Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Third Foal Crop Part 2

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

The Third Foal Crop Part 1

When my friend, Chris, asked me if this new colt was a chestnut, my wheels began to turn. I had never seen a newborn chestnut foal before. I had never experienced the lack of pigment they are born with. I had heard about the pink skin around the eyes, muzzle and inside the ears but knowing and seeing are just NOT the same things. Yes, this colt was chestnut. I knew immediately that she was right.

Actually, it was amazing to me how quickly this colt began picking up pigment. Even within a few hours he didn't look nearly so anemic. Looking him over closely, more out of curiousity about the chestnut than interest for the foal, I realized that this also was a very special colt. He was absolutely huge, very athletic and had a very exotic head. His large eyes stood out very prominately away from his head and the area under the eyse scooped out deeply making them appear all the more dramatic. His muzzle was about the size of a fine bone china English tea cup.

But even with that, I found it hard to get excited about this colt. My heart was still lost somewhere greiving over the loss of Image. I didn't have much time to get focused on him anyway. Before I could blink I had another mare ready to foal.

This time it was Aana that was grabbing my attention. She was the only maiden mare I had to foal out that year. With her being an older maiden, I knew I had to be extra cautious. There could be issues with her body being older that might cause a difficult delivery or she could even get frightened not understanding what was happening to her. Because she didn't have a lot of trust with me, helping her could be a challenge. Then her lack of herd experience could affect her acceptance of a foal. There was a lot to be concerned about.

On April 5, 2007 Aana gave birth to an average sized bay colt. As closely as I watched this mare, she still managed to have this foal without me in attendance. Her instincts to be alone were much stronger than my determination to catch her foaling. I made a trip to the restroom and she popped out the foal while I was gone.

When I got back to the barn, the mare jumped up because of my presence. I looked in the stall to find the foal laying in the corner just beginning to stir. The mare was off in an opposing corner looking at me. She was definitely more concerned with what I might be up to than she was the foal.

The colt was strong and healthy. He looked like a nice horse. He had very little white on him, an almost faint star and sparse white markings on two feet. Conformationally the colt looked like he had a better shoulder than his mother. His neck was set on high, but he had what I think is a typical Bey Shah type throatlatch. The foal also had big pretty eyes, dishy face, a little tiny muzzle and very cute tight tippy ears.

We went through all of the usual motions, drying off the foal, blanketing him, cleaning out the wet straw, putting down fresh dry bedding,. helping it rise and nurse.

The mare wanted to keep turning to see what the colt was doing. To teach him to nurse, we had to halter the mare to keep her standing still. She was good about letting us guide the colt towards her udder. She tolerated all the repositioning it took. But Aana really didn't get it. She watched me working with the colt but never did bond with him.

While the mare didn't reject her foal, she really didn't accept him either. She allowed him to nurse but she didn't nurture him at all.
If something scared the colt, he would pratically climb the walls trying to escape. Aana didn't talk to him or nuzzle him to tell him that it was safe. He was bouncing off the walls at the slightest noise or movement. The poor little guy had no idea what the world was about and his mother was no help at all. Neither was I.

I don't know if my distraction over Image was the cause or my lack of experience but I didn't realize that she was neglecting him emotionally until days later. I watched to see that she was allowing him to nurse and that all seemed to be going fine. I kept track of his weight gain and pooping and peeing but it never occurred to me that there was an issue with his psychological needs.

Through all of this, I was working for a halter trainer, Eric Krichten, at a farm a few miles away. I was gone during the days grooming and conditioning horses and working on show entries and such. Trying to keep track of mares getting ready to foal and newborns needs were a lot to juggle. Add into that getting Legs ready to show in stallion halter at the end of the month. I had a lot on my plate.

To be continued...........

The Third Foal Crop Part 3

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. You are a beautiful writer, I'm very much enjoying having found your lovely blog! Val

  2. I'm so glad you left a comment on my blog so that I could start reading yours. I am a long-time horse lover, and am enjoying the stories and photos immensely!!

  3. Another amazing story and beautiful photograph. Also, thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. Wonderful story. I am a city girl and have no clue about horses, but liked to read very much. I did not know that people had to learn the little one how to feed. I thought all animals knew this by instinct...
    Nice description of what is going on... I will be back to catch up.

  5. I didn't know a chestnut has a "lack of pigmentation" at birth.

  6. Hi MiKael

    I find it confusing because where I come from in Africa and in England, a chestnut horse is the redish brown color that you call sorrel here. The chestnut that you refer to here is a liver chestnut where I come from (the more chocolate brown coloring), so I never know with the "orange" horses, as far as I am concerned they have always been considered a Chestnut. Confusing.

    I hope you got all this little guys problems sorted out. It is amazing that you have produced so many colts!!!!!

    We only got about 8 inches, very windy, far short of their 18 predicted. Am going to turn the horses out later after lunch.



  7. Hi! Thanks for the comment - you're correct, it is very exquisitely decorated for an outdoor tree! This is my first year to go to the tree-lighting, but apparently it's a big deal. They bring the tree in from Washington State and then a local interior decorating company does all the decorations, which is why it looks so pretty. =)

    This little foal is such a cutie - I hope things turn out alright for him!

  8. How Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I haven't had horses for a few years now and I yearn for them!! I got my first one for my 16th birthday!! SoI'd trade ya some painting for a colt!!!!! hahahahahah

  9. I love your blog! I have two TN Walkers and I agree they are the best medicine. It is impossible to be negative around a horse, I cannot stay in a bad mood, just being around them, their smell, personalities....wonderful animals.

  10. val cox, thanks for visiting and for commenting.

    mokihana, thanks for coming. I'm glad that you are enjoying the horses.

    Abraham, I love your blog, your photos are so amazing and I like your stories as well.

    photocat, I think that all of our interference, putting them in stalls, not allowing them to interact with a big herd etc, affects how horses deal with their young. Also, lots of newborns don't survive in the wild. The survival rate is much better with our intervention.

    callie, not only do they not have pigmentation at birth, some of them take much longer to get it than others, I have since learned.

    molly, it's coming as fast as I can write. I have to have time to take care of critters too. lol

    lori, Arabians only have four colors that they are registered while other breeds have many more. So for an Arabian all red (or brown) horses without black points are chestnut. And despite the color when he was born, this horse (who was pictured yesterday) is really orange nowhere near liver.

    The colts is another story and I will get to that. but for now, it has to do with me. lol

    ashpags, the tree is gorgeous and it came from HERE!! pretty cool!

    Jettie, you never can tell, I might just take you up on that.

    nsb mom, I'm with you. Horses keep me sane! lol

  11. Just wanted to pop by and thank you for visiting my blog and commenting. I look forward to visiting you again and browsing around. Come back anytime.

  12. omg, what a tiny, adorable blanket and even moer adorable foal!

    what a great story......I enjoyed reading this.

  13. Oh wow! I found you through my own blog and I am so glad I did! I can't wait to look at all of these horse pictures...I love horses more than I can say so this is exciting to me!

  14. angeljoy, thanks for visiting my blog, I hope to see you again.

    barn goddess, I love those little foal blankets. They are great handles!! for catching the little montsters. This was a really sweet guy and he absolutely loves children.

    toolazytoscrapbook, I'm glad that you found me. Thanks for commenting and I hope to see you again.