Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tabby Lane Heads to the Breeders

"Um...Where are we going?"

The next part of Tabby Lane’s journey has begun.  On Tuesday she was vanned over to Dove Hill Farm (“No Worries, I’ve Got You Covered” – best tagline for a stud farm EVER) for her pending date with Eastwood Dacat. 

When she left the track last year to head over to Spring Lake Farm to start her retirement she had some trouble getting herself out of the van and she remembered that van!  When I arrived at Spring Lake, friend and proprietor Annie Ringwelski was trying to coax Tabs into the van for the short trip down to New Prague, MN and she was resisting.  Not strenuously, but with more of an “Oh, no, I remember that death trap” attitude.  With patience and firmness from Annie, Tabby got herself into the van and we started down County 13 with her whinnying and, it felt, stomping her hooves, for the first mile, giving us a bit of an adventurous ride before settling down after we stopped for gas.

" got me in.  Congratulations."

When we arrived at Dove Hill, owner, friend and fellow MTA board member  Lisa Duoos was waiting for her and, though she made it a bit of an adventure, Tabby made it out of the van just fine.  In fact, the way she stumbled out and caught herself made me laugh.  It reminded me of the time you’re walking down the street and you trip over a crack in the pavement but catch yourself and try and make it look as smooth as possible.  If she blurted out, “I’m okay, I got it, no problem!” I would not have batted an eye.

As Lisa grabbed her lead and checked her out and Tabby struck a bit of a pose and did the same to her new surroundings.

"Let me sniff this place out before you lead me anywhere lady."
She lifted her head high and took some deep breaths to take in all the smells and process that information like horses do.  She let out a whinny to announce her presence and was led down to her beautiful stall that was all ready for her arrival right next to a cycling mare that, it is hoped, will help jump start Tabby’s own cycle – along with some evening light cover and being slowly introduced to Eastwood a bit each day.

After the door closed behind her she circled in her stall: two laps, a whinny and a mouthful of hay.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.  It was obvious she was feeling a bit stressed in her new surroundings and that certainly is a normal part of the process of moving from one location to the other.  It didn’t bother me much as I stood there at the door watching her...until…until she stopped in front of me, lowered her head to my level and put us eye to eye through the bars.  That lovely brown eye asking me: what was going to happen next?  Why was she moving?  What about her friends at Spring Lake?  THEN it became heart wrenching and on her next lap I had to walk away and let Lisa guide us on a tour of the lovely 10 acre property.  I didn’t want Tabby picking up on my new found angst.

The barn was gorgeous and the turn out pastures lovely.  We checked out the stallions, from the venerable Shot of Gold to Tabby’s baby daddy Eastwood Dacat to the Arlington Park 7 furlong record holder Lovango and Canterbury Park Hall of Fame owner/breeder Cam Casby’s own Law Enforcement.  Matts Broken Vow and Tiz a Trip complete an impressive line-up at Dove Hill.

I filled out the Farm paperwork and then it was over to say good bye to Tabby.  When I got over there she was nose to nose with the mare next door, saying hello and starting to get along.  Making friends already!

I desperately wanted to call or text Lisa the next day to see how she was doing but didn’t want to be the “nervous dad”.  I let myself get lost in work and tried not to think about it for a couple of days, but then I caved. I finally sent her a text asking how she was doing.

Lisa wrote back that she was quiet in her stall, socializing well and is “amazingly brave” around the stallions.

Making friends and standing up to the big boys.  That’s our girl!  But this is just the first step of her journey to motherhood and there is a long way to go.  I hope that it’s relatively uneventful and smooth.  However it goes, between updates on our racers, we’ll keep you posted on her progress here.

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