Monday, June 7, 2010

"F" boy's First Week

Friday marked the first full week of F boy's life. I can't imagine my surviving or coping with the changes that he has been thru in the very short time since he popped into this world of light and noise, and gravity, on that moonlit morning just seven plus days ago. Popped out of his warm, dark, floating existence into a world ruled by gravity, where instinct and learned behavior better get into action very fast to survive. We humans have it so easy. Heck we can take up to a full life time to learn anything useful as far as life skills and takes us a year to learn to walk, much less run. This fellow has had to do a lot of it all in one short week and there is just son much more to learn, but time will deal those lessons out as they are needed.

Of course first thing the colt had to do was to figure out how to stand up, stay up and then rebalance and move a limb to get to some place that instinct gave him the wiring for, finding the mother ship he just got dumped off of and find the food port. He did, and he actually did it faster than any previous foals I have watched in the effort.

I have made a daily ritual of feeding the mare and then haltering them both from their nights in the big stall, to take them to the small paddock, for the first week. Then on Friday I let them out into the larger adjoining field to let them romp with some room. I had not allowed this while he still had some leg straightening and strengthening to do, and so really hadn't gotten to see what he could really move like with some speed.

At first he was tentative and held close to mommy's skirt, then gradually got a bit braver and more adventurous and next thing he was off and running. It was like watching a water bug skate over the surface of the pond, smooth, and agile at a blistering gallop. And then he finally slowed to a trot and I nearly dropped the camera I was holding. This colt puts a new meaning on a "fancy mover", totally. This fellow snapped his knees and hocks up with a neat, crisp motion and let his legs reach almost to horizontal before letting the feet down to barely grace the ground. It was magic to watch. Did I  get it on tape? Of course, not. I was too busy drooling. I will tho.

The biggest thing the poor fellow has had to deal with is being born on the muggiest week of the year so far. The weather since his birth has been hot, humid, heavy, and absolutely draining of energy. That, and with those conditions, has brought on the blood suckers from holy hell, horseflies. It has been a perfect storm of conditions just right for hatching many, way too many of these critters, many sizes and shapes, colors and sting abilities.

His first night on the ground I was watching the tv monitor of them in the stall before I headed to bed and saw Joline pacing the stall very anxious and going nuts. I really worried she would crash over the foal with this manic dance she was doing , so I quickly headed off to the barn instead of bed before she could do so.

I had left the light on in the stall for the camera but what I really had done was to leave a  beacon for hordes of large black horse flies, and these flying brats were now in a chaotic swarm flying around the mare and the new foal. No wonder for her desperation to leave the situation, now! So I turned the light off after swatting down a few dozen of these blood gorged horrors, I pulled some more fans out and put the breezes on her and "F" boy, and this seemed to please the mare greatly. The foal laid down and got some shut eye and I went back to the house for some of my own.

So the week has been marred by the humidity and this unprecedented numbers of these things biting and chasing the horses. The foal has thus learned the value of a mommy's tail with all of this and he spends much of his time letting her swish the flies from him as he walks around her, sometimes standing with his face peering out from the strands of the tail like a child holding its mommy's legs or skirts, hiding but still curious.

Joline is once again proving to be a most excellent mother to him. She is careful, watches him constantly,  and even if only with her ears, and knows when to tell him to come back to her. ( My father used to say he had eyes in the back of his head and he too,  always seemed to know what I was up to when I thought he wasn't looking. Must be a similar radar thing). Joline is so lovely and the foal is so pretty, even if he really is a boy, that they stand in the pasture and look like they just stepped out of a Stubb's equine portrait. I have spending a lot of time just enjoying the heck out of watching them.

Today was the first arrival and spotting of the foal's  hiding and missing equipment that lead to the wrong assumption of his being a filly upon his arrival. The thingy's arrival comes also has come at the time when the naivety of the first few days turns to the foal feeling his way along, and he has come to think he is pretty hot stuff. Rightly so, he is. To this new found arrogance and  feeling of spirited playfulness, he spends time now biting his mother, and bounces little bucks at her belly, and then shakes his head with feigned anger and takes off full flight. Yes, he knows he is male now, and is frankly, full of it. I am gonna have to work with this boy to keep him humble, if I can. He is very proud of himself and mom just sighs and keeps nibbling her grass to make more milk to keep him growing stronger every day.

Off now I head for afternoon leading and feeding, moving hay bales, and the filling of water tanks. Hopefully I will catch this rascal when he takes off on a romp around mom so I can post a video link to share what I graced to see. This still shot may give at least an idea. It is quite a change from that swaying new born in my husband's video he posted on you tube, only last Friday. Nature is amazing.

Oh, and to those still avid fans of Jack the ripper, he is still slim and trim, and a mighty force to be reckoned with on the farm here. He has impressed all who have known him in the past years as Jackapotomus, the very obese, with his keeping so athletic, after he survived  his woofing down that grease last month or so ago.  Woof, woof, from him. 

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