Monday, June 23, 2008

Swellings and Spazzes

So, the saga of bringing Halo home has been a bit...complicated. She has mysteriously swollen lymph nodes, which the vet said could indicate that she was getting or recovering from a respiratory infection. So far she shows no signs of a runny nose or any other indication of infection.

Also, the awesome people with whom we plan to pasture board Halo have been having foal drama for a couple of weeks now. Starbuck, their Quarab baby, had a rough birth and isn't nursing. Now, apparently he's also come down with some kind of sickness, which is undoubtedly attributable to missing out on mom's milk during the first 24 hours. Poor little thing.

Also, Miss Halo has insisted on setting back when tied at least once every time I come out. She's very sensitive and giving to the leadrope in hand, and most of the time when she's tied. But every now and again she'll reach the end of the leadrope and decide her halter is going to eat her head. The resulting spaz is not good for her neck or her back, and she could severely injure herself. Sigh.

So in the meantime before she comes home we've been doing what we can by visiting her once a week. During each visit she gets treats, a good brushing, and work on hoof handling. This week she even got her first (front half only) bath, which she was less than thrilled about at first. Strangely she could have cared less when I stuck her tail in a bucket to wash it. Halo's mode of operation seems to be "ZOMG it's going to eat me!!!!!!!!!!!" whenever she is faced with a new experience. Backing up very quickly and hopping around on the end of her leadrope ensues. Then when she realizes it isn't in fact going to eat her, she stands quietly flicking her ears back and forth. Silly spastic filly.

When we visit her, we like to give her some time to play at liberty in the arena. She's at the bottom of the pecking order in a very small, crowded pasture, so she probably doesn't get much opportunity to run unless she's being chased by a crabby old pony. Her favorite game to play in the arena is, Arabian Princess. Apparently nobody has informed her that Quarter Horses should not run around with their tails straight up in the air.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Evolution of a Filly

To begin, here are the earliest pictures of the Spastic Yellow Filly, now dubbed Halo.

I posted her on the message boards at Fugly Horse of the Day to get some feedback on her conformation. From these pictures, I got the following:

"She has a cute head, not typey, just cute. Throatlatch seems a little thick, but only have one pic to go on. Her neck is short and she has a false ewe neck (you will be able to work w/this when you start to ride her). Her shoulder is an ok angle, a little steep. Back is short/strong, stands downhill like most QHs and has a steep croup (again a QH thing). I would like to see her stifle placed more forward, and she needs more angulation through the gaskin area = somewhat post legged but not too too bad. She does have upright pasterns in the rear, but she is a stock breed...that's just how they come. From the side, her lower legs look clean and straight. Would have to see a head on and rear shot to confirm.

She will not be a big, long moving, slinky horse. She will be a compact mover w/shorter strides. Any horse can do english, she will just look like a QH doing it."

After that I added the pictures that were on her Craigslist ad. She is almost exactly one year old in these pictures, with much less hair.

The reactions to these pictures were somewhat less positive, especially in regard to how spindly and small her legs are.

"The ewe neck is far more pronounced in these photos. It is interesting how she looks a lot more like her brother in these pictures.

Her tiny little feet and long weak pasterns are also more evident. Her shoulder is quite upright and is closed.

Her legs are just so damn fine. Was she all winter fluff in the first photos?

I think she is really lucky she has a pretty face and is a pretty colour."

"I'm okay with her "torso"- shoulder, back, hip, barrel. She lost the pot belly and got more hip on her since the earlier pics. Beyond that... I'm not a fan of her ewe neck, loooong cannons, loooong pasterns, tiny feet/bone (echoing someone else here!), locked-looking stifles, and not terribly attractive face (but hey, her and I have that in common!). I don't think her shoulder is too upright- in the more recent pic, the shadow of where her neck meets her shoulder is much more upright than her actual slope (point of shoulder, which is very obvious, to highest part of her withers).

I'm glad you got her- she looks a lot better already, and it isn't her fault that she shouldn't have been bred. I'm just a little concerned about the long-term soundness of those pasterns, and if anything funny is going on in her stifles."

"I actually love her face... its curious and sweet. She looks like she really appreciates her upgrade in life!
Her pasterns have me concerned also. They look weak and quite long. Her hind end is funny but with regular exersise and feed she should look alot better. As for the ewe neck thats present, I've seen alot of horses compete and do quite well with one. Its alot harder to achieve roundness and collection but it can be done and once they have the muscle developed on their topline its alot easier also.
Good luck with her! I think she's well suited to her new life as a trail horse/pleasure horse! I wouldn't recommend ever jumping her but take it slow and she should be fine for what you want to do."

I agree with some of what they noticed, but I think the way she moves makes up for some of her smaller flaws. The spindly legs are of concern for me as well, but we'll see how she grows into herself. Either way, I see her making a nice pleasure, open show, or 4-H horse someday.