Sunday, February 4, 2007

Reflections of Foaling Season 2006 - The Twins Part 12

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

With escape on the mind of the Arabian filly, every time the stall door opened, Surprise was trying to make a break for it. If I was in the stall, I was diving to grab her. If I was outside I was maneuvering to block the door so she couldn’t escape. The silly filly actually jumped the wheelbarrow a couple of times when I was cleaning the stall. Trouble, of course, was right on her heels. He however took the disappointment of not being able to escape much better than his sister. She would go off bucking and kicking around the stall shaking her head and blowing her displeasure. Wish I had pics of her tantrums, but they always came out as a blur. Wonder why………..

I added all the stall toys I could think of. I even found a dog size jolly ball that turned out to be just their size. Old rubber boots, soft rubber feed tubs and, of course, an assortment of humans as entertainment kept Surprise and Trouble occupied during their waking hours. They still slept more than normal foals and Trouble was still much quieter than the typical Arabian colt. But they were growing and happy except for that not getting outside thing.

The little horses received way more than their share of visitors. People who didn’t normally come by my farm, just dropped in to show off the twins to their friends and relatives. Cameras would come out and everyone wanted their picture taken with them. Surprise and Trouble both got to be quite the hams for the camera. It was amazing how fast they picked up the notion that a camera pointed their direction meant it was time to turn on the charm, or act up, whichever struck them at the time. Attention, attention….

With all the time I spent with them, it was amazing to study the herd dynamics at work. I guess the normal thing to do as owner is to think this is a mother and her two children and expect that kind of a relationship. That’s not what happens with horses. Just like any other horses there was pecking order. The Arabian mare was in charge, the filly was next and the colt was the low man..

As the twins began eating more and more hay, the mare felt threatened with them eating from her pile. Just like in the herd if there isn’t enough food for all, the leader always eats first; Vee’s instincts told her that there might not be enough hay for all. So she drove both foals off. As she learned there was more than enough for her, she allowed the filly to eat with her, still running off the colt. Over time, she learned to trust there would be enough food for all of them and she would allow both of them to eat with her. But if she ran out of food even one time and got hungry, her instinct to survive would kick back in and she’d be running both foals off until her trust that there was going to be enough food returned.

With the filly as number two on the pecking order, the mare protected her from what she saw as any offense by the colt. This instinct manifested itself to such a degree that when the filly was sick, the mare had not allowed the colt to nurse until Surprise had gotten her fill. Trouble got to nurse when the filly quit. Once the filly got more active, this stopped and she allowed the twins to nurse together.

Surprise learned fast that the Arabian mare would protect her. She used it to torment her sibling. If Trouble picked on Surprise at all, she would run behind her mom and let the mare correct him. The little snot would start things, picking on the colt until he finally struck back. Then the filly would scoot behind the mare for protection. Vee would look up from her hay and correct the colt. Trouble would run for the corner, shaking his head. He just didn’t get it. Why isn’t she the one in trouble here? Poor Trouble couldn’t win either way.

The twin element and it’s interactions are equally as interesting. While they act like horses, they also act like twins. They are more familiar with each other than you ever see other horses act. Long time pasture mates can get to be pretty close, but I’ve never seen two horses so closely bonded as these twins. They do everything together, eat, sleep, play, get into trouble, they even poop and pee together. They are the most fascinating horses I think I’ve ever met.

To be continued
Part 13

See the Twins Live on Cam

1 comment:

  1. Hi MiKael

    I just checked in on the twins o the cam and they are stuffing their faces LOL. I will have to wait til they finish to see what they get up to in their stall.

    Talking about the way Trouble always got blamed for Surprises antics reminds me of an episode with my bottle baby.

    I decided it was time for her to go out in the big field with the older horses when she was about 2 and within a few minutes one of the mares had warned her off and kicked out at her connecting with her (which I expected) and she was so taken aback that she ran in circles snorting, shaking her head then dropped and rolled over back and forth about 10 times LOL. She was having temper tantrum, something she used to do to me when I corrected her for something often. She just didnt understand why this other animal had been mean to her, it was quite funny actually.

    Have a great day. I will e-mail you soon, this weather is leaving me a bit in the dumps and I am finding it very hard to get motivated.