I still make plenty of mistakes with my camera. But I’m starting to feel like I know what I’m going to get in the end when I press the shutter. I know better how I want the camera set up for specific situations.
The other morning I got a couple of nice photos of the mares and foals just as the sun was coming up. I knew when I took them that I’d have to do a bit of editing to fix up the exposure. The first couple of photos below were taken before it was light. And they were handheld. So they were underexposed and very dark. But I took them in RAW format and was able to bring them up when I processed them.
All three broodmares with their three foals, moving out into the pasture. That’s Bernice, Dora, and Loula. The foals are Ruby, Sammy, and Gabriella.
Ruby is a very exhuberant filly. So it’s easy to get shots of her in motion. Her mama, Bernice is quite often in motion herself (though not in this photo), so Ruby takes after her. When there is this little light though, it’s very difficult to prevent motion blur (or blur from camera shake). So I was very happy that this one turned out as sharp as it did.
Ruby and Bernice again. The sun was above the horizon here, so I didn’t have to do much to fix the exposure.
Dora’s foal, Gabriella. The very perfect filly.
Gabriella, with Dora in the background.
Bernice and Ruby
Bernice’s filly, Ruby
Sammy, introducing himself, rather rudely, to Diva. Diva is Dora’s foal from two years ago.
Dora and Gabriella
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?
Bernice and Al arrived back home yesterday. Bernice (Affair At Midnight) is one of the broodmares at work. She’s been away for breeding. Al is her foal.
We haven’t seen Al for quite a while and though he went away a bright red chestnut, it looks like he’s shedding out to a liver chestnut. Which is going to make him pretty spectacular I think.
Al is by Alumni Hall (thus the name… clever isn’t it? Yeah, not so much… the boss picked it LOL!), a son of A.P. Indy.
He was being very social today. Here he is meeting Paris (one of our three year old fillies).
All the meeting and greeting set off a total silly attack amongst the mares. Dora and Loula are both young mares fairly recently off the track. Given that even our old mares are capable of some high energy routines, it’s not surprising that these two were strutting their stuff.
Freckles’ colt is doing very well. He doesn’t have a name yet, so I’m just calling him “the Kid”.
He eats like a… well… a horse. He just keeps sucking back bottle after bottle. There was never one moment of hesitation from him about what it was or how to operate it. We stuck that bottle in his mouth and he downed it. No problem. I expect we’ll be able to switch him to a bucket quite easily. When he’s hungry he lets us all know at top volume.
The vet did not encourage the idea of a nurse mare. He has seen a lot of problems getting mares to accept an orphan and doesn’t think it’s worth the risk. So yesterday afternoon, Linda drove me home and I walked my pony, Nikita, back to the farm to be his companion. It’s around 2.5 miles. Nikita hasn’t done a lick of work for a couple of years, and she’s a teeny bit lazy. So we started out with her doing a little dancing trot beside me. Ears perked. Looking too cute for words. She’s 14.1hh, black, with a long thick mane and tail. About a mile and a half down the road, I think she must’ve gotten tired. Because she just totally deflated. Whoomph. “Holy cow” she tells me “how far are we going? I’m not an endurance pony you know!”
At the farm, we got her set up in a temporary stall outside the foal’s stall. She was a bit scared of him at first. I don’t think she’s ever seen a baby before. She made faces at him, and nipped him once. But since then she’s gotten steadily friendlier to him. He loves her already. When she moves off to the side of the door and gets out of his sight, he worries and calls to her. So we are all hopeful that it will work out. With any luck, she’ll help to socialize him to horses, and not so much to people. And teach him manners when he gets a bit older and ruder (as boys do).
The other two foals are also doing very well. Exclusive’s filly is amazingly smart and physically very agile. She’s not overly big. But she was up before the mare after she was born, and was able to trot a few steps within a few minutes after getting up. Within 24 hours, she was trotting and cantering laps around her napping mother in the stall. This morning she was practicing her bucking (the boss was especially happy to hear that). And this afternoon she was working on her flying lead changes. By tomorrow I’m sure we’ll see the first stages of piaffe.
The chestnut colt is very leggy and is a lot handsomer than the first photos show. But I must admit he’s not quite so smart as the other two. We have trouble getting him to go anywhere with his mother. There’s quite a bit of foal wrestling to get him to move along. Bernice, his mother, is not quite so obnoxious as she was the first day. So I’ve stopped calling her rude names.
The weather is absolutely foul here today. It’s snowing heavily, and the wind is fierce. It’s not all that cold, and this is all supposed to turn to pouring rain this evening and then rain steadily for a couple of days. King and Zamaluck are both in stalls, and Dressy and Diego are keeping to the run in area at the end of the barn.
It would be nice if it would melt all the snow. But if history is any guide, it’ll just get all the snow soggy, and then freeze to sheet ice. Then there will be no riding for another week or two. I am waiting very impatiently for spring to arrive, so I can get on with conditioning King and I for the ride season. He’s really ready to go out and put some miles on after all the snow wading we’ve been doing this winter.
Meanwhile, at work, we are awaiting the arrival of three new foals this year. The three broodmares are Exclusive, Bernice, and Freckles. They are all looking quite large. But Freckles is just enormous. The poor mare has got to be very uncomfortable. I told her owner that perhaps breeding her to a stallion with “Megas” in his name was not such a good idea. The last baby she had was by a perfectly normal sized stallion and the baby ended up being called “Monster” because he was so big when he was born.
Bernice is pregnant with her second foal (and wasn’t in foal last year), so she’s been off the track for a few years now. You’d think she’d have gotten fat and lazy. But every morning I take her out to the paddock, with her snorting and blowing beside me. Then she cavorts around the paddock, doing pirouettes and other unnameable things in perfect, impossible balance, defying the laws of physics. Looks like her feet aren’t even touching the ground. I guess I should take some video of her.
I’ve started taking my camera with me to work every day. Soon there will be baby pictures!