Friday, June 22, 2007

What Can Happen Next on the Arabian Horse Breeding Farm Part Two

Part One

Racing across my fields to the far end of my property with the neighbor girl right on my heels, my mind also raced with horrible scenarios of a frightened foal fighting his confinement. As I got closer, I became aware there wasn't any racket coming from the horses, any of the horses. Normally when there is a problem within the herd, the whole herd reacts getting upset and pretty vocal.

As we got close enough to see, I was relieved to find Aana standing quietly on my side of the fence looking over at her foal, Patriot. He was on the other side of the fence standing quietly looking back at his mom. Around his neck with a noose type loop was a short piece of nylon cord probably only 1/4 inch in diameter. The other end of the rope was secured to one of the fence posts. It had never occurred to me that the know would be a noose. The jeopardy had been even greater than I had imagined.

As I explained to the girl that it's dangerous to tie foals, I carefully reached over the fence and untied the end of the rope from the fence post. The rope was short enough I knew even if the colt got spooked at this point and took off, the rope wasn't going to do much harm. The noose however was a different story. Had I started there first and the foal spook, it could have gotten pretty ugly, pretty fast.

Fortunately, Patriot stood quietly as I freed the one end of the rope.. Once that was accomplished, I slowly widened the opening in the noose and carefully lifted it over his head setting the colt free. All the while explaining to the girl that the foal would stay with its mother and didn't need to be secured. The colt didn't even flinch. I was really glad I had spent all the time I had working on being trapped exercises with him. (See Does Your Horse Know How to Be Trapped?) It was obvious it had paid off in this hair raising incident.

Now both horses just standing there quietly looking at each other. I had left the house in such a panic when the girl told me she'd tied the colt, I hadn't even thought about getting help. Now I definitely needed assistance from someone who understood horses. I happened to have my cell phone in my pocket and was able to call the house to get Lindsay and Dave to come lend a hand.

When they arrived Lindsay came with a halter for Aana but not one for the foal. I had Dave climb over the fence and try to lift the foal. The ground was really uneven and Dave didn't feel comfortable attempting to hand the colt over the fence to me. We would have to take the mare to the colt and then bring them home together. I run to barn to find a halter small enough for a newborn.

When I returned Dave put the halter on Patriot and held onto the colt while I led the mare around to the closest gate. I expected the Arabian mare to to be naughty over leaving her baby but she seemed to understand we were helping because she didn't raise a fuss at all. (Thanks goodness I caught her foaling or this could have been very different. This mare has never had this kind of trust in me before) Then took her out on the road to get her baby.

Patriot didn't like his mom being out of sight and began giving Dave a hard time and crying out. Aana heard him and told him she was coming (must have because it didn't sound worried or scared but a reassuring call) and the foal settled right down at the sound of her voice and waited quietly until we came into sight again.

It took a bit to get the mare around my inner fence line to an outside gate and then up the road to where the colt was. Once I arrived there, the neighbor girl hollered at me not to bring the mare into the grass. The entire area was littered with junk, pieces of metal, broken glass, all kinds of dangerous things with tall grass growing through it. It was not a safe place for a horse or a foal, laden with hidden dangers. The girl picked a pathway though and Dave followed with the foal. Sometimes Patriot got scared and tried to fight Dave and Dave fought back making things worse. I was barking instructions to help him get the colt under control without landing in the junk and getting hurt.
Mostly the colt would throw his head and Dave would take too big a hold of him and the fight would be on. I'd be shouting "let go of his head, push him from behind." and when Dave would understand, he'd get the foal under control again. It was a stressful 100 feet or so before they finally reached us.

Once we got the two horses back together, I swapped horses with Dave. We couldn't afford any conflicts with a reluctant foal on the road. Aana would be good for Dave and I knew how to handle the colt. We let them nuzzle for a minute before we proceeded out onto the road for the walk home.

As Dave first headed out he caught glimpse of a school bus and came right back in behind the trees to let it pass. The school bus driver had spotted the horse and slowed way up moving to the far lane. The car behind followed her lead. Once they passed we moved out onto the road with the mare toward the middle line and the colt near the shoulder. That way if we had anymore cars go by, the mare would be a buffer between them and her baby. She knew about cars and wasn't afraid.

Before we could get to our gate another car came towards us. This one wasn't courteous like the school bus driver and first car had been. It didn't slow up at all but did move to the other side of the road. It's good that Aana is used to cars speeding by, she didn't even flinch. Patriot stiffened up but didn't do anything silly. We made it into the driveway without any wrecks.

Once back in the still I checked both horses over carefully. There wasn't a mark on either of them We were all very relieved.

I can't help but think about how very different it could have turned out. Rush hour traffic on the worst highway in the state with a lose foal not 100 feet from the intersection on a place that is not closed in. Had the neighbors not caught the dog chasing the colt, that colt could have ended up on the road or tangled in the dangerous debris laying around or the colt could have freaked at being tied and fought that noose around his neck. Any of these things could have gone wrong and made for a horrible day. Personally, thinking this guy has a guardian angel.

The horses didn't get over it right as they got to their stall either. Patriot wasn't letting his mother out of his sight (nor she him) for the next few days. The colt also acted a bit shocky for a couple of days, sleeping most of the time and only getting up to nurse. I don't think he's going to forget his outing anytime soon.

Visit Blog Village and vote for this blog Here


  1. Well, I'm very glad it all turned out okay. Thank you for not leaving us in suspence any longer. :)

    My horses will get loose occasionally and I'm always worried that they'll make it passed all the gates etc and make it to the road. And my road's not a highway.

    That could have been disasterous.

  2. OH MY! Thanks for putting us out of our misery. This foal has many aunties worrying about him.

  3. PHEW! Sheesh, I hope the memories will fade a bit for you before long - those are the kinds of things that, even years later, will make your heart race! I'm so glad he's all right.

    Also, it's so cool to see how intelligent his dam acted. She really kept her head and that is probably a huge part of what kept him calm 'till you got there!

  4. Wow. What a compelling story. I am glad it worked out or you got there in time.

    Thanks too for coming to my blog. I appreciate it a lot.

    Abraham Lincoln
    Brookville Daily Photo
    My Published Photography

  5. Thank goodness everybody was all right. A lot of people around here let their dogs run loose since we live in a rural area, but we have a large fenced yard for them, I couldn't stand the thought of them running free in the neighborhood to get hit by a car or worse.

  6. Wow MiKael that was hair raising. Did you ever find out how the baby got out? I have had a few occasions where babies have gotten under the fence into the field next door and it is frightening because I normally have other horses there and the thought of the mother panicking or the baby and running back into the wire is terrible. I use a thin wire because of this, it will snap easily if an adult horse gets into it but will still cause injury but not like the high tensile wire will. I just wish I could fence my whole place with the white plastic fencing like they have at the other pasture down the road where the mares are.

    I am so sorry you are still feeling under the weather and hope that you feel better soon. You are also always in my thoughts.

    Love the photos of baby and momma in the last two posts. Did I say I LOVE Baby Horses!!! LOL