Thursday, August 29, 2013

Guest Author!

Today I have a lovely story about a mare that I bred and sold.  The horse is Kamileshen (Aliger x Anastasia) a 2006 purebred Teke mare.  Here is what her proud owner has to say:

The Water. Every rider has attempted it, most riders have conquered it. The moment of indecision on your horses part as it decides to skirt the menacing site, or indulge its riders and get its feet wet. This feat is particularly difficult when your legs only descend half way down the ribcage and your strength limits your ability to steer, or stop.

Ears fluctuating back and forth as she attempts to make out her riders confusing cues, she looks to me for a clue and then focuses again on her rider. Legs thumping the sides, hands pulling back and somewhat to the side towards the water. She looks at me for one final look of approval then delicately sticks her feet into the murky depths. She is rewarded by hearty pats from her rider.

At the time of this feat Nola, the rider, was four, Kamileshen (or Shen) the horse was six and we were at a local cross country course. It was an open day, a day where riders bring their horses out for practice and exposure. Shen and I had just finished working over some jumps when Nola stated she wanted to try the water jump. We were done, and I would often let Nola sit on Shen’s back while I cooled her down, so I boosted her into the saddle and clipped a lead line onto her bridle so she could try the water ‘jump.’ The entire feat took about five minutes – I stood quietly on the end of the lead – letting them decipher one another’s cues as they would. I was so busy watching them that I did not notice the audience that had built up. Spectators on foot and on horse were also watching. Many were probably just awaiting their turn at the water jump, but none wanted to interfere or disrupt the delicate balance until the ‘jump’ was complete.
                                                             Nola and Shen, Pas Pascucci photo

The walk back to the trailer was an eventful one, with riders and walkers smiling and commenting on Shen. The questions almost always started with, ‘What a nice horse, how old is she?’ Followed by ‘Really? What breed is she?’

I could understand their skepticism. I had a field full of geriatrics – my old eventer, my hunter jumper, my mom’s endurance horse, my dad’s trail horse. All still perfectly capable of packing a young child, but instead I chose the youngest horse in the lot for my four year old daughter. The reason, I strongly believe she cares about Nola, to her we are her family and I have learned that Tekes do their best to take care of their family. I have many examples, the time the gate was not opened all the way and Shen would not let Nola lead her through – rather she stood firm and whinnied for my attention. The time I was riding in the mountains and a misstep left me dangling from the end of the reins - she stood legs spread, head down until I scrambled up the side and back onto the trail.

I purchased Kamileshen in 2008 with dreams of getting back into eventing, but she has a home for life because she is family. Breeders place an awful lot of importance on ‘Tekes in Sport,’ but no one noticed Shen’s clean clear round that day – but they all noticed the small child, her tongue sticking out in concentration and the quiet patience of her mount. It is not their athletic ability that makes them invaluable, it is their spirit.

Today, Shen shares the field with two other Tekes, and I make it to maybe one event a year. Nola and Shen are now competing in schooling classes and light horse shows where she proudly sits upon her golden mount and announces ‘She is an Akhal Teke.’
Darla Dickinson, Hope BC

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Busy Weekend!

This past weekend, Monica and I took Danny (Magdan) down to the Northwest Equestrian Center in Yelm WA to do some cross country schooling with a few friends.  Monica and Danny have been doing quite a bit of show jumping and he definitely has the trail experience, so this was a logical progression. 

We headed down around 10ish on Saturday and arrived around 1 (quite a bit of traffic, but that is Seattle) at the Equestrian Center.  It's a very large place with huge fields, lots of cross country jumps and rows of temp stalls.  It was very low key (sign the waiver and pay your fee), which was pretty nice.  Catrina and Jeremy Quantrell were already there with Mazaly, so Catrina schooled while Monica walked Danny around and then tacked up.  Amrita wasn't there yet and we later heard her truck had overheated about 5 miles out.  I did some film of Catrina and Mazaly making it all look easy.  They did some beginner novice jumps and then started moving up.  By the time Amrita showed up, Catrina was pretty much done and they headed out. 

Amrita, Monica, Stella and Marina (two of Amrita's junior students) were all taking a lesson with Vicki (I didn't catch her last name).  Vicki did a lovely job, getting everyone on the same page and warmed up.  I trundled along with the video camera and huge tripod, wishing for the pony and cart that had been zipping around earlier.  Happily, I had a little pull cart or there would probably be a lot less film of that day. 

I didn't take any still shots on Saturday, so these are from Sunday's playing, but they are over basically the same jumps the ladies did on Saturday. 
 Marina and Kegas
 Monica and Danny
Amrita and Paktaly
Stella and the totally cute pony Puddin

Amrita was schooling over the largest jumps, doing some of the preliminary jumps (I'm pretty sure I got that right) with Paktaly making it look easy.  Danny is just starting over cross country jumps, so he did the beginner novice jumps and ended his day doing a drop into the water and out up the bank. 

Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun, horses included and I really, REALLY want to get back into the saddle.  Maybe not to go over big jumps, but doing my thing.  Soon!


Monday, August 12, 2013

HorseFlicks filming at the Washington State Horse Park, August 10th, 2013

This past weekend was our first HorseFlicks film shoot for our new Akhal-Teke promotional video in the Rare Breeds series "Extinction is Forever".  This is the first of 3 film shoots, which we did to be able to include as many horses and people in the US as possible.  We've had a very good response and I think the finished product will be fantastic.  This is from my perspective - I brought 4 horses to the Washington State Horse Park for the filming.  There were 6 other horses that came, although we had invited everyone in the Pacific Northwest.  It went very well though, all the horses were great, the people were smiling and Jon Mays (the film maker) said he got some excellent footage.

We got there around 4 pm on Friday, as I didn’t plan on riding that day.  We got the horses (4 bay boys, Astrachan, Andymn, Arzuw and Magdan) settled in and walked around looking at what was what.  Gorgeous facility, lovely trails, really nice arenas and cross country.  Jon showed up around 6 (I think) without Joanne, his assistant, who had food poisoning and was recovering in a hotel in Seattle.  We took him around to the places we’d found to see if he thought they were ok.  He agreed (he is SO nice!).  People started coming in, Catrina and Jeremy first with Mazaly, then Shannon and Craig and Tommy and Octopelle, then Erin and Kiyallah and Corbin (their 2 year old son) with the lovely stallion Kuwwat.  I fed everyone hamburgers and hot dogs and we planned Saturday. Jon headed back to his hotel around 8 I think.  Then it started raining, really really hard.  A guy I met Sunday said it rained 5 inches in 2 hours.  Lightning, thunder!  I was hoping we’d have good weather in the morning and maybe the rain would cool it down a bit (it was over 90 on Friday)

Several of our riders and horses, from first horse back:  Monica Bretherton and Magdan, Angela Kay Davenport and Arzuw behind them, Dani Scott and Andymn, Wendy Ford and Alpowa behind him, Sofie Wohllaib and Meshhurlyk on the rail in back and Catrina Quantrell and Mazaly (I think) way in back.  Tom Wohllaib photo
Monica Bretherton (blue shirt) and Magdan chatting with Sofie Wohllaib and Meshhurlyk (Diva) during a break.  Tom Wohllaib photo.

All of us in the arena at once,  from left to right:  Erin Heatherstone and Kuwwat, Angela Kay Davenport and Arzuw, Dani Scott and Andymn, Monica Bretherton and Magdan, Sofie Wohllaib and Meshhurlyk, Catrina Quantrell and Mazaly, Wendy Ford and Alpowa, Cathy Leddy and Astrachan and Shannon Mayfield and Asil Tumay.  Tom Wohllaib photo.

Early Saturday (I woke up around 5 am), we got moving.  We were going to start filming at 8 am, the skies were clear and there was no dust!  Temps were around 65 to 70, so we started with Western riding.  Jeremy was a great sport, in that Catrina and I had talked about him riding and he knew NOTHING about it.  I figured we needed at least 1 guy in the film.  He grinned and said “well, I haven’t ridden in a year, so can I see the horse first?”.  I put him on Andy, who was a little wound up, but he’s pretty mellow all around.  Now the problem was that Jeremy has only ridden one handed with a shank bit and Andy is dressage trained.  There was some confusion on both parts, but they did a great job.  Jeremy tried to do a reining pattern…well…there might have been a few good spots but both he and Andy were great sports.  I think they needed a day or so of practice!  But, he was smiling and did a great job.  Andy got a tack change and I put Dani Scott up for trail.  Shannon rode Tommy in her western show gear – gorgeous!  Bling to the max.  She got some time in the ring by herself.  Then, we brought out the dressage/English people who rode together.  My friend Sofie had shown up with her Teke mare by then and they cantered (for the first time) twice.  Everyone behaved great.  Then, we got everyone in the ring, including me and Khan.  Shannon did a tack change and came in her homemade Turkmen outfit – really nice.  Erin rode Kuwwat for a while in her endurance gear and then put on her costume too.  All of us walked and trotted around, 9 horses strong.  My friend Wendy had shown up with her NP mare Allie by then too, so we had some color besides bays.  (Allie is a roan appy and Kuwwat is buckskin)  We did some riding around, Jon filmed each person individually a bit and then we all lined up and the cameras clicked and clicked.  Then, Jon had us all shout ‘Akhal-Teke’ at the same time for the film. 


9 of the 10 horses and riders at the Horse Park, with Jon Mays in the foreground filming. Tom Wohllaib photo

 Me and Astrachan (who came out of retirement for this) and Shannon Mayfield and Asil Tumay.  My endurance gear really pales next to Shannon's gorgeous bling! Cindy Balogh photo
Then, we moved on to the trails and obstacles.  I put Khan away, as he’d done his 15 minutes and we were both toast.  Jon set up along the trail and got photos of them trotting by in the beautiful light and trees.  Then, after a bit of that, we moved to a ravine that had trail obstacles and a big hill.  I’d sent Catrina to the water obstacle to school, as Mazaly had never done this before.  The horses did some great up and down the hills, over the obstacles etc.  Then, Andy and Ari (both had done great, but don’t have much recent exposure and were done) went back to the barns and the rest of us continued on to the water.  Now, the park director and I had come to an agreement that there was NO JUMPING.  Well….we got to the water and had Catrina and Mazaly, Erin and Kuwwat, Wendy and Allie, Monica and Danny.  I think Shannon peeled off because Octopelle was sure this was an endurance ride and couldn’t figure out WHY we kept stopping and coming back.  So, horses started walking through, then trotting and then cantering.  At one point, we had all the horses in a line snaking back and forth through the water at a trot and canter.  Big whoops and grins all around, horses included.  Jon said during this “I think I need to get rid of my Arab and get a Teke”. 

Monica and Danny through the water

Catrina and Mazaly galloping through the water.  I'm really bummed that I cut off Catrina's head, as otherwise it's a pretty good shot.

Dani and Andymn, Monica and Magdan and in the back I think it's either Erin and Kuwwat or Wendy and Alpowa galloping up the hill.

Then we went to the road and Jon did some film of horses trotting up and down and then galloping.  At that point, it was pretty much noon and he had everything he’d planned on getting.  We headed back to camp, put horses away and he did some interviews.  He interviewed one of my riders – a very new to Tekes person, then we had lunch (more hamburgers and hotdogs) and then he interviewed Wendy, who owns the NP mare and a QH x Teke cross and then me.  By then it was 3 or so, so we just all sat around and chatted.  Some really great visiting was done.  Jeremy even said that this was so much fun we needed to get together EVERY year and do a trail ride or whatever and then potluck.  I think it’s a great idea and later could work into a show.  Everyone else agreed that was a great idea.  The WSHP is a nice central location and it really is nice.

We had the bunch trot and canter up and down the road, there was some whooping and hollering going on, along with big grins.  Wendy and Alpowa are in front, then Monica and Magdan, then Erin and Kuwwat, then Shannon and Octopelle and I think it's Catrina and Mazaly in back.

People started leaving (it’s so close that Seattle people just came for the day) and the ones of us left, me, Monica, Catrina, Jeremy, Erin, Kiyallah, Corbin (their son), Alice, Keiko and Kay (those three are from my barn and Alice was a champ all day, delivering water, brushes, etc)  Jon headed back to Seattle to pick up Joanne and catch a red eye. So, those of us left had pulled pork, a great rice dish that Erin called “hippy dippy food” and watermelon.  And wine and beer.  Lovely evening, we made it until almost 8:30 and then pretty much pooped out.  No problem sleeping for horses or humans!
 Jon Mays from HorseFlicks enjoying our 'wrap' party.  Monica Bretherton photo

Kuwwat, Erin, Kiyallah and Corbin Heatherstone taking a family walk at the WSHP.  Monica Bretherton photo

Next morning, Monica and Keiko went out on a trail ride while I broke camp with Alice and Kay’s help and cleaned stalls.  Then, we loaded up and headed home.  Whew!

It really went very well, no real naughtiness, although there was some tension (wonder why?) and Andy and Ari’s brains did melt after a few hours.  Can’t blame them, both are very inexperienced and they did great until it was too much.  But, no problem, they just got to go back and chill and were fine.  Andy's trail ride with Keiko the next morning was excellent.  Everyone else’s horses looked great, huge smiles everywhere, not a harsh word the entire weekend.  Just compliments.  Before I left, Leslie (the park director I’d been dealing with) came and shook my hand and thanked me.  I thanked her too, as the facilities are excellent and everything was pretty much perfect!
We all headed out and I made it home (with a detour through Seattle, don't ask) around 1ish.  Then it was barn work and then rest!
I will add photos as I get some.  Now on to the next filming, October 4th in Minnesota.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

SAFE Schooling Show, August 4, 2013

We took 2 boys down to the SAFE schooling show this past weekend at Donida Farms.  We took Danny (Magdan) and Andy (Andymn).  I had the luxury of being the groom and groundsperson and Monica rode Danny and Keiko Young rode Andy.  I had been planning on riding Andy myself, but after having sore ankles from ONE ride during the week prior, I realized there was no way I could do the warm up and riding for the 4 classes I had entered.  Thank goodness Keiko was such a good sport!

We trailed down early Sunday morning, passing a roaring trailer (car or quad) fire on the way.  We got the boys there and settled in (sort of, Andy was NOT happy to be in a strange stall).  Keiko and Monica took them on a walk about while I got the numbers, show schedule and such all organized. 

Even though this is was a schooling show, it was pretty big.  Multiple arenas, indoors, outdoors, LOTs of horses and lots of activity.  It really was quite a test for Andy, who has been rather sheltered the past years.  Danny, who has been out doing endurance rides and conditioning, took it pretty much in stride.

Andy in the warm up ring with Keiko Young.  Cathy Leddy photo.

Danny warming up with Monica.  He started with a lot of 'forward', but ended the day with several second place ribbons and with Monica grinning ear to ear.  Cindy Balogh photo.

Andy did 4 classes, including 2 intro dressage tests in the indoor arena (big, scary mirrors!) and while his first test was a bit hesitant, his last one was pretty nice.  Keiko did a great job with him and he really listened to her.

Danny did 6 classes, including 2 dressage tests - one Training level and one intro.  Sort of unfortunately, his training level test came before the Intro, so he was a little 'looky' in the indoor for that one, although he did settle down and got a nice score in the second test.  Both boys were in the middle of the pack for their tests, with respectable scores for their tests.  Not world beating, but that isn't really the idea for a schooling show!

Danny and Andy in a green horse class.  Cathy Leddy photo
Danny (on inside) and Andy were in 2 classes together in the main arena.  Andy and Keiko got a ribbon in the equitation class and both boys did a good job.

After Andy's classes, I took him and we went out to graze, which made him very happy. 

We headed home after the last class and all got some well deserved rest.  I think we're ready for this next weekend's HorseFlicks filming at the Washington State Horse Park, which will most likely be the subject of my next blog.  Thanks again to Monica and Keiko, who both did a great job with smiles on their faces.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Our newest addition - cute foal photos!

We had our one foal this year (for us, I did foal out a boarder's mare back in April) on July 23rd.  Aya went into early labor around 8 pm or so, so I checked on her hourly all night long.  She was pacing, but not seemingly in much of a hurry so I didn't camp out in the barn.  I checked on her at 7 am and she was just standing by the water barrel in the arena.  At 7:20, I got a phone call from Nadia, who was in the barn to feed horses "There is a baby".  I told her no, no baby yet.  "Yes, the baby is on the ground!".  That woke me right up.  Sneaky mare, had that kid between 7 and 7:20.  By the time I got out to the barn, the foal was up.  I checked the important parts and let out a big sigh...another colt!  But, he was big and healthy, so that is ok.

He didn't seem to be finding the milk bar as quickly as I like, so we moved mom and baby to the foaling stall, where it's a little more contained.  He still wasn't getting it.  He bumped around the stall, trying to nurse on the wall, on her legs, on me.  I was starting to get worried.  Foals should have their first meal ideally within 45 minutes of being born and we were along about 2 hours now.  I kept trying to direct him to the milk bar, squirting milk in his mouth and every once in a while he'd latch on and get a few sips.   But, not the healthy guzzle you like to see!  I've had many foals born here and can pretty much see when something isn't quite right. Better to catch something like this right away, than hope and have the foal crash.

So, a call to Pilchuck Vet Hospital and Dr. Hollohan was on her way.  She did a thorough check of him and we got him up again (Stand UP! turned into Stan.  Sorry kid!).  Finally, with quite a bit of help, we got him drinking decently.  Aya was a champ the whole time, being very patient with all the human activity.  He had his first poop (important) and Dr. Hollohan took blood for an IGG.  I often don't worry about an IGG (to see how much colostrum they've ingested basically) if the foal is bright, normal and nursing well.  Stan wasn't quite there.  If the IGG is low, you have to go to the big guns, which cost quite a lot of money.  The results came back as 600 - low is 400-600, normal is 800 plus.  So he was high low...but was now much brighter and nursing very well.  He was bouncing around the stall like a rubber ball, so after consulting with the vet, we decided to wait until the next morning and pull blood again. 

The next morning, the results came back:  2300.  Obviously, he'd been doing a VERY good job of eating all night long.  Whew!  Out of the woods!

Since then, he's been a normal kid - Aya has taught him how to walk beside her (which really is kind of funny, watching a mare school her foal).  We put her out in the front pasture next to Cady, Xena and Annie and I swear she was telling Cady "THIS is how you do it, silly"

Stan figuring out how to keep flies off - 2 days old. Monica Bretherton photo

Stan is now a bit over a week old and is walking out to pasture each morning and coming in with a halter and lead (easy to just start that way, then they never argue) and all the mares (Cady, Annie and Aya) and Xena are out together.  I need to get some photos of Stan and Xena - she's almost 3 months old, so is quite big and robust and then there is small, slender Stanley.  The funny thing is, he's in charge.  I think Xena was a little startled when he started chasing her.  The moms just watched to make sure there wasn't too much 'horseplay' and then let them be. 

Stan at two days old - Monica Bretherton photo
Stan at 3 days old, Angela Davenport photo - do you see a theme?
So, as the Stan Man is exactly that, a man (male anyway), he is for sale.  He should mature between 15.2 and 16 hands and be big and stout like his parents.  He shows lovely gaits and has the calm, laid back Salam temperament.  Buy him now before weaning and get a great deal.  Buy him and you can change his name!