Tag Archives: photos

Let the De-Fuzzing Begin!

I discovered something sort of cute about Archie the other day.  I pulled into the driveway and saw his pasturemate was not in the field with him.  He was buried in the haypile as usual, but as I drove by I stopped, and rolled down the window.  “Archiiiieeeee!!!  Hi ArchiiieeeeEEEE!!!”  Up came his enormous buffalo face, and he talked back to me.  He’s got this great, deep, low pitched breathy greeting neigh, and it about melted my heart with the cute.  The only other horse that ever “talked” back to me like that is Allie’s amazing horse Phinny (who is pictured on this page – he is magic, pure and simple!).

In any case, this was the weekend of the attempted de-fuzzing of Archie.  I intended to give him a bigger clip than I usually do (normally I do a rough “bib clip” sort of thing) but my clippers couldn’t handle the yak hair.  The blades are dull and his coat is amazingly thick and long – plus he is recovering from a case of skin funk, so there’s some difficult going in there.  My clippers were heating up too much and he was getting irritated, so the only thing he got clipped was his chest and the lower part of his neck up to his jaw. 

Horse? Or Yak?

Looking Slightly More Civilized

I managed to trim down a lot of the excess hair off his jaws. I didn’t want to shave his face, or accidentally take chunks of hair off, so this was a pretty delicate operation.  Overall I managed to do an OK job – I wouldn’t take him to a show tomorrow, but his face looks a lot less like a buffalo now.

After that I hopped on for his first official ride in our indoor.  He was fine to get on, stood at the mounting block like a champ, and then we wandered around for a bit.  He takes a fair amount of leg to keep going, and is much more typically “green TB” than Kat was, in terms of how he goes.  He tends to want to go in a big oval instead of going straight, then turning and bending, and going straight again.  The canter is obtainable – it’s a bit of a big push at this point, especially the left lead (to the left he wants to lean in and cut the turns much more than he does to the right.  Which could be him but is also probably a lot to do with me, too!)

The other hilarious thing he does is try to attack his reflection.  My own horse, sometimes, will snake his head and bare his teeth at other horses while we are in the ring (bad boy!) – Archie does the same thing… to himself.   Every time we went by the big mirror at a speed faster than walk, he pinned his ears at himself and went “GRRRRRR!!!!” (well, if a horse was capable of such a noise, that’s what he did).  His head would come up and he would act all ferocious.  The first few times he did it, I didn’t even realize what was happening – I thought he was just having a tantrum about bit contact, or something.  It took a while for me to catch on but by the end of the ride I couldn’t stop laughing.

I also think part of him cutting off half the ring to the left was seeing his reflection in one of the end mirrors – he could see this “other” dark bay horse coming at him, and wanted no part of a head on collision.  That took some working through, and I’m still not sure he gets it.

It’s funny, psychologist types who study brains and animals and behavior often will remark on the ability to see the reflection and understand it as a sign of intelligence.  Like, rats generally don’t understand their reflection, but chimps do.  It’s a sort of self awareness thing.  Horses are interesting because some of them seem to get it (Kat – when she saw something else in the mirror, besides her, she knew enough to turn around to see it in ‘real life’) and others don’t (Archie).  But I’m not sure it’s a sign of intelligence, because Archie seems to learn very quickly and retains things well (I can tell that in the short time he was with Jess he still has some “buttons” from her, and it’s been quite a while!). 

After the ride I tried to continue the defuzzing by doing some mane pulling, but Archie is NOT a fan.  I will probably work on this over a few weeks and see if I can get him to stand the way I got my horse to (he HATES it – but essentially I rewarded him with a treat every time he kept his feet still, until he stopped trying to move around.  He’s allowed to do whatever he wants with his head and neck, as long as the feet stay put.  It was a long process).  I will probably clean it up with scissors (gasp!!!) and a thinning comb, but will work on this as it’s something that helps his adoptability 🙂

I also took some other ‘before’ photos, for the record.  I really think as he gains muscle and sheds, he’s going to be a really pretty horse.  For now, the masses of 6″ long yak hair are sort of hiding that fact, but you watch!  He’ll look great in a month or two! 

Horse or Moose? You decide!


Cute Face! Minus most of the Beard!

Funny Farm Update

Because yesterday was the rainiest day in recent memory, I sort of uncharacteristically took the day off.  Didn’t even SEE a horse yesterday, just slept in, ate a huge pancake breakfast, and didn’t do ANYTHING.  Which leaves me feeling sort of like I have to make that up the next day, so today I may have OD’ed on horses, if that’s at all possible.

First I went out to the layup farm to visit the horses there.  I bought them some new brushes, flyspray, wound care goo, and a box of treats.  I also had a mission- with so many horses on the farm, it’s time to get them photographed and listed on the website, so I had a list of horses to take pictures of.  This turned out to be harder than I anticipated, partly because I’m not sure who’s who out there, and partly… well, anyone who has tried to take a “nice” picture of a horse without help surely understands. 

There was lots of “no! whoa! stand!” moments, and lots of photos where a suddenly turned head created a horse that looked like a moose, or a stomped foot ruined a perfectly good picture.  And on the grooming front, I learned who would stand for flyspray and who would try to drag me across a thirty foot field.  I had big dreams of hopping on Wek for a little spin, to see how she’d do, but apparently her quiet demeanor the last time I saw her was largely because she had company.  On her own, outside the field, she got a little snorty and spooky, so I decided to wait until there is at least someone there with me.  But all in all, it was quite productive, I got flyspray on most of the horses, and SWAT on wounds and flybites.  And really, they’re quite fun to spend time with. 

"Whisper"- one of my favorites out at the farm.  Such a sweet boy!

That’s “Whisper”- a gorgeous boy whose track career ended when he fractured a hind leg.  He was nursed back to health and cared for by a track worker who was very attached to him, but he unfortunately had to send him back recently.  Whisper is the kind of horse who just loves some quiet attention, and is also fond of popcorn.

The boys hit the swimming hole

The boys hit the swimming hole

No, I will not put my ears up for you

No, I will not put my ears up for you

Silly horses.  After leaving I went and rode Rosey, who is getting better and better each time I get on her.  She’s getting much more consistent, able to hold herself for longer periods of time.  She’s turning into one of the nicest horses I’ve ever ridden.  And, Um, yes, I need to pick up my hands a little.  I worked on that today, promise!
Fancy Lady

Fancy Lady

Fun With Pedigree Query

In case you didn’t already know, I am a huge nerd.  I love history and trivia and such, so looking at pedigrees has become a little hobby of mine.  I’m not really brilliant at looking at a pedigree to say what kind of quality a horse will be or what he will be good at, I’m pretty much the nerd that points and says, “hey! That horse was FAMOUS!”  So here is my geek-review of Miss Rose’s Pedigree.

First off, you can see it here, thanks to the fantastic site pedigreequery.com.  Of course I have to note that this site is largely user controlled, so there are some errors here and there.  I am operating under the assumption that this is all exactly right, because it’s way more fun that way.

At first, when I looked, I thought it was all very ho-hum, as (being an ignorant nerd), the names I recognized immediately were Princequillo and Nasrullah.  Because those are in practically every pedigree.  But there’s some interesting stuff in here.

Rose’s grandma “Honey Fox,” for instance, was a great racehorse.  She won well over $500,000, and was successful in graded stakes races.  Of course, it doesn’t appear her foals had the same success. There is a handicap race named after this mare, won in 2007 by Precious Kitten (owned by Lael Stables, owners of the fantastic Barbaro). Oops, getting a little off track there.

Then we have Rose’s great-granddad “Round Table:”

Round Table
Round Table

Round Table (by Princequillo) was a very successful racehorse, with 31 Stakes wins on his record and $1,750,000 in earnings.  He was the third horse ever to earn over one million dollars (at the time, only Citation and Nashua had done so).

In Rose’s pedigree, Round Table was bred to a mare named Moccasin, who was also no slouch.  She shared Horse of the Year honors in 1965, and went on to produce seven stakes winners of her own. 
In the fifth generation, we see a mare named Shenanigans.  Shenanigans was the 1975 Broodmare of the year- and is probably best known as the dam of the phenomenal Ruffian.


In the sixth generation, there’s another famous broodmare: Somethingroyal, who was the mother of the legendary Secretariat and 1973 Broodmare of the Year.  Despite never really being a successful racehorse herself, she produced four stakes winners and five more who were stakes-placed.
Normally, when you get this far back it seems silly to care, as so many Thoroughbreds these days share those far back ancestors.  But since I am a nerd, I had to notice a few other tidbits about Rose’s pedigree.
Going back further, we see four of the biggest names of the 1920 racing season: Golden Broom, John P. Grier, the incomparable Man O’War, and Upset (the only horse to ever beat Man O’ War) 
There’s also an awful lot of a horse named Teddy.  Almost every American horse (and some of the French ones) in the fifth generation of Rose’s pedigree traces back to him, some multiple times. 
 Why is this interesting?  I don’t know, except that he’s so prevalent it made me raise my eyebrows.  More interesting, maybe, is that the Teddy offspring appearing most often in Rose’s pedigree is a horse named Sir Gallahad
And if you search through, looking for pictures of Sir Gallahad, you see something interesting:
Sir Gallahad

Sir Gallahad

See it? No? Not yet?  Try this picture (sorry, would pop it in here but don’t want to make the TBheritage gods angry!)
It’s like… Rose.  The neck, the head, overall build… it could be her brother, not her great-great-great-great-great grandfather (and also her great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfather, as the case may be, since he appears a bunch of times in her pedigree).  When I showed this last pic to Allie the other day, she called it the “Gallahead.” 
Rose had another session with Liza and the reporter yesterday, too- this time with video!  Hopefully we will have the full story soon so we can post it here 🙂

Rosey Embraces Fame

Well, sort of.  Yesterday Rosey got a visit from a reporter from the Washington Post, who was taking notes for a story on the retraining program.  She behaved like the star she is, and showed off her skills in the Pessoa lunging rig.  Liza worked her in both directions, showing how she is much weaker to the right and showing the things you have to do to work a horse out of that. 
Rosey Gets Famous
Rosey Gets Famous

Later today, they will be coming back to snag some video of under saddle work, and tomorrow they will be learning about chiropractors and the various physical things that need to be taken care of with ex-racing thoroughbreds, and also observing a “learning to jump” session (which, with Rosey, can be particularly interesting).

And then, on Thursday, her royal highness Rosey will be entertaining her first potential adopter.  As usual, this prospect is exciting and sad at the same time, as I’ve grown quite attached.  Little Rosey stole my heart recently, just by turning her head and leaning it on me a little.  I’m such a softy. 
Since I don’t have much to update on riding-wise, here are some more photos from the show.  Enjoy!
Relaxing in Warmup

Relaxing in Warmup


Hey, her head isnt above mine this time!

Hey, her head isn't above mine this time!


Standing In the Lineup

Standing In the Lineup