Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses Part 10

Part 1

It's still amazing to me how fast foals grow and change. Within a month, a foal outgrows that newborn look. I read a statistic that said a horse does 70% of its growth in it's first year of life. I've never really tracked it to see how accurate it is against my own herd. I know that baby horses change so much that first year that it never ceases to amaze me.

My very first Arabian foal was no exception. He appeared to grow so fast sometimes it seemed he'd grown inches just over night. Luckily, I did know about growth issues in foals and I monitored him like a hawk making sure there were no problems with epiphisytis feeding him based on what I had learned working at the Arabian training and show horse barn. ( I also knew that foals were more susceptible to parasites than mature horses, so I did a good job with that.)

Today, I groan when I think about those days. Even with all the reading I did, there was so much I did not know. For example, I had no clue that baby horses don't see all that well. They come into the world seeing shadows and forms but not much clearer than that. It's days before they see as clearly as adult horses. In the meantime they rely on their mothers to see for them. When startled a newborn foal will instinctively push into its mother. If the horses are outside where they can run, the newborn foal will run right next to the mare's hip bumping into her from time to time. This assures the foal is on a safe route picked out by mom.

Now I know why breeding farms that use horse wire fencing still tend to have boards that run across the mid line, just about foal height. Newborns can't see wire fencing. About every vet I know has euthanized a newborn foal that's run into what's touted as horse safe wire fencing and broken its neck. Don't ask my why I didn't have a problem with my fencing with that first foal but I didn't. I didn't learn I had a problem until later.

In addition to my fencing, I also had a pond and a creek on my property. That first colt survived those things as well. To my knowledge he never took a swim as a baby in either one of those, but years later when I took him to a hydro tread for horses, he stepped off the ramp like a horse that knows how to swim. My guess is he learned it in that pond. Thank God, I didn't see his first swim in that pond, I would probably have had a stroke. With all the things I know I did wrong, it's amazing that darn colt turned out as well as he did.

Whatever happened to that first colt? Well, he's the gelding that my granddaughter, Rachel, is hoping to take to Youth Nationals this year. It still seems kind of surreal to me that the very first horse I ever bred turned out not only to be a top quality Arabian show horse but tall enough for me. I am nearly 6 feet tall and Dandy grew to be one quarter inch shy of 16 hands.

Next week my first foal ( now 17) is going to carry my first grandchild to learn to ride (Rachel) into the show ring at the Daffodil All Arabian Spring Show for her very first class A breed show. They will be showing in the 13 and under division. Wish I had my stall drapes done for Rising Rainbow Arabians. We're still working on getting her show clothes together and the finishing touches on her riding before the big event. It seems like a lifetime ago when I first saw his face and lamented he didn't have a star.

To be continued......

Part 11


  1. What a great post. I think we can all connect on some level. This is a great blog. I checked out your webpage too. I haven't been all the way through either, but I will at some point. Congratulations on raising such beautiful animals.

  2. Hi MiKael

    I have just checked out the new arrival and he is laying there in the corner eating hay!!!! LOL.

    I would have thought he would be bay, havent had time to really study him while he is up and about.

    Great post,makes me realise how much I don't know. I have just got past the fence thing and as you will read on my entry today, Sonny is such a good momma, she guided him through the whole experience of being out in the field for the first time and where all the fences etc. are.

    Thanks for all your visits and comments, we are really on the same page, I feel the same about becoming a recluse and hating shopping LOL. I far prefer my animals' company!!! Larry has to beg me to go and do the shopping because I would probably start to starve before going into town.

    Hope that the new gelding is okay now and that the clots have stopped.

    Man I have been watching the weather and every time I see a full map of the situation all over the whole country I think of you. I have been watching the snow to the east of you. I hope that it warms up soon for you. We are finally getting some decent weather, for how long who knows.

    Keep warm and thanks again for all your messages.