t use my right arm for much of anything. In point of fact I spent all afternoon with the heating pad wrapped around my neck, and shoulder. I have the horses fed, they have their truck in the breezeway, and Sadie goes down. I kick them out so I can take Sadie out of her stall (I still have to make their goodies for the next morning). God love her for a horse person Katy knows very little about horses, but she knows this is serious. She, and Harold are arguing about how to get the roll of hay in the stall I let her use to store her hay, while I take Sadie to the round pen to try to exercise those cramps out. Remember I have no Banamine, Jazzy (Sadie’s daughter) used the last of it when I cut that flap of skin off her chest). I told Sherry that if I didn’t have it I would need it, and sure enough I needed it. Sherry calls in the midst of all this, and says my meds have come in. A lot of good that does me as she’s about an hour round trip from here. She can’t bring it over because it’s getting dark, and she still has to bring in her horses. Sadie is not cooperating. She does fine till I leave he alone, and then in about five minutes she goes down again. She has pooped, and starts eating as soon as I let her then down she goes. I swear she’s doing it on purpose so she can get some nice fresh grass.
Meanwhile Katy, and Harold finally get the hay where they want it, and leave me alone to deal with Sadie. Ok so I was a little miffed there was no offer of help, but such is life. I carry on. By this time I’m walking around like a drunk I’m so tired. I don’t know who’s worse off, Sadie or me. I skirtch her head, and can tell she’s not going to walk this one off. I tell her ok, I’ll go get the meds, but she has to hang in there until I get back. I know she will go down as soon as I leave her alone in her stall. I call Sherry, and tell her I’m on my way.
I make really good time (only going a little too fast mostly) until I get to the main road to her house. Four cars turn on Ft Stanton Rd in front of me. Ok I can deal with that only the speed limit is 55 mph, and they are doing 40 mph. Give me a break. I had a speech all ready in case a cop stopped me, but this is ridicules. About the only good thing was that two of them turned on Sherry’s road, which I was afraid I was going to miss in the dark. Half the time I miss it in the daylight. Then they drive 30 mph till I turn on Sherry’s street. Why me Lord, don’t answer that! Sherry is waiting in the garage then she can’t remember where she put the box the meds came in. She gets frazzled easily (like I don’t!). We find the box, and I’m on my merry way back home. I got the big bottle of Banamine this time. I race to the barn leaving the gator’s lights on so I can see to fill the syringe, but that doesn’t help me see once I get to Sadie’s stall. She’s down (the moon finally rose so I have some light), but gets up when I come into her paddock. She sees that syringe, and says no way Jose! She used to be real good about shots, but the older she gets the crankier she gets. I tell her the more she fidgets, the longer it’s going to take, and eventually I get it in her. She can be such a pain sometimes.
I feel her tummy, which is slightly damp meaning I got back just in time. She was starting to sweat up. I call Sherry to let her know what’s going on, and she tells me to let her rest so long as she doesn’t start thrashing. It takes 15 – 20 minutes for the Banamine to start working so I leave her alone for about half an hour, check her, and she’s no better, but no worse. I go back in the house, and check her again in about 30 minutes, finally she’s up, and eating her dinner. Just because she got a lot of good grass while I was trying to work out the cramps doesn’t mean she can’t eat some more after all. By this time it’s about 11:00 pm so I simply email Sherry to let her know Sadie’s fine. I’m not going to call her at 11:00 at night, but I don’t want her to worry either.
See what I mean, I had the whole day planned, then the wind came up, and my body said you’re going to spend the day on the heating pad, then Sadie pulls her thing while Katy, and company disrupt my evening schedule, and not only is the day shot, but all night too. This weekend is supposed to turn cold, and I still haven’t worked on my woodpile. I did get a new blade for the miter saw, and if I can clean off a place for it on Rudy’s work bench then Dad can cut the small branches while I work on the larger branches with my (ok so it’s really Rudy’s) reciprocating saw. That was one of my other projects I was supposed to get done the past two weeks.
I haven’t started working any of the kids, but I did discover why stable Espree has lost so much weight. It seems someone has been pilfering her feed. I wouldn’t have discovered it if I hadn’t decided to start Espree on supplements to try to get her weight up. When I went back to give her her goodies I found half her hay in Regalia’s stall with her contentedly munching away at it. No wonder Espree’s always starving no matter how much I increase her hay. Needless to say the hole Regalia had dug out got filled back in. I expect I will only have to feed Espree goodies for a week or so before she starts to fill out again. That little snit, I’ll probably have to increase Regalia’s feed now that she isn’t getting half of Espree’s hay on top of what I normally feed her which I can tell you is a lot!
So see it’s not that I’m so disorganized. How can one work on a schedule when it’s disrupted before one can even start a schedule. If something isn’t breaking, the weather screws me up, or someone is gets hurt, or sick, or any of a dozen other things is going wrong. I haven’t even gotten Mother’s room cleared out. I need to clean the chicken coop (I’m getting about half a dozen eggs a day now), finish a coat rack, clip, and bath the two little dogs, clean my house, get a real wood pile done, unpack the remainder of the boxes of my mothers glassware, re-arrange the computer room, make an exercise room out of Mother’s room, haul about 750 gallons of water a week (250 gallons a trip, and I do not like hauling water, that’s another story), clean some stalls, finish the front yard (that means moving the very heavy fountain pieces off the porch to the outside), cut the weeds around the porch, paint the ramp we had built for Mother, fix the Blessed Virgin statue that broke in moving, try to get my mower fixed, finish re-arranging the garage, somehow get the stuff in the garage to the dump, and in between get Star under saddle, and Stormy, and Ser-Haat started on ground work. Oh, and I have to trim feet, and get LBM so I can trim his feet. Is that all or have I forgotten something? Dear Sweet Lord in Heaven, please let that be all!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I know what I said, but…

I suppose that if my life was normal, I’d be bored to tears, but a little normalcy would be nice once in a while. I had every intention of getting back to writing on a regular basis, but there were doctor appointments, a disaster of a house to clean (still no better), things to do outside (I really need to get a real wood pile before winter comes), and yes, my taxes. I did a few things trying to do my taxes at night, but it wasn’t enough. Well they’re finally done, and I now I can get to all the other projects I have started.
I did manage to get Star & Jazzy into the arena, and started them on supplements. They are putting on weight, but have a way to go yet. Jazzy decided that since Jeri was almost all healed up I needed someone else to doctor. Now mind you I’ve had several horses in the stall I made off the arena, and no one got so much as a scratch. Jazzy being Jazzy decided to try to impale herself on one of only two T-posts along the longest stretch of panels. Sherry is in Kansas (her father had open heart surgery, and is now doing fine) so I can’t call her. I didn’t see the injury until I fed at night, and she probably did it soon after I fed in the morning, because the edges had already started to dry out. It was too late for stitches, but after what happened to Jeri I pretty much knew what to do. She took her shots just fine, but didn’t like getting doctored. She was very good, just not pleased about it. I washed the wound with Benadine shampoo, irrigated it with solution, and used the same concoction I used on Jeri. The wound is on her chest at the shoulder so I can’t bandage it. Thank you Lord for Alu-spray. It keeps most of the medicine on for a while at least, and it keeps the flies away. Of course it has turned chilly so there aren’t too many to bother her. The penicillin wasn’t strong enough so I had to get another antibiotic. I also had to cut off a flap of skin. My first surgical procedure! Ok so it was only a little flap of skin that had to be cut off, but I did have to cut, and that makes it surgery. I gave her some Banamine, and she didn’t even flinch. She’s fine now, still doesn’t like getting doctored, but she puts up with it.
The rest of the horses are doing well now that they have been on supplements for about a month. Ibn, and Marina are just about at their perfect weight. Jeri looks fantastic for an old man with no back teeth, Stormy is almost where he needs to be, and so is Ser-Haat. Little Big Man is good, but Espree still needs some weight. She inhales everything I feed her. Lizzie & Sadie are still skinny, but I doubt that I will ever get them where they need to be. Sadie has always been thin, and Lizzie being a TB is just showing her age. I remember when we lived in Buckeye, there was an old palomino in the pasture across from us. The rest of the other horses were nice and fat, but he was skin & bones. It wasn’t because he wasn’t getting his share of the food, trust me he was, he was just too old to put on enough weight to get him through the winter. Sadie, and Lizzie are like that. They also have big hay bellies. As soon as it stops raining (thank you Lord for that), I’ll start working them again. I have to get back to doing Sadie’s feet too.
I’ve started feeding them oat hay. I can get a one ton square bale for $80, so whether they like it or not, that’s what they’re getting. All the supplements are killing my budget so they get oat hay. Marina loves it so long as she doesn’t have to eat the stems. The rest are so so about it. It was a novelty at first, now they’re getting a little tired of it. The boys are still getting grass, and I’m giving some grass to a few of the others. I’m also cutting down on the goodies, except for Jeri of course. I have to get back to giving them just hay, ok so maybe most of them will get hay, and some will get goodies too. So I spoil them what else is new? All our animals are spoiled, and that is as it should be. Now all I have to worry about is whether or not I will get money back from our taxes, break even or have to pay. Like I have any money left over to pay taxes. I can’t do anything about it now, I’ll just pray, and hope for the best. So life goes on.