Warning, this will be a little photo-heavy.
I got a comment from someone the other day asking for updates on the best horse ever, Mikey Moo. So, though I was planning on doing a very quick check out at Club Paradise for Horses, I brought along my camera to do a run-down update on all the horses I could find out at the Funny Farm.
First off, this sounds like a minor undertaking, but trying to photograph attention starved thoroughbreds out in a herd while in knee-deep mud is a challenge. And though today was the first day of Winter, here we call it Mud Season. In MD, I’m pretty sure that mud actually falls from the sky as its own special form of precipitation. It is everywhere, and it is nasty.
Fortunately for me, within moments of my arrival all the horses in Giant Field #1 came thundering down the hill for a visit to the water. One minute, it was just me and a sea of mud. The next, I was surrounded by over a dozen running, kicking, and snorting horses spooking at the huge wind gusts and jockeying for space around the waterer. I think the part of my brain that is supposed to say, “hey dude, twenty horses are galloping down a muddy hill directly toward you and kicking at each other, you may want to move” doesn’t work very well.
Once they were settled, I started snapping pictures and visiting.
First up was her loveliness Miss Rosey. Rosey has gained an appreciable amount of weight now that she’s at the Fat Farm, approaching (but not quite) the standard set by Klondike. She is also now barefoot (no doubt aided by the mud) and wins the cleanest horse of the day award. She is far, far too ladylike to bathe herself in such muck, unlike the hooligans she’s been hanging out with lately.
Next we have the lovely and ample Wek. Wek thinks very highly of herself, and I noticed during the stampede to the water that she seemed to be acting the part of Lead Alpha Mare, except that no one else was taking her seriously. She reared and kicked, trying to drive everyone away, and after a few moments she seemed to think she had succeeded- except that everybody else still got to the water before she did. In any case, Wek may be headed for a future involving a grazing muzzle, even though it’s not spring yet. I think the only horse at the farm who can currently match her girth is a lovely and sweet Belgian gelding whose name I don’t know.
Call Sister, a young mare who arrived over the summer, is finally looking like she’s exhaled. She was the only one in the group who allowed me to just walk up without pretending to make a fuss about it (they were using the wind as an excuse, I think, sure that I was not a person but actually some mud monster that had just crawled out of the ground). Sister is looking great, physically, and hopefully we’ll have her further evaluated soon. In the heat she sounded like she had a breathing issue, so she will be scoped for that before we see what she does under saddle.
Whisper and Cecil
Here we have a flashy chestnut two-for-one special of Whisper and Cecil. Whisper, who is the love of my life, made me a little sad today by reacting to me as though I were the aforementioned mud monster, shying away and not letting me get a hand on him, which is very unusual. He eventually gave in, but it took a little effort. Cecil, on the other hand, is the definition of predictability- a somewhat curmudgeonly fellow (hey, he’s earned it, as far as I’m concerned!) typically pins his ears at you and blusters, until you make it clear you don’t actually want anything from him. Then he’s all sunshine and roses. He’s looking quite sound on his bowed tendon, and his feet are finally starting to look far more normal.
Minnie and her mum
And here’s the plain bay two-fer. I think (don’t hold me to it) that this is the lovely Minnie Ball (on the left) with her mother. I could be wrong, because there’s a whole slew of plain bays out there. But I’m pretty sure I’m right. Minnie will hopefully be coming in for evaluation and riding soon. She started off with a bang, when she came to us about a year ago, but then she injured her hock, necessitating thousands of dollars in surgery and vet care, and has had a bit of time off to recover. We’re pretty excited to get her in- in motion she’s lovely, exactly the kind of pretty hunter type I historically lust over.
<edit> OK, oops. Here is where, the first time through, I posted a pic I thought was Admiral, because he had pretty eyes and a Mikey muzzle. But actually, Admiral isn’t back yet. And it took me several minutes to sort out, but the horse I thought was Admiral I think is actually one of our volunteers’ horses. Oops. Well I knew it was a thoroughbred, anyway, which counts for something, right? In any case, Admiral will be back soon, in all his adorable pestness <end edit>
And… speaking of adorable pests, it’s time for the Mikey show.
Mikey waits at the gate
For those who don’t know Mikeymoo, here’s a quick recap. Long ago, in a land far far away, lived a little tiny racehorse named Mikey. In his last race, Mikey crushed a bone in one of his ankles in the far turn. But the Racing Fairy favored Mikey, and sprinkled him with magic dust, which heartened and strengthened him. He fought back, and battled on, and with a rush he battled his way into first place, winning with spirit that not even Secretariat could equal (I’m biased).
Best Horse Ever
Though the racing fairy had blessed Mikey, she couldn’t do much about his connections, who didn’t really want a horse with a crushed ankle. So in stepped CANTER (and Mikey’s Fairy Godfather, who had to put some money down to ensure his safety), and he has been with us ever since.
Mikey has turned out to be sort of a mascot. He’s got loads of personality and will follow you all the way across the giant field and back. When we take him out for grooming, he often plants his feet at the gate, refusing to go back out (even though he’s often spoiled and won’t stand still for grooming and attention either). Today I made a novice mistake, and carried cookies out to feed Mikey. Naturally he made a beeline for the gate when he saw me coming. So I gave him the cookies right away. Note: when people say it’s a bad idea to take treats into a herd situation? Believe it.
What followed was really just ridiculous. Mikey already follows you around, but if he knows you have treats? Forget it. My mission to photograph the other horses in the field was foiled over and over again by the overzealous attempts on Mikey’s part to get more cookies.
Kasper (and Mikey)
See that butt in the background? That’s Kasper. Moments before, Kasper was looking at me, until Mikey wheeled around and kicked out at him, saying “HECK NO! that’s MY cookie dealer! Find your own!” So Kasper turned around and pretended he wasn’t interested, so that he could avoid any more beatdowns. Following this photo, Mikey followed me (he plays tag, did you know? If I ran, he chased me, except then he’d try to get in front of me and herd me almost, like, “no, we can’t go see other horses. You’re MINE today, comprende?”)
This is where I tried to get a picture of Parker, the new guy. He might win the Dirtiest horse of the day award. But I couldn’t get a clear shot for judging. Again, moments before, the subject of my photography attempts was standing calmly at attention, until Mikey decided we were TOO CLOSE and had to be seperated. They are HIS COOKIES and no one else can have ANY. Do you hear me?
Gutenburg being Chased Away
Yep. My first attempt to photograph Gutenburg… and Mikey chased him away. So how did the next attempt come out?
So anyway. That’s Gutenburg in the background. He came in with little Stevie Colbert, and the two are going through a pretty similar process, in terms of “recovering” from the rigors of racing. Gutenburg, though, hasn’t had to contend with illness, so is a bit further along on the fattening up process. Unfortunately Mikey is not allowing him any extra caloried in the form of cookies.
I finally escaped Mikey and went to see the last few guys in a smaller field.
Klondike is looking pretty good. His feet are still a bit of a mess, but not as bad as they were when he first came back. He’s as fat as ever (though no competition with Wek for Fattest TB Award). He also is sticking up for himself a little bit- Truckee usually commandeers all the attention when I visit, but Klon wasn’t having it today. He wanted some face rubbing, and he was going to get it, and NO other horse was going to stand in his way. I have to admit I miss having Klondike at Southwind- he just is the sweetest thing since cheesecake. I sometimes consider what it would be like to own him, but the prospect of owning TWO horses with the dispositions of labrador retrievers is a little daunting.
Truckee, as usual, is hard to get a picture because he’s got to be all up in your bidness all the time, much like Mikey. I’m sort of glad they’re not together at the moment, or my foray into that field could have had a bad outcome. I’d have been needing police or fire assistance, or something, for sure.
Last but not least is the wonderful Rutledge Punch. This horse’s turnaround has been so amazing- just a few short months ago, we were starting to be really worried about him. He looked awful: skinny, stumbly, and generally unhappy. He’s blossomed. And not only that, but word is that he will be heading for an awesome foster home in the Annapolis area. This horse thrives on attention, so this will be a perfect situation for him. I’m so happy to see him doing so well.
And that, folks, is that. I have a few riding updates on Afton, and hopefully some photos of Steven to share somewhat soon, but this was a lot of typing, so I will save that stuff for tomorrow, it’s past my bedtime!