Thursday, April 30, 2009

Second Installment of The Trip

Above: Gray Stud Mouse, Mouse's sire
The horse that we're breeding Mouse to next month.

Huston has been telling me that I should breed Mouse for a while now. He told me that Mouse was too good of a horse and too well bred not to pass on her lineage. So, we left Mouse with Huston in Missouri so that she could be bred to a Missouri Traveler stud that belongs to Dale and Donna Nissen, who also own Mouse's sire, Gray Stud Mouse. There is a picture below of Gray Stud Mouse with Huston and also I've put a full body shot with this post. You can see in this photo just how much Mouse looks like him. I was thrilled that I got the opportunity to meet both horses and "The Honey Horse" which is Mouse's grandfather on her mother's side....I know this is getting complicated. All of Dale and Donna's stallions are so sweet tempered and people friendly. The photo that I have of the Traveler stud is very blurry because it was taken inside the barn with very little light but this was the friendliest guy, he loves attention. I was petting him and loving on him and you would never have known that he was a stallion. When I stopped noticing him and started talking to the people, he reached over and started nuzzling me, lol. Between his dispostion and Mouse's, we ought to get a sweet baby. I'm so excited and it was such fun visiting the Nissan farm which is gorgeous--you feel as if you are miles away from the rest of the world out there, meeting Dale and meeting the stallions which were all special and gorgeous.
Huston tells me that it is a joy having Mouse back on his farm for a while. He plans on showing her this summer and this weekend he will be showing her off in a twenty mile charity ride in Long Lane, Missouri. He told me that there will be between a 100 and 150 horses on the ride. I told him that we will have the best horse there and he said, "You bet we will!" I think we both are more than a little smitten with this horse:)
I'll probably be posting at least two more posts about the trip. One will be about the trail ride we went on last Saturday and the next about the two horses we brought back home with us...yes, TWO:)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Trip

I think that Mouse remembered Huston, too. 

At long last, I finally have the time to sit down in front of this computer and tell you all about what a great trip we had visiting Huston Jenkins in Missouri. I admire Huston so much. He is an amazing horseman and a wonderful person. I learned so much from him in just a few days by watching how he handles the horses and rides and also by listening to his stories about the horses he loves so much. 
He has such a wonderful family as well. His son and two daughters all live near by now. They all made us feel comfortable and at home like we were part of the family. His daughters, Nancy and Wanda, cooked the most wonderful meals for us all weekend. I don't know when I've eaten so well! Huston agrees that they are great cooks and he says that they learned it all from their mother, Patty. They lost Patty last year. She was the most amazing woman. They tell me that she was always so hospitable to guests in their home. I remember how welcome she made me feel the one time I met her in person and I enjoyed so much our phone conversations over the years; she always made me feel as if we were old friends that had known each other forever. She is so greatly missed but her spirit lives on in her family and their love for her. I've always said that I've gained so much from having horses enter my life five years ago through my beautiful Mouse, which Huston raised and trained. The people that I've met through horses have all added so much to my life and Huston and his wonderful family are at the top of that list. I can't thank him or them enough. 
We were much later arriving at Huston's home than we'd anticipated...of course, Steve and I are always late for everything, lol. This time it wasn't all our fault. Mapquest had told us that the trip would take 10 and 1/2 hours but it took us over 12 thanks to road construction, unexpected storms, and hitting St Louis right at rush hour. We did finally arrive right at darkness on Thursday night. Huston met us on the highway and guided us back to his farm. Mouse was so happy to get out of that trailer but she wheeled around and pulled me toward the fence when she saw her baby boy standing there. Huston had told me that she would remember him and I'm sure she did. I found her the next morning, nuzzling another mare across the fence. Huston told me that it was her full sister. Animals, especially horses, never cease to amaze me. 
Huston's farm was like a little bit of heaven to me. I'd get up early in the morning and go out to take photos or just to sit on the porch and watch the horses run in the pasture across from the house. It was just a perfect weekend, clear blue skies, sunshine and enough wind to keep us cool. We rode horses on Friday in the barn and then we went hunting for tack. We didn't find the tack we wanted but the shopping was fun. If we'd realized that we'd be bringing two new horses home instead of one, we might have been shopping more seriously. But more on that later. I've got to go start supper but I will write more about our fantastic weekend later including a visit to the Nissan farm to meet the stud we are breeding Mouse to(!) and to also meet Mouse's sire or daddy, Gray Stud Mouse. There is a photo of him below with Huston but I will more shots of him tomorrow....promise:)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our two new boys:) Django is the black one. He's also Mouse's baby and we call him Baby Boy most of the time....right now, he just answers to food, lol. He's seven years old and LOVES attention. His real name is Sensational Boy J. The sorrel, we are calling Rowdy and I'll explain why later. Red Rowdy Boy's papered name is Sensational n' Honey; both he and Django have the same sire but he and Mouse have the same dam or mother. Rowdy is ten years old and a sensational trail horse but a bit of a tool on the ground...we will adjust:) He finally came up to me last night uninvited and let me pet him. We are making progress. Django on the other hand is like a puppy dog; you don't have to ask twice if he wants a rub down....or, just like his mama, a treat, lol
Rowdy being rowdy
Steve meeting Django (Mouse's baby) for the first time

Huston with Gray Stud Mouse...Mouse's daddy...doesn't she look like him?


Above: Houston and Mouse getting reacquainted after a five year separation.

I'm going to start by posting some photos of our trip to visit Huston in Missouri and then I will post the stories of the trip and news later. I will put an explanation with each photo but I just haven't the time to do the stories justice today. Melissa Hamilton, our vet, is coming out this morning to check out our TWO new horses:)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Going to Visit Huston

No, that isn't a typo because it isn't Houston, Texas but our friend Huston Jenkins in Missouri that we are going to visit. Huston is the man who raised and trained Mouse. The first purpose of the trip is to pick up Mouse's baby (who's now 7 and not such a baby:) and bring him back to Tennessee to live with us. The main purpose of the trip though is just to visit a while with Huston and go riding and learn a ton of stuff about horses (which won't even chip what he knows about them.) He's 85 and still breaking and training horses! He is a wealth of horse knowledge and unlike so many people that we unfortunately meet who deal with horses, especially some trainers, Huston loves horses. He tells me that, in his opinion(which is one I really respect) they are more like human than any other creature and each has its own unique personality. The theory he works under and one that is quite successful is that you have to learn the horse before you can train it and then it just takes patience and calm consistency. 
To give you an example, Huston is currently training several horses. One was brought to him totally unbroke and barely in halter and the other was dashing off every time the owner tried to mount. Within two weeks Huston not only had the first horse under saddle and responding beautifully but he had the second standing perfectly still until the rider asked it to move and also parking out (where the horse moves its legs out so that it is closer to the ground) so that the short, heavy rider could mount easily without a block!! And did I mention that he's 85! 
The man is amazing and you can expect plenty of photos and I'm sure plenty more stories as soon as I return home.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Spring Romp

Mouse Feeling her Spring Oats....or else running away from me to avoid work, lol.
I was smart this morning and managed to corral her during her breakfast. Still, even though getting a halter on her was a breeze--she actually dropped her head and let me do it--getting her into the trailer was another matter entirely!! We've been having problems with this for about a week. The first time was Monday when I was planning on taking her to Brandy's farm (Blue Point) for a quick ride in the arena. That plan fell through quickly when she absolutely refused to be loaded. I tried every trick I knew and finally called our friend, Chris. Chris has been working with a man that he calls a real horse whisperer. I believe him after watching Chris, who was nice enough to drive to our place when he heard we were having problems and spent at least three hours working with Mouse, working magic. By the time he called it done, Mouse was leaping into the trailer on the command, "Load!" The next day, I tried it on my own and it took a few attempts before she was doing what I asked. Then I ate a bad shrimp--which isn't a story in itself...or maybe it is, lol...but I didn't feel like doing much of anything for a few days. Still I know Mouse is smart and smart enough not to have forgotten all of this in five days. She is just in season and showing herself a bit. Well, if you'd seen how she was acting when I first started lunging her, you might say that she is showing her self a lot. It took over an hour and a lot of sweat on both out parts, she and I, before she finally reluctantly loaded. Then I made her back out and do it all over again hoping that would make her easier to get back in the trailer when we were ready to come home. In her defense, Steve had me get in the trailer and ride with Mouse up the driveway to our pasture when we got back home and I told her that I now understand why she hates it so. It is noisy in there. There were times, when we were crossing all of the gullies that the winter rains created, that it sounded as if the entire contraption would fall apart around us. I'm sure it has to be better out on smooth pavement but still she has to feel and hear every bump. 
It was windy today, too, which didn't help. I was a bit reluctant to get in the saddle once we got to Brandy's but Steve told me that was what we were there for. So, I took a literal leap of faith and the girl was great. She got a wee bit spooky but straightened right out when I corrected her a bit. In the end, she was a doll and now, I need to take her the extra feed I promised her tonight. I know she's waiting for that:)

If I Could Fly

If I Could Fly
The wind of heaven is that which flows between a horse's ears.