Saturday, November 21, 2009

Triumphs and Tragedies

How does a person attempt to describe a foaling season consisting of 50% tragedy? It is hard to be 'glass half full' pollyanna when you sit at the kitchen table with blood drying up your arms, placenta stuck to your knees and a horrid mess of death lying in the paddock waiting to be cleaned up at first light.

I feel like I let this mare down. I sat with her in the paddock last night and felt the foal move. Just on twilight....the time they all go silly in the paddock, playing, catching the last light before bedtime. I was comfortable leaving her, she looked well and happy, and was not a maiden mare. Penn has always just popped them out when she is ready, unassisted and under cover of darkness. Greg headed out at first light this morning to spray the vineyard and when I heard him turn the bike back, I knew we had news of some sort. Unfortunately, all bad.

JK My Penny would have given birth to a lovely bay filly, had all gone well. Now, I sit here typing this as a way of shedding some of the stress and shit that I feel caked in. Bloody animals.

My 50% triumph, is RG Rumblebee. A cute as a button chesnut colt, born Friday the 13th to my TB mare, Ducky. A maiden mare, unassisted. Funny how fate likes to fart in your face occasionally?

Rumble is orange with a white mark on his face that looks like someone tripped with a glass of milk. His legs are so long that he looks like a peanut balanced on 4 toothpicks. He is cute and cocky and has his 'fathers eye'! And he is so welcome.

RIP Penny, sorry I let you down.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Global Warming?

...and still it snows...! Nick and Greg ponder life at the lower entrance to Deep Creek (the top block) Very cold and wet. Note to self: Put bikini and shorts back in the 'summer trunk'.

Jack finally got to make a real snow angel! He wasn't convinced these were the original models though, having always had to make them out of mud, sand, leaves etc. Was deeply disappointed to discover how wet one becomes whilst making them also! Hence, 10 minutes was his limit and we were back in the hilux heading for the house. Good. The novelty of snow is starting to wear off. Am not looking forward to moving bloody heavy diesel filled frost posts with frozen wet fingers in the next 48 hours.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

We're Baaa...ack!

Spring was well and truly in the air this week....until today. Gorgeous weather all week then snow today! Thank goodness we aren't expecting any new arrivals for a few weeks yet.

Redman has been going really kindly for all who get on board...the pic below of Jessie having the ride of MY life! With mad cows, psychotic turkeys and an incident with an electric fence, I was a nervous wreck by the time we got home. Red was lucky it was Jess on board: my hands being somewhat less steady in times of high stress...!

Was a lovely ride around the farm, checked on the broodies out the back and everything looking good.
A bit of a different vista today:

This is 'Big Lake', at the back of the farm. In between the broodmare paddock and the Island Lake, where the previous pic was taken. In 30+ years, I have never seen snow this low in October (actually, any month!). This was a 3pm this afternoon...and it is now nearly 8pm...and to the best of my knowledge it is still snowing... AWESOME! Apologies to all readers in colder parts of the country: I know snow is cold and inconvenient. But this is a real treat here:) Of course, unless it all buggers off by Monday night, we could be in the poo with the vineyard? The last thing we need is a frost. But hey. Wouldn't life be boring without the odd challenge?

New additions to the menagerie:

Bushy and Fi: My beautiful TradeMe Rodent Control Units! Have moved in, taken over and am loving them to pieces.

And, not to give up on my moonews...I have a newmoo! Heidimoocow is the proud babysitter of Honky Snowballs, a cute white boy whose mother couldn't jump (over the fence to save him!)

No, I don't usually bother with the extravagance of covering cows....but it is so cold and miserable out there, and the covers weren't doing anything.... (That's a 4'6" on Heidi!)

Signing out:)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Back In The Saddle....

Well, it's been a while....but it feels great to be back in the saddle again! Red is back in work, nice and slow, absolute gent. And the exciting news is: Rococo is now started under saddle! We have had a few nice 'little' rides out and he is a totally different horse to sit on. Very much like his sire. Soft, powerful, extremely athletic and very sane! Was a big decision to take this step, but I felt we needed to have a degree more education before Spring. And he is a big boy! The next big thing is - to geld or not?! Rococo has some lovely bloodlines on both the jumping and dressage sides. His Dam is Glamour Girl (D WB, Cuddles) a delightful old girl who is retired and living out her days in the Equine Valley for the Perpetually Bewildered (out the back). By The Immigrant (Formateur), Cuddles is also the Dam of several highly successful NZ dressage horses bred by the JK Holsteiner Stud, including JK Lonestar and JK Lucazen. Sired of course by JK Rodin, Rococo shows all of his athleticism and incredible nature. I was devastated to lose Rodin earlier this year and am reminded of what a special horse he was when handling his youngstock. Rococo should mature at around 17hh, and is very well put together which will make him a lovely ride.

I can also add to 'the team' Duchess Dorothy Spot. Dotty is a wee coloured filly, rising (very slowly) 2yrs and keeping everybody amused. As soon as the sun comes out and I can chip some of the filth she is encased in, off, I will get the camera out. But right now, she resembles something that looks like 7 goats in a sack.

Did I mention the autumn calf? Heidi-Moo? Heidi has grown far too fast is is not a cute calf any more. She is a vile wildebeest of a thing, which terrorises me at 'dinnertime'. I have to take a stick to her as the witch is growing horns and uses them to her utmost advantage when I am upside-down mixing feeds in the tack shed! Red will occasionally allow her to share his feed bowl but remains Boss. However, Heidi can totally intimidate Dot and I have to say that witnessing a spotted hissyfit in 6" of mud with a mad cow circling the feed bins is definitely good for laugh.....only if you are on the right side of the fence! Throw in 15-20 marauding chickens, a Prozac dependant fox terrier and a control freaky 5 year old boy that wants to be an animal trainer and you get the whole picture.

So watch this space. As we drag our knuckles towards Spring, the whole place should start to thaw, and maybe even dry out? I can't believe that soon enough the ground will be hard enough to break bones on again. (We have the first days docking done with plenty more to go. ) Funnily enough, I had to buy a new pair of wellies this winter as my old ones had split. And to be fair, that probably happened last year....but with the drought...didn't notice!

Global Warming My Foot!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sad Day

Goodbye Old Man.

I will be forever in your debt. You were the kindest tutor I ever had. The most generous of spirit. The most giving of souls. The final decision I had to make on your behalf was by far, one of the most painful I have ever made. I am privileged to have kept you company thus far. Thank you.

On Tuesday morning, JK Rodin was put to sleep after suffering a broken leg in his paddock at home. He was 23 years old. He will be missed.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture!

Can't quite put my finger on it...but...? This is Heidi. The latest addition to the ever-growing menagerie we call home. She was an 'Autumnal Blunder' who was mis-mothered in the confusion of culling and spent 3 days out the back on her own, before a sharp-eyed neighbour picked up on her plight and called us. She has taken to the bottle straight away, and comes to the whistle (as does everything around this place, except the dog) but especially loves her big orange mate in the video. Red, is not so sure. He is not particularly fussed on sharing any feed with Heidi-Moo, however, is definitely keen on having a bottle as well.....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pic of JK My Penny and filly foal by JK Rodin, RG Ricochet. Now 3 months old.

Another good horsework day:)

Rococo (aka Rocky) in again today for more groundwork. He was introduced to a saddle today and took it all in his stride. Complete with breastplate and flopping stirrup irons, it was all a bit of a non-event....very calm and sensible. I have to confess it was rather tempting to try to crawl all over him...! Note to self: Put mounting block on the shopping list. We went for a walk around the yards and buildings, even venturing into the shed and backing out a couple of times; thinking of future float training. He was tied up for half an hour, while I had a cup of tea (!) and then re-covered and sent back to his dusty dry paddock. Nice pony.
Moved all the cows, removed the bulls and to put the icing on the cake, said goodbye to Lavanderlilac and Hugo as they very happily rejoined the main herd. (Falkor didn't make it - crossed the bridge a little while ago....) Was a bit sad to see them skipping off to be 'big cows' but great to see them with all their own kind. For a while there, Hugo thought he was a chicken.
For those of you who are following the news of the kiwi firefighters in Oz, here is a link to the crew from Heli-Harvest. Am very proud that Dad is over there, but hope he stays safe.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

35 Degrees In The Shade....

That is just too hot. I attempted to do some 'horse-work' (as opposed to house-work, which also desperately needs doing) before it got too hot, but I was about an hour too late. Hence, Rococo got off very lightly and I ended up a wringing wet mess all by about 11am. What a tremendously kind young horse. He is getting quite big and brawny, now 2 years old and very much entire. But sensible and well mannered considering his shocking lack of handling! Am really looking forward to riding this boy.
Too hot to do anything else.
A huge branch came crashing down off one of the old gums by the stables. I rushed out to make sure Red wasn't squashed beneath it....knowing his love of the first-aid kit. But it wasn't even clever enough to squash one of the ten trillion turkeys that have taken up residence out there. Still, it was a huge branch - about 18" diametre, which will be great for 'popping over' once we trim it up.
It has just started spitting....big fat wet drops spaced about 3 feet apart...but WET. Keep your fingers crossed for us. It is way too dry in HB right now, and my heart really goes out to the poor Aussies with the fires in Vic.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Another Youngster For Sale:

This is a lovely yearling colt by JK Rodin, out of a Tom Schu mare. Very well put together for a yearling and showing a maturity and attitude well beyond that of 12 months! This boy was bred by John Tulloch of Puketitiri, Hawkes Bay and is currently due to be gelded any day. He is very similar in type to RG Redman - I just LOVE the Holsteiner/TB cross that Rodin produces. This colt is straight, sound and unblemished. Very stylish with plenty of chrome, what a fantastic dressage/jumping prospect - and if showing is your thing? - certainly no wallflower. Weaned and ready to go:

Leave a message on the blog if you would like to be put in touch with John:)
Jack and I are having a lovely 'horse day'. Due to the lack of rain and hence the ensuing lack of grass, things are getting tight. We have moved the stallion and Cuddles into their new paddock. 15 Acres of tree-lined luxury complete with water feature! JK MY Penny and her filly will be moving in there this afternoon also, and that completes that happy family. Penny's filly has really grown....and am still a little puzzled over the final colour? Definitely NOT orange.....but possibly not bay either? Time will tell.

The TB broodies are all well out the back. Thriving on neglect! I have decided that it is to be "Lady' that I will sell. She has the best conformation and the most potential for life outside the broodmare paddock, being only 7 and un-fussed with. Apparently she has a good 'jump' in her and will enjoy regular routine when brought back into work. Ducky was the obvious choice, but I am unable to part with her. She is such a nice size, very sensible and will be a useful farm hack if nothing else. (She is also very snuggly, leads behind the 4-wheeler and comes to a whistle...)

Red has had a few well deserved days off. We will concentrate on happy hacking as soon as the school holidays finish. We are having a saddle fitting this weekend so should be all go. It has been so hot and dry that the ground is like rock. We are all being driven insane by the most annoying little fruit-fly-type-thingums in swarms, sticking to every last molecule of moisture they can find, which is usually either inside your eyeballs, up your nose or GULP, inside your mouth. You DO NOT want to get 'caught short' out there right now!

The river level is dropping and the brown slimy weed has taken hold. Still plenty of fish in the backwashes, but they will be starting to taste 'muddy' and aren't worth catching. The vineyard is enjoying this weather too. A wee southerly blew in yesterday, lowering the daytime temp from 29 to 15 in 2 hours. We will get another cool night tonight, then should be back to blistering temps for the weekend. If we hadn't lost nearly 80% of the Pinot Noir in the early frosts, we would have been laughing. Last weeks dilemna was being at the mercy of contractors for the pruning: As we couldn't get a spray on until we were trimmed. Now we just need to fight the powdery in the Reisling and get the bird nets up. It all sounds a bit doom and gloom - but it's really not! We don't rely on the vineyard as a sole source of income. Yes, prices have dropped, yes, the frost nailed the Pinot. But the Reisling is looking great and the winery has indicated it may be suitable for a single block label. It is also great therapy walking the rows. No smelly sheep (unless we need them for leaf-plucking!) or bolshy cows. Totally horse-free. Rabbit-free, however, it is not.

And it's a big welcome to the latest addition to the family: Little Bunny FruFru. >sigh<

Sunday, January 18, 2009

We Did It!

Have just returned from the Wairoa A&P show with one tired horse and one befuddled and totally knackered rider! What a great way to learn about your youngster: Take him in company travelling, overnighting in yards, warming up and competing alongside other experienced horses surrounded by all the normal fairground attractions and topped off by multiple aeroplanes taking off and landing overhead! Absolutely brilliant fun. We crossed quite a few personal boundaries for the both of us and have come out better for it.

The dressage was a bit of an 'ask' for us. As the canter is only just starting to happen:) But we managed to enter AND exit at 'A' (was worried about 'M' for 10 seconds at one stage) and came away with some '7' not too bad. We managed a 4th place in one of the training tests - but definitely plenty of room for improvement. The only way is UP! Couldn't resist posting the pic - don't the faces just say it all?

It was lovely to see the last of the broodmares picked up today. Maddy and Alex off home. Alex returned a positive test on Friday morning....very happy about that. Rodin is tuckered out and turned out with his girls now. Once again, he has a 100% conception for the season! Not bad for the old boy aye?!
Kylee from HOT SPOTS thermal imaging came out today to check the 'boys' for me. Was really interesting to see what was 'hot' and what was not. What a fantastic business - wishing her all the best....and booking in for the HOY when she will be down next. I was particularly interested when we 'imaged' RG Rococo's face. Approx. 11 months ago, he sustained a blunt force trauma to the head - we think he jammed it between the walkway on the cattle yards. No lacerations, but extreme swelling, bloodied nose etc. His pretty wee face was quite sore and really hasn't ever gone down to normal since the 'event'. When Kylee 'photographed' his face, there was a large green area (manhand size) which indicated little/no blood flow/circulation? Fascinating. Am now researching lymphangitis cases and look forward to showing the images to my vet and discussing options.
Will try to update this a little more regularly, now that the breeding season here has finished. The vineyard is always calling....but we have been baking in 33+ degrees the calls tend to remain unanswered by me! The river, on the other hand, has become a favourite spot to retire to....