February 21, 2017
Looking at my two classically bred Morgan mares out eating their hay this morning, I admired for the umpteenth time Robin's beautiful long legs. She is a fourteen-two hand mare with a round barrel--I won't reveal what the weight tape said about her poundage. Let's just say she has well-sprung ribs!
Her elbow isabout level with my waist. The elbow of her companion, the fifteen-hand Woodgate Martha V, comes only up to my hip.
This evening I got out the weight tape to confirm this measurement. Indeed, there is a four inch difference. Robin is 36 inches at the elbow. Martha is 32 inches. Martha declared that in her former life she was only measured with an oak measuring stick with brass ferrule, the hundred-dollar or so kind, not a free grain store weight tape. So I was unable to compare their weights, and we have a little training project for tomorrow.
Both these mares have a lot of Flyhawk and old Government breeding. Martha V is by the tall, athletic stallion, UVM Springfield. Robin is by the small, athletic stallion River Echo Hamilton. At pasture running together, they often look startlingly alike, making the same head motions and flagging their tails in a similar way. Yet standing still, they are very different in type and conformation. It would take a wiser person than me to run through their bloodlines and see just where Martha gets her extreme depth of body, and the characteristic of being rather heavy on the forehand, and where Robin gets her race-horse balance.
Robin bears a startling resemblance to a classic trotting horse broodmare of the 19th century, Green Mountain Maid. She doesn't descend from the Maid, but shares crosses to Henry Clay and Iron's Cadmus, horses in the classic mare's pedigree. Green Mountain Maid has a statue in her honor out in California, and $10,000 was offered for her when she was 20 years old. The offer was turned down. (Thanks to the excellent research of Brenda Tippin for this info, and the photo of Green Mountain Maid which you can see by following the link. Same lovely long legs, same butt, same belly, same white hind feet, and very similar head. They could easily be mistaken for the same horse. I wouldn't take $10,000 for Robin, either.
November 11, 2015
Woodgate Martha V. arrived on our farm a week ago. She's a 12 year old Morgan broodmare who was to have provided a foal with Robin's sire, the beautiful River Echo Hamilton. She appeared to have other ideas, however, and has come to me to start a new career.
She arrived the day our neighbor moved a flock of sheep to a nearby pasture. I believe sheep are a new species to Martha, as are chickens. She was riveted by the sheep, and quite interested in her new friends, Robin and Zeke, but we kept them apart for a few days.
The next few pictures detail their meeting. The drama ended with the girls grazing together in the field, and Zeke self-isolated in the barnyard, calling plaintively to Robin, or possibly to the grass. Only two horses have gone out at a time since, as this is all a bit too dramatic for my nerves. However, I'm amazed at how beautiful the two mares are together. This is why horse people appear greedy. Horse added to horse only increases the poetry of the scene.
October 25, 2012
Riding season is about over for me. I've gone from obsessed, and starting every day with a ride, to having to push myself to squeeze one in. In part I'm transitioning by writing a story that features a horse almost identical to Robin--so I'm still obsessed, just not getting as much exercise!
July 24, 2012
Trying to teach Robin to leg yield. To the right, no problem. To the left, not possible. I read my books (Mary Wanless, Sally Swift, everyone!), worked on my position, agonized. I also, in the barn, asked her to sidestep away from my hand on both sides. Click, treat, nicker. She was definitely less (more…)
June 29, 2012
When I began BRAMBLE AND MAGGIE, now the first in a three-book series, I was just getting to know my new horse Robin. She most definitely had her "little ways." An unbroken three-year-old, Robin "didn't think poorly of herself," in the words of Cheryl Rivers, who bred her. I was heartbroken at losing Atherton, (more…)
November 6, 2010
Wow! It's November already. I've checked off a book about a Quarter Horse--CHICO'S CHALLENGE will come out with Feiwel and Friends in early 2012, I think--a new Bramble and Maggie book for Candlewick, and I've substantially finished a book about the Westminster Massacre that will come out with History Press next year.
And Robin? The (more…)
January 26, 2010
Okay, here's a challenge for clicker trainers. I've been a bad blogger--look how long it's been. Do I call myself a bad blogger, or do I give myself a tiny treat for getting back into the saddle?
A few excuses; extensive barn renovations, followed by winter, Christmas, more winter...naah, no excuses. Robin is (more…)
October 21, 2009
Thanks so much for posting a comment, Jane. Fortunately there are a lot of good horse books for your daughter to read, and my pony books have many times been a reluctant reader's gateway into reading.
Send me an email with your address, and I'll send your daughter a homemade Horse Crazy! pin just (more…)
October 18, 2009
The first three people to post comments on this blog will receive hand-made and autographed Horse Crazy! pins. Why? It's a training exercise. I'm trying to train myself to blog more frequently, plus I want a good reason to play with glue and scissors. I need feedback and reinforcement, and I want to hear (more…)
August 6, 2009
I bought Robin a bag of peppermint candies yesterday, and already it's changed our lives.
She adores them! We are working on bridling, which up to now involved her weaving her head around and nipping. Today she knew peppermints were a possibility. After some typical behavior, suddenly she started shoving her nose into the (more…)
July 16, 2009
I'm horse crazy! I admit it! Oh, the relief of having it out in the open!
To the 92 of you who looked at my previous blog--both entries!--it's gone. I'm too busy to train Robin and write a book about her and blog about her too.
Instead I want to just talk about horses. (more…)
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Hoofprints; Horse Poems; the jacket art is by Alison D. Rieder.
Keeping Barney, my first novel
Woodgate Martha V.
At the Anderson-Abruzzo International Balloon Museum in Albuquerque
Saige and I presenting at the Mater Christi School
Saige and Picasso, the Spanish Barb horse, beautifully created by Sarah Davis.
Atherton and Zeke