Getting ready for Reverie

I introduced the twins to Reverie yesterday.

I figured it was time, since she’s going to be coming home in less than a month (GACK!). I didn’t want the first time she saw a pair of loud, hyper two-year-olds to take place during the stress of her move.  There’s enough craziness at our place that every day is a lesson in desensitizing:  kids on trampolines waving towels over their heads, flying kites over the paddock, wagons full of shrieking children being pulled all over by a hyper Labrador….

If I can take any steps ahead of time to make her transition to Bean Acres easier, I definitely want to.

In case you were curious, the answer to “How many people actually refer to it as Bean Acres?” is still “just Becky”. Even when I do use it, it’s usually only in my head.  There’s something about naming your property and then saying it out loud that feels a teensy bit pretentious, like you’re talking about yourself in third person.

Well, I don’t care. I’m going to keep calling it Bean Acres, in hopes that one day it will catch on.

Of course if really wanted everyone to call it by a name, I could probably should have named our home FartFartPoopFart Acres.

And if you don’t understand why that is, then I congratulate you, because you aren’t living in a house filled with mostly males. Seriously. I will never understand why farts are so unbelievably funny.

Anyways, I had a few minutes in between getting off of work and showing up at the house to get started on dinner, so I decided to stop by and see if I could say hi to Reverie, and scratch on her a little bit.

There have been times when I’ve come to see her she was waaaaay out on the back side of 20 acres and all I could see was a tiny brownish speck next to a larger brownish speck, but lately Kathleen has been putting her in a shady paddock during the day, to protect her incredibly sensitive pink nose.

I foresee a lot of Destin/long-nosed fly masks in our future.

Luckily for me, Reverie and her mom (Sparkle) were hanging right by where I normally park, so it didn’t take very long to find them.

Reverie was very, VERY interested in the twins, almost to the point of spooking. It didn’t help that Finn was in a hyper mood and kept jumping rather than walking, and that Magpie had dragged along the singing puppy she takes with her everywhere.

 

His (apparently it’s a boy?) name is Doggie PurpleBow, and bless the makers that gave him an off switch that’s easy to switch off but hard for toddlers to find.

Seriously, thank you. There are only so many times you can hear “That’s my tummy!!! Tummy begins with ‘T’!!!! T…U…M…M…Y.. spells TUMMY!!!!” followed by semi-maniacal animatronic giggling before you get the urge to run away and join a cult. That off switch saves my sanity.

For being only 3 months old, I am really impressed at how laid back Reverie seems to be. I know a lot of adult horses that would not stand still with two screechy twins coming running full tilt at them, complete with creepy singing dolls in their arms.

I prepped the twins as we got near, to better direct them.

“This is Sparkle. Sparkle is a mommy horse. Sparkle is nice.”

And dude.

Sparkle is SO nice. Every horse should be a Sparkle.

Sparkle is just a gem of a mare in a very pretty package. You could tell she really liked the twins, because she just came alive when they drew near, swooping low to snuffle at them and standing patiently as they patted the sensitive tip of her nose with their inept little hands.

Magpie, who lives up to her namesake more every day with her penchant for shiny, sparkly things, was in awe of the name.

The horse was named Sparkle.

Not only was the horse named Sparkle, but she, Magpie, also had on a pair of sparkle shoes (light up Sketchers with sequins I found at a yard sale.)

She couldn’t get over it- it totally blew her little two-year-old mind.

“Yook, Spahkle. Hi, Spahkle. Spahkle shoes! My Spahkle shoes. You Spahkle. Dese my spahkle shoes!”

Sparkle is thinking, “You’ve literally been showing me your shoes five minutes straight, saying the same three sentences over and over. I get it. I see them.”

 

While the twins were VERY interested in Reverie, and she in them, I discouraged it as much as possible.

“That’s Sparkle, she’s a nice horse. And this is Reverie, Sparkle’s baby. Reverie is Mommy’s new horse. Reverie is a baby, and Reverie bites. Hard. It will hurt. No touching, or she might bite you. This horsie bites.”

Okay, maybe Reverie doesn’t actually bite…but hey man, two-year-olds and three-month-old horses don’t mix. Reverie would probably nip out of boredom given half a chance, and I’d rather terrify the twins a bit and have them keep a safe distance than try to explain the concept to them or give her a chance to learn bad manners.

After all, for all Reverie is amazingly sweet and calm, she’s still just a foal. I trust her as much as I would trust a hyper kitten near priceless lace curtains.

The twins were horrified at the concept that Reverie could bite, and proceeded to spend the rest of their time lecturing her.

“No biting. No bite. No. Ow. No biting,” they said, over and over…. and over and over…. and over and over, in a kind of squeaky tandem Gregorian chant.

It almost made me miss the whole “Dese my Spahkle shoes” litany. I wish I’d thought to take a video instead of a pic.

You can actually see Finn saying “no bite” here.

Anyways, it’s a little disconcerting that Reverie will be coming home in a few weeks. For the one thing, it means summer is almost over, and that makes me sad. With my full-time job, I feel like I barely spent any time outside.

In addition, although I’m not nearly so worried as I would have been if I hadn’t brought home Jupiter last year…. She’s only going to be four months old.  Jupiter was the youngest horse I’ve ever owned, and he was already a yearling when I got him.

The idea of her actually being here, so young and impressionable, is totally terrifying.  I know in my head that it’s actually not, but my heart disagrees and keeps insisting it really is terrifying.  Reverie represents years (decades?) worth of dreaming come true.

The most disconcerting thing about her impending arrival is the fact that she’s, you know, going to actually be mine. I’m a perpetual daydreamer. I’m used to daydreams – they’re easy, and airy, and fun to live in…. but the Bean is a realist. When I daydream, he tends to take it literally.

 

It used to cause us issues in our marriage, because I would want to daydream with him (“Wouldn’t it be cool if we could get 30 chickens and make money selling eggs? Wouldn’t it be great if we had more property, and could raise our own beef?  What if we packed it all up and headed to Montana? Look at this gorgeous chocolate Labrador, I wouldn’t mind owning a dog like this”, etc, etc.) and he would start to get stressed, trying to figure out all the complexities of turning my imaginary scenarios into a reality.

Even after ten years of marriage, it still weirds me out when the Bean manages to turn my daydreams into reality ,and I think that’s where I am at now. The sheer realness of Reverie makes me nervous.

In my head I am Alex Ramsey on a deserted island with my amazing Black Stallion who is bonded with only me. I am athletic and confident and young, galloping bareback over deserted stretches of sand, and I always know the right thing to do.

In reality…. I’m a 37-year-old mom of four who is out of shape and struggles with depression and has never really taken many riding lessons or had a foal this young, and what the heck am I doing with a horse this nice? What if I ruin her? What if I break her?  I asked for water, but someone handed me the nice china, and can I please just use one of your plastic tumblers to get a drink out of so I don’t have to worry about dropping it?

Caspian is also an amazing horse, but he wasn’t necessarily my decision so I didn’t feel as responsible for him as I do for Reverie.  That’s not to say he’s not magnificent – he’s athletic and amazing and calm and wonderful and talented and I’ve never met a horse as honest as he is.  Still, I didn’t set out to buy him. A horse trader sold him to a horse trader, who sold him to my parents, who needed to find him a quick home after they had some unexpected hospital time.

I’m sure I’d feel just as panicky if I’d bred him from scratch.

Of all the things that are not on my control, there is one thing I can actually do something about, so I’ve channeled all this:

Image result for now what do I do

 

into slowly getting back into shape. I set an initial weight loss goal for myself back in May, and I’m almost there. Once I hit that goal I will then let myself join the local CrossFit.  I know, I know, Crossfit is the devil/the best/the worst/your savior.

I’ve heard it from a lot of different people, trust me.

The thing is, I tried CrossFit before, and it suited me perfectly. The trainers were wonderful and modified all exercises for out of shape me….

But during the free trial week I found myself getting super competitive and I pushed myself too hard for where I was phsically.  I didn’t injure myself – I just ended up having to go up and down stairs on my butt for three days because I didn’t trust my quads to hold my weight.

You haven’t really lived until you’ve tried to navigate stairs on your butt with a set of 7 month old twins in your arms.

I know you’re imagining that in your mind, and let me assure you, the reality of it was even more ridiculous.

Anyways, I figure I’m almost as the point where I can try again, and hopefully by the time Reverie is rideable I’ll be in a place where I can sit a three or four-year-old green broke horse (you better believe I’m sending her away for the first 90 days!) and not feel totally off-balance from lack of core strength.

Giving myself something to do helps. It gives me something to do while I think, and as I ponder, I’m also realizing that it’s okay. It’s okay to love something this much.

In those quiet moments where I’m honest with myself, I think that loving Reverie may be my biggest fear of all.

When I was in my early 20’s I had a flame point cat named Fuego. If you’ve never had a close connection with a pet, it will sound weird to say this, but he was my best friend.  When he escaped from my house and got hit by a car, I was devastated. That’s not hyperbole either- after I received the phone call letting me know he’d died I started crying so hard I had to leave work, and for the rest of the week I barely managed to pull myself together enough to show up for my receptionist job.

Months later, still in the midst of  my private mourning, I lay curled on my side under the covers as silent tears dripped down my cheeks. I still felt aching and raw, lonely for the way he used to crawl under the covers and sleep against me. And that’s when I had a total lightbulb moment, to the point I even muttered it out loud:

“Well, this is stupid.”

Fuego would have lived, what … Fifteen years at most? Seventeen? It just didn’t make sense to give away that big of a piece of my heart to a pet only to have it destroyed every decade or so. There wouldn’t be anything left of me when it was all said and done.

And that was that. That was the last time I let myself get really close to a pet. Oh, I still love my animals, but it’s an easy-going love, more like warm affection.

With Reverie I can sense it is going to be so much more, and it makes me nervous.

Of course, maybe I’ll get lucky?  Maybe it’ll turn out that she has a nasty PMS cycle or that she likes to pee on my shoes whenever I get close to her, or barely tolerate me scratching on her neck.  Maybe she’ll be a habitual stall kicker, or like to stomp chickens, or rub her mane out, or pin her ears a lot?

It’s a weird thing to secretly hope for, but then at least I’ll feel like I can relax, because then she wouldn’t be quite so perfect, so the idea of being responsible for such a perfect daydream of a horse won’t be quite so daunting.

And in the meantime…. if you’re looking for books on training young horses over at the St. Helens Public Library, you’re outta luck.  I’ve already checked them all out. After all, when in doubt, go to the library.

 

Conversations About Carrots

“Hey, Mom?”

“Yeah?”

“If one of our horses pooped…. If one of our horses pooped….. if one of them….”

“Take a breath, think about what you want to say, and try again.”

(Deep breath in, then out) “If one of our horses pooped gold, we could probably keep all four of them, huh?”

“Son, if one of our horses pooped gold, your dad would love horses more than we do, and we’d be able to keep as many as we wanted.  Also, when we mucked stalls the wheelbarrow would be very heavy.”

 

***********************

 

“So I found a vet to give Carrots an ultrasound on Satur—”

“I WANT TO COME! I WANT TO COME! I WANT TO COME!”

“Shhh, let me finish.  Anyways, the vet will give her an ultrasound on Saturday, which will tell us for sure if Carrots is pregnant, and also let us maybe know how far along she is in the pregnancy, within a month or so.”

“I WANT TO COME!”

“Well, I would love to have you with me, but the thing is—”

“I WANT TO COME!”

“The thing is, it’s going to be a long car ride, and I’m going to spend it talking with Rose, so you’d have to sit in the back seat and not talk.  Also, when we got to the vet’s, you would have to be so quiet it would be as if you aren’t there.”

“I can do that!”

“You would have to be still and quiet and just listen, because I want to focus all of my attention on the veterinarian, and Carrots.”

“I can do that!”

“Also, it’s not like the ultrasounds I used to get when I was pregnant with the twins.”

“What do you mean?  They aren’t going to lay her down on a table?”

“No, they do it standing.  They will give her a sedative to make her feel sleepy and relaxed, and then the vet—“

“I know, I know, I know.  The vet puts lotion on her stomach and then puts the thing on it and slides it around and–”

“No, she doesn’t.  Now, would you quit interrupting me and let me finish?”

“Okay.  Sorry, Mom.”

“So, the vet does put lotion on, but what she does first is put on a reaaaalllly long rubber glove, probably all the way over her elbow, and then she puts lotion on top of the glove… and then she picks up Carrots’ tail and grabs the ultrasound wand and then she shoves that arm alllll the way up Carrot’s butthole, probably up to the elbow, and she’ll do the ultrasound that way.”

“WHAT?”

“Yup.”

“No.  I’m good. No, no, no, never mind.  I’m good.  I don’t need to be a part of that.  I think I’ll stay home.  I don’t need to be a part of that.”

“Yeah, that’s what I figured.”

 

Photo taken minutes apart – what a difference level ground, good angle, and better lighting can make! Also, the bad angle shows why I’m working so hard to get more calories into her. I invested in some Horse guard weight gain and alfalfa pellets that I will soak in addition to the rice bran.  She seems to have less appetite – which would make sense if she really is pregnant. Let’s hear it for answers on Saturday!  Also, this is a really long photo caption.  I probably should make it its own paragraph, but I’m much too lazy for that. 

 

 

Reverie

Ugh, I skipped doing errands at lunch to write my blog post. My plan was that when nighttime came I would only have to do a little editing on it before spending the majority of my pre-bed writing time working on my book….

And the computer ate it. It didn’t save.

So, I guess, I’ll try writing this blog post again.

I’m gonna do it with a grumpy mood though. So THERE.

*******

Second Update:

Literally three times I have been finished with this post, and then I try to add one last picture from my phone onto the WordPress app, and it adds it…. but then when I open it up on my computer (because I can type faster than on my phone), I find it has added the new picture as well as reverted to an older version of my blog post.

I’ve literally typed this dumb blog post four times. At this point the words don’t even seem like real words. Computers hate me today. I’m going to hit publish the second I’ve finished and stomp off to bed.

********

I have enough names to fill a whole barn of Morgan Horses.

I can’t believe how good some of you are at names – every time I thought I was done adding names to my shortlist, in would come another one. The response to the poll was amazing – a million thank you’s.

There were quite a few names that I loved that didn’t quite fit her. I loved the idea of naming her Chimera, because of its definition, and because of her two different colored eyes. I also liked Gargoyle (sorry, Aarene, I thought that was an awesome name) and Kelpie, and a bunch of the suggested names. I find I’m especially drawn to mythological names, and there are so many good ones out there.

There was only one problem:

Look at that. That’s a sweet, sweet face.

That’s a friendly face.

That’s the kind of face that likes you to go in the barn at night and hang out while you read a book so she can wuffle your sleeve.

All the names I really liked were just not her – they were too hard sounding, and she is not a hard horse.

I thought maybe it was because was so young, but Scandia Morgan Horse Farm had a second foal last Saturday – another chestnut colt. I guess it was just the year of the red foal for them?

Anyways, he’s an absolute beauty, and his mother is also drop dead gorgeous, but that’s to be expected at this barn. I went to go see him, and was amazed at how different their personalities already were. He wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination – he was just into everything with a friendly curiosity, and already had a devilish little sense of humor.

You could actually see him trying to decide. It was like watching the world’s tallest redheaded toddler. “Should I be good?……I should. I really shouldn’t nibble on her sleeve. She told me no. I shouldn’t……… yeah, no, I’m gonna try it. I just need to see what’ll happen.”

It made me doubly glad this little girl came out a filly. I always thought that colts didn’t start acting like colts until they were a little older, but apparently they’re colts right from the very start.

So, yeah. This little girl is flashy, but she’s also just really sweet, and for all that I kept trying to hang flashy names on her, they just weren’t fitting.

It’s a little disconcerting when a 5 day old horse is better at taking selfies than you are.

I thought about it for a while, about telling which were the other names that I almost picked for her, but I decided against it. There’s a reason for that. After I told the Squid what I was going to name the filly, he looked horrified. “No. No, that’s not right. That’s not a good name. We need to find another one.”

When I finally told him he didn’t have a choice, he looked disgusted, with all the deep-seated, honest judginess a 7-year-old can muster.

So far DragonMonkey seems to love horses the most out of all my kids.

I realized that if I started listing my second place, and third place, and fourth place names, then people might start commenting how I should have named her such-and-such instead, and I’m just still too sensitive to shrug it off.

I know, laugh all you want, but let’s see you get your dream after 30 years of daydreaming about it, and see if you aren’t overly protective those first few weeks.

She’d just spooked at the sound of the hose water hitting the bucket by her head – but even though she looks nervous, I feel like I can really see what she’s going to look like as an adult in this picture.

It’s really, really hard to take a selfie with her, because she’s already getting so friendly. Also, I’m beginning to realize the world is firmly divided into two camps: those that love blue eyes, and those that find them creepy.

Anyways, as you can tell from the title, I’m going to call her Reverie. Scandias Marvelous Reverie.

rev·er·ie
ˈrev(ə)rē/
noun
    1. a state of being pleasantly lost in one’s thoughts; a daydream.
      “a knock on the door broke her reverie”
      synonyms: daydream, daydreaming, trance, musing;
      • MUSIC
        an instrumental piece suggesting a dreamy or musing state.
  1. archaic: a fanciful or impractical idea or theory.

And now I own one.

I know it seems like I’m obsessing a little bit, and I am. It’s just… I’m planning on owning Reverie until I’m in my mid to late 60s.

That’s a long time… and I’ve been waiting for a horse like this for decades. She’s not even a week old yet – the world can let me be infatuated for a little while longer. She’s only going to be this little and fresh once.

Day 346: The List

Baby horse needs to get here soon.

I mean, there’s a lot of reasons why Baby Horse needs to get here soon, but the reason I’m referring to is so I can know the gender and knock half the names off The List.

Yes, it has capitals now.  It’s not a list.  It’s The List.  By the time I’m finished honing it down and obsessing over it, and choosing one single name from it, it might even be THE LIST.

About a month or two after Sparkles was confirmed pregnant, I began collecting names. I mean, this is a horse who could be around for 30+ years.  I need to find a name I love.  And so, I began a collection.  If I heard a name I liked, I put it on The List.

If I read a name in a book and I liked the way the name sounded, I put it on The List.

If I remembered a character I adored, or a story that meant a lot to me, or a phrase that I thought encapsulated what this too-nice-for-boring-ol-me foal meant to me…it went on The List. I know there are some people out there who can look at an animal and just get a feel for what that animal’s name is…. But that’s not me.  I’ve never been blessed by that ability.  Hence: The List.

Eventually The List was 70 plus names long, and I began weeding.  Of course, the problem was that for every name I took off, I found another I liked just as much and added it on. Lately, with the foal due ANY DAY NOW, I’ve started to get serious.  I mean, out of 70+ names, there ought to be a few that I didn’t like as much, or that wouldn’t work as a horse’s name, even if it was perfect.

For example: Farandolae.

If I ever got a tattoo, it would be of a farandolae. (Well, either that or Calvin and Hobbes – you know, the scene where the two of them are lounging that tree?  That’s a close second, if I were to ever get a tattoo.)  Anyways, back on track.  What’s a farandolae, you ask?

A farandolae is a made-up scientific term from A Wind in the Door, the third book in Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time series. In the book Charles Wallace is becoming sick, and nobody can figure out why.  Eventually it becomes apparent that a great evil is convincing the farandolae in his mitochondria to not “deepen”. When they are young, farandolae are allowed to float around, moving here and there with nothing tying them down.  It’s natural for them, but as they mature they are supposed to grow roots and attach themselves to one spot in the cell in order to do their work and keep the cell healthy.

But they don’t want to.

They listen to the voice of darkness which encourages them to avoid being tied down.  “Fool.  Once you deepen and put down roots you won’t be able to romp around as you do now… you’ll be stuck in one  place forever… and you won’t be able to move ever again.”

In the climactic scene where good argues against evil, one of the older, rooted Farandolae says in return, “Now that I am rooted I am no longer limited by motion.  Now I may move anywhere in the universe.  I sing with the stars.  I dance with the galaxies.  I share in the joy and in the grief.  We must have our part in the rhythm of our world, or we cannot be.  If we cannot be, then we are not.”

I think this means a lot to me because I never really wanted to “grow up”.  When I saw people with their full-time jobs, and their passel o’ kids, and their mortgages and their sensible lives, I shied away.  Even as it was in the process of happening to me, I shied away. And no, I’m not saying that route is for everyone… but for me it was something life needed me to do, and I never wanted to.  I could see it looming ahead, and I fought it, because I thought to throw down those roots was to lose my freedom, and to lose the beauty of my carefree life.

As I grow older, I realize how wrong I was, and how right that older, rooted Farandolae was.  I am no longer limited by motion – now I can move anywhere, and be anything.

The concept is such a huge life lesson I’ve had to learn, and so beautiful to me…

…And just awkward as heck to say and harder to spell, and dude, do I really want to explain something so personal every time I introduce my horse?

And therein lies my dilemma – trying to balance my need for a name with meaning vs a name that’s actually spellable and that I want to say out loud on a day-to-day basis.

Garibaldi? Roheryn? They’re cool… But again, I’d have to repeat myself over and over when introducing the horse.

Paladin?  It’s PERFECT….. oh, wait.  Stupid Mugwump stole it first for her dog.

Pickles?  Story?  I LOVE THEM BOTH, and they’re on my list for personal reasons…. but they also belonged to a friend’s animals, and it seems almost disrespectful to keep them on the list.

Bramble? Pretorian? I like the way they feel when they roll off my tongue, but they don’t make me that excited, so I should probably strike them from The List.

Wanderlust? It’s perfect in meaning (rather than travelling the world with a backpack I am travelling Oregon with my amazing Morgan!), but horrible in reality.  How do you even say it out loud?  What was I thinking? Wander isn’t bad, but…. but Lust?  Lusty? “Hey, Bean, dinner’s just done and there’s a few minutes before bed… can you watch the kids for a while?  I want to go to the barn and groom my Lust for a while… she’s a dirty, hairy Lust.”

Yeah, that’s a definite scratch.

Precept? I think the only reason his made the  list was because I was listening to Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series on audiobook and I liked the way the narrator said that word.

StayGold? I really wish I could make Robert Frost’s poem into a name, because it’s been a staple in my life since I first read it when I was 12 (Nature’s first green is gold, her hardest hue to hold….) …but it’s awkward, and again, a lot of responsibility to put on a young horse’s shoulders.

Name by name, oh-so-slowly I’ve been weaning down that giant list,  and I finally have it down to just over fifty.

Fifty.

Fifty potential names…..for just one little horse.

I have had WAY too long to overthink this.

Promises (to Keep)
Miles to Go
Chantilly
Sonora Webster
Madmartigan
Elora Danan
Remington
Sangria
Haven
Amity
Epona
Thistle
Keeper
Icarus
Epiphany
Daydream
Paladin
California
Paksennarrion (Paks)
Cloud
Alleluia
Gilead
Zion
Banner
Zuriel
Hobbes
Kelpie
Scorpio
Gulliver
Pilgrim
Voyager
Bard
Peregrine
Pippin
Rohan
Gondor
Hodor
Troubadour
Siren
Trouble
Ronja
Ronin
Epiphany
Warrior
Centurion
Saffron
Apoya
Mariachi
Alegria
Elegir
Wander
Haven
Frontier
Pilgrim

And then, of course, right when I was patting myself on the back for making it even shorter, Aarene had to go and add another one to the list: Fairy Bramble. Bramble I’d already struck from the list, but Aarene pointed out that if Sparkle manages to hold on to her baby until she arrives this weekend, Fairy would be a perfect name, and Fairy Bramble an even better one.  Aarene will be crashing at our place, since she’s the official storyteller at our city’s Fairy Festival…. hence Fairy Bramble for a name.

So, I guess, it looks like I’m still adding to That Danged List.

(I couldn’t find any applicable pictures for this post, and it seems boring without any pictures, so here.  Here’s a couple of gratuitous pics of the boys riding Carrots.)

DragonMonkey on Carrots

Squid on Carrots

 

 

Choosing the Morgan Foal

Sparkle is still pregnant, so I am doing the waiting thing.

 

Sparkle

I hate the waiting thing.

The reason I dislike waiting isn’t so much that I’m impatient.  It’s more that waiting gives me time to think, and when I start thinking about things, I start talking myself out of them.

It’s not so much that I’m having second thoughts about the Morgan baby, it’s just more that I’m having a bunch of thoughts about everything that could possibly go wrong.

It doesn’t help that everyone – and I do mean everyone has a story about how buying an in-utero baby has gone wrong for them. At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s a standard social response that I am just learning about.

Person 1: “Hello, how are you?”
Standard Social Response: “I am fine.  How are you?”

Person 1: “Ah-CHOO!”
Standard Social Response: “Bless you!”

Person 1:  “I bought an in-utero foal.”
Standard Social Response:  “My friend bought an in-utero foal.  They were breeding for color and got solid – an ugly, mean-tempered, solid colored horse.”

or:

“My friend bought an in-utero foal.  They were trying for a trail horse and it never matured over 12 hands.”

or:

“I bought an in-utero foal.  We were breeding for calm disposition and good conformation.  The foal came out spooky with crooked legs.  And fangs.  Also, it wasn’t a foal at all – it was a bicycle, with rabies, and it ate children instead of hay.”

I think if I hadn’t boarded at Scandia Morgan Horse barn for a couple of months, I might be more worried.  One of the things that made this easier though was spending time with all the horses.  There’s not one in the herd I wouldn’t be delighted to own –  not one with a crabby attitude, or ugly conformation.

Do you know what was hardest part of this whole thing?

Choosing.

The choosing was really, really, really hard.  It was actually just the choice part that was hard – the planning part was amazingly fun. Then again, I hate choosing pretty much anything.  Whenever I make an absolutely choice it always feels less like I’m getting something than it does the death of possibilities.

I gotta tell you, that kind of outlook on life drives my Type A accountant husband nuts.

Anyways, the daydreaming and planning was pretty much the most fun I’ve ever had on any project, ever. It was kind of like playing real life Pinterest, only instead of photos of kitchen command centers or nursery decorations, I was playing with horses.  I had little design boards with different mare/stallion matches, and what their previous foals looked like, etc, etc.

Kathleen was there to help me and answer questions, and ultimately I relied on her experience more than my own planning.  I mean, their barn was inducted into the Morgan Horse Breeder’s Hall of Fame back in 2011, so it would have been dumb of me to ignore all her experience.

She’s a woman of fewer words, given to understatement rather than overstatement.  It took me a bit to figure out the code.  “That cross might not be for you” was code for “That’s the kind of cross which would do explosively in a show setting at Grand Nationals and sweep away all the competition but would be waaaay too fiery to be much fun as a backyard horse.”

“That foal might be too refined” was code for “Dude, it’s gonna be pretty as heck, but built like a twig compared to what you want.”

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally had it narrowed down.  I was going to pick one of Kathleen’s mares and breed to Marvelous Intrigue.

If that picture looks familiar, it’s because I’ve posted his picture on this blog once.  Or twice.  Or maybe five times.

I just really like that stallion, and I’ve liked every one of his babies that I’ve seen.

Once I had the stallion figured out, all I had left was to choose the mare. Ultimately I narrowed it down to two mares – a mother or her daughter.

….Aaaand that’s where the process stalled for a while.   just couldn’t make up my mind which mare I liked more.

Scandias Heartsong

Scandias Sonata

They were actually mother/daughter (Sonata is Heartsong’s daughter).  Choosing between them was incredibly difficult.  Heartsong was a little bit bigger, and had a reputation for being calmer on trail.

Plus, she’d alread been bred to Intrigue, and if you’ve known me for any length of time, I had the biggest crush on the resulting colt, Anthem:

I mean, look at him. Isn’t he perfection?  He ended up huge for a Morgan – 16 hands, and is pure gorgeousness.

The thing was, I really, really, really liked the way Sonata was put together. I liked her conformation better , I loved her wide, dark eyes and pretty little head.  I liked the way she pushed forward to lean into scratches whenever I visited her over the gate.  I liked her hip.  I liked everything.

The problem was that she was a little smaller than Heartsong, and Kathleen pointed out that first foals tend to be smaller than resulting foals.  Plus, she was a bit spicier.

I mean, Caspian cured me of ever wanting another ridiculously tall horse, but I do have to take into account the fact that I am 5’8”, and even if I magically lose all the weight and end up the same weight I was in high school, that’s still about 150/160 pounds without tack.  Egyptian Arabs are not  in my riding future.

By the time I was making this decision I was no longer boarding at Kathleen’s, so I finally asked if I could go out and look at the mares in person and see if I could break the tie.
After that hour scratching on them and observing them in a field., my mind was made up:

I had absolutely no idea which one would be better, and I wasn’t likely to come to a decision anytime soon, no matter how many pictures I took or how many hours I spent with them.

So I decided to go with the proven cross.  There was literally nothing I didn’t like about Anthem (aside from the price tag – he was for sale, but waaay out of my price range), so why try to change anything?

I wrote Kathleen and email, gave her a deposit, told her I’d like to cross Heartsong with Intrigue, and we set the wheels in motion.

And then it got sad.  Marvelous Intrigue, who was nearing 30, passed away.  He just didn’t have another breeding season left in him.

It was a very sad time for his owner, and for the Morgan World at large. I tried to remind myself about that every time I tended towards selfishness, because seriously.  I was so bummed.  I had gotten SO CLOSE to owning one of his foals… only to have the dream jerked away at the last minute.

Also, after so many hours spent researching, it was a bit frustrating to go back to square one…. Okay, maybe not totally square one. I still had quite a few crosses in my “Morgan Breeding” folder on my computer.

After a little hemming and hawing, I decided on what I thought was the next best thing… which is kind of an insulting way to describe the quality of foal that’s about to be born (“Well, I guess you’ll do…”), and not at all how I feel about it now. It’s just how I felt at the moment, in the wake of Intrigue’s passing.

I decided to cross Sparkle, who is actually Intrigue’s daughter, with Kathleen’s stallion Trademark.

Scandias Trademark

Scandias Trademark

Scandias Trademark

Scandias Trademark

You can read more about Trademark HERE.

I liked this cross because I still had a chance to own a part of Intrigue – a grandson or daughter, if not an actual son or daughter.  Plus, Trademark is a proven sire.  On the Facebook group there’s a whole album of Trademark foals, doing pretty much every discipline under the sun, doing it well, and doing it gooooorgeously.

 

Even better, Kathleen had bred Sparkle to Trademark the year before ended up with a very pretty red stud colt named Marvelous Mark (M&M).

 

 

There’s not much to dislike there.

Anyways, Sparkle finally came into season and she and Trademark did the deed, with the final cover occurring on May 15th, 2017. Six weeks later they did an ultrasound check, and I was the proud owner of some grainy footage of a little wiggly foal embryo.

It all still felt very surreal and far-off at that point.  The foal wouldn’t be coming to my barn until at least September of 2018.  There was plenty of time to think about it.

Life being what it is with four kids, the months slid by quickly, and now we are at the point where Sparkle is due any day.  I’m actually having trouble wrapping my brain around it.

I made a trip out there on Sunday.  Originally it was to bring the boys along, and let them meet Sparkle before she gave birth and generate excitement…. But when Sunday rolled around they were squirrelly and hyper and getting on my nerves, so I decided to leave them behind.

Mom of the Year award, I know, I know.

I’m not sure what the purpose of my visit was, really.  I wanted a picture of myself with Sparkle before she gave birth.  Maybe I also wanted to convince myself that it was real, and that this foal was happening, I think?

Heck, maybe I just wanted to reassure myself that the foal wasn’t going to be born a flesh-eating bicycle with crooked front spokes.

On the way to the foaling shed I passed by Marvelous Mark (MnM), the full sibling to my unborn foal.  I was pleasantly surprised at how big he was – wide backed and solid, significantly taller than he had been back only a couple of months ago, with a pretty little head and a deep red coat. He glanced at me pleasantly, ears pricked forward.

I did not reach through the slats of his stall to pet him, as he is a two-year old stud. Maybe he would be a perfect gentleman.  Maybe he would be bored and try to see what he could get away with.

I value my fingers, so it wasn’t worth the gamble.

Then again, since I’m missing a chunk of muscle in my left arm from where an angry stallion bit me and tried to drag me into his stall to trample me, I’m a bit warier around stallions than most.

I passed through two other barns, all wide open aisleways and picturesque brass nameplates on doors.  When Caspian was there he made the stalls look ridiculously tiny.  With the Morgans in them they looked sizeable.

Sparkle was in the last barn, in one of the foaling stalls (complete live feed video camera!)  She was in wonderful shape, bedded down deep in straw. Well, I mean, she was in wonderful shape for a very pregnant mare.  She wasn’t going to be completing any 100 mile endurance rides any time soon, but she could probably win some “wide back” awards, if there was such a thing. She was marvelously pregnant and looked as comfortable as one can be, with about 100 pounds of foal all wadded up inside.

To be honest, after going through a twin pregnancy I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to look at a pregnant animal and feel anything but sympathy for them.

I scratched her neck, and her super wide, flat back, and her belly. I glanced at her bag – already full with milk, although not waxed (most mares will develop a kind of waxy beading of colostrum about 24 hours before they foal.)

She ignored me for the most part, and drove her face deeper into her pile of hay, munching with a steady determination.  I sympathized.  Pregnancy hunger.  It’s real, yo.

Kathleen waited outside the stall and chatted with me.  The mare across the aisle is due two weeks after Sparkle, and she’s also in foal to Trademark.  Scandias Dancer is a beautiful mare, taller than Sparkle, but built with a little more refinement.

 

She’s the last filly by UVM Coming Attraction, out of….

<taps mike>

Is anyone event paying attention to all the names anymore?  I’m sorry.  I am pretty much just blogging all of this for future Becky, so she can have a quick reference guide down the road.

Anyways, Dancer is absolutely GOOOOORGEEEEOOOUUUUSSS, but a little too much horse for the kind of backyard riding I tend to do, which is why she never factored into my “who shall I breed” planning.

She’s also a maiden mare, so even though there’s only 2 weeks between the mares due dates, it’ll probably be a little bit longer than that.  It’s kind of a relief that I’ll have another foal to compare mine against. I have to admit, I’m not very good with foal conformations.  They all look kind of…. Adorable? to me.  I just can’t eyeball them the way I can an older horse and see what they’re going to turn out like.

Unless I can see a photo, and then compare it to the photo of ANOTHER foal, my concept of foal conformation boils down to, “Oooh, look at that one!  It’s bigger.  And that one’s running around – look!” which is anything but technical.  With a foal of a similar age, who is also by the same stallion, it will be great to be able to compare the two to each other.

Per Kathleen my foal will be “sturdier”, which is good – I’m hoping that he or she will inherit some of Sparkle’s size and flat, broad back…. but I imagine I’ll be over the moon with whatever comes out.

I still feel like this is almost too much of an indulgence.  Now that it’s almost here, I feel….  Guilty? Like I need to apologize, or over explain why I’m doing this?

I mean, let’s call this foal what it is:  an extravagance.  There is literally nothing I do that requires me to have a horse this nice. I don’t show, I don’t do endurance (with four young kids, I wonder if I ever will.) The biggest riding aspirations I have are that I would like to have a costume and ride around in some kind of SCA event, and I’d love to look into Working Equitation. I don’t have to go breed some fancypants foal to do any of that.

And yet… It’s hard to carve out space for yourself, as a mom.  I am not anywhere as footloose and fancy-free as I was in my 20s.  My days are filled with schedules, and packing school lunches, and helping kids with homework, and wiping snotty noses, and quick-grab-a-snack as we dash out the door, telling toddlers to get off the table or don’t pull the cat’s tail, he’s gonna scratch you. I have a full-time job, and a car payment, and a mortgage, and dentist appointments, and tire rotation appointments, and a plan to pay down all our debt.

These are all good things.

They’re just not terribly exciting things.

I have quite a few friends whose lives have taken a very different path than mine has – the kind of path I always imagined mine would take.  I see photos of their travels, and I am filled with longing.  I see them exploring the world – all the corners of the world, meeting all manner of humanity, tasting all sorts of new foods, plunging headfirst into new adventures.  I see them… as I sit on my dented couch in my nice suburban living room, surrounded by cheerful, happy children who need and need and need until I sometimes feel sucked completely dry.  I see them, and I remember how it felt to be so free.

I think that’s also what this foal is to me – not just a chance to start a horse from scratch the exact way I want, and not just a chance to own a horse that’s the exact breed I’ve wanted for years and years…

It’s a chance to do something zany and exciting, for no other reason than because I can.

If I were traveling the world with a backpack I wouldn’t have all those boring, necessary appointments…. But I also would never, ever be waiting for a made-from-scratch Morgan foal from a barn I once only dreamed of visiting.

And that is just a really, really cool thing to be doing.

First photo of me with the foal…. still in its wrapping. Sigh.

Four.

I’d be lonely, if I weren’t so busy.

I have at least three blog post drafts that start off with this line, which I feel is a really excellent way to sum up how the past few months of my life have gone.

The problem is that I start writing to catch everyone up on what I’ve been doing, and the next thing you know it has turned into a maudlin LiveJournal post, circa early 2000s. It’s not that I mind that type of writing. It’s more…. it’s not really how I wanted my post to be.

Besides, it’s not like anything complain-worthy as even happened to me. I think the only hard thing is that back in December the Bean and I took a look at our finances and how much his job was charging us for insurance for our family of 6 and realized that the time had finally come. I needed to get a full-time job.

I’m not gonna lie – it wasn’t an easy decision. The twins weren’t even two years old yet, and to be honest, I’ve really been enjoying parenting them. They’re so laid back and easy to get along with….either I’m getting more relaxed at this parenting gig. Maybe third and fourth time is the charm?

Also, in order to get a full-time job it meant I had to leave my dream job: the library. If you don’t know why that was so hard for me, then you haven’t been reading this blog very long. I’m pretty sure if you cut me open, fiction books and pictures of pretty horses is all that would fall out.

Suffice it to say, I just really, really, really liked working at the library.

Before you feel too sorry for me, let me jump ahead to the punchline: I got the exact job I wanted (pretty much the only one I wanted, aside from a job getting paid to read books while hanging out in a barn): Front desk person at City Hall. The hours are great, the benefits are wonderful, my coworkers are fantastic, and I’m still part of the library family, so to speak.

I mean, there’s just no way to feel properly sad about something like that.

Unfortunately, even if it went as smoothly as possible, it has still been difficult. I started my job right at the beginning of The Bean’s busy season, which means that while his paycheck is around, I only glimpse him occasionally (usually after most of the kids have gone to bed). It also didn’t help that this has been an absolutely rotten flu season. Trying to juggle a new job with four kids who seem determined to pass around the same illness, over and over, has been demanding.

Oh, what the heck am I saying?

Trying to juggle a full-time job with four kids, forget adding any of the rest of it, has been demanding. Sometimes it feels like every single hour has already ben scheduled. I’m turning into one of those people. I have a calendar now, and I schedule things on it.

I know. Gross.

Anyways, with this new schedule, although my weekends are free, I tend to spend those catching up with the kids. It really doesn’t leave a lot of time for socializing, All the children’s meetups that people schedule are during the day. There’s no time to meet up during the week. Weekends seem to be about playing catch up.

I used to rely on social media to fill my friend gap, but lately….

I’m sorry, but there’s just only so much screaming I can take. More often than not, it feels like all Facebook can do is either scream about its opinions, or drag out whatever roadkill of a travesty has happened in the news the past week and obsess over it an unhealthy amount until a new piece of roadkill is found.

Rumor has it that there are happier, less angry social media places to be, but I can’t bring myself to look into it. I like Facebook. I’m comfortable there.

Besides, while I can be awkward with people…

…the idea of researching new social media apps just to have friends is kind of depressing in and of itself.

I still keep up with a few people, but for the most part I’ve been reading, caring for my giant brood of children and animals, and daydreaming about horses.

Speaking of horses:

Did you know I have three of them in my backyard?

I know, I know.

Caspian is doing well – fat, happy, and enjoying living the life of a horse who gets to hang out with horse friends and rarely be ridden.

Honestly, it looks relaxing. I’m kind of jealous.

Back in early summer of last year I picked up a friend for Caspian, who desperately needed one. He spent all day pacing, stall weaving-nervously in a 100×50 paddock, nervously scanning the horizon as he fretted.

He was one set of opposable thumbs and an axe from turning into Jack Nicholson.

via GIPHY

It was unhealthy for him and depressing for me to look out my window and see that, so I began visiting auctions and looking on Craigslist. I stumbled onto Jupiter, a scrawny, wormy, too-thin yearling with some of the worst hooves my farrier had ever seen. Watching her trim him that first time was so gratifying – old abscesses oozing out, curled up toes getting straightened as she trimmed him back.

To be honest, I was really concerned that it might leave some kind of lasting damage, they looked so bad. (SPOILER: he has the best hooves of all of my herd, and hasn’t been lame yet, KNOCK ON WOOD.)

He fit the slot perfectly – someone to keep Caspian from spiraling further into horsey insanity by himself on my property, young enough to give me a chance to work with a young horse and teach them ground manners, lunging, etc, and pretty enough that when the time came, I might not have too hard of a time finding him a new home.

Ten Month Before/After

All was doing well, until February, when I stumbled on a pony: Carrots. I found her on while doing my weekly Craigslist scrolling (surely I’m not the only one that drools over horses I never plan on buying?) Something about her face just called to me, even if she lived an hour away. I called up the owner and asked if I could go meet her, drawn to her on a strange impulse….

But, unfortunately, someone else got there first.

I shrugged, and decided it wasn’t meant to be, and went back to work the following Monday….

Where one of my new coworkers came up to me. As it turns out, she lives only a mile from me. had seen that I had posted on Facebook about Carrots, and was willing to sell her to me for the original price.

A week later I had the pony in my backyard.

One month Before/After (before on bottom)

She was thin and wormy, but so friendly, and a much prettier mover than I expected.

To be honest, three horses was always my goal, so impulse the buying wasn’t a problem in terms of that. I have the space for them, I have the funds to care for them right and by the end of next summer I will have finished fencing in most of the lower pasture.

Three horses is not the problem. It’s four horses that’s a problem.

Yeah. Four horses.

Rewind your clocks more than a year…. all the way back to February 2017. We had lived in the house less than a month. Caspian was still being boarded at a barn, the twins were just under a year old, the walls of the new house were lined with boxes, and DragonMonkey and Squid were watching TV in the living room.

I was washing dishes, staring out the window and daydreaming about how amazing it was going to be to finally have the paddock finished and Caspian out there, grazing, in my own backyard…….. when the Bean approached. .

He stood there staring at me, holding Finn on his hip, a silent, waiting presence.

I looked up.

He opened his mouth, closed it, and then smiled jovially. “So…. so, before you get mad….”

I turned off the water, grabbing a dish towel to dry my hands and turned to give him my full attention. “Oh, Lord.”

“No, no, it’s not… it’s not a bad thing, per se. I just… I just wanted to let you know, ahead of time, because that way we could always communicate with each other effectively, and I –”

“Bean, just spit it out.”

“There’s a motorcycle.”

He stood there, almost vibrating with excitement, and I couldn’t figure out how to respond. He was obviously, so, so, so excited. If you’ve ever met the Bean, you know he doesn’t get to that point very often. He also doesn’t do things on a whim, like I do. His daydreams consist of researching. If he was standing there in front of me with excitement oozing off of him so palpably, that meant he’d not only found a motorcycle, but he’d done price-comparisons, and probably dealership visits, and test rides, and….

And he was a CPA. If he knew we could fold it into our budget, then we could probably make it happen. So I had two choices:

I could put the kabosh on the whole thing, and feel like I was ripping the wings off a butterfly…..

Or I could say yes.

It was just…. He already had a motorcycle that he rode to work, every day, and I found myself getting jealous on the inside. I knew whatever motorcycle he wanted to bring home was not a practical one – it was going to be loud, and fast, and the kind of thing that served no practical purpose other than making his heart happy.

It wasn’t that I didn’t want him to be happy, it was just that I was envious. I know. I know, that’s shallow of me, and not a good trait to have. Even though the twins were so much more amazing than I had imagined, I still felt like I had lost a piece of myself during their pregnancy and that first year of round-the-clock nursing. I didn’t have anything to look forward to – no goals, beyond maybe one day sleeping through the night again.

I looked the Bean in the eye, paused, opened my mouth, paused again, and then blurted out, “Fine. If you’re getting a motorcycle then I’m getting a baby Morgan horse. From that Scandia Morgan place.”

I don’t know how I expected him to respond. I was throwing it out there, almost like a giant, verbal litmus test. How much did he really want this motorcycle?

“Deal! Deal. Yes. No problem.” He nodded his head two, three times in a row, and shifted Finn higher on his hip. “That’s fair.” He nodded again, paused, and then said with a grin creeping across his face. “Want to hear about the motorcycle?”

And now you know why I’m sitting here, more than a year later, checking my Facebook messenger frequently for updates, waiting to see if Sparkle (real name: Marvelous by Design) has finally foaled yet.

The Morgan Horse: They’re like Ducati Hondas?

“So are they all brown?”

“Well, I mean, Morgans can be almost any color, although until recently the splash gene….  wait.  Too much.  Bay.  That color right there in the video is bay, not brown.”

Scandias Mademoiselle

“They’re not the same?”

“Bay has the black stockings, and the black mane and tail.”

“But the base color is brown, so it’s the same, right?”

“I mean, I guess so.  Chestnut is the reddish color.”

Scandias Marvelous Mark

“What do they do with them, though?”

“Morgans?”


“Yeah, what’s their thing?”
 
“The Morgan horse is very versatile – they can do anything.”
 
“Yeah, but what are they known for?”
 
“Ummm… well, they’re kind of known for being good at everything.  They’re one of the oldest American breeds…. they’re very strong, with a lot of endurance and health and dependability, but they’re also fancy. So you get that flashiness, without having to deal with them being too hot and losing their brain.”

Scandias Trademark

“So… they’re like a Ducati made by a Honda?”
 
“….. Uh, sure. Yeah. That.”

“Okay.”

“They’re like…. a Kawasaki, but with a Goldwing comfort on a long trail…”

“WHAT?”

“I was coming up with a metaphor for you.”

“I already had one.  Ducati made by a Honda.  That makes sense to me.”

“I was trying to come up with a motorcycle analogy for you.  You know, to bond with you.”

“That was a motorcycle analogy.  What did you think a Ducati was?”

“I…. I forgot.  I heard Honda and thought car.”

“You thought a Ducati was a car???”

“Yes…. I mean no.  I mean, I was just focusing on Honda…. I mean, shut up.  You thought bay was the same as brown.”

 
 

Caspian vs the Yellow Jacket

I looked into the rearview mirror as I backed into the car port, and as the gravel crunched under my tires, the view in that small mirror made my stomach sink.

Oh, no.

Oh, NO.  No.  No, no, no…….

Caspian stood in the corner of his paddock – head down, ears half pinned, and sweaty. His nostrils flared, and he whipped his head back to bite at his belly – once.  Twice.  Three times. He kicked at his belly, hard, and his neck shot up in distress, tail wringing and snapping.

Oh, no.  No, no, no.  Not colic.  Please, not colic.

“Boys!  Get the babies out of the car, and into the house!”

The boys began the tedious process of unloading the twins and I walked through the backyard, approaching Caspian warily. Maybe I was wrong?  Please?  I hope?

It didn’t look like it.  It was all the classic signs of colic – and pretty severe colic at that. Caspian pawed twice,  as if to roll, and then continued to bite at his belly.  He’s a fairly stoic horse, so for it to be this far along….. I bit my lip, and began to feel nauseous. Please.  Please let him be okay.

And then I saw it… or maybe I heard it?  It’s hard to say which happened first, but there, among the normal flies buzzing around, was a large shape.  Was that a bee?  A horse fly? What WAS that?

And then I realized what it was – a yellow jacket, furious, body curved into a “C”, stinger leading.

 

It buzzed in, and jabbed, and Caspian jerked around to bite at it, only to have it dodge, hover, and then swoop in again.

Sting.  Sting.  StingSting.  With every sting the wasp gave him Caspian kicked, or bit, or whipped his tail around, but to no avail.  Eventually he took off in a loop around the paddock, and by his movement and the sweat I could tell it wasn’t the first time he’d tried that.

He thundered around once.  Twice. Three times.  Four times.

The entire time I could see a small dark speck following him angrily, and the second he stopped it began to sting him again.  Sting.  Sting. STING STING.

I turned around and ran to the house.  “Where’s the swatter?  Where’s the swatter, boys?!”

It took longer than I liked to make my way back to the paddock, but Caspian will have to forgive me.  I spent most of the morning jumping on a trampoline and, well, the old grey mare, she ain’t what she used to be.

I made it out there half hoping I was too late to do anything about it, but nope.  There was that stupid @*#@*&! yellow jacket, still in a “C” shape, stinging him without mercy.  I stomped through the gate and tried approaching Caspian without a halter, but my body language was furious, and with the first missed lunging swipe at the yellow jacket and his belly he took off like a shot and began to do his laps again.  You could almost see it in his face: “What have I ever done to you, woman?  Do you have any idea what kind of day I’m already having?!”

I circled back around and grabbed his halter, approaching him warily.  I wouldn’t blame him in the least if he kicked when that stupid thing stung him, but that didn’t mean I wanted to be on the receiving end of one of his draft-sized hooves.

The second I put the halter on him, he began to calm down, although not entirely – with the yellow jacket still making passes at his legs, belly, and flank, it was hard for him to do anything other than quit running.

“Easy.  Easy.  I’m not mad at you.  I’m mad at that stupid insect.  Shh.  I’m trying to help you.

Help faster, he said with an obvious flick of his tail.

I took a swipe and missed, and the yellow jacket stung him in response.  Caspian jumped forward, and I grabbed a hold of the lead rope and apologized.

Get it together, woman.

The yellow jacket swooped at his belly again and paused to curve into a more exaggerated “C” shape, and just as it paused I leaped forward and smacked it with the fly swatter.  Boom.  BULLSEYE.

Caspian jumped forward a few steps, then turned around to look at me.  I couldn’t see where it had landed, but I decided to pretend I had, and made an obvious show of stomping the ground.  Horses will instinctively stomp on a snake, so I figured he’d understand what I was saying.

Look at me, the nice human, stomping the biting thing for you. I will protect you.

He stared at me for a moment, then approached, head down, and laid his forehead against my arm.

Thank you.  Thank you so much.

“I’m so sorry, buddy.  You must hurt so much. I’m so sorry.”

It does.  It hurts.  But thank you.

And we stood like that for a moment, our conversation spent, just enjoying each other’s company.

But seriously – if I could find that stupid yellowjacket’s body, I’d probably pin it down with a needle and then set it on fire.  I swear, I’ve never hated anything quite so much.  I think I was literally seeing red the entire time I hunted for the fly swatter.

Winter, Blessings, and a Barn

What an absolutely brutal winter.

*

That star up above represents the 800 words I just cut from this post, where I went into a bunch of boring detail describing how sucky it was for me, linking to articles proving how abnormally rainy and grey it was to “prove” it was okay for me to feel that way, etc, etc.

When I’m boring myself with my whininess I know it’s probably time to cut the words.

Suffice it to say, it was an abnormally rainy winter.  There were only 3 mild days between October and March (when there are usually 17), some months broke rainfall records that have lasted since… well, since they started recording rainfall records. Other months didn’t break those records… but they fell short by less than a tenth of an inch.

At the library we had a lot of people coming in and printing bus tickets, or plane tickets, or any other ticket they could find to get outta Dodge.  “I can’t handle it anymore.  You never see the sky,” they’d say, with a half-crazed, almost caged look to their eyes.

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How to Fence a Horse

I’m really good at daydreaming.

Like, if you need someone to just sit there and daydream, I’m your man.  Or girl.  I guess woman?

Eh, whatever.  If you need someone to daydream, pick me!  I’m super good at that sort of stuff.

But real life stuff?

I mean, it’s one thing to say “One day I’m gonna have a great big horse who is allllll mine, and I’m gonna get up in the morning and look out my bedroom window and see him grazing in the fields….”

Only now it’s for real.

 

Pasture

 

That’s a screenshot of what is going to be my new backyard.  Actually, the yard is even bigger than that, but that’s the area that I get to do what I want with, for Caspian. We are going to have funds from the sale of the house to fence it in, and also build a run-in and an area to compost manure.

Speaking of the sale of the house, I think we have someone.  We still have to pass inspection, and even if we do pass inspection we will still be in our current house for a couple of months because escrow takes a while right now..

But I think this thing is actually going to happen.  We have found a house we all agree on, they’ve accepted our offer (contingent on the sale of our house), we found a buyer for the new house, and I might have my pony in my yard before summer.

It’s one thing to daydream…. it’s another to actually sit down and do it for real.

“Yaaaay!  I get a horse in my backyard!  Oh. Wait…. Uh, how do you safely house a horse in your backyard?”

I’ve decided to go with 5 foot no-climb horse fence with a strand of hot wire on the inside, but what kind of posts do I use? The t-posts or the wood ones? How many feet of fencing will I need? How many posts per feet of fence?  How far down do you sink the posts? How big of a sacrifice area do I make?  I’d really like to plan it out so that it can house two horses eventually – I see two horses in my future at some point, so there’s no sense doing it twice.

Slope

The back 2/3 of the pasture is slightly sloped – less than it looks here, but still something to take into account.

Do I put the sacrifice area at the bottom, since it’ll be muddy anyways?  Do I put it at the top, and then have the pasture be sloped?  Do I just do long paddocks with shelters, and then one big turn out area? The rule is one horse per acre, but they never say how best to make that work.

I mean, in a perfect “I have all the space and all the money” I would do a gorgeous paddock paradise setup, but all the ones I’ve seen online require a ton of fencing.  Fencing costs money, and I’m not sure we can swing that.

Also, just to make things more complicated, I think I want to include a small riding area somewhere, so there’s a safe place for the kids to ride without having to trailer anywhere.  Of course, if I do that the amount of pasture I have to work with is even smaller.
Sigh.

Do I cut back on the pasture or the sacrifice area, or forgot the riding area?  Where would I put the imaginary riding area – at the bottom, or at the top?  Do you cap wood posts? What do you set your posts and/or t-posts in to keep them stable and sturdy? What kind of electric fence should I get?  Where do I store the hay?

 

 

Can I just go back to daydreaming about the pony in my backyard, without having to do so much math, please?

 

 

Yes, I understand that my “complaining” is the very essence of #FirstWorldProblems