It's foaling season at Sweetwater Ranch. One of my clients bought a lovely dressage mare by Olympic Ferro already bred to Grannius II - and I covered two of my own mares with Louie. So, this year I will get to see what he produces, and we already have one foal on the ground. He has been named Sweetwater's Alliance - barn name Lance - and he is lovely with good straight legs, up on his pasterns and nice feet all around. And BIG. In fact, Dr Marteney said he is the biggest foal he has seen so far this year. Of course, I predicted that he would say that - because he Always says my foals are the largest. I guess everyone else in the Antelope Valley breeds QH, Appys and Paints - so tall warmbloods seem impressive!
But I have to agree, he is a nice big colt - and it is nice to see Louie is producing nice WB type colts.
He is very 'noble' in his type - not a refined head - which is a surprize since Daddy had a very beautiful head, but in this case, Lance seems more like his mom.
Lance was very laid back his first few days - he seemed to have trouble sorting out those long legs. In fact, his first day, he stayed ON his feet for 11 hours - I finally tipped him over on the straw - at which point he slept So soundly that his mother got worried and was pawing at him! Actually, it turned out that she wanted to eat her grain, but that meant turning her back on her baby, so she wanted him to get up and move to where she could eat and see him at the same time! I solved her problem by moving the bucket of grain!
That long stretch of bieng on his feet actually gave him slightly swollen ankles. So from now on, when I get a big foal who doesn't want to lie down, I am going to do some foal tipping earlier in the day and make sure they Rest. I was a little concerned about him, as it seemed I had to help him up and down, but I was willing to do that, and see how he strengthened up. Well, I should Not have worried. After a few days, he was ready for some turn out - and proved to be 'hell on stilts'!
He also took to his first haltering and leading session very well.
But now we are waiting for baby number 2. The owner has never had their own foal, and they are anxious. Especially since the mare is now at 355 days! I have tried to reassure her that I had a mare go 401 days, but that is small consolation to a newbie mare owner. I kept trying to describe what waxing up looks like, and we would all try to sneak a peek at Wisterian's teats. This mare has some 'issues' and she is not really kind about being touched down there. In fact, I am fully prepared to have to give her Ace and use a lip chain to allow the baby to nurse at first. This is part of my determination to be present as soon after foaling as possible.
So, we all bend over and peer and try to see waxing up. All the while being Very respectful of Tara's ability to kick!! So, it was very exciting when I checked her on Wednesday evening, and Voila!
Still, 36 hours later, and she looks like This
I was quite sure that after a week of warn days with highs in the 70's - when we had last nights cold snap - where it actually snowed in the local foothills - that would induce Tara's labor. But no, I go out this morning and Wisteria looks fat and unhappy. At least last night my husband did the 2 am check, so I actually got a complete nights sleep - 7 hours without getting up and walking outside with a flashlight! Foal watch can get old, and it sure was making me cranky!
So, this morning, Lance is happy, tucked in his little foal blanket, I am happy, having had a nights sleep, and Tara is fat.
But sooner or later that baby will come - I don't care about the foaling date, I just want a happy healthy foal (we are rooting for a filly) and I want a mare who accepts her baby and lets her nurse! And no matter how much trouble they are to bring into this world, there is just nothing better than a baby horse!
www.SweetwaterRanchAV.com - a Fun place to learn to ride