Things have been crazy at the internship, and I realized I lost 3 weeks - meaning, I let three weeks go by without a stallion manager blog post. I have really been getting in the groove of being in a management position at a breeding facility. I don't remember each and every day (lots happened!), but I will write a post with all of the things I can distinctly remember.
A few weeks back, Kyle, whom I had not met at any pack team practices, told Kelli he would not be attending Mule Days or be on the pack team this year. With such short notice, Kelli asked me if I knew of anybody who may be a good fit to be our fourth member. I instantly thought of my good friend Olivia (Liv), who is a first year Animal Science student at UC Davis. I grew up riding with Liv and know that her horse sense is a good one, and that she would be more than capable of being a great final member of the team, if her schedule would allow it. I texted Liv and she was excited and said she would check her schedule - sure enough, she came out later that day, met with Kelli, and became our final member of the team. Selfishly, I am excited for the opportunity to spend more time with Liv and be in Bishop with her.
I arrived to the barn a little after 8AM, and Anthony was the only other stallion manager at the barn. Since we had class at 9, and then I had class again from 11-2, I told Anthony we should start our palpations and get at least one or two done prior to going to 9AM lecture. Anthony wasn't into my recommendation because he likes to to arrive to class early to get a good seat. I gave him some sass and told him "fine, I can just do it alone", and then he decided to join me and told the other members of the barn he was "whipped". He's a goof.
In between my two classes (from 10-11AM), we continued palpations. We had a 14d check in Shemariah, one of our thoroughbred mares, and identified a vesicle. We also had a 60d check in another one of our thoroughbred mares, Rockville, who was bred to Protege. That was the first time I had seen a 60d check, which was awesome. Her fetus looked to be healthy, and I was able to see the foal (like, it's head, neck, ribcage, etc.) which was wonderful to be able to discern.
Plumb, one of our quarter horse mares, foaled. I was not present for the foaling because Plumb went so quickly that the foal managers didn't have time to call any additional barn members. The foal is another colt, a cute little bay with a star. He is an Azteca, and looks like he will be built nice and uphill.
On Thursday afternoon, the pack team had the opportunity to have a 3-hour pack clinic with a man named Andy, who has packed professionally. He was a fun man, who got very intense once he started packing/was watching us packing. I learned a lot of tips and tricks, and had fun practicing different loads (ice chests, duffle bags, feed barrels, etc.)
I don't remember much about this Friday - except for that I was able to drive Protege for the first time and it was a blast. He loved it!
We collected Dun for a shipment - Kelli has let us do collections completely solo now, without her help. So we ran a solo stud manager-only collection with Dun, that went very well.
We had some pack team practice time, which went well. The thing I struggle with the most is tying the box hitch on each side of the pack saddle. With Jacob's help, I have improved in that, but I still need some work. The next morning, we practiced some more.
This was one of the most interesting days I have had at the horse barn. We needed to ride Protege, and Jake didn't want to, so I decided I would. The draft horse club had Dee or Olive out in the arena, so we decided to tack him up inside his stall in the barn. While tacking him up, he was wild, dropped, and was braying over and over. We got him tacked up and the draft horses were put away, so we took him out to the arena. Since he was being so wild in the stall, we kept his halter and lead shank on, and brought the bridle with us to bridle him in the arena.
The bridling went terribly, even with Jake helping me. Protege tried to get loose, and really just had no regard for either of us. Once we got him bridled, he was completely dropped and erect, and not standing still. Kelli was out as were 5 or 6 of my barn mates, and came over to watch the show. Protege looked like he wanted to mount something (or someone), so I asked Kelli if I should try to ride him or not, or what I should do. She said this was usual for him, and that I should go ahead and get on.
I had never seen him behave so poorly, so I wasn't very confident.
I got on his back, and he instantly began spinning - like a reiner. I was in an English saddle so didn't have much to hold on to, but managed to hang on. I urged him forward, but he continued to spin, and move from manure to manure pile. I asked Julia B. if she could go get a manure bucket and pick up the piles on manure. I thought that would be helpful, but as soon as she brought it into the arena, Protege ran to and tried to leap on top of the manure bucket (with me on top of him still!), and then tried to jump onto Julia. Julia got out of the arena, and Protege began spinning again until he spun me off his back.
I got back on him, and he decided to pull out his next trick: rearing. Out of nowhere, he went straight up in the air and felt like he was going to fall backwards on top of me, so I let go of the reins and fell straight down his back onto my tail bone. He took off, and Kelli caught him. I got on three more times - and was reared off more quickly every single time. Finally, on my fourth time being reared off the donkey, I hurt my leg. Embarrassingly, I started to cry because it hurt so terribly. I walked back up to Protege and Kelli, and Kelli wanted me to get back on but I told her I couldn't. We lunged him for about 30-40 minutes, and Kelli then decided she didn't want to get on and would rather call it a day. We put Protege away. It was a demoralizing experience.
We collected Handsome for our ANS 127 class with Amy (Dr. McLean). It was my first time ever handling him, and he was strong. Very strong. He kept pulling me to the phantom, and I wasn't strong enough to pull him back, especially with my leg throbbing from the day before. It took Handsome 6 mounts before finally collecting, and I was quite tired.
After class, I took Protege out for a lunge and he was a dear. I was really glad to have had a positive experience with him after having a terrible one a few days prior, but I wanted to be able to get back on him so I could really feel like I fixed the problem (whatever it was) we were having!
On Friday, Caleb, the meat lab manager, came out to ride Protege. He grew up riding donkeys and mules, so was very confident in his ability to ride Protege. He took him out in a western saddle, and got all of the behavior I got previously. He got the spinning and the rearing, but rode it better than I did and didn't fall off and got Protege going. He was carrying a crop that seemed to help quite a bit. After he finished riding, he let me get on and ride him around at the walk, trot, and canter. He tried to be a pill for me when I first got on but once I got him moving he was well behaved. I had to get off to leave for class, but I was pleased.
Another one of our thoroughbred mares, Tiztuff, was close to ovulating after palpating, so we gave her sucramate so we could breed her over the weekend. The fresh semen to inseminate her with also arrived - from Clyde's Gallant Fox.
I fed dinner with Jake and then we all went over to Anthony's house to hangout. I really love my fellow stud managers and have been so lucky to be able to work with them and make friends with all of them.
On Saturday, I went out to the barn to palpate Tiz and check on her follicle and then breed her. Her follicle was ~40 and her edema was low, but we needed to breed her with the breeding doses we had, so I went ahead and inseminated her. The following day, she had ovulated. I am pleased that she ovulated, but without sucramate, she usually ovulates a 55-60mm follicle - so I am not sure if it will work or not. I guess we will find out in two weeks.