Chapter 10 - The Move
Posted by greygelding , 13 May 2016 · 765 views
Our small herd was moved immediately to their new home. This was a small, one stall barn behind a home about six or seven miles from the Arab ranch. This was a group of intelligent horses and they settled in immediately. The stall had an attached tack room and feed room. We had spent a lot of time fussing over Shady during the last year so she apparently had no problem when we moved into the tack room one night complete with sleeping bags. She had just been picking at her dinner, her bags were full of milk, and it looked like a go for tonight. We settled in for the night and the mare took all this in stride. With the move she was almost a week late but that might be normal for her. She was up and down that night and so was Pam. In the wee hours of the morning Pam woke me up with "Mike. Get up! Her water broke!" We had a good friend of Pam's staying there as well, so armed with a camera she went out behind us. Sure enough, we were about to witness our first foaling. It truly was a breathtaking experience for us. Well coached by our Vet, Pam took immediate charge. I was excited and not sure what to do and when, you would have thought Pam had been doing this for years. A pair of feet appeared and the show was underway. The only complication was the feet were together and Shady was pushing hard. We were told that one foot should lead the other slightly to allow an easier birth. Knowing not to pull, Pam gently repositioned the feet and out shot the foal. Both mom and baby were exhausted and with the baby over halfway out they took a moments rest. Then Shady decided that enough was enough and with a final determined push out squirted our new horse.
Allowing them to rest again we waited quietly until mom decided it was time to welcome her new foal, Breezie, into the big world. The umbilical transfer complete she got to her feet and commenced a thorough cleaning and inspection. Tying the afterbirth up so there would be no tearing, Pam hugged her girl, and then lifted the foals tail. It was a girl! We were proud parents and watched as she tried to get up on those wobbly legs. It took some doing but she was quickly standing and figuring out how to walk. Next we watched as the all important first nursing commenced. Once Shady had dropped the afterbirth and Pam inspected it to ensure that it was complete, we took a big sigh of relief and couldn't wait to start playing with our new toy. The next morning the Vet stopped by and while we held the anxious mother he sat on the ground with the foal laying on his lap doing his vet thing with a lot of petting and love thrown in at no extra charge. He examined mother and her afterbirth and pronounced that all was well. One of my favorite things to do with a new foal is to pick them up and carry them around. As they age they are totally under control with just a light touch as they remain convinced I can pick them up anytime I want. Pam was truly in her element as she loves thing in "miniature". Foal sized blankets as well as halters were purchased. Of course they came in several increasing sizes to accommodate her growth.
As Breezie grew, we got foal pellets to supplement her diet. We had to build a special pen with an entrance too narrow and so low that Shady couldn't get in to steal Breezie's food. Our first attempt had ended in failure. The special foal feeder designed with bars across the top leaving narrow openings wide enough for the foal's muzzle but not the dam's. they might work fine for a "normal" horse but they didn't even slow Shady down. We watched in dismay as she learned to ram her muzzle in as far as she could and then out came the tongue. Looking like an anteater she would then proceed to lick up as many pellets as she could.
While this was going on I had Fuego to tend to. Treating the summer sore on his chest, now open as a large circular wound, was a snap compared to his eyes. I had to first dig granules out of the lower corner of his eyes and then apply medication. This involved a nose twitch, at least it did for the first three days. I would twitch him, cradle his head in my arm, and using something the vet had supplied me with dig out the granules, squeeze the medication from a small tube into the place vacated by the granules, and then massage the area. The last part he loved but not the first part. On the fourth day instead of retreating to the far side of the corral he approached me and laid his head into my arm. Astonished I reached for the twitch and he withdrew. Could he actually dislike the twitching more than the treatment? Thinking it over, and muttering to Pam that this can't be happening, I put the twitch away. He immediately returned and placed his head in the proper place. Not sure what to make of this I started his treatment. He never moved and we were quickly done. To say we were stunned by this development would be an understatement but I never twitched him again. I had just learned another lesson in the wonderful world of Arabian horses.
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