|Taken Sunday before we went hacking in the woods|
Kika however is a different story *sigh*
She got injured after a kick in the field in early June, just before I had to go to Ireland for a wedding. Which resulted in the largest (knock-on-wood) vet bill to date as where she got kicked on her back leg was at an awkward angle and required her wound cleaned and bandage changed every 2 days. The positioning of the cut meant it was a two people job as cow kicks were possible if too ouchy, so the vet came every two days and Kika's adoptive mama, L (the girl who valiantly helped me through Kika's rearing tantrums back in the day), very kindly looked after Miss Kika while I was in Ireland for 10 days.
|Taken this evening|
Finally got my autumn leaves snapshots that I've been meaning to take since she arrived in 2010
|West Coast Cavalier|
I've been toying with the idea of breeding from Kika for years as she has a nice mix of continental and good Irish lines, alright confirmation imo & a great maternal instinct if the way she obsesseses over foals/yearlings/animals that are smaller than her, is anything to go by. When she was younger, in the early days of our partnership, pre-blogging days and we both still lived in Ireland. I'd often catch her standing on the bank that divided her field with all her buddies and the neighbouring field which on these occasions had foals, weanlings or yearlings in them and she used to spend hours on the bank engrossed in what they were up to. Never dared tackle the electric fence keeping them apart, which says something in and of itself for any long time follower of this blog knows only too well her Houdini qualities...late night trip to Pizza Hut anyone?
|Such a chunky monkey - but tbh I'm glad she's travelling a little heavy as hopefully she won't arrive skeletal|
PS - cleaned up her mane & tail after these were taken
She will officially be 14 in January and not getting any younger. This combined with our loss of the winter turnout and my inability to get consistent saddle time helped me to decide to bite the bullet and look into sending her home. I didn't want to mention it on here till all the plans were in place in case I jinxed things. But boy have they snowballed.
A few months back I floated the idea of breeding her to my aunt (who bred Nancy and runs a foaling unit on the family farm) asking if she could recommend/keep her ears out for recommendations of stallions producing animals with great brains that could add little height to Kika's 165cms. Initially she suggested going down an Irish Draught route, which will be my back-up plan for foal #2. But then she mentioned the above boy who she had come across after a TB mare she bought with a foal of his at foot turned out to be a cracker and sold as a 2year old from the field for €3,600 (a return on a €500 stud fee).
|So glad to capture her soft eye |
vs mischevious glint
So my plan at the moment, all going well with Kika's journey home will be to breed Kika, hopefully to WCC in spring 2018 pending my actually seeing him in person and meeting some of his youngsters. I have been shamelessly stalking the studs facebook page for updates and drooling over all the pics they share.
All going well with her taking and foaling in 2019, i'd like to cross her with a draught or friesian next as a back up in case the first foal ends up a little hotter than what I'd be hoping to bring back to Lux as my next riding horse in 4 or 5 years time!
The hope would then be to sell whichever one doesn't suit my needs when the time comes - but those are all hypotheticals considering she hasn't even left Lux yet which brings me back to the snowball effect.
I knew that Kika should be back in Ireland before spring next year to give her the best chance of recovering from the journey and adjusting back to life in Ireland before visiting a potential bf. However, it didn't make much sense to pay the increased winter livery here, not truly knowing how she would adjust to no longer being able to go out for the afternoons and then having her travel during the riskier months of Jan-April when the weather would be worse and sea crossings choppier. To get from here to Ireland, she has to make 2 sea crossings. 1) to get from mainland to UK and 2) to get from UK to Ireland.
So I made the tough decision to send her back before November 1st, when the summer 24/7 turnout ends at my yard. As per the livery contract I signed with the yard owners I have to give 2 months notice which I did at the start of September and hoped to move Kika at the end of October so Nancy would go straight into her new stable (she's moving boxes to a brighter area of the yard near her current field buddies) and hopefully not suffer Kika's sudden disappearance (in horsey terms) as she'd be distracted by new surroundings and window box out which she can watch the world go by.
I got confirmation Sunday night at 10pm that Kika could be collected first thing Tuesday morning. Cue excitement and panic at having nothing truly ready to go, not really the horse nor her belongings. After a fitful night of attempting to sleep, but getting up to gather the things I'd need by the front door and making a list of all the things I had to do today. I managed to miraculously tick everything off my list from booking my own flights & car rental to be back in Ireland to meet her and hopefully ease any disorientation; to buying electrolytes on my lunch break in the hopes of staving off a repeat of the dehydration scare she gave me after her trip over; cleaning Kika herself up, pulling her mane, trimming her tail; cleaning 2 saddles and her bridle and bagging her turnout rug and liner, plus tagging everything with the key rings with my name and her destination address that I put together at 3am last night/this morning lest i forget/not get time today and actually lunging and riding her for the last time in Lux despite not having properly ridden her since May! She was an absolute legend this evening, I now cannot wait to climb back aboard when she gets to Ireland and re-acclimatise her to her old home.
|Not to be forgotten or outdone|
Nancys look of Eagles...
or as close as her gentle soul gets
It has been a busy 24hours and I will have a nervy start to my day tomorrow hoping and praying she loads without issue despite not having left the property since we went to the beach (plus next two posts chronicle ourtime @beach) in 2013 - no time for practice run. Also means there is no time for panic to set in to derail me. I'll have a nervy wait while she spends tomorrow evening in the Netherlands, before staying in the UK on Wednesday night then hopefully heading back to Ireland on Thursday.
I fly out Wednesday and have been blessed to be able to take until Monday to stay and help out around the yard (they are up to their eyes with TB sales prep so hopefully I can snag some pics of the babas) and settle her back into life in Ireland.
|Last photo of them together that I love as it sums them up perfectly and my inability to hold their focus or get far enough away to snap the cute pic they made just before this :-)|
I hope to get back at least once a month to visit her (and my family obvs) and ride from time to time. I am not 100% ruling out someone there riding her in my absence, but will be vetting and checking up on those who wish to very carefully. It has been a long road with my special little snowflake - we are in a good place now where I can leave her almost feral for the summer and hop up without issue after a couple spaced out lunging sessions which bar tonight in her tack were all done in a headcollar! No lunging aids to get her brain back in...i am so glad that she will be on full turnout during the day when she gets back to Ireland.
|Last photo perfectly captured by|
her adoptive mama L as she said goodbye for now
Oh wells, the peace of mind knowing she is travelling with a company I have used before and got great en route updates from while Nancy was making the trip. Paying two field liveries for a month really is a small price to pay.