Murphy Monday: Fine. Are those Balloons…?

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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:

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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…?

Happy Birthday Barbie!

This is Daisy’s mare, (and my niece) Barbie,  hopefully in order of age progression. She turned 8 years old on Sunday.

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Barbie is Murphy’s mom, for those just joining us.  She needed to be retired early, but shines on: she is a wonderful mother.  This is a mare you’d want to have a foal by.  She was very strict with Murphy, saving humans a lot of work, which is probably partly why his manners have remained decent into the terrible two’s.

She’s one of my favorite horses of all time.  I just love this horse. Barbie is an eye magnet.  You can’t help but want to watch her.  (Stare, produce cookies, groom, hug, massage, dream….)

Happy Birthday Barbie!

Murphy Monday: Another New Photographer

Daisy let me know she had photos of Murphy in more “hunter-ish” stance, and would send them to me for the blog. Daisy took some great photos! Here they are:

Murphy sort of hunter pose

One more:

Murphy hunter-ish pose 2I texted Daisy:

Jane: You took some awesome photos!

Daisy: LOL

Jane: No, really, I like them!

Daisy: You’re kidding.  Right?

Jane: Nope. They’re good.  FYI, not jealous of photographers who know Murphy.

Daisy: Jane. YOU TOOK THE PHOTOS!!

I smack myself in the head.  Can I pass this off as an “I got you!” joke?

Daisy: You forget I know you.  You can’t pretend you were having me on.

Jane: How do you DO that?!?

She reads my mind.  So please meet, again, our new Murphy photographer.

Me.

Want to See an RSPI Inspection, Start to Finish?

We had a problem with our video camera, and don’t have Murphy’s inspection video sorted out yet. But I think you will love this mare and filly as much as I did.

I fell in love with the mare instantly. I saw her in one of the outdoor stalls, and couldn’t resist taking a photo. This is one of Glenhill farm’s brood mares: Amigo Bari Von. I rarely have instant reactions to horses. This mare just knocked me OUT.

Here’s her filly, Vanilla Coast, doing her best pre-inspection deer imitation. We all shushed each other (so we wouldn’t wake her up) and tried hard not to die from cuteness overload:

I was in the arena for the filly’s inspection, getting oriented from a photographic perspective. The light was changing constantly: lots of clouds. I wanted to shoot through as many inspections as I could before Murphy, so I had an idea of how the inspection proceeded, and where I might get the best shots.  It was very gracious of Glenhill Farm to allow me in.

My photos aren’t nearly as good as theirs, but here’s mom and filly, at the first stage of the inspection.

Here’s a full RSPI inspection, start to finish, courtesy of Glenhill Farm on YouTube. The inspector gives verbal remarks at the end: you can hear what he has to say. Awesome.

Frizzy hair and black t-shirt? Yup. That’s me, standing in the middle with the other real photographers.

Totally love this pair. Terrific breeding, that’s for sure.

Murphy Monday: The Warmblood Registry Inspection

Barbie and Murphy’s RPSI inspection was Sunday.  RPSI stands for something I am unable to pronounce, but I’m told is a Warmblood registry.

We dubbed ourselves “The M Team”. We joked about getting shirts embroidered, so we’d all match on The Big Day. (We didn’t actually DO this, that would take effort.) When it finally got warm enough for us to peel off our jackets, I cracked up. Everyone was wearing a black shirt and jeans. I guess we know The M Team colors!

The M Team getting ready:

Deborah works on Barbie, while Bella body blocks from the front. Barbie is standing at the entrance to the trailer.  If Bella moves, Barbie will launch herself inside.

Barbie believes:

  • She’s famous
  • Bella’s trailer is a Tour Bus
  • Being clean and braided means her World Tour is starting
  • World Tours require an inordinate amount of grain

Hilary tidies up Murphy’s sock:

Daisy gathers allllll the crap you don’t dare leave behind, because you will totally need it if you leave it at home.

Murphy loads into the unfamiliar trailer in under five minutes.

The boy has courage. The practice trailers were painted white inside. Rock Stars prefer low lighting: The Tour Bus is dim. Bella reported a completely quiet, no scramble ride. All systems GO.

Until our caravan arrives.

The place is packed. Getting in and out with a 4-horse rig does not look promising. Bella couldn’t pull in until she knows how she can get out facing forward. Narrow, busy road with blind hill.

Jane decides to help by checking out distances and vehicle positions.  Jane, who hasn’t hauled anything in 20 years. Let’s just say it’s a darn good thing Bella decides to check the situation in person.  The conclusion: if  one car moves, the rig can be maneuvered to get out.

There are reasons you should never take Jane (we always use the third person when embarrassed) to important events.

See? There was this car? And if it got relocated, Bella would be able to drive the 4 horse rig in a nice loop to get out, instead of backing up with a kazillion miniscule 3-point turns…?

Jane makes it her mission to find out who belongs to the car, and get it temporarily relocated.

She had no idea she was being, um, directive with the actual inspector. The man who would approve – or not – Murphy and Barbie. Good news: he did not recognize Jane later, in the inspection arena.

Here is Murphy seconds after unloading from his first ride in a trailer, standing in a place he’s never seen, with horses calling, squealing, wheeling in paddocks, and people chattering. Not a drop of sweat. He’s surprised, maybe slightly concerned, but going with the program. No drama.

Glenhill Farm hosted the inspection with organized grace, professionalism, precision and excellent humor. Lovely facility, lovely owner and staff.

Barbie and Murphy wait their turn in a fairy tale stall, deeply bedded with fresh straw, a huge pile of hay to keep them occupied.

While Daisy fills out paperwork in the office, M Team wanders around. There is no mistaking Murphy’s older half-brother, Tiko, who is also there for the inspection:

Their temperaments and beautiful faces are so similar it was both cool and spooky. Finally, the orientation is given, and we check the list for lineup entry.  Fourth.  Perfect.

Let the inspection begin. The inspector brings his own handler, who was amazing with every horse he touched. First the physical overview:

Barbie alone:

The handler removes Murphy’s halter, and takes over, starting at the walk. Love how he and Murphy are in perfect stride. Once the inspector nods…

The trot begins. It was clear the handler very much wanted the horses to present at their best. Here he’s checking to see that Murphy is sticking with, and the pace is good.

Then comes the bigger trot, look at that suspension! I’ve never seen a handler with so much air time! (The horses impressed the inspector too).

Next comes free movement: Barbie will be unclipped and the two encouraged to canter and trot freely:

Below is the only canter (ish) picture we have: Murphy thinking about it, Barbie starting to canter. There’s a reason we only have one bad photo.

When set free, they canter: beautiful, uphill, lovely to look at. Until…Barbie realizes Auntie Jane is in her show arena. Therefore the show must be over. And Auntie must have treats!

The two of them galloped straight for the cluster of photographers (middle of arena), who dove, scattered and gasped, while trying to shoo them out.

BEE. LINE. I knew she would stop if I held up my hand, but it would also show the real issue. So I shooed her also. Confused, they barreled past. Wheeled, came back.

The photographer next to me said: “This is SO STRANGE, usually the ground poles and hay bales keep them out on the rail.”

Totally did not foresee this.  We shooed and ducked.  At least four times.

Finally, the inspector waved and the handler called out “Whoa”. Barbie did an instant sliding stop that would have done Hudson proud, impressing the inspector and handler with her good manners. When no one asked anything else of her, she started ambling toward me again.

AUNTEEEeeeeeeeee……treeeeeats…..

Daisy shot into the arena to catch Barbie. We wanted the inspector to think she was high-spirited and bold, not hitting the photographer up for a cookie.

Murphy decides this is a perfect time to try for a snack, while Barbie is restrained.

AND…???????

Barbie: Premium mare, brood mare Book One!

Murphy: Premium Silver! Their passports (seriously) will arrive in the mail. Here’s Murphy’s plaque! He’s official.