Friday, June 02, 2006

A New Addition to the Family

Well, it's finally happened. THE event that we have been waiting for - the arrival of the newest member of our family. Our mare, Dottie, having had just about enough of being as big as a house, decided to lay down at 7:29 p.m. on Thursday, May 25th, 2006, and 9 minutes later, present us with a precious bundle of baby colt. He had black hair, four very long legs, two floppy wet ears, a big white star on a gorgeous head and a little white stripe between his nostrils.

Even though Mommy had a short delivery (and all went well), she took a rest after the first 2/3rds of him arrived. After about 5 minutes of that, he decided that he would get up even though mom wasn't finished with her part. He struggled to find out what those long legs were meant for, giving his mom a pain in the butt (so to speak), so she decided to finish the job and let him be on his way in the world. Mom wanted a short nap, but her baby boy had other ideas. Within 10 minutes, he was up on all four stilts - a little spread eagled - and he has been using them ever since. His ability to jump up from the ground at a seconds notice, get them all underneath him and run around, just amazes me.

We thought he might lighten up after he was dry, but, a week later, he is still as black as the day he was born. He is named Hannibal (no, not the cannibal, Hannibal Barca, the warrior). While mom was taking her short nap, we rubbed him as dry as we could, considering he did not want to stay still, and petted him all over and introduced ourselves.

When mom got up, it was dinner time for Hannibal. But, he is very tall. Mom is a tall girl herself, she is 17.2 hands high, but baby is several inches taller than the lunch pail. (and 163 pounds, too) It took him awhile to learn how to lean forward, bend his knees a bit and turn his head almost upside down to reach the goodies. But, finally, he got the hang of it, and he has decided that he can get both nipples from one side. (guess its too much trouble to re-establish your position on the other side, though he does feed from both sides, he always feeds on both from whichever side he is on).

After a good dinner, a good nap was in order. We used the opportunity to clean everything up, make nice-nice with the mare with a nice meal and good drinks, and set up a nice bed of clean straw for the new arrival.

About an hour or so later, he was up and getting into trouble. His eyesight wasn't the best yet, and it was dark with just one light we had on, but he managed to run his way right into the stall, and lay down. Not for long, back up and going everywhere. I tried to gently move him back towards his mother, but he insisted he was going elsewhere, and shoved me with his head. I needed a bloody nose, haven't had one for a long time!!

Well, we did this all night long - just couldn't sleep, so we sat up and watched the first 10 hours of the new arrival's life, every once in awhile, just having to pet him and the mare and oooh and aaah.

By the end of day two he was sampling mom's hay - actually he had one piece in his mouth that he had picked up, and chewed on it for about 3 hours. By day 4 he was tasting her grain, and by day 6 he was trying to figure out how the water bucket worked - stick nose in, blow a bubble, breathe - no don't breathe -sneeze, snort. Try again. Mom thinks this is great stuff, there must be a reason.

On day 2, had to give him his shots and all that nasty stuff, check out his equipment and anything else that might give him a problem if things aren't working right, and WAM - he kicked me in both my knees with both his back legs!! Of course, Roy thought this was funny, and it really didn't hurt (much), but now I know he has his father's personality, and he is definitely sturdy!!

Day 3, another day I have been waiting for - I have a brand spanking new foal halter, red, just for him. Get it all ready, get him in position, gently put it on - its too small, it won't hook up. So, I have to take it back off and order a bigger one. Of course, he had stood in one place just as long as he was going to, so off he went, with part of the halter still on his nose and the other end still in my hand. I didn't let go, so he just knocked himself over, stood back up, glared at me and ran away kicking those little back feet. (we are really going to have to work on them feet). I thought, oh, now he is afraid of me - but, he ran around the backside of his mom, then put his head under her, and scrunched the rest of himself under her and back to me.

All was forgotten. He is a doll. He loves his hind end scratched and his neck and back. And, yes, we are working on them flying back feet. I have been rubbing him all over every day, he is starting to let me pick up his feet, and, after the one occasion where he decided to kick me the day before yesterday (I was rubbing him, he decided to kick that little back foot, and I grabbed it in mid-air and held it until it stopped trying to kick and then put it down), he has agreed that I can pick up his back feet too, without kicking. He is a people person, and is already learning his name. He will leave his mother to come to you when you call - and if you pet his mother, by golly, you'd better give him a scratch or two also.

One week old yesterday. We just love him!!!!!!!!!!!
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