At Redhearts, we are no different to any another horse owner during these winter months, finding the long months a challenge. Irrespective if your horse/s live in and worked or live out or come in during the night, the work load is immense. The commitment to strive through the elements of the weather is the small price you pay for the satisfaction of being a horse owner. Taking on the frozen pipes, the extra manure due to the longer hours spent in the stable and ad lib hay. Not to mention the muddy fields……..I could go on!
None the less I look forward to the winter, “letting the horses down”, letting them get muddy, grow a winter coat and be “horses” is all part of their education, especially for the young stock, I believe this is one factor of many that is key to their future.
Although I find it a challenge, with work, the school runs and general family life, it is only what I know now. The race against the day light hours,I find preparation and organisation at the weekends without compromising the care of the horses makes life easier. Long gone are my days of changing rugs and warming the bit up…..
Today the sun shone and I had time to take some up to date images. It is amazing to see what a bit of sun can do, the young stock certainly had fun……
The broodmares grazed….
The Redheart fillies played……
Reus constantly annoyed the pony……..
Despite a thick dirty coat, an over grown mane and splashed with mud, he still looks a “handsome two-year old colt”…..
The cold dry days are far more enjoyable than the wet windy ones and the horses actions support this quite clearly.
The race against the clock from Dawn to Dusk has been captured beautifully by my very patient daughters.
Dawn, the time that marks the beginning of the twilight before the sunrise, time to get those horses out…..in aid of Easter because of her night blindness.
A myth or not, I have always believed to change a horses “stable name” is bad luck. I cannot say I know anyone who has changed a “stable name” and experienced bad luck but then how do you decide what is bad luck? The life of the horse or your own personal life with that horse?
None the less, I know plenty of horses and owners that have re-named their horses registered name. I do not believe you obtain bad luck for changing the registered name and I can vouch for this in my own personal experience.
When Mr Jones bred his mares Helen and Mary, his late wife Doreen named them Mary So Gay and Helen So Gay. They were re-named Helen Tudor and Mary Tudor after the farm “Mount Tudor”. We had great success with them and no bad luck during their days, Mary passed away of natural causes a few years ago in her late 20’s and Helen is still going strong nearly in her 30’s. Fantastic ages for Thoroughbreds.
So, I do not believe bad luck is upon me for having (out of my control) to re-name Hevans EV Pascalius and Hevans EV Cateaster.
With the prefix “Hevans” already taken in the UK under the Central Prefix Register, the rules are different in the USA where my horses are registered. Although “Hevansev” was a prefix available to me here, it made little sense for future foals and was very difficult to pronounce.
Having collected my passports yesterday, I can officially introduce you to the same horses with their new names, REDHEART PASCALIUS and REDHEART CATEASTER.
Wish us luck………..
Let me introduce you to Katkin 2, a Section A gelding about ten years old that belongs to my daughters, Millicent and Jasmin. They love him dearly and he will stay with us until the end.
He experienced a trauma in his younger days and so we keep him as a lawn mower. He has no other use until now.
Since Reus was weaned he always has been in his own secure paddock with a view of the girls, Katkin on the other hand has been kept on a postage stamp of grass due to him being such a good doer. The girls only treat him as a pet.
Now the grass has gone and we have been left with a muddy winter paddock (keeping Reus paddock clean for the spring) I decided to introduce Reus to Katkin. They have met over the stable door on many occasions with a lot of shouting and screaming. Katkin is a very dominant pony and I didn’t want Reus to get hurt but on the other hand Katkin doesn’t deserve a hormonal colt playing a little too rough with him.
Today I took Reus out into Katkins paddock on a lunge line, it was very entertaining as Reus insisted on wanting to “play” with Katkin, a colts play is unique and was not welcomed by Katkin who constantly reprimanded him. Its was at least two hours before I let Reus go and was happy that they would play “nicely”. Eventually Katkin gave Reus “what for”, thank fully no injuries and Reus has been put down the pecking order.
Never did I think Katkin would be the Boss, none the less they are both living a happier life and are now like two old men…….
With Catori settled away from home it has given me an opportunity to bond with Easter, frequently using short periods of quality time educating her without any other distractions. I like this weaning process, only once the first 24hrs have passed. Easter has accepted her mum has gone and not there to comfort her, she is calm and absolutely adorable.
Although Easter was imprinted at birth I believe it is very important to expose her gradually to the sights, sounds and procedures she will encounter next year and future life. I spent and completed the same tasks with Reus and Evee and they both have made the last two years showing an enjoyable and hassle free experience. (Reus’s hormones excluded from that statement).
In my experiences, handling/training light weight impressionable young stock is far less of a risk than the four-year old National Hunt store horses I have always been used to…..very challenging.
I really enjoy working with young stock, earning their trust and respect is very rewarding. Starting with a blank canvas is very precious and can easily go wrong if their reactions are misunderstood. The important thing is patience, a calm positive approach and plenty of time.
Learning from repetition, I do not move on to the next stage until the first stage can be repeated without question with any task. Their reward is only ever a good scratch on the neck with a kind tone of voice and never a titbit, that’s just a personal preference.
Here are the task’s Easter has encountered, overcome and completed with A* so far………
Will confidently enter and exit her own stable without question and will stand back from the stable door and wait for her head collar to be applied without moving.
Easter could tie up (next to mum) but now on her own, in and out of the stable.
Can be led at a confident walk from both sides, this was really from her early days with mum to and from
She already was able to pick up her feet with ease and confidence but now whilst tied up on her own with great balance.
Can confidently enter deep water and play….
She has been desensitized all over her body with a towel but now we can use a soft brush, finding those itchy spots.
Asking for a step back, a light pressure to the shoulder has been applied and accepted.
Can confidently walk up the lorry ramp, stand, wait and walk slowly back down.
Here is the process of Easter loading the horse lorry for the first time.
The ongoing tasks not yet experienced……
One of my favourites, “the clippers” especially around the head…..a long working process.
Throwing a sheet over her (even head) from both sides without flinching.
Walking on and over a polythene sheet, seeing blowing balloons, hearing loud music, playing with a variety of objects and the best one of all, the aerosol spray can……
To tie and stand on the lorry and later accept the ramp closed. Eventually go for a journey around the block. This is probably the best education that puts them just right before their first show.
Allowing traffic to pass, with the dark nights the lights on cars I believe is not a true reflection of what a car looks and sounds like. Easter has night blindness so I will be leaving the traffic experience until next year.
Only by teaching her these experiences will make the preparation for showing an effortless task next year but also a valuable education for the future. When leaving the yard at stupid ‘O’ Clock in the mornings, when time is so precious, do you realise how much your yearling has learnt and should never be taken for granted.
Catori is home now and was reunited with Easter over the stable door. It really is an unbelievable reaction as they act like strangers. Easter greeted her mum with the “mouthing” action demonstrating her submissive behaviour, “I am just a baby, please don’t hurt me”!
They are all back out in the field and as you can see, all very confidently grazing away from each other, yet in their comfort zone.
When mum is out of sight and ear shot there is an exceptional window of opportunity to educate a weanling, they are like “sponges” and readily absorb any education offered to them.
Over the last four years, I question myself why am I breeding when it comes to weaning. I feel so much pain for the mare and foal it’s pathetic but perhaps it has something to do with motherhood?
Easter is now six months old and I have observed her very closely over the last few weeks. During the day (out in the field) I have noticed the distance between her and Catori and Easter’s strong bond with Evee has developed considerably. Catori (although five months pregnant) has been content being with her best friend PP, a perfect match for scratching and grazing.
Being one of the most stressful experiences in a horse’s lifetime (never mind the owners) my aim is to minimise the stress for mare and foal. I have ensured Easter has had a good start in life, she is up to date with her jabs, her feet have been regularly trimmed and she’s carrying enough weight to head into the winter months and cope with the weaning process. She is a greedy little filly and I have no doubt her digestive system is ready.
So I did it, yesterday Catori was loaded into the lorry as a vacancy arose at Will Hunt’s yard, taken away out of ear shot from Easter for a holiday to allow her milk to dry up.
Today is the first day Easter has been without her mum, although a constant neighing last night, the other horses constantly replied to her. I guess, reassuring her they were only next door or telling her to shut up?
Today, the appropriate company was Evee, PP was stabled as I believe three could be a crowd. Evee was so quiet and calm with Easter, no running around, no bossing about, just a quick meet and greet then graze. What a relief and wonderful to see.
Before it got dark, I took Easter for a walk around the yard and made a fuss of her……..
No neighing at this present time.
No more weeping at weaning time.
What a lovely surprise this morning on the Face Book media page Appaloosa Calendar, as I celebrate my birthday I also celebrate seven enjoyable years working at the Three Counties Equine Hospital LLP.
The photo below of my mares Princesse Pascale and Peyres Catori Cat take the 2015 Appaloosa Calendar month of July.
No surprise what close friends and family will be getting for Christmas. Both mares are the back bone to Redheart Appaloosas and mean so very much to me, their progeny seem to be stealing the limelight at present but today it is the Calendar Girls turn.
Another opportunity to promote Redheart Appaloosa, I took advantage of choosing a Championship at High Horse Championship Gala at Rodbaston Equestrian Centre. Being born and bred in Wales it seemed the right choice to sponsor the Welsh young stock Championship.
Capturing a perfect natural pose of the winner Wise Acer Ruby just outside the ring I think you will agree it is no surprise this horse won.
Andrea Ruth Ormerod Steen & Wise Acer Ruby
Contacting the owner Andrea Ruth Ormerod Steen, Andrea informed me the three-year old Welsh Section D known as “Ruby” but also known as “Asbo”, has done very well in her 2014 showing season. Attending many local shows put them foot perfect at East Shropshire and South Staffordshire obtaining further Championships to add to their performance record.
Andrea has owned Ruby since a yearling and her hard work and dedicated to Asbo’s education has paid off, Andrea’s last comment, “I want her to be happy whatever we do, she means everything to me”, what a wonderful relationship they have.
Very many congratulations to them both and good luck for the future.
Our last event for 2014 showing season,
Being the third lorry to enter the show ground, we soon got our bearings of this well-organized event. There were three rings running, delighted to find our ring outside far from the novice area, with so many children and ponies around it was a huge relief to know Reus and I would be out of their way.
The morning was dry and sunny, all the horses were gleaming and Reus was no exception, starting with a 4th in the Best Turned Out and the Open Young Stock any breed. Obtaining 2nd place in the Best Stallion / Colt qualified us into the Evening Championship.
With eight or so classes to go before our next class The Appaloosa / Spotted, we put Reus back on the lorry.
As we sat back to relax, we watched my children entertain us, an idea taken from “A” another……horse!
By the time we entered the Appaloosa class, Reus was an absolute dream to handle.
He had urinated on the lorry which I have noticed at the previous two shows makes a huge difference to his concentration and performance.
This proved to be an asset for the next two classes, winning the Appaloosa / Spotted and the Hunter Type Horse / Pony.
Absolutely delighted and very proud of his performance.
With hours prior to the evening Championship, Reus was grazed in hand as a reward!
As it got dark we headed over to the warm up ring, everyone who had qualified were dressed up with their top hats and evening wear.
After taking his rug off, one thing Reus was quite keen to do……….get down and roll!
Quite amusing for the spectators as he got himself into some entertaining shapes.
It had been a very long day and to be awarded Champion Appaloosa left me On a high……..
- Paula Cooper
- Why Redheart?