Diane and Missy’s Journey – Part 2

July 6, 2009

10 months later with OGO Waers Gold Star aka “Missy”

Well I can’t believe it has been almost one year since the birth of OGO Wares Gold Star AKA Missy.  So I thought I would recap our progress over the past 10 months.

While Ursulas Higuera Bandita agreed to be the surrogate mother, she still had to build up her milk to sustain what Missy used on a daily basis.  This led to organizing a daily shift of round the clock feeding every two hours.  The vet had already started giving her Foal Lac so all we had to do was just coordinate the schedule.

The hardest shift to fill was the night-shift; a night person was hired to do the feedings from 8pm to 6am until a device (nicknamed the night nanny) could be built that would be set on a timer to release the necessary amount of milk per feeding.  This was the best invention and worked like a dream!  It took Missy no time at all to figure out – once the timer would release the milk, she could go to the bucket to get her next meal!  What Morgan does not want to eat?  Over several months, the feedings were cut back and/or changed in accordance to her growth and with the amount of milk that Ursula was producing.

The daily visits allowed plenty of time to work with Missy; however since I was not officially her owner at this point, I was reluctant to do certain things with her, like taking her out of the pen etc.  This all changed on October 26th.   Two months after Missy was born, she was officially mine!  During this time Missy had gone through three color changes, finally deciding she was going to be buckskin.

One of the challenges with an orphan foal is that they equate seeing people with being fed.  Showing up without a bucket did not make her a happy girl and she was quick to let you know about it!  This is a challenge still today, but she is getting better all the time.

Thanks to Trudy, who is also an owner of one of the OGO babies.  She was with me on the first day we decided to go out on a walk for the first time.  We would just take baby steps, as Ursula was a very nervous mom and since she too was in foal, we wanted to keep her stress down.  We were gradually able to make the trip to the small arena, where we could finally see what a nice mover that Missy was.

She had great rollbacks and was even doing flying lead changes.  This gave me an idea that I would need to see if I could ride Ursula in order to start ponying Missy.  With the green light from Sandy LeGate , I started in the round pen bareback on Ursula to test the waters, since she has not been ridden for some time.

That went well, so a couple days later, I saddled her up in her pen and began ponying Missy in her own pen and to my surprise, it went really well.   I did this for a couple more times and then graduated to the arena, before attempting to lead her out around the ranch.  It was going very well and there were not many people out at the ranch, so I decided to take a stroll around the ranch.

We continued this for many weeks and then one day I decided to take a stroll up to the part, which is not that far from the ranch, but the road is dark since it is lined with eucalyptus trees.  Again, Missy did great and always tried to end things on a good note.

Since the only trailer experience that Missy had was the trip to and from the vet, I was not sure how teaching her to load in the trailer would be, but like all the other things, she loaded like a trooper and did it as if she had been doing it all along.  We still continue to load; however, have not taken any trips yet.

Now at the age of four months, it was time to teach her how to tie….this was known as being introduced to the patience pole!  This was not as well received as the rest of the things that had been done to this point, as Missy seems to want to continue to test the waters.

I started tying her on a long line through the tire, and after several times doing this, I was finally able to graduate to tying her to the tire.  Then I would hide to see how she reacted.  She would continue to pull, but gave into the pressure.  I would call out, since she was not happy about being without her mom, who was steps away in the round pen.

This was also the steps that were needed to start the separation process.  The weaning process normally happens between 4-5 months; however, since she was an orphan, we wanted to wait for 6 months, again keeping in mind that Ursula is in foal and expected to give birth in June. {mospagebreak}

On 1/3/09 Missy was doing so well, that I decided to attempt to put a bareback pad on her and to my surprise, this was too easy.  She handled it so well and I was a bit concerned. because it was a horse size – not even for a pony.  And even with tying knots in the cinch, it was still a bit big.  So, I decided to put the pony saddle on her instead.  This too, was done without incident.  I let her wear this for a bit and then decided to saddle Ursula and go for a walk.

Then the day came to separate Missy from Ursula.  It just so happened that I was ponying Missy with my other horse and Ursula was not a happy camper and had worked herself into a frenzy.  I had Missy away from Ursula for most of the day, and by this time she had started to calm down and was even eating, so I figured the time was right.  That being said, I wanted to get the permission from Sandy LeGate, which it was agreed to try it and see how it would go.  That too went well, and I think Ursula was relieved and would have about 4 months by herself before her own foal was due.

Missy did miss her nursing as she had made the attempt to nurse from my other mare (who has never had a foal) which did not go over well.  While my other mare, Dutchess, would never intentionally hurt Missy, she would give a stern warning.  Missy is going to be an alpha mare and will get enough licks later.

When missy was 6 ½ months, she was finally ready to get her feet trimmed.  She was really good with her back feet, but not so good at first with the front ones.  She has since been trimmed two more times and like all the other things, she gets better each time.

Missy is now 10 months old and she is not a big fan of horse blankets, but she will let me saddle her….not sure if it is the sound the blanket makes, but still working through that issue.  We have been working on flagging, and while she will let me flag her entire body, she is not fond of the flag over the ears.

She continues to capture my heart and when I have a bad day, I drive up and she knows my car so she peaks around the pen and greets me with her knicker and all is forgotten.  I am hoping to get her ready to start showing in a halter class.

Today 7-5-09 was a good day; I got Missy to go over a bridge on command.  Next steps are to start putting a bridle on her and start her driving.

Stay tuned with more updates and progress.