Of our three foals this year, the least well… likeable… has been Al. He’s a big handsome chestnut. But he was pretty much born snapping his little teeth (gums actually I guess) at any exposed skin within range. He has been trying to overpower us all since the first day. He rears, strikes, and bolts with glee at the least opportunity.
He was sort of gawky and awkward initially. But we figured he would come out looking reasonably okay eventually given his colour and size. It’s so hard to know when they are little just how they will turn out. Lately though, Al has been blossoming into quite a stunning looking colt.
Al’s mama is Bernice. She’s possibly the most beautiful mover I have ever seen in my entire life. Bernice can do things that absolutely defy the laws of physics. It’s visually stunning to watch her playing out in the field (which she does quite a bit… even in foal). But it’s sort of frightening to think about actually riding her.
When he was first born I really didn’t see a lot of Bernice in Al. But it’s starting to show now. He’s developing a long, stretchy, floaty way of going that is sometimes a little startling in a weanling. Every morning I think “wow! look at that gorgeous little demon”… just before he tries to run me over.
Lately Al does seem to have figured out that the humans really don’t like to be bitten. So he’s a lot more bearable than he used to be anyway. And he is definitely friendly. Loves to be scratched and is usually the first baby to come and see the people. It’d be nice if he learned to lead though. Rather than rearing up, and bolting off with humans in tow.
Al has grown bigger than either Esmerelda and Reno (who is not an insignificant size himself). Although Reno is absolutely the king of the kids. He’s vastly more confident that either Al or Esmerelda. Strangely… Reno seems to have absorbed some of Twister’s personality. Kind of an obnoxiously obtuse twerp. The other two kids have become quite dependent on Reno to take care of them. They even try to nurse from him on occasion. Much to Reno’s disgust.
There was much pathetic crying at work today. The foals were weaned last night. Twister is in with the three of them in the arena. Al and Esmerelda have been calling to their mothers. Reno is a bit confused by all the chaos (being an orphan already). But he’s is also a little indignant that the other two have been nudging at him to see if he might make a good surrogate milk bar. He thinks that’s very rude and has taken to kicking to defend his honour.
I rode King and Dressy both this afternoon. King was very energetic again today. That makes three days in a row. Which is a hopeful sign. It is likely that he will still have bad days even if the diet does work… at least until the full six months is up. But I’m very cautiously starting to think there might be some actual improvement happening. His muscles feel a bit less tight in his hindquarters too.
Dressy has had a few days off since Seoul’s Corners. Today we did 7 miles at a moderately slow pace. We are working on slow/steady trotting. In the hopes that we can find a gear she can maintain all day. She’s naturally very fast. But she cannot maintain that speed over long distances without blowing herself out.
Her back was sore on Monday. I used King’s aussie saddle at Seoul’s. It’s really not the right fit for her. I can use the Barefoot, but that also gives her some problems (pressure points from the stirrup hangers – she has permanent white hairs from them). So I think for now I’m going to have to resort to alternating saddles again. Until I can find something that does fit her correctly anyway.
I also need to do some work on her feet. I think she has some deep seated thrush still going on. She’s been a bit tender footed lately. And the right front has some raggedy, grungy looking bits. I treated her last week with White Lightning and it looks a little better. But I think maybe that’s why her heels have been growing so fast lately.
All three foals have attached themselves to Twister (Reno’s foster uncle) at this point. The two broodmares have abandoned their children to him and spend a lot of time off grazing on their own. Esmerelda likes to nibble at his withers, while Al and Reno scamper around him playing. Reno sometimes gets a bit anxious when he can’t even get to Twister because Al and Esmerelda are in the way.
The farrier came today, and Reno had his feet trimmed for the first time. Twister came over to check things out… “Here now… what are you doing to that kid? Don’t be hurting my boy!”
Linda says she overheard Twister telling them stories of his past glory. Yesterday he was Napoleon’s favorite charger. Committing acts of heroism on the battlefield, and then being cheered by adoring crowds lining the streets in his victory march. Today he told them that he had won the Triple Crown. As a three year old AND as a four year old. All the kids listened wide-eyed and credulous “REALLY Uncle Twister? You are so AMAZING! We think you are the coolest guy ever”. Twister nods and humbly agrees “Indeed. Very true.” Linda says that as long as the kids are entertained… who is she to contradict his tales of glory?