Just home from work… I would have been home earlier, but as I was pulling out of the driveway, Linda sent her brother running after me. Loula was in labour out in the paddock. So I ran back and brought her into her stall. We had quite an audience for the birth. Linda’s brother, her friend Kelly, and her two young nieces were all there visiting the other two foals. Exceptionally good timing on their parts.
Anyway, it all went quite normally. So normally that Loula thought it would be good to stop and have a hay snack while the foal was halfway born. Great idea Loula. She started choking. Quite a bad choke actually. I massaged the left side of her throat a little bit and squirted some water in her mouth with a syringe. All the dramatic gagging was bit frightening for the visitors, and dad hustled the girls away shortly after the birth. I think maybe he was worried the mare would die in front of the kids. But after ten or fifteen minutes she spit out a bunch of goopy hay and was back to normal. The delivery was easy. I helped a bit by pulling his front feet out, but Loula could have managed nicely on her own.
When I left, the colt was up and trying to nurse. He’s a huge chestnut with lots of chrome. Very strong and handsome. He’s by Old Forester, who is a young stallion, but has produced pretty well already.
I have to go back to help feed, so will take some photos then.
Delilah is quite a little character. She is not in the least bit shy. Yesterday when we took her out with her mama, she was quite indignant whenever I put my hand on her little butt. She did not want direction at all. Kept trying to kick me all the way out. Reared up and charged forward to get loose and galloped gleefully around the courtyard (with poor Bernice melting down totally of course). She’s not at all afraid of people, just very independent and confident.
She got a halter on last night after the boss brought her in (trying to kick him all the way). So this morning I should have a lot more influence on our progress. That is going to make her mad I’ll bet 🙂
Here’s some video of her hijinks…
Here’s a bit of footage of Dora’s new foal. This was taken this morning, a few hours after she was born.
Last I heard, they were thinking of calling her “Diva”. Her mama is “Choir Practice” and her sire is “Strut the Stage”. So it kind of suits.
We had another foal arrive early this morning. This one is a very flashy little chestnut. Isn’t she pretty?
She is Dora’s first foal, and is by Strut the Stage.
Reno and Albert have been separated from Esmerelda for a few days now. And they are having a grand time being BOYS. Well… Albert is anyway. Reno might possibly be getting a bit tired of Albert’s antics. And the boss is waiting with completely unconcealed impatience for the day in the very near future when he can schedule the vet to come in and perform brain surgery (ie. castration) on both boys (but Albert most particularly).
A few photos of their performance this morning… Albert is the chestnut, Reno is dark bay.
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.
I’ve been very careful with Ares, because when I picked him up from his trainer, he came with a warning to be careful. I was a bit confused about exactly what I was to be careful about, but I got the impression that the trainer had some sort of vision of turning him into a riding horse and had tried to back him in a stall. Nothing wrong with that. If you are actually a rider. Which I doubt a Standardbred trainer actually is. Anyway, it seems that he got on Ares and was alarmed at the feeling, so got right back off again.
As a result, I’ve been dutifully putting Ares through a more rigorous round of ground training than I normally do with the Standardbreds that I retrain. He’s learned to lunge in tack, with side reins. Made sure that his voice commands are solid (they usually are in driving horses anyway). And have tried to make sure that he is really confident with me and whatever I ask of him.
The whole allergic reaction to the yellowjackets episode really worked in my favour as it happens. Ares has been extremely friendly since that happened. I think he perceived my intervention as a rescue (which it was). And since then he’s always happy to see me and pleased with any attention. I’ve gotten to quite like him. He’s very willing and cooperative. Pays attention to me and has energy.
Today I put the tack on him and took him into a big box stall. Brought in a small plastic step stool. First I tied him to the wall and just got up and down on the stool beside him. That was no big deal as I have done some of that before while grooming him on the cross ties. I flapped my arms over his back and leaned over him, patting him all over the opposite side. Then rewarded him with a cookie and a great deal of praise. He likes cookies but I think he likes praise even more. He visibly relaxes when he knows he’s doing well.
After a bit of that, I unclipped him from the wall. Put weight in the stirrup with my hands. Put my foot in the stirrup. Jumped around. All the usual stuff. Put my foot in the stirrup. Lay across his back. And finally just got up. Throughout the entire process, Ares never moved. The only thing he did was shift his weight once to square up and balance himself under the weight when I finally committed all my weight to his back.
After getting on and off him a few times without any flinches or difficulties, I finally picked up the reins and asked him to move a step. First put a tiny bit of leg on him, then clucked. His first step was a bit of a lurch. But then he figured it out and did a calm circle right around the stall.
That was all I was trying to accomplish for today, so I stopped and got off. Much praise, patting, and even a kiss on the nose (he’s getting to really like sappy stuff like that). He looked very pleased with himself and his world.
This morning at work, we put the yearling boys in with the two year old boys in order to make room for the upcoming weaning event with this year’s babies. So I took a few pictures of the joyful chaos.
Freeman and Winchester are our yearlings. Freeman is a bay with crooked (though noticeably less crooked lately) legs and lovely floating movement. Hopefully the movement will make up for the crookedness. Winchester is a gorgeous chestnut with a narrow blaze. He’s going to be a looker… like his mama.
Monster and William are the two year olds. They are both bays. Monster is a “plain” bay. Though plain is not the word that comes to mind looking at him. He’s a beauty. A very very tall beauty. 16.2hh at the withers. 16.3hh behind. William is somewhere between 15.2 and 16hh I imagine. He’s very nicely built, but has a bit of his mama’s head. Which is… well a bit oddly shaped. Some call it… “exotic”. But I kinda think it’s just… bumpy 🙂 Never mind though, if he can move like his mama. And at the speed his mama moved on the track… He’ll be quite sufficiently beautiful 🙂
Well FINALLY! Parker (Danish Spirit) won. This is his first win. Here’s the video replay….
Parker is out of the lovely mare we lost earlier this year, Freckles. Which makes him Reno’s (the orphan foal) older brother. And he’s the most like her in personality. Sweet, kind, and very high energy. He also has her beautiful face. Although he’s a bright flashy chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail and Freck was a bay.
Here’s a quick photo of the new Standardbred that’s just come in…
Ares will be looking for a good, permanent home in the near future. He is 11 years old. Raced for a couple of years and has been out to pasture for a year or two. He was not broke to harness until he was five, and never really showed any speed. I think he won a little over $4,000 in his career, so he didn’t pay his own way. He’s sound, with very clean legs. His trainer seems to have been quite fond of him, which is why he kept him for a while after retirement.
I don’t know a lot about his personality yet, as he’s just arrived. But I do know that he’s a very friendly guy. It’s tough to get a photo of him because he follows me like a puppy around the round pen. I’ll start doing some basic ground work with him in the next couple of days to prepare him for backing.