Monday, August 20, 2007

My First Post

My name is Phantom Marie and I'm a nine year old Shire Standardbred cross. I was born in a field facing the Pacific ocean on an island called Masset, so that makes me Canadian by birth, but I and my paddock mate were adopted by a loving human couple and Normandie and I both call New England home.

My dam was a racing standardbred named Cam's Olympic Gold and my sire was an 18 hand, white pointed dapple Shire named Ton. My brother Tehen took after him in both size and coloration. He was a gris (a steel gray) and was already 17 hands at the age of two. I took after my sire in the dappled department, but I'm what humans call a bay. I have my dam's more refined features though am a bit "cobby".

I was only 9 months old when I made my cross-pasture journey. This was not an undertaking that I would have considered on my own. Travel can be terrifying, there are horse eating monsters everywhere, or so it seemed. You leave behind everything that is familiar, your dam, your pasture, and your herd. And on the first leg of my journey, I was all alone. Then I met Normandie. He's like my big brother. He's three months older than me. We lived in a paddock for a month while we waited for all of the tests that veterinarians subject you to before you're allowed to immigrate. We were both scared, but Normandie always put up a good front. He always acted brave even when he was nervous, just so I wouldn't be afraid. I was glad to find out that we would both be traveling together.

Normandie is a black bay. He's smart and has a great sense of humor. Though sometimes he is a bit of a glutton. He doesn't like to share food and can be a bit pushy if you have something he really wants, but I deal with it. I have been told that I can be a bit opinionated about certain things myself. More than one human in my extended herd has referred to me as "the Princess". I am not completely certain if it's a compliment or not. Though a lot of times it's said amongst the humans and they wicker and neigh amongst themselves. So I think it is nothing to wrinkle my nose about. My human mom tells me that I share a birthday with another Princess named Diana from an island called England.

But I've wandered off the trail...

Our trip took seven risings of the bright circle once we were ready to migrate.

Wow, what a HUGE pasture the United States is, and I thought British Columbia was big.

Oh, in case you're wondering, Normandie came from a pasture in the North Eastern corner of British Columbia called Pouce Coupe. His dam was a chestnut stock quarter horse named Jaded Three and his sire was a black Percheron named Patterson's Kip.

The box that we traveled in finally stopped moving. It was May and it was warm at least for us, we had our winter coats and had not shed them yet. I could hear strange horses outside and could smell them, but I could not see them. Neither Normandie nor I spoke at first. Then the box opened on one end and one of the scruffy looking humans that had been our traveling companions, lead me to the edge of the box. I was only 13.5 hands, but I planted my hooves and I bellowed with all my might to let them all know that I had arrived and then I walked down the "slope" my head held high into a long barn. My new mom was waiting for me, a dark sorrel headed human, who walked beside me. Her flaxen maned friend seemed upset for some reason, something about our appearance, but we had been traveling and were "schlumpy", but then the other horses had answered my challenge, so I bellowed again.

My new mom always recounts to other humans in her herd, that I bellowed like a stallion and that who could have figured that such a big voice could come from such a small horse.

Normandie followed behind, but said nothing. He seemed depressed. Once we got to the end of the long aisle -- I counted 16 rooms that smelled of other horses -- we were turned out together with nice hay and we were allowed to just be by ourselves. Our new mom spoke in hushed wickers with the palomino woman, her name was Tina. Tina, and our new mom still seemed anxious about our appearance. I remember mom saying something about hooves that looked like dishes and that they were in a horrible state and needed the attention of a farrier. Tina was upset at how thin we were.

After a few hours, mom left, but I had Normandie, so I was not anxious.

Later that day, our new dad arrived with mom. They both hovered close to us and did their best to put us at ease. Normandie was still very quiet. It was a place on top of a hill surrounded by pines and oaks. This place seemed so much smaller than the fields Norm and I were used to at our old home. We weren't allowed to join the herd. Though they were certainly curious about the new arrivals as horses always are and we were much younger and smaller.

That night, we were brushed and had our hooves cleaned and were given our own stalls. Mom had provided a bright blue grain bucket for me and two water buckets to match my new halter. Normandie got red ones. We were later amused that the Tina's mate kept thinking I was the colt because my halter and lead were blue and that Normandie, much to his dismay was a girl because his were red. For some reason humans assign color to gender. Mom chose the colors because she thought that blue looked good on me and that red was very striking against Normandie's dark coat.

The second day in our new home, Tina turned all the other horses out. We were let out last and put in our own paddock. It as the morning chill burned off, the day grew least to us. We spent most of the day laying down and stretched out in the soft dirt.

We heard excited neighing coming from inside the barn. I recognized them as Mom and Dad. They were nervous and we heard them trotting out to where we were. We just lay there. It was too hot to move and we were off by the time difference between the far side of the pasture and this side, what humans call the west and east coast. Dad often refers to the moment as looking at the Gettysburg dead on the battlefield. He laughs now, but I think given our "appearance", they thought we had coliced and died.

After that we settled in and started to get to know our new parents and the other members of the herd.