Newborns - Part IV

The last foal at the Double L Ranch was finally born.  His mother is a grey thoroughbred mare, so I had been expecting her foal to be similar to her in colour-- not! 

He's a dark brown bay with a cute white splotch down his face.  It looks like someone hit him with a can of paint.

Which made me think of painters, absinthe, art movements, impressionism, Vincent Van Gogh, and Monet.

So I've decided to call him Impression.  Imp, for short.  Or Impy.

It's been wonderful working at the ranch while the mares were pregnant, watching the foals appear one by one with their different colours and personalities.  And I've loved naming them-- even though these names are not going to be their official registered names, if they ever make it to the race track.

Now the months of training begin: gradually making them accustomed to people, to being handled, and wearing a halter.

You can read the other Newborn posts here: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Newborns - Part III

© Paige Carpenter 2010

 Say hello to Runcible Spoon!  He's the newest foal born this spring at Double L Ranch.  He's also the first he.  The other three babies are girls.  Runcible Spoon has an adorable quarter-moon marking on his face, which made me think of "The Owl and the Pussycat."

They dined on mince, and slices of quince,     Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,     They danced by the light of the moon,           The moon,           The moon, They danced by the light of the moon.
-The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear

Runcible has curls in his mane: it's very soft and fine like baby's hair.  He's also the foal who's the least skittish around humans.  He let me rub him and hold him.

© Paige Carpenter 2010.

Runcible Spoon on the left and Lucky Moon on the right.  Once all the foals are born, I want to do a series of paintings of them.  Only one left to go now: the mother is due sometime in May.

 A cute moment between James and Lupin.  The cut in James' neck is almost healed, and they finally got their long ragged hooves trimmed.  So on the whole, they're feeling much better.

Newborns - Part II

More newborn thoroughbreds at the Double L Ranch!  Read about the first Newborns, if you missed them.

In the front is the newest arrival Black Rhapsody and her mama- though strictly speaking, she isn't black, but dark brown.  In the background are Milkdrop and mama. 

Milkdrop scratches her neck with her rear leg!  What talent!   Milkdrop was actually the first foal to be born, but I hadn't been able to think of a name for her until today. 

I have been calling her Legsy...From a distance, the foals look like four-legged spiders: a tiny body perched on top of looong skinny legs.

But after staring at the little white splotch on her face, I realized it looked like a Milkdrop. 

Speaking of milk, I tried milking one of the Mamas today.  I milked a cow once (years ago) and remembered the basics of Milking Theory 101.  I held a teat and squeezed it, like a tube of toothpaste, from bottom to tip.  After a couple of tries, I had a stream of milk squirting out!

No fears, I left plenty of milk for the baby.

Meanwhile, in the continuing adventures of James and Lupin, the teenage wonderstallions...

Lupin is on the left, with the stripe on his face.  James has the spot.  James also has a nasty cut on his neck, probably thanks to a kick from Lupin.  It was caked with mud, hair, and pus, so I rinsed it clean and picked out the gunk.  (Easier said than done.  It took fifteen minutes of two people maneuvering James to get him close enough to rinse off...)

They've been having a few male dominance issues lately, though James remains the Boss.

Three pregnant mares safely delivered, two still to go. 

Newborns

Twice a week I've been going out to the Double L Ranch to ride and work with the horses, fulfilling my childhood obsession at last.  I was nutty about horses.   Passionately and soppily obsessed with them.  I had dreams of riding along trails in the woods, with a friend, galloping wildly with my hair streaming free-- you get the idea. I'm not galloping yet, but I cantered for the first time yesterday!  It was bliss.  (Jarring, thudding bliss because I'm still bouncing in the saddle, but bliss nonetheless.)

And five mares have been "great with foal," and two of them were about a month overdue.  I didn't think they could get any rounder...but finally the births have begun!

Meet Lucky Moon!  A new filly born this Sunday under a sliver of a waning moon.  She's a thoroughbred destined for the racetrack (if all goes well).  Lucky Moon isn't her offiicial name, of course.  But I like naming things, and she won't have a "real" name for months, or years.

I trailed after her mother all over the pasture, hoping that she'd let me close enough to touch the baby. 

II finally caught Mama, put a halter on her, and got to pet Lucky.  It's hard to pet a jumpy filly and take a picture at the same time!  She's very soft, and all knobby legs. 

The miracle of birth has a raw side to it.  As I came up to the pasture I smelled something like rotten peanut butter, and then saw what I thought was a dead squid lying in the grass (yeah, a dead squid in the middle of the woods?!).  I yelped.  Loudly.

Fortunately, Preston (the ranch owner) was there to reassure me that what I had taken for a dead squid was the afterbirth.  He buried it.

Icky.

I added this to my list of reasons I don't think I was meant to be a veterinarian.  (Another childhood dream gone.  Alas.)

Meet James and Lupin!  They're yearling foals I've been training.  In this picture Lupin is posing very sweetly for the camera, while James kept jumping out of sight, just because.  Typical of him.  The two are best friends and have been together since birth.  Lupin is timid, but patient and affectionate.  James is brash, not afraid of anything (he'd like me to believe!) and stubborn. 

So I named them after Moony and Prongs.  Suits them. 

Check back next week for more photos of newborns!