Monday, August 31, 2015

Sophie Update

Update on Sophie:

She is, of course, staying with us.

Killin' that angry bird :-)
I went to Petco after I posted Friday to get her a bag of kitten food, and ran into Husband while I was there. He was in the process of buying her a collar and engraving a tag. Like I'm seriously going to tell him no, we can't keep her! :-p

She got out of solitary confinement yesterday afternoon. I gave her a bath first to wash away the outside dirt, allergens, dead fleas, etc. She was gross. After her bath she smelled good and got so many snuggles!!!

Playing laser dot in solitary.
More laser dotting. We're really glad we didn't update our bathroom yet.
She also got to meet Nickels and Penny, who seem to have warmed up to her. Nickels let her rub on him (Penny isn't allowed to), and Penny stopped hissing at her long enough to start playing run and chase. Sophie has been very respectful of Nickels and Penny. If they hiss at her, she backs off immediately and finds somewhere else to play. Which is easy- she's been bouncing around the house, loving every second of it. Penny and Nickels are miffed by that- she just runs and runs and bounces and gives every toy in sight and whack before sprinting off to the next room. I don't think they ever spent time outside fending for themselves. Sophie is really loving being a loved, and fed, inside cat.

Cat carrier lounging while I wash my car Saturday. I didn't want to leave her locked in the bathroom.
We'll get her a harness and leash (or just use Nickels' or Penny's) and take her for walks outside. I think she'll like it more than the other two do. Nickels really does like going for walks though. For like, five minutes, haha. Then he makes a beeline for the nearest door. It makes me feel better that both he and Penny know how to get back to the front door. Hopefully they'd come back and wait there if they ever got out.

More lounging.
I scrubbed down the bathroom after Sophie got her bath. A kitten living in there for 3 days made it quite... dirty. Now it is super clean!

Blurry. But Penny isn't so sure about this new mini me!
She'll go to a local low cost spay/neuter clinic at the end of September to be spayed, get a distemper booster shot, and a microchip. It should total around $100. For her to get all that done at our vet's office it would be over $600. Yuck. I've gotten recommendations for this local clinic from many people (including the vet tech who saw Sophie on Friday), and they all like it there and are very happy with the care.

A couple people were willing to take her in response to my Facebook post- one as a barn cat, and one as a pet for a daughter while she's at her dad's house. Husband and I really wanted her to be an inside cat, and the whole 'part time pet' sounded like a recipe for her to either end up as an outside cat or abandoned cat or shelter cat (when dad decides he doesn't want to care for his daughter's cat anymore when the daughter is only there part time).

So welcome to the family Sophie!

Looking out the big window at the great outdoors. She doesn't seem to miss it!
Penn has been busy too this weekend, but Sophie needed her own post. Penn will get his own next :-)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Kitten in the Road

So. The past me who wished when I was younger and secretly hoped to find a poor sad pretty kitten on the side of the road, just needing some love has finally gotten her wish. When she's already ankle deep in animals at one horse and two cats.

12 year old me is squeeing. 

I was driving home from the barn, it was late and dark. I saw something funny up ahead on the road, and as I got closer it looked like a kitten. Eating road kill. On the yellow line of a rural two lane highway. Where people regularly go over 60. And some aim to hit whatever they can in the road.

Playing with an angry bird.  

Cue getting out of the car. Kitty spooks a little then mews and comes over. I snatch her and bring her back to the car.

"Great, now what do I do with her?" She's so little, can't be more than 2 or 3 months old and is skin and bones. She's snuggling into my lap like it's a luxury she can't believe. She might be someone's barn cat because she's super friendly, but she's dirty and thin. And hungry enough to go out on the road and scavenge. She's obviously not being fed at home, and if I put her back out she'll just end up in the road looking for something to eat. So I brought her home with me.

I called Husband on the way home. I led with, "Don't be mad. I found a kitten." He was all, "Well what are we going to do with it?" I said,  "I'll take it to the vet and then I'll call some animal shelters and see if they have room for her, or if they don't, we could foster her until someone wants to adopt her." Husband says, "Well don't lead with us being willing to foster her. I want her gone as soon as possible."

We agree that the main bathroom is a good place for her until she goes to the vet and gets all cleaned up. He starts setting it up as I finish driving home. I texted him a picture of her while we were sitting at a red light. He meets me at the car with a cat carrier and a big goofy grin on his face and is all "Hiiii kitty!" What a big softie.

He's picked up some of the older cat toys and a blanket, and emptied the bathroom of anything soft or toxic. She gets the blanket in the sink as a bed, and one of the old bathroom rugs on the floor. He's also pulled out the travel litter box with walnut litter (our cats use crystals) and has set that out for her. She has some stainless steel food bowls, and lots of water and a couple scoops of Nickels' high calorie food.

We have some fun snuggling and playing with her, and about that time we realize she has both tapeworms and fleas. Poor cat. She hangs out in the sink and takes a nap while I get a shower (she's in the only bathroom with a shower), and we snuggle some more after and then it's bedtime.

Husband asks if we should name her, I said no, it'll make her staying more permanent. He decides to call her Sophie.

Getting ready for some z's. 

I get up in the morning and attempt to snag my toothbrush and makeup out of the bathroom so I can take it to the powder room to get ready for work. Sophie does not want me to leave, or to stay in the bathroom by herself any longer.

My mom agrees to take Sophie to the vet because she needed to go asap since we have other cats and the sooner she can leave her solitary confinement, the better.

I make an appointment for her on my bus ride in to work. Mom calls mid appointment to let me know what's going on:

  • Sophie is actually about 5 months old and is starving. Which is why she's so thin and little.
  • She does not have a microchip. 
  • She does have fleas and tapeworms, but the vet will give her something that will kill them all in 24 hours, but he said to keep her in solitary for the weekend, just in case. 
  • She is leukemia/FIV negative! 
  • She got all the appropriate kitten shots and a rabies shot.
  • The vet is sending her home with cans of bland, easy to digest food because she hasn't eaten or used the litter box since I've had her. 
  • Other than weighing less than 5lbs and having fleas and tapeworms, she's in good condition and good health.
I got a post together on Facebook to try and find her a home, and I haven't called any rescues, however I'll be going out tonight to fetch her some kitten food. We're still planning on giving her away, but if we end up keeping her, I'm blaming my husband because he named her :-)

Everyone, meet Sophie!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

No More Sleuthing

After several days of research, I've concluded that Penn is going to remain an Oldenburg/Thoroughbred. A friend helped me research, and between the two of us, he doesn't qualify for any registry except the American Warmblood Registry, which I'm not going to pursue.

Basically, his dam is a registered Oldenburg in Old N/A, except she was never inspected, so she was never approved. His sire is a Jockey Club Registered stallion (unraced) who was never presented for stallion inspection, and so never approved. Basically, since neither parent is approved, I can't even get a certificate of lineage or whatever, let alone register him somewhere.

It was still a neat project, even if it was for naught. I found out where my little baby horse came from, and he has some pretty cool lines. And should probably be a hunter instead of a dressage horse. Hell, he should probably be an event horse with all the TB blood in him, and the dash of hunter/jumper warmblood.
I had to put it together myself in Excel because the internet doesn't know!
So first off, Penn's great grandsire is Northern Dancer, which is neat. Penn's sire, Compliance Copy, is one of his descendants. CC is an unraced Dark Bay Stallion, born March 5, 1995 in PA. He sold at auction for $4,000, according to Equibase. Penn's breeder used to stand CC, though I'm unsure about where he's located now.

Other stallion's of note on CC's side: Ack Ack. I guess we don't hear much about him these days, but he was quite the racehorse and is in the American Thoroughbred Hall of Fame. Mr Prospector was also a significant thoroughbred sire since he sired a winner of all three triple crown races, something only his descendant, Unbridled, has done too.

Next, Penn's damsire is Alla Czar. Alla Czar is a pretty neat dude. He was a sabino Dutch Warmblood stallion, and seems to have passed on sabino and rabicano traits on to his offspring and their offspring. He also sired the first hunter (Osczar) to ever score a perfect 100 in the Regular Working Hunter Class. He competed in hunters and dressage himself, scoring in the 60's through PSG. His progeny seem to exist mostly in hunter land.

Alla Czar
Alla Czar competing in dressage.
Penn's Dam and Alla Czar's daughter, Attractive Nuissancz, also known as Czedona.
One of Alla Czar's daughters, Whimczical. Look at that incredible rabicano coloring!
Another neat thing: the Dutch Warmblood who lives in the stall next to Penn (who's owner helped me research), his grandsire is Zeus. So Penn and that horse are related- they're second cousins once removed? I donno, but they're a little more than distantly related, but less than direct relatives.

Attractive Nuissancz's dam was the thoroughbred Star Catcher. Star's great great grandmother was Somethingroyal (super neat). Star Catcher herself is an interesting mare, based on what information is available on Equibase. She was a chestnut mare born in AZ on March 25, 1989. She made $68 in 7 starts on the track. From what I can tell from talking to to the breeder and what I gleaned from the breeder's website, the mare was quite fancy and threw some nice foals.

My research was plagued by name changes. Star Catcher and Attractive Nuissancz also went by names other than their breed registered name. Their show names were Shameless and Czedona respectively. USEF and Alla Czar's breeder's website were very useful when it came to fixing that mix up.

So Penn is a bay, but he has some rabicano features (some white hairs mixed in at the top of his tail and white hairs flecked throughout his coat) and a sabino feature - his creeping right front sock, that he seems to get from Alla Czar. He's essentially 3/4 TB 1/4 Dutch Warmblood, but I'll register him with USDF and USEF as an Oldenburg with Thoroughbred as a secondary breed.

Here's the horse that really matters in this post.
I'll also register him in the USEF/USDF as "Illuczion", so scrap the name "Illusion" I gave him when I introduced him on this blog. I've already changed the name at the vet and the insurance company, so it's here to stay to honor his damsire! I did consider changing it again to "Illuczionist". I still kind of like it... it fits in better with his barn name "Penn". That kind of thinking also brought me around to "The Illuczionist", which sounds like a grand name. But I think the vet and insurance company will shoot me if I change the name again!

New ears picture from our walk Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Super Sluething (Update 8/26)

So Penn's pedigree is a bit hazy for me because he is unregistered. I'm working off of incomplete information. His breeder stands a Thoroughbred stallion, and it sounds like she leased an Oldenburg mare and my Penn was born.

So what I know:

Penn's Sire: Compliance Copy

Jockey Club registered (I have his number), 100% Thoroughbred stallion, and according to the thoroughbred pedigree website, unraced.

Penn's Dam: Czedona** see update

Here's where things get interesting. Remember this funny creeping sock I posted?

Well, I was told the mare was by Alla Czar, who is a sabino colored Dutch Warmblood. Upon some internet stalking sleuthing, it looks like most of his foals and grandfoals are marked in similar ways. One of his foals was the first to ever score a perfect 100 in the hunter ring. Super neato.

Now, I'd like to try to register Penn with an Oldenburg registry (or maybe Dutch Warmblood?) so that he's eligible for USDF breed awards, and then if I decide to sell him in a few years, I have papers to go with him. His breeder doesn't have Czedona's registration number or info, just that she was an Alla Czar foal and an Oldenburg. Now since Alla Czar was a Dutch Warmblood, and Oldenburg Approved, I'm going to assume Czedona is registered.

More internet stalking sleuthing has turned up Czedona's dam, last known owner, and her breeder is listed as Alla Czar's owner. I found the owner's website and sent them an email, asking if they remember the mare. Now the website hasn't been updated in about 2 years, so I'm unsure if the email address is active and correct.

Even more internet stalking sleuthing, turned up the owner (I'm 99% sure it's Czedona's owner) and the breeder on Facebook.

So world, how inappropriate is it for me to contact the owner via Facebook and beg forgiveness but ask about the mare's registration? Even if he can't be registered, I'm dying of curiosity anyway.

His creepin' sock is visible here too.
Oh and the official name that he was sold to me with was "Illuczion" which I thought was completely off the wall and strange. Now that I realize most of Alla Czar's offspring carry a 'cz' somewhere in their name, I'm more inclined to use that strange spelling. Oh the paperwork that will incur because of me changing my mind!


Update 8/26/15: So according to USEF, Czedona is not the dam's breed registry name- it's Attractive Nussiancz. Which is good because that horse does appear on the breeder's website!

And Old NA/ISR won't take him because he isn't by an approved stallion... I'm going to see if he can go to inspection to get half papers or something (if they do that). We're going to try the RPSI too since they have something similar. So much work!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Penn's First Show! (26 pictures/2 videos)

Husband grabbed this candid shot before I put Penn away for the day. I love it.
Sunday was a day of mixed emotions. Penn was AWESOME. Simply incredible. But I just about cried my eyes out in his stall hugging him because as awesome as that little horse is, Mikey should have been at this show instead. But Penn is the one who is here, and he let me hug him and be sad for Mikey. It's what I needed, and I'm sure it won't be the last time Penn gives me a shoulder to cry on.

Anyway, Sunday was a happy day, so let's get on from the sadness and on to the happy!

All clean and braided Saturday.
First, Penn got on the trailer like a champ! Yay! He rode in Trainer's huge 38' 4 horse slant with LQ, so I'm guessing the big open space helped (and the get on the trailer lesson we had last Wednesday). He also unloaded very well, then settled into his stall at the show nicely.

He did get upset when both horses next to him left to go ride their tests (Dix and Willie- they also on either side of him in the trailer too). He screamed for about five minutes, I told him "Nooooooo" in a loud firm voice, and then he settled into just staring and looking for a friend. Eventually they came back and he got to munching on his hay. That was pretty much the excitement for him.

Ready to get in the ring... he doesn't look too sure of what that means.
All I can really say about this guy is that he was super. Another year of showing and traveling and seeing the world and he's going to be that super duper horse that you can take anywhere.

I had someone hold him when I got on because he doesn't have the best mounting block manners (yet) and then they led him from stabling to the main driveway for me... too many things for a baby horse to spook and run into while walking through stabling. We had a very uneventful walk down to warm-up.

He did not like the look of the change in footing that accompanied entering the warm up ring. Too bad baby horse! I put leg on and he went in with some hesitation. He wasn't really relaxing in walk (in fact he offered to trot off many times before I opted to ditch walk and just trot around). He had some speed demon trot moments in the warm up ring, but I put him on a 35m circle and just asked him to meet the bridle as best he could and trot out his nerves. He settled after five minutes or so of trotting.

Other horses in warm up didn't seem to bother him- we shared with 3 others at the beginning. I changed directions when it was just me and one other horse and I warned his rider that my steering doesn't work the best and I would try to stay out of her way, but please excuse our inability to go quite where I want. She changed directions with me though. Her trainer absolutely loved Penn, so I think that helped.

He got so many comments, and they basically amounted to "OMFG, SO ADORABLE!"

Even the judge got in on it. The show arena is quite a lot to look at: there's a two story announcers booth, then hedges and bleachers, a judges stand for h/j shows, the food stand is behind where the judge's tent is for dressage shows, and a road behind the main line of hedges. This early in the day, there wasn't a lot of atmosphere, but there was enough for Penn to do some good, old-fashioned gawking. Nothing terrible, and the only time his feet stopped moving was when he finally caught sight of the judge's tent. I told her it was his first show, and I believe what she said was something like this, "Aww! It's ok baby horse!" and when I got his feet moving again she and the scribe had rounds of "Good boy!" The Intro Test A video picks up right after that point.

He got to go back to his stall between tests and have a think about everything he saw before we tacked up and went back down for Intro B. Better focused and rode much better I think. The judge told us, "Much better!" at the end of it.

There's not much to say test-wise since it's walk/trot with basic figures. I had to go back a reread the purpose of Intro level. It basically amounts to a steady tempo and accurate figures, of which we had neither. His power steering isn't fully installed, so I didn't plan accordingly. I'm used to Mikey's power steering, and getting into the corners for 3rd level and the turns up centerline are more like: corner, straight, 2m quarter turn up centerline.

I buried him in the corner on more than one occasion. Sorry baby horse :-(
I'll admit, I never really rode 20m circles very much with Mikey after 1st level, except in canter. I usually went with 15-17m at the largest because I needed the circle to really do something to help out whatever collected move we were doing. So on Sunday, my 20m circle shapes were off when we'd do the last quarter of the circle. I still know the size because I know where the circle should sit in the arena, but the final quarter execution was bad. I went back to the rail and rode a normal corner essentially instead of finishing my circle.

I have to remember this general rule: You go as deep into the corner as your smallest circle in each gait. IE the corners can look like 20m quarter circles at intro and training level in w/t/c, first level is 15m in trot and canter, 2nd+ 10m and smaller. Then it's basically extra points if you can get in there deeper and make use of the corner. Maybe that's the wrong rule, but it's the one I've always gone with. Except at training level, I always made sure that there was a difference between my circle shapes and corner shapes.

Penn was distracted, totally doesn't understand free walk or bend, not always connected to the bit but usually seeking the right connection until he got distracted again, and his tempo varied quite a bit. All of these things are completely, 100% allowed because guess what, he's a baby horse at his first show ever and his world just got turned upside down. I think he was so steller and incredible. I know he wasn't Mikey relaxed and carried some tension, but for a first outing without consistent ring work? He gets an A++ in the relaxation department. I even had some floppy eared moments.

I know there really isn't much to critique at Intro level, but I've never had so few comments on a test. Even trainer gets more comments on her FEI tests.

All in all, we scored a 59.063% in Intro A, and 62.5% in Intro B. I'm happy. Super scores would have been the icing on the cake, but oh well. My horse was fucking super! He'll be a pro in no time.

Oh, and two second places! And not out of 2! Intro A was out of 3, and B was out of 5! A general note about the scores for the day, there were a bunch in the 50's, not so many in the 60's, but a handful in the 70's too. The judge seemed tough but fair. I always check to see how the scores are going on average when I go to shows. It gives me a gauge of how tough the judge is!

Ribbons for the good boy! (and mints)

Wine for me!
Some hand grazing near the ring after his rides so he can get some more eyefuls of the world.
Ok, now for the obscene number of pictures of our two tests. 41 got uploaded to Facebook (plus several mobile uploads), and I tried to cut it down for on here... but he's just so damn photogenic :-)

Just wanted to show he wasn't looking for the bit the whole time, haha.

This is about what he understood for free walk for all of 2 seconds. The rest of his free walk was spent staring, haha.

We halted and he swing his butt right. We'll work on that!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Life with Penn

Short hack Tuesday evening with newbie OTTB Dix.
First ears picture!
He's an interesting horse. He wants to be good and do what's expected of him, but sometimes he just doesn't know what that is. Anything bad that he does is done with a kind eye and immediate "I'm sorry." Like breaking out of the crossties.

So far, he's done it 3 times. The first time was Wednesday when I was doing up his girth. He likes to reach around and get mouthy when you put up the girth, never with ears back though, but I still don't care for the behavior (for now I'm ignoring it as long as his feet don't move). He had been shifting backwards a bit as I got him ready, then turned his head, and I think he felt the pressure of the cross ties and flung himself backwards... right into Trainer. Not a good move dude.

After he got his scolding and came back up to where the cross ties were, we reattached the baling twine that holds the ties to the wall and hooked him back in. He stood stone still. I was happy, thinking that was the beginning of the end of those shenanigans.


Wednesday night hack. He was the leader! Good boy!

I brought him in last night to pull his mane, bang his tail, and trim down the fuzzy hairs on his dock. Just do an in general grooming clean up.

He busted out twice last night. The first time, I was still brushing. He shifted back, I went to move him forward again, then he pulled against me, hit the end of the ties, bam, out he goes. More pony scolding.

I hooked him back in, kept brushing and correcting his backwards stepping, then moved on to pulling his mane. I don't think he actually cares about the pulling. His shoulder area is ticklish... I brushed and pulled, he twitched... One of the girls came by to watch me pull to learn how and I think between her moving quickly, lifting the cross tie and applying pressure with it, an already twitchy shoulder on top of one scolding, he panicked and busted out again.

I don't like giving up, but I don't want to continue to make a big deal about cross ties and destroy his confidence standing in the isle. So I opted to put a chain on him and go over some give to pressure (he understands very well when it's lead rope down pressure).  I then had him ground tie for the remainder of our evening. He was perfect. He didn't move his feet and he let me reset his head whenever he got distracted and looky at whatever was outside. He really settled when everyone else had left and it was just me and him in the barn.

Looking like a grown up baby horse!
I think I took just as much hair off his tail as his mane!
I like the pulled tail look, but I don't like pulling the tail. Last year I bought a comb that razors off random hairs (you just brush where you want the hair to be shorter), and it slims down the hair on the dock without you having to pull it. I used the same comb on his forelock to get rid of some of the sun bleached hair.
So much better looking baby horse! And he didn't mind all the fussing and pulling and poking and prodding. Good baby horse!

Our other adventures include misbegotten (I really like that word) saddle fitting. I love my Jaguar. It actually doesn't fit Penn that poorly, but it is too wide. I'm not about to sell it and go buy another saddle though because Penn doesn't have any muscle. I'll buy a new one, build his muscle, then end up with a too narrow saddle and no Jaguar! I actually think it'll fit him quite nicely once he gains some weight and muscle. For now, we're going to pad it up and see what happens. Sorry baby horse!

So much saddle for such a little horse!
Mikey's girth is just too big to use on him with this saddle. I used it with my trainer's Bates for our first ride at the farm and it seemed fine, so I didn't think anything of it. My Jaguar has much longer billets than the Bates however, so I ordered Penn a 20" neoprene no slip Ovation girth. Tiny pony! Why can't you fit into Mikey's expensive Total Saddle Fit girth?! I will not be buying you your own expensive girth for a year or more, fyi!

I opted to swap out the saddle pad order to how Mikey liked it- fleece half pad under the quilted square pad. That mixed with a 22" girth that Trainer has, the saddle stayed in place and seemed to fit better.

Penn is getting hind shoes today! And having his fronts reset. We haven't done any arena work because getting down there is just too ouchy for his feet (walk on a dirt/gravel road), and the arena is pretty hard surfaced and there's no reason to abuse the creature when the farrier is already coming out in a couple days. We're also hoping it alleviates some of his mounting block issues too. It's gravel by the mounting block, and we can tell he wants to stand there, but he gets nervous and he starts acting up when he sets himself as the rider gets on. He still needs to learn to stand, but we can be kind to him too.

We've got to get to work because...

Baby's first entry form!
Penn is going to his first horse show! Bahaha.

There's a local schooling show on Sunday, same location as the last show I took Mikey to. Trainer is bringing Dix and another green bean baby horse as two "why the hell not" entries (in addition to her 2 or 3 other rides), and she said, "Why don't you bring Penn too?" Trainer and I are going to face off in Open Intro on green bean baby horses! Penn is soft in the bridle, very well behaved (knock on wood) in new places (he's lived at 3 farms in 2 weeks), and he walks and trots and steers. Sounds like a good Intro Level horse! Trainer and I had a good laugh about what we'll say when we talk to the judge at the end- "So tell me about this horse?"

Penn: "Well I've had him for a week and this is my 6th ride on him."
Dix: "Well I've had him for about 2 weeks and he ran his last race at the end of June and he started working again about a week ago."
Caesar: "Well this one has been under saddle for about 2 months."

We're just out to have some fun walking and trotting. And if he does have mini melt downs about it, Trainer will sit on him. I don't see that happening- he's actually been quite brave under saddle and the things he's balked at haven't really been his fault since he was only ridden in an indoor. He's actually only upset when the footing gets super soft and squishy and when he's near puddles. He has a half installed go forward button (I kick and use my seat in a way that he can't back up and he listens immediately by at least taking one step forward, but it sometimes doesn't have the desired full effect and we have to repeat).

I also look forward to seeing him in braids! And I'm going to pull those braids over to the right side of his neck, then they're going to stay in for like a week to get the mane started on training it to the right. I can't stand it being on the left!

As I was grooming him last night, I noticed some things:

He has quite a bit of white hair speckled throughout his tail. None in the mane though.
By the way, he also has a speckled butt hole. Like, black skin with some white/pink speckles.

Then he has this creepin' sock.
He also has some white hairs flecked throughout his coat. I guess his body was thinking about being a roan? Either way, it's pretty cool. And Mikey had the same thing. White hairs in the mane and white hairs flecked throughout the coat. I'm taking it as a sign. Of what, I donno.

Maybe future silliness like this?