It’s been crazy here since Friday. I don’t know that it’s going to get any less crazy to be honest! I’m not complaining. I’m just sayin’.
Friday Zach’s Daughter, Kelsey, had her first HS rodeo of 2009, in Timber Lake, SD. Zach’s niece Cindy was also competed- it was her first HS rodeo ever. Sitting through the chilly, windy day, waiting for those girls to make their runs was so worth it! I can totally see how parents can give up doing what they want for the sake of seeing their kids so excited. For no more competitions, and no more time than Kelsey has spent running the barrels, she did really well. Cindy too- she hasn’t even been riding that long- and it’s really all she can do to sit in the middle of her horse right now- and her horse is so honest. She finds herself out of position, and he really just helps her right along! Saturday was more of the same- only this time we were in Eagle Butte, SD. Kelsey broke the pattern- Pommel Horse ducked in front of the second- he went where she told him to. Cindy did even better Saturday than she had done Friday! So the start to our weekend was excellent.
On our way out Saturday morning, we noticed at least one new baby, and a mare off by herself in the pasture, which usually means she’s ready to foal, or already has, and is letting the baby get strong enough to stand and run before she re-joins the herd. So when we returned from Eagle Butte, I was going to take a quick trip out to look through them. Zach decided we’d just take the pickup and go together. And I’m so thankful he came with me. We checked on the mare out by herself first. That mare had a pretty little dun colt with her. He’s by Nuke, in case anyone is wondering. We shouldn’t be at this point- if it’s dun, it’s pretty much by Nuke around here. But on our way to see her, we also noticed that one of Kelsey’s mares- a new mare that we bought last year from a ranch in Oklahoma- with a similar breeding program- the same ranch where Chachi was purchased. So after seeing that the dun colt looked happy and healthy, we headed over to see the bay mare’s bay filly.
And here’s where the ugly starts. Not the filly. She was absolutely gorgeous! Absolutely perfect! She had Chachi’s sleepy eye; her mama’s dark bay color. But she was very weak. Too weak to stand on her own. Her dam was standing over her, nuzzling her, and talking to her, but she couldn’t get up. They were off by themselves. We decided we’d have to take her to the house, get her warmed up and try to get some milk in her. So Zach picked up the 90lb filly, and sat with her in the back of the truck, while I drove to the barn. We sent Wayne out on the 4-wheeler to get the mare herd in so we could have her dam in the barn. After setting the filly under some heat lamps, and on top of a horse rug, Zach ran in to make a bottle to see if he could get some nutrients in her so she’d get strong enough to nurse. Shortly after, Wayne arrived with her mama. Zach was able to milk the mare out, and so we decided we’d take the filly to the house with us, to enable her to get warm. We set her in the kitchen floor on top of a couple blankets and a heating pad, made a tent over her, to enable some warm air from the space heater to help her get warm. She sucked several more times, and at 10:30pm I finally had to throw in the towel. I was so tired. My marlboro man said he was going to sleep right there, and help her fight to live as long as she wanted to stay alive. But at 2:30am the filly hadn’t the energy to fight anymore.
For those of you wondering what caused an otherwise perfect filly to become so weak- isn’t a complete mystery. Last year her dam, who was open, conspired with another open mare in that pasture, to steal this mare’s foal. And they were successful in keeping her away from her mom, and they worried the filly out of energy and nutrients, and of course the filly couldn’t nurse either one of them, so she died. We believe that the same open mare that caused the chaos last year, must’ve worried the mare and filly around so that she couldn’t nurse as she needed to. Originally we weren’t worried about it happening, again, because the dam of the now deceased filly was the ring-leader last year, so without her to lead the parade, we figured it would be ok. Next year the trouble making mare, will be held out of the mare bands until she’s foaled. That way we won’t have to have this happen again. If you’re running a natural, limited human assistance program such as we do here, these things are going to happen, unless we bring every mare in and force them to foal in the barn. But that defeats the purpose of a natural program.
Sunday I went to a barrel race in Aberdeen, SD. I took both, Shuttle and Gump. It was a double header. Shuttle and I were gunner in round one (we’d run in reverse order for round #2). They had the first barrel set practically in the middle of the arena and she ran by it. But the good news is, her second barrel was absolutely gorgeous. Gump’s first run, he outran Shuttle by half a second. He made a pretty run. He ran by the first too, but not as far as Princess did. Plus he is so big, and so strong and so ridiculously coming home that yesterday, he was almost scary. I LOVE IT! His second barrel was utterly beautiful! He faded wide going to the third. I’m pretty sure it was where I was looking as we tracked over to turn that barrel, b/c he left the second in a perfect line to go to the third and just nail it. He ended up winning 3rd in the 4d with that run, and brought home a $65 check for his efforts.
In the second run, he didn’t shape like I wanted him to, going into the first but we still got around it, had a gorgeous second: he turned it so hard, that I lost a stirrup. It might help if I rode with some weight in my stirrups, but I don’t really. I fished for my stirrup all the way to the third, and really didnt’ help him turn that one at all. I shaped him and that was it. He ran home with me still fishing for the stirrup and was faster than he’d been in the first run. That run won us the 3d and a check of $98. Shuttle’s second run was an entire second faster than her first run, and her second barrel was still pretty. But she didn’t rate down like I wanted her to for the first barrel. So any guesses what we’ll be doing this week?
The weather is absolutely gorgeous here today; and should stay that way this week. So I’m headed to the barn to at least ride Shuttle, Gump, Camo. I will probably also run check on the mares and take pictures of the babies!