Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC
Welcome to Bit of Honey Training LLC

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Herd Reaction to Baby Gibson

Tao, Garmin, and Cole the geldings
 Watching the rest of the herd react to Baby Gibson was almost as fun as watching Baby himself.  Today was everyone's first look at him, since the mare and foal have been in quarantine since they arrived.  Each animal paid rapt attention to him as he was carefully escorted to the arena for some play time, even the cat!
Z the barn cat watching Gibson play

Kildee, a mare retired from breeding who carefully watched Baby Gibson

Baby Gibson's Coat

It is going to get cold tonight and for the next couple days, so Gibson has a coat on.  Generally the horses here are quite a bit bigger than Gibson, so my horse blankets are all quite large.  However, my dogs are also large, and while the border collies have plenty of fur to insulate them, the great dane was willing to share her jacket with little Gibson. 
Gibson thought this little girl was just his size, he gently rubbed his face on her hand for just the right scratch!

Love those baby blues

Baby Gibson in the Arena

 Baby horse finally has a name - a friend noticed last night that his only white spot is shaped like a guitar.  Owen then thought of calling him Gibson.  The name stuck!  Here are some photos of his first venture out of the birthing stall, into the arena for a bit of playing.

 He likes to run fast

Which results in sleeping hard

A short video of Gibson playing in the arena can be seen here

Good Momma

 We have a storm rolling in tonight, so baby's first time stretching his legs was this afternoon.  I took him and Momma to the arena to give them a chance to get out of the stall and check out the great big world.  Momma is not really halter trained, but she followed me with my handful of hay from the stall to the arena, nickering at Baby to come with her.  He was a little skeptical about leaving the safety of the stall, and hesitated in the doorway not wanting to put his feet on the dirt after being on straw for 3 days.  My working student was able to coax him out, and we got him safely to the arena.  Momma was so careful, keeping an eye on him all the time, but never stressing or worrying about how we carefully guided him. A short video of her snuggling Gibson can be seen here.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It's a Boy!

Testing out these brand-new legs!
The mare is being very kind, attentive, and affectionate
I picked up the mare Thursday, watching her carefully for several days while she went through the first stage of labor, including lying down and pushing quite a bit.  She then appeared to relax for a day and stop labor, she went back to eating and standing.  I wondered if she had just been overly stressed by going through the auction, and she might hold on long enough for the rescue to come get her and transport her to their place.  However, when I went out to feed this Sunday morning there he was - a cute brand new baby boy!  The mare is being wonderful with him.  He is hungry and looking for the udder and milk, and as he clumsily searches for breakfast the mare will reach around, shove him gently with her head, and angle him to the right spot for eating.  She also nuzzles him and nickers at him quite a bit.  Such a good momma, and she has been easy to be around, letting me handle her and the foal despite her being so unused to human ways.  She patiently ate her hay as I stripped the stall of soiled bedding and put down fresh straw, refilled water buckets and such.  Then I was able to give her a bit of a spa treatment this afternoon, giving her a good grooming with a rubber curry to pull off all the loose hair.  She is awfully thin, but was so pleased to be scratched all over.  She wiggled her lips, making the "ooooo" face, and nuzzled me back as a pasture courtesy.  When I got to her haunches she swayed side to side for just the right scratch on her buns.  Such a sweet girl.
Enjoying the spa treatment
Momma's coat after grooming with photobomb from Baby

Miles supervising snacktime

Such a good dog to help out

My border collie, Miles, has been very helpful with this new addition.  When I was cleaning the stall he went in and met the baby (with momma's approval of course).  They both STRETCHED their necks out and just lightly touched noses, and Miles licked his muzzle.  Baby jumped back and Miles jumped back, then they both got really close to each other and rubbed heads. 

Hungry baby horse lips
One other curious set of behaviors has been the actions of my herd manager and big warmblood gelding, Samson.  He came to me as an 8 year old stallion that was not halter trained, he had been through the same auction as this mare several years before I found him in a back pasture in Nunn.  Samson has been beyond vigilant, standing watch over this mare.  She is quarantined from other horses because of her unknown history, but Samson can see her.  He stands at the fence, leaving only for meals, and won't let the other horses get near her.  I have to wonder if he is recognizing that she will come into a foal heat (he has been a gelding for years now, but he had bred mares before I found him and he became a gelding), or if he is somehow explaining to her that he too had been through the rough time she did at the auction, and that now she is in a good place.  I've seen him coach other horses through the transition from the madness of the auction or feed lot to life at Bit of Honey Training, and he has a special way about him with these stressed horses. 
Just a touch of white on his side, one white stocking on his back leg, and what appears to be blue eyes!

I have two other mares on the property who are now riding horses but have been broodmares in the past.  The first day that this new mare arrived she stared toward the older mares, and the older mares talked to her quite a bit, nickering and whinnying more than usual when a new horse arrives.  I suspect they were talking her through what was going on with the pregnancy situation.  Then, this afternoon while the baby was napping he was talking in his sleep, making little noises and finally waking himself up with a whinny.  One of the older mares heard it, and she just BELLOWED that maternal cry of "baby, I'm HERE!" 
Me holding Baby for a friend's child to pet him
My last thought for the day is how poetic and sweet it is that my Cecil passed away in this stall just a couple weeks ago, and today a new life was born in the very same stall.  Makes my heart feel good.

Schooling Dressage Show

 This weekend we took Major and Garmin to a dressage show.  Major to ride and compete, and Garmin to keep him company and be the PR pony. Here are some of my favorite shots of the day.
We actually were this relaxed and happy, these are fun shows for learning and showing off

"And let me tell you - she may think she's fast at braiding, but if you only knew how early I had to get up this morning so I could stand tied while she braided my mane and forelock....."

Major loves his little buddy Garmin

Mare visiting

Tasty hay
Some edema and swelling in her abdomen, chest, and legs
 This Wednesday I was contacted by a rescue group here in Colorado, asking if I could pick up a very pregnant mare they had purchased at the local auction, outbidding the kill buyer.  They had funding and a home for her, but couldn't get up to our area to pick her up until the weekend.  I had room here at Bit of Honey Training, so I went and got her and brought her home.  She's just under 3 years old herself, a paint with minimal white on her right side, and is very sweet, but basically untouched.  She doesn't really know how to be led with a halter and rope, but she followed my handful of hay into the trailer when we left the auction lot, and then followed a handful of hay into the stall when we arrived here at home.  She's very thin, but seemed to be doing ok. 
Udder starting to fill with milk