Sunday, April 22, 2018

Am I completely Crazy??

Sooo....I mentioned a little while ago that if Tessa had better conformation, I would be very tempted to breed her to a jack for a mule baby and lots of people were like, "What's wrong with Tessa?  Why not have a mule baby?  Yes, let's have a mule baby!"

First, to be fair to Tessa, most of the things that I don't like about her conformation are the things that make her a gaited horse.  Tessa is a bit of a blueblood in the world of Tennessee Walking Horses/Spotted Saddle Horses.  Her breeders went to a lot of trouble to produce her and they would be perfectly happy with how she is built. 

Most gaited horse have, what I consider to be, weak hind ends.  They have more laxity in their stifles, hocks, pelvis etc, because they need that laxity to gait.  I think it causes soundness issues when they get old, but all purebreds have some built in problems like this.  I could point at a lot of quarter horses that don't stay sound past the age of four.  It is really more of a personal prejudice on my part than a flaw in Tessa and is in fact another good argument FOR breeding her to a jack.  That is the most hybrid vigor you can get.

Tessa's right foreleg does turn out at the shoulder and that is not something I would like to see passed on to future generations, but it does not cause her trouble and mules are sterile anyway so does it really matter?  Aside from conformation, the thing you most want in a mule momma is a good temperment because that comes almost entirely from the mare.  This is the one place where Tessa truly excels, I have rarely met a horse that could equal Tessa's calm, sweet, loving and amazingly brave temperament.  Looked at from that point, you would be hard-pressed to find a better mule making candidate.

I have thought a lot about breeding Tessa, but always talked myself out of it.  When I made that remark about breeding Tessa I was expecting my good friends, Elva and Vicki (aka, Riding Buddy) to blow raspberries at me and tell me to get my head on straight.  Instead, they're all, "YES, let's have a mule baby."

And than there is this really awesome jack I have had my eye on for several years because I think he is just soooo handsome and every time I see him I want a mule baby.  His name is Clyde's Gallant Fox  and he has been producing some super, super nice mule babies and the breeders do shipped semem so it would be possible to breed Tessa to him.


I sent an email to my vet figuring she, at least, would help talk me out of this foolishness:

Dear Vet, I may need you to talk me off a crazy ledge. There is this SUPER nice mammoth jack stud who does shipped semen and we are all kind of thinking that Tessa could make a really nice mule baby and I would love to have a mule baby to raise. Sooooo, yeah, mule baby???

I would need a vet to help with all the AI work. Do you do that? Am I totally crazy? Honest opinions needed!
I was expecting her to tell me to stop being an idiot and instead, her reply was:

That mammoth jack is pretty awesome looking! I think they would make a really nice mule!

I definitely do AI, although I've never bred the donkey semen. I've helped breed mares live cover to a mammoth jacks. Super exciting!

And then later in a different email:

I'm excited breed miss Tess!

So much for talking me OFF the crazy ledge. So...yeah.  Mule baby???  I'm seriously thinking about it.

I have a thousand opinions on the subject that have been clogging my brain waves for weeks now.  I will tell you some of them later, but right now, it is your turn to talk me off this crazy ledge.  One way or the other.

What do you all think:

A) NO WAY!  Kris is totally off her rocker, get her some therapy.

B) YAY!  Let's all go off the crazy ledge together and watch Tess have a mule baby!!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Automatic Donkey Scrubber

A while ago we introduced the one and only Solar Powered Donkey Warmer.  Well, today we are here with a whole new product! 

The fully Automatic Donkey Scrubber!

Some assembly required. 

Step 1:  Order some of these stiff-bristled scrub brushes I found on Amazon for $2 each.

Step 2:  Present the box of brushes to the donkeys for inspection (of course, like most kids, they will think the box is the best part of this new present).

Step 3:  Sit back and watch while donkeys empty box and prepare scrubbers for assembly. 

(This may take awhile.  You know how hard it is to decipher assembly instructions.)

Step 4:  Once the donkeys have emptied the box and carted it off for complete annihilation, gather up the brushes and begin installation.

Step 5:  Using the handy-dandy cordless drill which every self-respecting barn owner should already have, use 2 inch screws (or whatever you have on hand that works) to attach the brushes to the designated scratching areas.  Proper placement of the brushes is crucial, however any barn with donkeys in it will already have pre-marked scratching areas. 

Step 6:  Wait a couple of weeks for the donkeys to think about the new brushes and decide that they meet with their approval.  Timing may vary depending on suspicion level of individual donkeys. 

Once the donkeys finish demolishing the box, they will be delighted with the All New Automatic Donkey Scrubbers.  Once they finally decide to stop being mad at you for wrecking their favorite scratching post and decide they like the brushes anyway.  Be patient.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Puppy Overdose

I told Elva today that I was going to have to start carrying around some of that Narcan stuff in case she completely overdoses on puppies.

It could happen.

The puppies have moved out into the garage/woodshed and they are enjoying their new space....

...and practicing to be big, serious guard dogs.

They are terribly ferocious.

 Practicing their attack skills....

...while mom shows them how to protect every, little thing.  Including puppy toys that need to be rescued, handled gently and guarded from marauders.

I've seen a lot of posts recently about how Livestock Guardian Dogs should not be handled by people and that they have to be locked in and isolated with their charges so that they will bond with them. 

Total hogwash.

Yes, the puppies need to be around livestock and, by the time these pups leave, they will know all about sheep, lambs, chickens, cattle, cats, other dogs, etc.  Each of these puppies is spoken for and they are all going to small farms where they will have a variety of livestock and people to look after.  They are fully capable of doing all that may be asked of them whether it is looking after a flock a milk goats, hiking with their people or guarding the sheep while they watch Border Collies learn how to do their jobs.

These dogs are intelligent, intuitive and have been born with the aptitude and skill to do all of the above while also riding happily in a car to the vet's office or distinguishing a real threat from stray child wandering in to visit the lambs.  I know most people don't want stray children wandering around in their fields, but it happens all the time and even fewer of us want the dogs to devour the small children.  I personally don't know why anyone would want a big, powerful dog that can't be handled - or a small, toothless dog for that matter.

I find it to be a baffling disservice to these dogs to expect them to live alone amongst a flock of sheep, making all the tough decisions, protecting them from all threats while simultaneously believing them to be too stupid to do anything else.  I've met a few dogs raised like that and, as much as I love dogs, I'd never want one of them around.

Fortunately for these pups, they are all going to homes where they will be able to live up to their true abilities and be loved and appreciated for all of them.

Now all we have to do is figure out how to keep Elva from going into massive puppy withdrawal at the end of May when they finally move on to their new farms.  Does Narcan work on puppy overdose?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

These Two!

This is one of my new favorite pictures.  Ben looks like a little kid begging to play and my Little Brown Brat is soooo determined that he is going to win.

So far, it's a draw.

Except for the toys, which are showing signs of wear.

"Play with me!"

"No, you play with ME!"

"OK, let's play."

I can't get enough of watching these two...

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Absurdly Cute

The puppies are 4 weeks old today and they have reached the point that may just be maximum cuteness.

They have gone well past the grub stage into the fluffy, sweet, cuddly stage.

So cute, it almost makes your eyes roll.

So cute that nibbling on another puppies foot might even seem like a good idea.




Absurdly cute.

And they know it!