Baby Steps

I took advantage of the long weekend to make the trip to visit my baby Stu. I can’t believe how much he’s grown since I last saw him! I think that mainly his joints have thickened. They look a big stocky now. 

The trainer has worked with him a few times, but nothing extensive. I went down mainly just to hang out with him and get to know him on the ground more. First up was the awkward standing, like the start of a date where you don’t know what to say. 

foal
“So you like eating and drinking things? That’s cool… I like those things, too.”

Then it was grooming time. I don’t know how many times he’s been grooming in his short life, but I’m sure I could count them on one hand (or one finger.) But he wasn’t at all sucpicious (like Pony was when he was a baby) and liked the grooming. He especially liked his belly being scratched.

After grooming, we got a quick tutorial in how to teach the foal to lead, and we worked on that. He was not happy with this at first, especially since it meant leading him away from his mother, but he gave into the pressure and just went with it. Mostly at a snail’s pace. 

foal training
I’m one of those mothers that is shocked by their baby doing the most basic of things.

After Stu allowed himself to be led around, his mother decided it was in her best interest to follow Stu. So I led the slowest procession ever around the ring. I don’t know how long we worked on this but it felt like a while. It was time to release them and let them go be foals again. 

Stu and Olivet are pasture mates, with several other mare/foal sets, but it seems they are getting along very well. Olivet definitely seems to be setting herself up as boss mare. 

foals
He seems content to let her be leader.

Olivet seems HUGE. Like, I thought Stu had gotten bigger, but Olivet is a giant. I don’t think it shows very well in the picture, but she is much bigger than Stu. Which makes sense as she’s 6 weeks or so older than him. But she’s just big in general. Watching her nurse off her mom looks strange because it looks like a small horse nursing off a normal sized horse. 

big foal
Look at this mare, breastfeeding her child in public!

In addition to hanging out with them, the breeder gave vaccinated them and showed us how to inject. I’ve had to do it multiple times before, and Stu reared up at the first vaccine, so I declined to practice. D’Arcy did it though and gave Olivet a clean injection in the neck. 

One day, I will ride this tiny baby.

It was fun to spend time with them, and sad to leave them. It’s tempted to bring them back early, but we just aren’t ready yet. A few more months to get through, and then we will see them every day. 

Stu should be getting gelded, and his hernia fix in the next few weeks. The breeder is going to arrange everything so it won’t be another reason to visit, but I’ll probably see him again in early October. I’m looking forward to it!

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Stu the Model

I feel like I only talk about one thing these days…and I have good news, I’m not going to write a lengthy post about him! Instead, here’s a post made up mostly by some of the dozens of photos of Stu during his recent inspection. I feel like they will go to waste if I don’t post them.  

You’ve been warned!

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He’s got the look! (because he has eyes and can see out of them)
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I wish I looked this good when I ran.
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Hello, ladies.
“My favorite activity is gazing handsomely off into the distance.”
Practicing the end of the runway look and turn.
He’s way too cool to show any interest in the camera.

The rest of the photos are mild variations of what I’ve already posted. It seemed excessive to post them as well. 

Now it’s time for another Stu dry spell. No idea when I’m going to go visit him again. It’s sad, but I know he’s in good hands for now. Due to some alternate commitments, his pickup date moved back to December, which is hard to endure but gives us more time to prep the pasture. Hurrah! 

Now hopefully the next post will be about the horses that live with me and I see on a daily basis!

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Westfalen NA Inspection

Sharpie’s inspection was going to be today, July 28, 2017, but due to likely all-day thunderstorms, it was moved to yesterday. This meant I was already at work, working, when I received the notice that Sharpie was going to be inspected, and did I want to come watch. I did, but I had a meeting at work that prevented me from immediately leaving and enjoying a day of foal inspections. Instead, I got there late enough that I saw 5 foals go, including mine and D’Arcy’s. 

Side note: I decided I don’t like the name “Sharpie” anymore, and am testing out a new name, “Stu.” This is Stu. Stu is awesome. Everyone likes Stu. From now on, he will be referred to as Stu, unless I decide I don’t like Stu anymore, in which case, stay tuned for the next name. 

All the inspections follow a basic format. First, the foals are brought in and examined at a standstill. There were two inspectors, which included longtime RPSI inspector of North America and German, Otto. He will be traveling nonstop until October to see all the horses on the North American tour. 

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This colt got the comment, “Very muscular.” Not a surprise since he looks like a weight lifter!

After being inspected at the halt, the mother is lead around the arena and the foal follows. This one was very energetic…he decided the best action was to attack his mother while being led. 

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“MAAAHMMM, play with me!”

Then he ran around like a barrel horse.

Serpentine Babou!

It was fun to watch the foals come out, and speculate on what their futures may be. One foal, Oh Henry, seems destined for the hunter ring. I was a little envious of his clear hunter ability, and also of the other fabulously talented foals, but I really only need the one. And need is a strong word anyway…I really only want the one. Even if I want every one of them. 

Olivet and Stu were the last to go. Olivet is having a weird growth stage right now, and has earned the nickname, “Carpet Mule.”

We are pretty sure her father was a horse…but maybe a DNA test to be sure?

They clipped off her baby hair, but she’s looking very splotchy right now. Poor thing, it stinks she had to go through inspection at this awkward stage. Otto did acknowledge that she’s clearly going through a growth phase right now in his remarks. 

Carpet Mule canters placidly. 

Stu was the final horse to go. He came in very casually with his surrogate mom, and quietly hung out. His mom is definitely a calming influence in his life. 

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As he trotted with his mother, he suddenly had a burst of energy and raced down the long side!

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It only lasted a moment though, and then he was back to trotting docilely along. 

foal trot

Otto’s comments, which were luckily recorded for posterity:

Long legs, showed good movement, good stride at canter, nice balance, easy flying changes. Good trot, with nice swing, and good rhythm. A promising prospect here, interesting cross with long legs.  

Possibly vague, but sounds good enough. He did not get premium, which if I’m honest with myself, I am disappointed, but they look for dressage quality when they decide on those features. I assumed he wasn’t going to move out well due to his placid mother, but I’m also not looking for a dressage prospect. I saw two premiums inspected before Stu, and now that I’ve seen both premium and not, the premiums truly are a sight to behold. They have a little bit extra something going on, but I’m not educated enough to put it into words. I’m considering going to Germany for the Westfalen event in November to both see all the horses, and examine more closely what they look for in a foal. But we will see, I’m not made of money here!

After the inspection, the foals get hair plucked, microchiped, and branded. Some of them took it better than others – I wasn’t able to get photos, but one of them reared straight up. Most of them twist around for a moment at the least. None of them notice what’s going on until the deed is already done. Stu shuffled around for a moment but didn’t react otherwise. 

Westfalen North American tour
Olivet being branded.
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Stu’s new brand.

After branding, we hung around for a few minutes to take pictures and pet our oversized pets. Stu posed for me for several minutes and while this isn’t a quality they look for in foal inspections, this is a quality I greatly appreciate!

foal
We are really into deep, meaningful staring.

Stu was very interested in the decorations. 

“hmm, what is this? I better paw it to check.”
“It’s attacking! Run for your lives!”

Right before we left, they announced the site champions. The filly champion, which may not be a surprise to any readers who liked her before, was the black beauty look-alike, who is now named Delta. I sadly missed her inspection, but D’Arcy said she was spectacular. I’m very sad I missed it. She currently has a three people waiting list, so if you’re interested, better get in line!

site champion
Despite being sunbleached, her expression says she still knows that she is the best.

After everything was done, I talked to Otto for a bit about the foals, and the inspection. He’s a very interesting man. I asked him if he could elaborate on Stu’s potential for hunters. They don’t have hunters in Germany, it’s a very American sport, but he did offer some great perspective. He said they don’t judge the foals on their suitability for hunters (due to the previous sentence) but he personally thought Stu would be great for hunters. He thought Stu was great at being elastic in his movement, and he emphasized how important that is. 

This is very much making me want to go to Germany for the November stallion inspections, but we’ll see how the pieces fall. Overall, it was a very cool experience to see the foals inspected!

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