Registered Name: Incomparable In Gold
Birthday: May 12, 2019
Color: Tobiano Dun
To read the story of Maizey in sections, see the following posts:
Back in 2016, when I had freshly retired my elderly Quarter Horse mare Suzie due to navicular and arthritic changes in her knee, I had talked a lot about what my future with horses would look like. I contemplated then the possible reality of owning a foal - one from a very specific stallion and mare, a breeding program I had followed for several years.
|Suzie, the epitome of red-headed mare, haha.|
I dwindled down that road for a while, and had even had it lined up to put a deposit on the mare's 2016 colt. Unfortunately, for reasons unknown to me it just wasn't meant to be. I picked myself up after his loss, and carried on, eventually finding Annie and bringing her home 6 months later.
This whole chasing baby thing has been a bit of a chaotic adventure - I set my eyes on this breeding program years ago and watched, forlornly from a distance until I edged out and tried to make it work. Life is both funny and cruel, so I took a step back from pursuing a dream that I couldn't seem to gain any traction on.
So after Annie, I kind of let it go.
More foals were born, weaned, and sold, and I watched with tepid interest.
Annie was working out great, and as my first foray into young horse ownership, she was a perfect teacher. I slowly gained traction on various goals I had wanted to reach, and the more I expanded my knowledge and interest in developing her, the more I felt I could actually "do this". As someone who rarely rode young horses, it was a big change, and I've learned so much from working with her that I feel more confident in dealing with green horses - something that was not a learned skill as I weaved through my equestrian journey, with a variety of coaches and friends to help us along the way.
|These flashbacks from two years ago still make me pinch myself!|
And then the Summer of 2018 came, and the breeder announced she was getting out of breeding and as such, was selling a vast majority of her broodmares as well as her very successful and decorated stallion. I reached out to her, not really sure what I had in mind, but had a very soft agreement that should my pick of the broodmares remain on site, I would have first dibs on her resulting foal come Spring.
A few broodmares went to their new homes, and soon enough, I was offered to purchase the mare in foal (a kind of two for one deal). Despite the Boyfriend vigorously chanting me on to do it, I took the time to mull the proposal over and in the end, respectfully declined for a variety of reasons.
First off, I'm not a breeder nor do I have aspirations to foal a mare out (especially in our area where Emergency Vet care is non-existent), as well as the fact I lease property (as well as feed hay all year, so think of the added costs there), and lastly, the mare herself was only breeding sound due to a pasture accident. I felt that with all of these items combined, I had to walk away. It was tough, but it was the responsible thing to do, especially if I felt that care would be compromised.
And despite several people telling me to "just sell the mare after", I don't think I could ever do that. After having Suzie, I have become acutely aware of just how much horses can be passed around - as a sound and (mostly) sensible horse, I was Suzie's 7th registered owner. Who knows how many people she got passed around by who didn't register themselves on her papers.
So, with considering the financial strain of owning a non-riding horse and my own moral feelings on buying and selling right away, I chose to walk away.
|She was a temperamental, hot-missile barrel-seeking red-headed mare and I loved|
every single moment of it. She was my first foray into horse ownership and
I couldn't have asked for a better, and more understanding equine partner.
Don't despair tho, because the breeder found all of her broodies excellent long-term homes - including my favorite (who is actually only 45 minutes away now!).
And of course, like the stalker I am, I reached out to the woman who purchased the mare to let her know I was interested in the resulting foal. Which, obviously is the whole reason she bought the mare in the first place. Despite this, she offered the mare on a breed lease and I went to work on figuring out the logistics of shipping semen, etc, as the stallion had since relocated to Alberta.
It all made my head spin and I hit roadblocks at every turn - first the stallion was not yet being collected, then the Vet I had hoped to use wasn't doing AI anymore, and the list goes on.
Before the New Year though, I had reached out to a few of the remaining broodie owners and had basically told them, "If a foal hits the ground, let me know."
I didn't hear from many of them, as there weren't many broodmares to begin with, and very few wanted to part with the resulting foals once they had hit the ground.
I honestly didn't expect to hear anything, as it seemed as though this whole baby adventure was to be for naught.
However, on May 12th (poetically enough, Suzie's birthday), I received a message through Facebook that read, "She's here!"
Following the message of the foals birth, I danced around a bit at the prospect that she would be for sale (the only Tristan foal out of 5 this year to be up for grabs... they are hard to get a hold of!). And just as quickly, kinda recoiled into an eternal pros/cons list as I figured out what I was going to do.
I mean, talking babies is a fun pass-time, but would I actually bite the bullet and commit?
In a lot of ways it felt surreal - most Tristan foals were snatched up long before I had the opportunity to actually think logistics instead of, "Oh my god he/she is so cute, that would be so cool if I could bring him/her home!" But this one arrived into the world safely and was 100% available, with me being first in line to make that decision, so should I choose (stalking tendencies do pay off).
It honestly took a few weeks - I mulled the prospect of adding a baby to my herd over and over again in my head.
Was this something I really wanted?
Did I have the time/money/energy to commit?
In the end, I played hokey pokey with commitment, and although my heart said, "Do it, you won't regret it!", my head was ever-logical and reminded me I didn't really need another horse.
But I had waited years for this exact opportunity. And it was right in front of me, within a fingers grasp.
Would I let the opportunity slip past me again, or would I see all of the signs for what it was? I mean, of all the days to born, how fitting that the only available Tristan foal arrive on Suzie's birthday? And how perfect that a really good friend of mine in Alberta offered to pick her up and board her once weaned so we wouldn't have as long of a drive to go get her...
Despite all of the signs pointing in one direction, I still wavered.
One evening, a few weeks after the foal was born I abruptly got up from the couch after playing the "Should I/should I not?" game for the twentieth time in a row and marched into the bedroom, calling behind me to The Boy, "Where is your lucky coin?" The coin was one he found in the hospital parking lot after his grandmother passed.
My Dad had always told me if you have an important decision or a moment of indecisiveness in your life that you simply cannot choose, you flip a coin. Taking in his words of wisdom, we stood in the bedroom, on the edge of deliberation and hysterics that a coin was going to make the final decision.
I noted that I would call the side as the coin was flipped in the air and as The Boy tossed the Canadian Loonie into the air, I verbalized, "Tails."
It felt like eternity as he caught the coin, flipped it over and showed which side had come up.
We both looked at each other, a bit dumb-founded and I simply stated, "Well I guess we're getting another horse!"
I let the new owner of the broodmare know our final decision and sent a deposit for the filly after a contract was drafted up and everything appeared to be savory.
The next few months were filled with brief updates and as the days ticked by, it started to feel more real. We made some adjustments at the barn, including modifying the one existing paddock to keep the baby separate upon arrival.
I kept the news quite guarded, despite the amount of excitement and happiness I felt, as I knew all to well that horses are horses (especially baby horses). The next five months were painful, and I sent requests for updates probably way too often. However, she was growing up well and looked like a healthy young horse.
Over the period of a few months we started to work out the logistics of transporting her, as well as the timeline of her weaning, as Northern BC and Alberta tend to become treacherous near the end of October and into early November. Safety was top priority, and we didn't really plan definitive dates, as the weather would be a large indicating factor. The broodmare's owner offered to let the foal stay on property until Spring, should the weather be too poor to effectively navigate the Northern Highways which claim so many vehicles in the Winter.
As October came, we waited with baited breath as Thanksgiving weekend arrived and a good friend of mine was scheduled to pick her up and bring her back to her place. Thankfully, the weather cooperated and it looked as though we would be in the clear to safely head that way the following weekend.
The baby arrived in good spirits at my friend's place in Alberta - the lack of handling she received as a foal made things like leading and catching increasingly difficult, but Alaina assured me there was a good brain under there.
|Baby and Alberta Equest <3|
As a sidenote - why do people kick their foals out to pasture and do nothing with them until weaning?! I seriously cannot understand the reasoning and while I understand it is quite common for some horse people, I really don't understand it's purpose. The breeder who was more local to us did a lot of preparation training with her babies - including trailer loading and farrier work - and its a bit sad to see that her own ethics with her foals did not carry on past this.
Anyways, that soap-box rant aside, we made our way to Alberta this past weekend in a whirlwind trip that I still need a few days to recover from. We covered over 2500km (more, if you include driving to outer cities for shopping, etc) in three days and suffice to say, I am officially over being in a vehicle for any period of time.
Thankfully, the baby travelled well and she is officially (and finally!) home!
|I met her at like, midnight when we got to Alberta, haha.|
We left Alberta Sunday morning, somewhere around 5am (4am our time), and it didn't take too long to get the baby loaded. Unfortunately, she was not handled much as it is not the breeders way of doing things, and as such, she can be very difficult to catch. I got it done tho, and although she took some encouragement and a little bum rope to pop into the trailer, she appeared none worse for wear, just confused.
It was one of those situations I kinda sat back and sighed - getting the horse into the trailer needed to be done and while we did it as kindly and quietly as possible, I felt bad for this weanling, who had been through quite a lot within the last three weeks of her life (being weaned, leaving her weanling friends, first trailer ride, and now a second trailer ride). It is a lot for a baby, and we did our best to make the trip as low stress as possible.
|A break in the travels for a walk-about and some pets.|
We removed the divider in the trailer and left her loose for a good 80% of the journey - she ate well and drank at one of our many rest stops. We made sure to stop a few times, just to give her a break from bracing and tensing around the corners, as that in itself uses a lot of energy and muscle memory. She did good though, and we unloaded her midway and allowed her to walk around, drink, eat, and check out her surroundings. While I wrangled dogs, a friend who had traveled with us handled the baby and actually managed to get her to load on her own, which was really nice to see.
The baby unloaded well, although was a bit nervous about backing out (the divider was reinstalled closer to home, as I picked up a friend of a friend's horse from Trainer K) but I just gently reminded her she was a brave baby that could do this.
It took a bit of wrangling to get her all settled in her pen, as we had to pass directly through Annie and Spud's pens to get there. I opted to halter Annie and hold her and Spud off to the side as Jamie led the baby through and into her new little paddock. Reason being, I had no idea how everyone was going to react and we wanted to integrate them slowly and methodically - as well as having the baby in a smaller pen since she is not very friendly at the moment.
|Just before she popped into the trailer.|
Everything went well though, and I could tell immediately that all would be fast friends, as I watched Annie and Spud sniff noses with the baby over the fence. We monitored them for the next 30-40 minutes just to make sure everything was buttoned up, tossed the baby some hay and filled up her water and made the remaining 10 minute drive home.
We mulled over the names I had picked out months ago, and waffled between two of them. I had an idea as to which I wanted to use, but without knowing her true personality, it was hard to really give her an identity when I felt I didn't really know her.
|Starting to get a bit inquisitive. Ignore how soggy and|
wet everything is... we live in a perpetual rain-forest.
We actually didn't officially name her until Tuesday evening, and settled on the very first name I had chosen back in May when she was born - Maizey.
I had smartly taken Monday off of work, and used that as an opportunity to muck around the barn a bit, gauging how everyone had fared overnight. I noticed some slide marks on Annie and Spud's side of the fence - from trotting about in the absolutely mucky and saturated ground no doubt (it has been raining 10-15mm on average for the last 2 weeks and I am so over it).
Annie seemed to be a little too interested in what Maizey was doing, and part of me worried a bit she'd become a bit too possessive. My nervousness grew as I worked Maizey in her little paddock and Annie trotted around the outside perimeter nervously nickering whenever I started to lead her away.
Thankfully tho, after a few days, everyone has started to settle into themselves and Maizey has become a bit of "old news". It'll still be a while before she is turned out with Annie and Spud, as her lack of handling as a fresh foal has left some gaping holes that require filling before I even think about integrating her into a herd. Some days have gone good - like on Tuesday wherein it took less than 3 minutes to catch her.... and some days are bad - like on Wednesday when it took 30 minutes. It was kind of funny to watch in a way, as Annie had a bit of a conniption on Monday when I was working Maizey (pacing the fence, standing and shaking her head at me) and then on Wednesday, as Maizey took off loping away from me for the 5th time, Annie peeked her head out of the undercover shelter at the two of us in the pouring rain, kinda smirked and turned back to her hay as Maizey called for her. "Sorry kid, can't you see it's raining?"
|"Annie kisses are gross!" - Maizey, probably.|
Despite the catching woes, she seems to have a very level head on her shoulders (much like her half-siblings) and it'll just take time to bring that out. Once caught, although she can be a bit uncertain about what is going on, she takes it all in stride. She's very handleable and feels malleable - so much that even my non-horsey Dad handled her when we went for a stroll around the street with Annie.
Right now, we're just working on playing catch up - doing all the boring things that a horse needs to learn. Catching is just one component of learning, and we've been doing variations of a few exercises just to get her used to being around people and that we aren't always going to "bug". Having two horses on the opposite side of the fence we are curious and in-your-pocket is helpful so that Maizey can see how they interact with me.
It was much easier to work her at Alaina's, simply because she was in a round pen but I no longer have that luxury at my barn. We work with what we have tho, and I've been ensuring she still stands to face me instead of turning her butt and ignoring (and eventually walking or trotting off). She does gravitate towards my other horses tho, which makes it helpful and once she gets integrated with the herd I feel she'll blossom even more, as Spud is one of the most friendliest creatures in the world and tends to bring out the inquisitive side in everyone.
It's a new journey, for sure. And I am excited to finally have brought home a piece of a dream I started several years ago. While I am predominantly an English rider, I have no real showing aspirations with Maizey like I do with Annie (although hey, maybe that'll change). Her main job when she becomes a reliable riding horse is to tote The Boyfriend around and give us the ability to ride together, attend poker rides, and have fun with our horses. I'm looking forward to sharing my passion and interest in horses, and I think a comfortable and reliable Paint is just what we needed.
|Both soaked after 30 minutes of trying to catch her.|
Aside from future plans, we're breaking things down piece by piece and working to shape her into a confident, quiet, and reliable horse that anyone can ride. I'm excited for the challenge and look forward to learning more about young horses and how to adequately develop them and work with them. I certainly don't claim to know everything there is, so we're working through things bit by bit and I'm doing a lot of research, reading, and ordering of books and videos to make sure all my bases are covered (bc just like Annie, I am #anxiousallthetime).
All of that being said, so far I'm pretty pleased with her. It'll just take some time to build up some trust, confidence, and respect. A large part of me is hoping that Maizey is quick to draw herself to me, as the first snowfall of the season is inching its way ever close, and I'd like to have her into the herd at that point as our massive snowfalls make a majority of the pasture they are in unused.
|Annie was such an awesome "leader" for Maizey on her first|
short little trip out of the barn. Very calm, quiet, and confident.
Maizey got to check out some garbage cans, signs, etc and
took it all in stride!
As I go through this journey with Maizey, rest assured we have awesome Trainer K to help us out along the way, and I have plenty of time scheduled in for her to just be a horse and grow (in fact, she'll be turned out to pasture next year with a half-sister for a good 4-5 months). It takes a village, and I am looking forward to bringing up baby and seeing her grow and change!