Thursday, November 20, 2008

More on Scandalous Storm

There have been a number of foaling seasons here where I have been guilty of falling in love with the very first foal, only to shift my loyalties to the next one to come along. I'm very much "into" what kind of horse each foal is. Fawning all over the one I think is the best.

However, the year that Scandalous Storm was born things were different. I had two foals born that year, both of them colts. Frankly I didn't have a favorite. The colts were very different.There was no way I could chose which one was better. I really appreciated both. That has not changed over the years.

In the beginning Storm was this friendly thing. He'd come running at the sound of a human voice. However, being one of Bey Aana's foals, she quickly taught the colt to run and hide from humans. It was only a matter of three or four days and Storm was fleeing to the point of even climbing the stall walls to keep away from us.

There has always been one exception to this. That would be Lindsay. Bey Aana loves Lindsay as much as Lindsay worships Aana so the mare doesn't teach her foals to run from Lindsay. Lindsay would proudly show off how Storm would come right up to her wanting to be scratched.

Talk about being made Dave and I both crazy. I can't even begin to explain how frustrating it was to have a colt as scrumptious as Storm heading for parts unknown when all we wanted to do was love on him. But those are the facts of life around here with any of Aana's babies.

Most of the time the only way either Dave or I got to love on this colt was by chasing him down and trapping him. Then the poor guy would stand there trembling, frantically crying for his mother like we were trying to kill him.

We can't even begin to reverse those effects until after the foals are weaned. Then it takes a lot of time and effort to overcome those early lessons imprinted by a mare on her foal.

I was hoping to show the horse in the Sweepstakes Yearling Haller class but the scalera around his eyes had not changed completely yet. I thought that people might think he had a human eye when really what he had was pigment that was slow to come in.

Being chestnut, it can take years, I am told, for all of that pigment to come in. And believe me, Storm's has taken its own sweet time filling that color in around his eyes. It's driven me crazy over the years.

With Storm it was at least two full years before I could walk into his stall without him trying to climb the walls to escape me. For Dave, Colleen and Rachel it didn't take nearly that long.......but then I am the enforcer around here and everyone else just loves on the horses and feeds them treats. Storm is no dummy he had his priorities straight.

I am one of those breeders who believes there are too many stallions in this world. I am ruthless in my decisions to "cut" a colt. A colt I was told by a well know trainer to hide behind my barn until he was mature because he could one day be a national champion halter stallion, I cut because I got tired of hearing the colt scream.

The horse's manners were great but it seemed like every time another horse on the farm moved, that colt would scream a shrieking scream. I couldn't stand listening to him anymore so I went ahead and gelded that horse. He is a beautiful gelding.........and quiet too!

One of the ways I make decisions about stallions (and breeding decisions as well) is by having my friend, Jean Kielman (formerly Frieday of Vantage Point who worked with the great stallions, El Hilal and Simeon Shai) evaluate horses. Jean has a great reputation in the industry for knowing a good horse and being a great trainer. I know I can count on her to be brutally honest with me so I can trust her input. She won't tell me a horse is good to protect me from my feelings......she knows that's not what I want to hear. What I want is the truth.

When Storm was nearing two, I had Jean come out and take a look at him.
I was thinking about gelding the horse because he doesn't have as fine a throatlatch as the other Legs' babies. Granted, the Leg's babies have some of the prettiest throat latches that I've ever seen. Not to mention that Storm's mother, Bey Aana, has a throat latch typical of her Bey Shah breeding and Storm's throat latch is much better than his mothers. But still, for me, that was enough reason to geld the horse.

However, Jean saw it much differently. She asked me if the horse's manners were good. When I assured her that they were, she said she would not geld him. She thought his throat latch while not awesome was reasonable and not a good enough reason to geld Storm. Her exact words were "For me, he is the epitome of what an Arabian stallion should look like. He looks like he'll make a beautiful western horse."

Those were pretty strong words from a long time trainer who believed pretty much that all (and I do mean pretty much all) colts should be gelded. It was hard for me to find a good reason to over ride that decision. So I passed on gelding Storm.

I have to admit that Storm has never made me wish I had done differently. He has always been a very good boy......except when he's been cooped up for too long without something to keep his mind occupied.

Then he protests loudly by being a butt and getting lippy. Notice I didn't say "nippy" because mostly the horse doesn't bite but he does grab with his lips at clothes and such, playing his little games. He's also been known to rear a time or two when he's been off work for an extended time.

But I have to admit I feel like those times are my fault. If the horse gets worked properly he acts more like a gelding than any stallion. Even from the beginning when I first started the horse under saddle he has been the perfect gentleman.

(Jean also thought I should have shown him in halter as a yearling despite the fact his scalera had not changed color yet. That will always be one of those things I wish I had done differently......but at least I'm not looking back wishing I hadn't gelded the horse.)

now there's Percy

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  1. No thanks to you for teaching me a new word!!! sclera.. yuck. I went to google images, and the pictures of those eyes I DO believe they will give me nightmares!!! I've been successfully freaked out.

    Btw, I know a lippy horse when I see one, my Dandy likes to grab clothes and pull on them, and he likes to be funny. It's a little funny and a little cute, but if it escalates too much to where I don't like it, I let him know I want him to stop. He also puts his lips on my lips, cheeks, top of my head, and thoroughly kiss me once in a while. And when I have had enough of his love and silliness and his antics, then I just go on to other things, and when I walk away he knows I'm done and that he'll just have to wait for the next time.

    I'm also starting a new way of longeing Dandy, and having him listen to "walk, trot, canter and woah" and he's improving each time and his canter isn't what it should be yet (actually he's not listening to that one yet, but if he's standing still and I say walk, he starts walking in a circle, and he listens to trot pretty good too,) but I think it is just a matter of work and time, and he'll do whatever I ask. I also think that someday he'll just walk with me to where we longe and without a halter and line and without a round pen (I don't even have a round pen lol) that he will just do everything I say because he's gotten so good in one week that I have started this new approach of him listening to my words. He also lives for treats, and that's probably really what's motivating him, but it works for me and it works for him :). I look forward to having my family really impressed by his listening, and maybe someday I'll say: "See kids, this horse is listening to my every word, and what I am telling him, so you can too!" lol. Cause my niece is naughty. She's smart and naughty all wrapped into a cute little bug. She knows what buttons to push to turn off the computer. So that's why I try not to have a comment ready to send, and walk away, my niece will erase it by shutting the computer off. That's why I haven't been commenting like I should, and why I am commenting at this hour of time.

    Anyways, I think I have a goat exactly like Bey Aana, when the dam (her name Reflection) had two bucklings (twins) this year, the day they were born, they were friendly, coming right up to you, nibbling on clothes, and within the next couple days, bam, they're just like you explained for your Aana's foals. Scrambling to climb up walls and 6 foot fencing or trying to fly away lol. The best way we have found to raise kids from those damn dams, LOL ROFLOL.... LOL... :D. Is bottle feed those kids. But then you probably have those way too friendly foals that pine and whine for you to come back to them. And they're probably lippy and nippier than the other foals. But maybe if it's just Bey Aana's foals that are that way, maybe her foals would be manageable. You'd probably need a goat to supply you with milk for the foal. I am surprised you don't have at least two goats. I like La Manchas, or at least my La Mancha's, they are SOOO quite, and when they do make noise, or ba, it's very subtle and not loud at all. Pandy, my La Mancha's baa is actually quite relaxing. Now 2 breeds I'd never recommend if you don't want noisy goats, is Boer and Nubians... they are constantly talking to everyone and each other lol. Loudest breeds of goats out there. I'd love it if I could come see your foal/s in 2009 and you could come see the kids I am expecting in 2009. Goats are only pregnant for 5 months, and right now it's still too early to tell if any dams are bred. Even though it's most common for goats to kid 2-3 kids. This year the majority of the kids born were twins, with only one dam having a single kid, and the rest had twins. Anyway, cant wait to hear more about Storm, and I hope he lives up to his name and takes the show ring by storm. For the good of him, his sire and you. I believe with Angie and Richard, you'll be all that much closer, to reaching more goals for your dream that your working on. I also have to agree with Jean, I too believe he will make an amazing Western prospect, and if he does well with Western, then certainly continue him down that path, and down that road. I believe he's got the talent to take the Western show ring by storm :).

  2. I love that name. Fits into our Storm theme here. He's sure a pretty boy, you're blessed to have him!

  3. What a looker MiKael! Those pictures of him as a baby really show off his stuff.

    I'm with you on the gelding action...we have so far not raised anything that 'we' felt was worth being kept a stallion. If anything we are more proud to have geldings that other people thought were stallion quality. We were also very aware that our old foundation bred QH stallion was invaluable because of the quality of his geldings and for the ability of his mares to reproduce. Not so valuable as a producer of more stallions.