Murphy Monday: Four Years Old!

On May 5th, Murphy will be four years old!

Daisy and I went to see him on Friday.  He’s so huge I can barely get a grip on all that giagantic-ness.  I’m guessing he’s over 16hh.  He’s still the same sweet, easy going boy that plopped out on Day One.

One hour...
One hour…
1 week
One week
One Year
One Year
Murphy is THREE!
Two Years
Murphy is THREE
Four years!
We love you Daisy and Murphy!  Happy third birthday together.
We love you Daisy and Murphy!  (He’s huge. Daisy is 5’11”)

Happy fourth birthday together!

Murphy Monday: Fine. Are those Balloons…?

Image

This out-of-control, wildly bucking, primal flight-panic moment brought to you by The Two Year Old Who Will Not be Fazed.

And Daisy, who took the picture of Murphy’s first time under saddle, complete with, yes, it’s touching him…The Girth.

(Hudson is still certain The Girth will kill him, even when it goes up one hole every 15 minutes.)

Daisy saddled Murphy, removed his halter, and waited for typical two-year-old reaction.

She’s still waiting.

Murphy is captivated by a birthday party just off-screen, complete with helium-filled balloons waving spookily in the wind. Or not spookily at all, if you’re Murphy.  I think he’d carry one in his teeth.

He’s definitely my nephew.  I bet he smells cake.

Murphy Monday: Dry Cleaning, Zebra Loaning, and The Crazy Chicken

Going to see Murphy turned into a Daisy and Jane Road Trip.

It was an unusual Daisy and Jane Road Trip.

We didn’t get lost, eat junk food, do a Mafia exchange for a baby goat beneath a deserted freeway underpass, or accidentally drive through anyone’s broccoli, because we missed the mare wearing a bikini.

Actually, the goat/Mafia/broccoli was a Daisy, Bella and Jane Road Trip.  Three of us together somehow sideswipe the universal Road Trip trajectory potentials.  Weird things happen. Like goat payoffs.

A new RT trajectory formulation started the second Daisy picked up her keys.

She said: “We’re leaving the back open for Mike, he’s bringing me the Zebra because he’s moving.  But it’s a loaner.  I don’t get to keep it.  Even if it’s a forever loan.”

Daisy rolls her eyes at the stupidity of loaner Zebras vs. non-loaner Zebras.

Well, duh. Zebra’s Are Forever.

“Do you care if we pick up my dry cleaning on the way?”, Daisy asks.

“No. I’m good with dry cleaning.”  I pack my camera bag into her Jeep. Zebra? I rack my brain.  Who’s Mike?

We’re driving. Her cell rings.  The Jeep answers. I love technology.

“Hey Mike.”, Daisy says, “You have my zebra?”

“I’m still stuck in traffic”, Mike says via the Jeep, “and it’s not YOUR zebra. It’s on LOAN.”

“Whatever”, Daisy says.

“I’m bringing you some throw pillows too. You can keep those.” says Mike, “or throw ’em.”

I’m feeling the need for a zebra.  And some throw pillows.  Maybe even dry cleaning. I wonder how I can get a Mike.  My life would be seriously improved by a guy who would drop off a zebra and some throw pillows while I visited my horse.

At some point while Daisy is in the dry cleaners, my throat starts to close up and I realize I’m having an allergic reaction. Daisy comes back with garment bags, and I ask her if I could be allergic to this plastic thingie on the dash. She snatches it and throws it out the window.  Ta Da. Problem solved.  I start breathing again. Daisy deals. I love Daisy.

I probably would have talked about it until I croaked.

We catch up on all the important stuff, like the backstory of Zebra rights (I don’t bother to ask if the zebra is a sculpture, photo, painting, or live zebra that will be clopping around Daisy’s kitchen when we return, rummaging in the vegetable drawer in the fridge.) Work, Murphy, Barbie, life, Hudson.

I pay zero attention to the route.  Rolling hills.  Grape vines.  Wineries. I have a vague idea where we’re going.  It’s not all that far from this incredible bakery on the square in Healdsburg? Which I’m certain I could find blindfolded in a hurricane. Or if Daisy stopped the car now and shoved me out.

We wind down the road through vineyards to the barn. Here and there paddocks interrupt the acres of wine grapes, the paddocks gradually taking over. Very South-of-France-ish. Olive trees. Is that lavender?

I see Murphy on a little hill.  Oh thank God.  Standard horse ID test: I can still pick him out of a crowd from a moving car. If you can pick ’em out in a drive by, you are definitely still their Auntie. I’m flooded with relief.  I missed him.

IMG_1660
Oh. So THAT’S how this gate opens…

This is our size-check photo.  Remember, he’s two. And Daisy 5’11”.

You can see the adult horse peeking out.

IMG_1662
My ears are forward because my mom is throwing grass in the air. GRASS. What is wrong with her?
IMG_1661
That vine is almost in reach…one more sneaky step…

We’re horse people, we have to see both sides:

IMG_1663
This is stupid. Take the picture.

He’s still the same little friendly foal who wants to see the camera lens. Give or take 1,000 pounds.

IMG_1664

After not quite enough time annoying Murphy by draping my body over his, smooching his muzzle, and asking a thousand times if he remembers Auntie Jane (face it, it’s never going to be enough time, right?) we have to pack up and go home. Oh well. I’m looking forward to meeting the loaner zebra.

Daisy says, “Hey, wanna stop for a salad at The Crazy Chicken?”

Unfortunately this activates the rarely used science center in my brain. Which, once it gets going, won’t stop until it feels it has exhaused all analytical conclusions: Is there such a thing as a sane chicken? Would someone ever name a restaurant, in which one eats chicken, “The Sane Chicken”? How about “The Well-Adjusted Chicken”? “The Perfectly Normal Chicken”?

I imagine ordering a chicken salad in front of my friend the psychotherapist.  “It’s okay!  This chicken is certified wacko.”

“Sounds great!”, I say, hoping Daisy doesn’t notice the long pause.

I think we can easily see how Road Trips with any combo of Daisy, Bella, and Jane turn into wormholes in the space/time continuum, rushing us past Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, Buster Posey, and The Goat Mafia, only to drop us off at…The Perfectly Normal Chicken.

Excellent salad. Yummy insane chicken.

I meet the Zebra:

IMG_1665

Definitely worth four years of Daisy teasing a good friend for hanging rights. Even as a loaner.

I’m about to start bugging Daisy to loan me the loaner Zebra. The good news? This could become very “Who’s on first…?” if someone else starts bugging me to loan them the loaner zebra.  Eventually everyone except Daisy will forget where it originally came from, and she can claim it back. Forever.

Daisy? Thank my logic center. (It likes cake.)

Did you know there’s a bakery really close to your new barn…?

Murphy Monday: Cinco De Murphy!

Murphy was born on Cinco de Mayo.

He turned TWO years old yesterday.

As part of his growing up and changing needs, he moved to a new facility, where he met a dumbfoundingly handsome horse, with whom he bonded utterly.

We have to admit, this new horse is extremely handsome. And very personable. Daisy could barely tear him away.

Murphy Mirror 2  years old

He’s huge. I think Daisy is 5′ 11″ tall. Murphy hangs his head over her shoulder.

Happy Birthday, Murphy!

Still the same curious boy who said, “Hey. It’s dark in here.”

We love you…

Murphy in tail

Murphy Monday: Almost a Year Old!

Murphy will be a year old on May 5th.  Can you believe it?

I am date challenged.  When he was born on Cinco de Mayo (Mexican Independence Day) I was relieved. I’d never forget his birthday.

Ha. I am completely capable of forgetting the most memorable date. Late one night, I saw a status update from Daisy on Facebook, noting Murphy was 11 months old. I immediately panicked, and tried to wish Daisy and Murphy a happy birthday on Cinco de April. When he was eleven months old. (That’s less than a year, FYI, if we have any other date-challenged people here.)

Daisy moved Barbie to the same facility once Murphy was weaned.  Princess Barbie has never been happier. Acres and acres of land to roam.  The barn owner found her rolling in the pond.  This is the horse that hated to get her feet wet. Clearly she’s modeling her new royal behavior after Princess Fiona from Shrek.

Princess Fiona
Princess Fiona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Barbie is relaxed and happy. Yeah, I have to say that twice: Barbie is relaxed.

It was almost too much of a shock for me.  I recovered quickly. Daisy strapped a feed bag of grain over Barbie’s head,  immediately annoying her. (There’s my niece!)  Very un-royal looking.  But it does keep her grain hers, and lessens her ability to fling it all over the pasture.

Once Barbie is munching away, we turn to the baby pasture.

Murphy is positive we made a mistake, and went into the wrong pasture:

It is instantly obvious someone has broken the rules about hand feeding the babies. We were mobbed.

We had no food.  Undeterred, they tried to root through our clothing, certain treats were hidden somewhere.

Even with two of us, a baby escaped, and Auntie Jane had to use The Mane Grab and Cheek Lock to drag the baby back in, so Murphy and Daisy could escape. Daisy was busily multi-tasking, keeping the rest of the pack herd in, while attempting a Navy SEAL level extraction.

Look, Auntie Jane! I’m old enough to shave!!!!

He should be shed out a little more by his birthday.  Hopefully we will have less shaggy baby photos…we might even get to see what color he will be.

He was very wiggly and antsy – unusual for him.  No good full body photos, I’m afraid.

But he’s still our gorgeous boy!

Murphy Monday: In Which Murphy says “Phhhbbbbbt….”

Daisy, Shaun and I walk the short hill to the winter paddock.  We startle a heron on the way past the lake.

We chat and hike. It’s warm.  Sunny.  Strangely spring-like. Daisy calls Murphy, and he begins to walk down the hill to greet us, stopping after a few steps. Somewhat reluctant. Daisy hikes up and halters him, leading him down. When he gets to us, we mob him, and he perks right up.  Hugs!  Kisses!  Brushing! Neck rubs!

Then we had a little matter of “What is this Leading thing of which you speak?  Leading? I don’t understand “leading”.

But he was incredibly polite about it. He didn’t fight. I put my hand on his butt.  Daisy gave another tug and release. Murphy instantly remembered “leading”.

Ah, the more difficult part of horse ownership.  Leading balk? That means the lovely play time ends, and we go for a walk around the property, outside the paddock.  It was beautiful!  (And my hand pushed on his butt a lot.)

Our boy is 8 months old.  Do you believe it?

I could not seem to get a decent picture of him, no matter how hard I tried.  I was stuck in “frame every photo badly”.  The hazy sky made for flat, low light, with little contrast. Except for the dumb photographer, this would be an okay-ish photo.  Can anyone spot the problem?

You saw it! Most horses DO have hooves.


Murphy wasn’t feeling the photo shoot either:

Oh no…sudden lack of affinity for the camera…could we be seeing glimpses of the teen to come? So uncool of me to photograph him.

Phhhbbbbbt!!  

Murphy Monday: Winter Quarters

We’ve been enduring days that end up clear, sunny, and 50 + degrees.  Horrible, I know. How can we stand it? This morning was very chilly and damp, with heavy fog. (Then it turned clear, sunny, and 65 degrees.)

Winter is due to stop by this week for a meet and greet. A few showers. I hope it brings a hostess gift. Something for in front of the fire?

The foals have been moved to winter pasture: enough slant for drainage, but  no hills that might get mucky and slippery.

Today photos are in quarters also: Murphy was so cuddly and insistently affectionate, we could not get him far enough from the camera to get a decent full body photo. This is a kind of  body-parts photo shoot.

Daisy and I were much more about soaking up the affection than getting ‘good’ pictures. Below, Murphy looks up when he hears Daisy call him. I love that – if he can hear her – he comes when called.


Apparently in winter quarters, mobbing the humans is not a requirement.  Only Marilyn and Murphy mob Daisy.

Marilyn has appointed herself “Queen Murphy” and feels entitled to be in charge of all things Murphy-related. (Her Divine Blondness is named after the iconic movie star.)

Murphy growth perspective: Daisy is 5′ 11″.  Marilyn is a three-year-old.

Marilyn helped Murphy tremendously with the weaning adjustment.

It’s worth the few rounds of “flick the nose”  we have to do to engage her memory that humans are higher than Queens in the food chain, and may not be run over or imperiously commanded to leave Murphy alone.

A sweet, happy, in-your-pocket quarter…

When it’s finally time to go, Murphy takes Daisy’s departure easily, and walks back toward the other babies.  Marilyn stops to redirect his focus when he looks back. He’s on higher ground, but their heights are not all that far apart.  I can’t help but wonder how much taller our 7 month old boy is going to get.

Daisy’s decided to move Barbie to the same facility.  Barbie will be in the brood mare pasture. It will make Daisy’s life a lot easier to go to one place instead of two.  The only foreseeable problem? Barbie is unlikely to come when called.

But this is why there are buckets and grain that rattles.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Murphy Monday: In Which Mt. Murphy is Climbed at the Endurance Barn of Our Dreams

Murphy is now at Sonoma Coastal Equestrian Center, aka the Perfect Endurance Barn.

Daisy dubbed the ‘hill’ up to the summer foal pasture: “Mt. Murphy”.

It’s not really a hill. It’s a stair master set to an incline of 10 and strewn with rocks.  A month of climbing that every day will whip the most out of shape rider into being able to ride two-point, no stirrups, for hours.

First, you have to hike down to the gate.  It’s an endurance barn: there’s no starting from the parking lot. You have to hike to the beginning.

We wheezed our way up the hill.

Note the big boulder on left: reference point. Also, so we have perspective on scale, those are  adult horses.

Above looks fairly level after the gate.  FYI, it’s not.

Below is looking back at the barn, before we hit the California live-oak lined section…

…that’s the section where the stair master hits 300,  and we want to flag down a Cable Car. (Totally worth the five bucks.)

Oops, sorry, I was hallucinating. Ran out of electrolytes.

We see this:

Continue reading “Murphy Monday: In Which Mt. Murphy is Climbed at the Endurance Barn of Our Dreams”