Moving day…

On December 1, Dayo, Chaos and I packed up our troubles in the old kit bag, so to speak, and moved to a new GHQ up the road. The new facility has an arena (which was important to me as both a rider and a coach), wonderful paddocks, two large barns, and with fingers crossed, many new friends.

Chaos and Dayo loaded and unloaded like champs, and even let me take a photo for the road!

Chaos and Dayo moving on

Dayo goes to a sleepover

Dayo is living a life of luxury on the farm, days in the front paddock with the mares, evenings in a huge stall with an “all you can eat” hay buffet, good feed, plenty of fresh water, and good friends. She still lines up against the fence to admire Bazinga and Sophia. the Lone Pine Paints babies, but she has resigned herself to the fact that she is not having a baby *right now* and spends more time at the round bale, and less time “brooding”.

In June, Chaos and I went to our first show of the season. In honour of this momentous event, Dayo was required to give up her stall and spend the night under the stars with the girls.

To put it mildly, Dayo was not impressed. It turns out she is a bit more of a “five star” girl. She likes her amenities, and can be rather imperious when requesting them. Turn in time is about 6 or 7 p.m., and she spent the next two hours pacing the fence line calling to Richard, telling him she had been forgotten, that a terrible mistake had been made. Eventually, after a brief discussion about how fun an overnight adventure with the girls would be, she seemed to resign herself to the inevitable, and with a disgruntled toss of her head and a pointed flip of her tail, ambled back out to the mares, still grumbling and calling.

Dayo was so unimpressed with her overnight experience that she almost charged Richard the next morning, determined to make sure that she was brought in for breakfast. At 3 p.m. that afternoon, she could be found pacing the fence line, guarding it so that no one could come in or go out until she was returned to the barn for her evening meal and a warm bed. This went on for a couple of days, until she realized that the sleepover was an extenuating circumstance and not a new routine.

Chaos, on the other hand, thoroughly enjoyed his night in the stall. He came to Lone Pines thinking he was a real ladies man. He is turned out with the mares in the front paddock as well, where boss mare Tia and the herd afford him “stallion privileges”. The thrill of the turnout with mares lasted about four weeks – until one day, seven of them went into heat at once. It a life-changing event for poor Chaos, and the little Heffner now enjoys his days soaking up the solitude of Dayo’s stall (dubbed “Chaos’ man cave” by day).  The hours in the cave are spent snoozing, eating, supervising Richard as he goes about the daily routine, and greeting all visitors who enter the barn.

It goes without saying that Chaos and Dayo despise each other. Apparently stall sharing is the ultimate affront in the world of “sibling rivalry”. When Dayo comes into the barn during the day to get ready, Chaos fixes her with his “death” stare. She responds with a vacant, “blonde” look. If Chaos is brought in after turnout at night, Dayo pins her ears at him and chews her hay aggressively over the door. Chaos responds by flipping his tail at her as he walks by.

Dayo still resents the sleepovers, and is still as loud and vocal as ever about them. Chaos enjoys them thoroughly, and more so, I suspect, because he can hear Dayo calling from the paddock, demanding her rights.

And so it goes…

From the backyard to the round pen – groundwork and early rides

Dayo started under saddle in the round pen – lungeing, long-lining, and eventually with a rider on board. Here are some photos of the beginning of a journey I don’t think either one of us ever expected to take, and one which I hope Dayo is enjoying as much as I am. cropped-dayo-cover-image.jpg Emma and Dayo

Dayo goes to work

This Monday started like many Mondays this summer, an early morning at the barn to avoid the heat of the day to school Chaos in preparation for an upcoming show, and to spend time with Dayo.

Dayo, who had been enjoying some “free time” during the heat wave, also came in for a brushing, to be rinsed, and possibly lunged. This time, the Dayo who came in from the field was different. Usually so well behaved, she danced around Max (who was leading her in), spooked at the white patio chairs by the door, and tried to trample Richard. In the cross-ties, she moved around, pawed, yawned, paced, pushed and pooped. Repeatedly. In the round pen, she spent several minutes busting some pretty impressive moves – half passes, piaffes, a capriole and a ballotade or two… very haute ecole as she was trying to break through the fence before she settled down to be lunged. It turns out that Dayo, the mare who just one month before couldn’t believe she had to spend a night in nature with the mares, had become a little herd bound.

And so, it was officially time to go to work.

So far, one of the great joys of working with Dayo is her absolute calmness in the face of new things. She seems to take everything in stride, and while confidence is an issue for her when she doesn’t know what is expected, she is very trusting with new “ideas”, learns quickly, and does not like to make a mistake. She started the work week with an hour on the cross ties learning to settle down and focus. She was brushed, booted, clipped, polo’ed (several times because someone had rolled the polo bandages up backwards, and bandaging is not one of my core strengths!). Then we took the plunge, and put a saddle on her back.

Of course, the entire adventure was a non-event. The saddle pad went on. Nothing. An Ogilvie pad. Nothing. Saddle. No reaction. Girth came next, with a brief pause for station identification as we tried to figure out sizing (it seems that Evelyn, the consummate Western trainer and rider, has at least one English leather girth in every size from 44″ to 56″!). Dayo stood patiently through it all, resigned to not being with the girls, and interested in watching Evelyn and I sort through the girths. Saddled, Dayo went out to lunge. And she was a pro.

Wednesday, there was a marked improvement in Dayo’s behaviour. She settled right in to the cross ties, was relaxed and calm. We decided to add the bridle. Dayo is track broke, so she has worn one before, but that was five years and a couple of babies ago. Once again, Dayo proved that she is nothing if not reasonable when something is properly presented. She lowered her head, opened her mouth, and voila. We put on some smashing white polos, and took a tacked up and shining mare out for a short photo shoot. Richard very kindly helped her to stand properly (this , I understand, is called showmanship, and apparently I don’t know much about it. I went from “hold your horse” girl to “shake the halter in an interesting way to get the horse to prick up its ears” girl in a matter of seconds!)

Dayo is dressed up and ready to go Dayo look spectacular

Dayo looked spectacular. And she was – she lunged with the bridle Wednesday and Thursday, and has started reading cues so well she will now transition up and down based almost completely on voice and body language.

Dayo before her trim…

Today, Jordy from JRO Photography (shameless plug: www.jrophotography.ca) sent me photos of Dayo taken on May 12, 2013, before she was clipped. Now that she’s trimmed, it’s hard to remember how many and big the bald spots were on her body as the hair fell out in chunks. Jordy’s photos are a good reminder of the terrible condition her coat, skin and body were in.

With the clipping, the love, good food, and a daily moisturizing, Dayo the carrot hound looks better every day. Now that all the burnt and bleached out hair gone, it’s hard to tell where the skin stops, and the fur begins.

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