December 21st, 2009

Well here we are at the winter solstice: the longest night of the year. After two weeks of intense cold and snow we got some respite for a few days of sun and warmer weather. We took the opportunity to dig out and spend time with the horses beyond taking care of the bare essentials. Manes and tails to untangle, hooves to trim and some trail riding too!

We got to know our new mare a bit better and she got to know us too and now she is a real pocket pony: following us everywhere interested in the most mundane task we carry out in her paddock: breaking the ice in the through or digging a path to the hay feeder. We renamed her Elfin (Elf-fen) it is the Latin name for ivory and she does have elf-like qualities: delicate, playful, pointy ears and all! We took some better pictures of her and posted them on her page,  she is quite photogenic!
We have felt both Shotsey and Welty's foals move so all seem to be well on that front.

Until next time: best wishes for the holliday season and remember that starting tomorow the days are getting longer!!

December 8th,2009

     Last entry mentioned I was thrilled to get some snow, well..this weekend we got as much snow as we usually get in one month! 30 cm (2 feet) came down driven by gale force wind. Some snow drifts around the yard are taller then me! Needless to say Ivory's Lace arrival got delayed a bit by those conditions. She finally arrived today. I've put some preliminary shots of her on her webpage. We will give her a few days to get settled in.
This morning it was -36 (-23 Farenheit) for the second morning in a row. As usual the horses cope just fine with this. Their hair is fuzzy, eyelashes and whiskers covered in frost, the most troublesome are the hooves that get balls of hard pack snow. The best way to get rid of those balls of ice is with the claw end of a hammer. I keep one handy all winter.

All this time cooped up was productive in other ways. I found some interesting series of articles on horse breeding. One of them was an interview with Gerd Sosath; the owner of Landors. He offered some insight as to what type of mare best suit him and lets just say that it's not Deesse's type. So the list has been narrowed: Consul, Torino and Goodimes remain.

I also contacted the helpfull and very experience people at Leatherdale farm to see what they would suggest would be a good match for Welty. They've been breeding top quality Hanoverians for many years so I'm looking forward to reading their suggestions.

November 28th, 2009

     Vivaldi is sold! We found a great home for him too and we are thrilled. He will leave us for good in mid-January so we get to enjoy him for a few more weeks.
     We bought a new saddlebred mare: Ivory Lace (we will think of a better name for her..) she should join us in a week or so. I don't promise pictures of her right away because she is a cremello and there is NO worst color to try to keep clean: ugh! Her webpage will be up shortly however. She is a young but proven broodmare with beautifull gaits and a very refined and ellegant look to her. We think she will produce some really nice saddlebreds for us as well as some warmblood crosses. We will also start her under saddle next fall. She has a nice easy going temperament and should be a fine riding horse for me.
     Snow! We got snow! Finally. The brown was getting pretty old. Fresh snow means nice pictures so here are a few I snapped this morning:


November 12th, 2009

     We had a georgeous day last Sunday so I took the opportunity to take some new pictures of Welty now that she is back in good weight and updated the one that are on her page. All the pregnant mares got their Rhino shot with no fuss and Vivaldi had another trim and he did extremely well.
     We also took some new footage of Vivadi, since he is just over 6 month, slightly butt high and getting quite hairy with winter approaching we shall not embarass the poor boy by posting this video but if you are interested in Vivaldi and would like to get the most up to date video let us know and we shall give you the link to it. That being said he looks really good, still very light and airy.
     He is such an old soul: nothing phases him, it always seems likes he's seen things before. He is easy to handle and I'm never worried he will do anything stupid. He gets a daily grooming sessions and plenty of attention on weekends. He's always at the fence to greet me: he is now tall ennough to put his head above the gate: he's now about 14.1 hands high,14.2 at the hip.
     We received that last of our hay for the winter and so we are all set. The weather has been very pleasant and I've been enjoying some nice rides on Vendella: she is such a good girl and puts up with me very generously.
     We've haven't quite landed on any stallions for next year yet but I think I'm getting pretty close for Welty: Rotspon. I've admired that stallion and his gets for many years but never quite had the right mare. Welty is a pretty good match. First of all the Rotspon/Weltmeyer cross has been done many time by experienced and successfull breeders and he also compliments her well. The very nice topline and the better rounder canter he passes on as well as the high rideability will complete her well I think. The semen isn't ordered yet but I will have to descide in the next few weeks.
     I have a breeding to Blue Eyed Dream that is destined to Vendella so that is sorted. As for Deesse and Shotsey it is still up in the air: nothing has quite "clicked" yet.

October 9th,2009

     Just a quick note to say that I've added some video footage of Shotsey, Deesse and Welty. The link can be found on their page and will connect you to Youtube.

Also, we've been asked a few time, this week alone, how we select the sires of our foals. So if you are wondering; follow this link for our views on the subject of stallion selection.

October 2nd, 2009

     Oh, it was so cool-I had to share! I ultrasounded Deesse this weekend and got to see the 90 day old fetus she is carrying. I clearly saw its head and neck. At this stage (90 days) the fetus is about the size of a kitten.
   We had our first snow of the year, we are thrilled to get the moisture. It is the first measurable precipitation we've had since the middle of August.
   We've started stallion shopping for the girls in earnest so if you are reading this and have some ideas send them our way! We've elliminated Indoctro based on his strenghts and weakness not quite matching our mares and for the fact that it would appears he often throws temperament and rideability better suited for profesionals-not our goals.
   Still under considerations (in no particular order): Torino, Consul, Balou du Rouet, LandorS, Dampezzo, Goodtimes. We are looking at a jumping sire for Deesse next year and I think that Welty should also go to something with jump with the aim (as always) to produce a versatile athlete.
   Let us know if you have any insight! We need proven, approved and throwing good temperament and talent: we are not too picky are we?

September 29 th, 2009

     Wow!, what a busy month this has been! The foals were weaned completely from their mothers and it all went without any trouble. It helps that all concerned are  very reasonable. Deimos and Allegro both left for their new homes like old pros and we've already heard back from their new owners that they are settling in well: music to our ears.
   We also said goodbye to Aurora. We found a home that was such a perfect fit  that we simply could not pass up that opportunity for her. We will miss her but we've been promised updates and pictures! Welty arrived from Colorado in fine shape if still a bit thin from feeding her big Dacaprio foal. We shall continue to feed her generously until she is as ready for winter as the rest of our girls .    She is a very sweet mare and although she has only been here a few days: we are in love! Turns out she loves carrots-and so do I! What are the chances??
   She is so sweet and personable; she comes when called and stands very still for attention.  I love her  feminine look and her movement is just so beautiful, full of suspension,  reach and swing. We are thrilled to have another  quality mare join our farm-Thanks Julie for selling us Welty!!
   Things are winding down for winter. Last load of hay will arrive in a few weeks. The horses are growing their winter coat.

September 1st, 2009

     It is that time of the year when the foals need to learn to become more independent from their mothers. It already started about a week ago when I noticed that the foals had come back to the barn for some shade and the mothers were still out in the pasture well out of sight. No one seemed stressed about it, there was no calling and frantic running around like their would have been just a few weeks prior.

So now every evening, when they come in from the field the foals are haltered and lead to a separate paddock where they get their ration (with quite a bit of jockeying for position-Deimos using his size to good advantage) and they stay in the paddock until nightfall when I go and feed the mares the hay for the night. I used that time to brush them and pick up their feet and deliver some hugs and scratches.

They are quite funny when I release them back to their mother, they all run and get a drink, parking themselves all neatly beside their mothers-I should take a picture one of those time: synchronized suckling!

I generally increase the time they spend appart for about a week until they spend the night appart, it gives their mother's udder time to adjust and to decrease the amount of milk produced so that when they are finally separated the pressure is not so great.

All of them are doing very well appart from their mom that they can still see from their paddock. The mares are unconcerned at this point. Next week they will be separated completely and permanently from their dams with each other for company.

August 13th, 2009

     Here are some candid shots that I like but that did not fit anywhere else.


     The one of Deimos using Vivaldi as a pillow is so typical of Deimos: this big boy is growing like a weed and just like it is for kids that means he sleeps a lot and what could be more comfortable then his pal I ask you? He was actually snoring when I took the picture. When the mares come in from pasture for a drink the foals often pile in the barn and curl up to sleep and then, good mothers that they are, the mares simply wait while their foals nap before dragging them back (sometime somewhat reluctantly) to the pasture.
     Allegro fancies himself a big boy and took a sniff at Deesse of who he is midly afraid of so he had that tentative look on his face.

August 10th, 2009

     We finally were able to take some videos of the boys this weekend. Boy we had a lot of fun and they put on a nice show for us. We have some video clips of everyone and I'm slowly editing them into something watchables. Everyone was groomed and cleaned and I have to say they all enjoyed the attention.

August 7th, 2009

     After almost two months of drough we just had a week of rain. This probably saved the pastures because they were starting to turn yellow. The mares and foal are out in a big 6 acres field that I left untouched since spring so they have alfalfa to their knees and a variety of grass that managed to grow to good height over the last three months. The boys are growing big and strong and the mom need the nutrition. The only problem they never want to come in for their ration twice a day! I have to go get them .

All three foals look fabulous, Deimos is now about 14.1 or 2 and so well proportioned I don't get tired looking at him. He just has that regal presence of his mother. He is now a nice uniform color of grey-almost no patch of chesnut left. Vivaldi continues to be our light dancer, when he moves he is so light and effortless full of suspension, he also is acquiring bend-o-spots as he sheds his baby coat. Those are so cool: they are spots of dark liver chesnut all over his copper chesnut coat, they aren't big but I'm told they come and go. With his spot on his star maybe his name should have been Spot-nah! too common; Vivaldi suits him much better. He is so light on his front he just lifts up with no effort. Allegro continues to be the big suck of the gang, he comes up to me and and can craddle his head in my arms and just caress his nose for ever as far as he is concerned. Just like his mom he loves to run!

The conditions have been slimy and slippery because of the rain but we have sunshine in the forecast and I'm hoping to take some videos of all the boys in the next few days, the good thing about sandy soil is that is dries pretty quickly.

July 24th, 2009

     The boys all got their first "real" trim today. The farrier came by and the whole gang was trimmed and they all did wonderfully. Allegro was the star (as always) for standing so patiently but both Vivaldi and Deimos were extremely good boys and now have pretty little hooves all well ballanced and alligned. The farrier was commenting on the fact that Deimos has his mother's "perfect" feet and that Vivaldi will probably end up having hoof just as tough as his mom.

June 28th, 2009

     We had a very nice evening at the CA/ADA (Calgary Area/Alberta Dressage Association) National Dressage show sponsor gala yesterday evening.
This year we decided that it was time for us to encourage the very disciplines we breed our horses for and so we became a Silver sponsor for the CA/ADA show. The gala evening was great! We got to see a 4 in hand driving demonstration by Deb Laderoute; a fashion show of riding apparels and then some freestyle classes of various levels. We were also treated to a very generous wine and cheese and we had a wonderful host that was both a dressage rider and trainer and a judge. The show as very well organized and the performance were great to watch. Bonus for us breeders the program contained the breeding information on all the horses (well the sire and the registry was listed). That made it extra interesting to watch those performances.
We were not able to attend the award presentation for the class we were sponsoring (Intermediate II) but we tracked down the winner-Bonny Bonnello- and were able to chat with her about her horse Pikardi (a big Canadian Warmblood gelding by the stallion Pointmaker) and how things went. It really was very nice evening.

June 25th, 2009

     Wow! June was a very busy month for us and we just did not get much time to spend on the computer. Breeding has been "interesting" and kept us hopping this year. Déesse turned out to be open so back to the breeding center she went, but managed to ovulate her follicle prior to arriving. On the bright side Shotsey was pregnant at her 15 days check and all looked good. As for Vendella, well she decided to keep the suspense going for a bit longer.
     We also received confirmation that our new mare Welty was in fact in foal with a Rubignon baby. We shall be receiving Welty in the late summer. Until then all I can tell you is that Welty is an Elite Hanoverian mare by Weltmeyer out of a Bolero dam. I do not have any pictures of her at this point but it will all change as soon as she is home!
     Now that all the mares are back at home, they are all together in the pasture and the foals are getting to play with each other. Seeing them interact with each other is a real treat. We get to see more of their character since they are now at the two months mark. To be succint: I can say that it is the most laid back easy going bunch we've had in a long time. Even Allegro: the most active of all is very accepting and quiet and loves to come for scraches and doesn't spook easily. It makes taking interesting pictures quite difficult!! Vivaldi is probably the most huggable and friendly; not much gets him worried. Deimos is still a good hand bigger then Vivaldi and finds all this growing quite tiring!

May 25th, 2009

     Deimos and Déesse came back from the repro center in fine form. Deimos is recovering very well from his hernia operation. We hesitated for a few days, wondering if it was the right thing to do. After all, most vets told us that those scrotal hernia most often resolved themselves but we choose not to take any chance. The surgeon told us after the operation that it was the right call. Deimos was castrated at the same time to avoid further problem with retained testicles and what not. The staff at the vet hospital were quite smitten with him, not only by his size (he is 13hh and barely 6 weeks old) but mostly by his wonderful temperament. He behaved very well and they were impressed that he was already so well halter broke.
     He had to spend a few weeks with limited turnout to give the incision time to heal and he nearly drove his poor mother mad but they are both doing well and he is finally able to strech his legs in a little paddock for the next week and then: freedom!!
     We will find out in another week if Déesse is pregnant. In the meatime it was the turn of Vendella and Shotsey to go to the repo center as their heat cycle approached. We shall keep all of our fingers crossed for thing to go smoothly and for both girls to come back pregnant.

May 20th, 2009

     It is so much fun to watch the foals in their first few weeks. From the timid, hesitant beginning they gain weight and confidence so quickly, and boldly explore the world away from their mother. Some do it more quickly than others.
     Deimos, for one, seemed to be bold from the start, Vivaldi is catching up quickly, and little Allegro is finally putting some distance between himself and his doting mother, so that he can go and see things for himself.
     When they "discover" their legs, they can act like they're going to be incredibly spirited horses! In fact, they are just drunk on their own ability! After two or three weeks they seem to settle down, and adopt an attitude that is more like their later self.
     I never get tired of seeing that progression, and witnessing their personality emerge. I will keep you posted on what I discover about this year's boys in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!!

May 5th, 2009

     Well finally after lots of work our new website is up! I don't have much to report except for this fact but please come back in a few days and read our latest news on the foals and the mares.