Friday, October 29, 2010

Some more pics

Just thought id go a bit camera mad, and take some more baby photos. Fern and Sonny still happy and healthy. Sonny was galloping around by the afternoon of his first day. Looking every bit like a horse that was more than capable of running free across the ranges. He is a big boy, no wonder poor mum looked so massive before.

Fern is going to be super fit by the times hes weaned. As he only has three activities, running,sleeping and drinking milk. Luckily there is more than enough milk for him (and probably about 6 other colts) as fern still resembles a big uddered dairy cow. the Sweet mother that she is, cant let him leave her side, and trails after him around the paddock, at what ever speed and direction he chooses to go.

Have also taken some pics of the Matai, the stallion, who's looking amazing. But might save them for another post, and put them up tomorrow. Or possibly after the weekend, as I'm off showjumping all weekend with the warm blood. Bound to be run off my feet and in a state of chaos, with no time to get to my computer.
sorry actually thought i posted this on Friday but apparently it didnt go up!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Its a Boy!!

At eleven minutes past three this morning, a healthy, bay, colt foal entered the world. i know the exact time, because Fern lay down in front of me in the paddock and gave birth.

i ended up checking her at 12.30 and this time she came trotting up to me in the night, desperate for scratching and rubs. No baby, but very heavily waxed up, and obviously uncomfortable. So back to bed for me.

3.00am, at least it was a beautiful night, was all i could think as i dragged myself out of bed yet again. walking into the paddock i could see almost everything silhouetted against the bright moonlight. There was Fern, standing in the corner of the paddock that all our mares deliver in. No foal yet. but as i approached her, talking softly, she started walking towards me. Then suddenly, as she was almost right to next to me, was a great whooshing sound. Followed by the splashing of water as it hit the ground.

Guess her waters just broke. i backed away as to give her room, ands not stress her.figuring she knew what she was doing. But secretly heart pounding. Was she really going to deliver in front of me?? the big moment was here.

Turns out that, yes, she was going to deliver right then, and there. after walking a couple of tight circles, interrupted by more sounds of water hitting the ground. Down she went on the grass. I was crouched down 20 metres away, against the fence, trying to be as still and quiet as possible. glancing at My watch 3.06am.

3.11am there was a groan from fern. then the sound of something hitting the ground, with a wet thump. The baby was here.

It was a text book birth. by 3.20am she was on her feet licking her baby clean, having already passed the placenta. at 4.25am i was back in bed, having made sure that mum and baby were happy and healthy. Little Silver Son (Sonny) as he has been named,had managed, after a few attempts to get to his feet. He was happily tucking into his second drink of milk when i left. i had gotten close enough to see that it was a bay with a white sock, but didn't know the sex. I choose to leave them at peace, rather than harass Fern by trying to handle, what looked like a very healthy and strong baby.

by nine this morning though, curiosity got the better of me. mother and i, headed back out to the paddock to see how, our newest wild horse was doing. Fern and sonny were both happy and healthy. Fern letting me get right up and scratch both her, and her lovely, little, brand new, baby boy. shes an excellent mother so attentive and calm. Even in the night she stayed carefully between her baby and the fences, ensuring even in his weak first attempts, that he didn't stumble into anything that could harm him.

The baby is a cutey, it would be fair to say, that he has a bit of growing to do, to fit his head. it being slightly on the large side. But he has big strong legs, that look ready to run the ranges on. he loves to be itched and scratched and is calm, strong, boy. What more could you ask for?

As for me, I'm exhausted from my night, of little sleep, the excitement still being to Strong to get to sleep, when i finally made it to bed. But more than anything i cant believe, little Fern, gave birth,literally at my feet. i must be doing something right for her to be comfortable enough for that. What a cool feeling I'm still buzzing, my horse from the wild had her baby in front of me. i got to be there for his first steps, and even got to cuddle him this morning.Awsome!

P.s photos are in wrong sequence. they should start at the bottom, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

no foal yet

Just did my 10.30pm check on Fern. No foal.

She is acting very unusual though, hopefully this means a foal soon? She was off hiding,in the very far corner of the paddock, where all the mares seem to foal. Very restless, and instead of being the super cuddly ,affectionate mare she normally is, she wanted nothing to do with me.

I'm hoping for a baby soon, so i don't check her through the night, only for a foal to be born at eight in the morning after i spend a night with no sleep......

will check her again at midnight and 2am


I think we are going to have a brand new baby wild horse, very soon. Finally, Fern is starting to wax up. Fingers crossed, this usually means a baby within twenty four hours. Although i have been wrong before. As i predicted she would have her baby last month and now its almost November.

This does however mean a very long night ahead for me. As i always check the mares through the night, as soon as i know the birth is very close.

I will hopefully keep updating my blog through the night.

P.S Photos are from today. they do no justice, Fern is ten times more massive looking in the flesh.

Monday, October 18, 2010

any horse can do anything

I read a good quote the other day, it went something like 'every horse, can do every movement, of every discipline'. I agree with this. You can train any horse, to do anything. A quarter horse could be taught to piaffe, a warm blood to do a western spin or sliding stop, a Thoroughbred to pull a cart, and a Clydesdale to jump. Can every horse, do every discipline well? No. A western horse no matter how well trained isn't going to move like a warm blood, the warm blood isn't going to spin and cut cattle like a quarter horse.

Dressage in its original and purest form, was just a way of training a horse, to be as responsive, as athletic, and moving with as much power and quality as it could. Also it was, and still should be,training a horse to move and progress, in its schooling, in a way that kept it sound and healthy throughout its life. I read a book recently about the director of the Spanish riding school, they had one stallion that could still perform a piaffe, and passage, and be ridden at the unheard of age of 35.

My point with all this, is that you can train your horse to do whatever you want, no matter its breed, confirmation etc. So many people have lovely, sweet, but maybe not so talented horses. They go and sell this horse, and get a new horse, that suits the discipline they want to do, but find they cant work with the horse. they would be better to keep the nice sweet horse they enjoyed riding.

Sure for showjumping, there may be a limit, to how high your horse can physically jump. But dressage, you can train you horse all they way to grand prix. It may not be gold medal wining. but with patience and persistence, and realising your horses weaknesses and talents, you can get there. Even if it is just to play around with at home or personal enjoyment. Usally the ones that get to the top are the ones that just keep going, no matter the road blocks.

i worked in a top dressage barn for a year, straight out of high school. I saw some fugly, fugly horses get to grand prix, just through correct training. This to me is a sign of a good horsemen, that you can improve any horse no matter how untalented it is. One horse in particular was terrible, it had a ewe neck, cow hocks, what looked like double jointed front legs, was as muscular as a barn rake and when it arrived went around the arena like it was completely inside out. But it got there in the end, now it competes nationally, with its very happy lady may never want to get that far, but you can always improve your horse through training and understanding.

Training a horse is hard, some times you go for months without progress, sometimes the dont understand, they give you the wrong answer, they physcially struggle, but if you stick with it they will get there in the end, no matter what your goal. The rider makes the horse, not the horse that makes the rider.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Ok we have names

Still no new wild horse baby, but i have at least decided on names for the two wild horses. Thanks to everyone for all their great suggestions. both those who commented on the blog and those who told me their suggestions in person.

The grey or girl, is now Silver Fern or 'Fern' for an everyday name. Everyone who comes to the farm (including the vet)always asks 'who the pretty silver horse is?'. I think fern suits her and silver for he colouring. Also the most famous female athletes in this country, are the silver ferns, and its also are national sporting emblem. So she has a name, that will hopefully give her something to live up to.

The stallion, or the bay, as he is known now. Is to become 'Matai'. Which going with the botanical theme, is a native tree. it is also the name of the beach, where my family goes camping every year, and where i have spent many, many, happy summer days, since i was a child.

All the other names, I'm going to keep in the back of my mind for my next batch of wild horses, foals etc. So thanks everyone for all the help.

Grey/fern still has an udder full of milk and is still getting bigger. My Sport horse mares which are due in 3 weeks are nowhere near as big as fern, even though they are about a whole 2 hands taller than her. Fingers crossed for a baby soon. i will keep everyone posted.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Well the grey had me fooled. I thought she would have foaled by now. But she just continues to get bigger and wider. I stopped stabling her at night weeks ago, and moved her into the broodmare paddock, in prepartaion for her giving birth. I have been religiously checking for wax on her udder, and any other signs of the baby about to make an arrival. No luck. For a while she had so much milk she waddled when she walked. that disappeared away again, and her udder returned to normal size. So there has been many hours spent wasted, staring at her massive protruding belly. Trying to see the baby move, and hoping that if i stare long enough, i can force the foal, into being born. Grey although not moving with any grace and dignity, due to her immense size,ambles around the paddock looking happy and without a care in the world. Its just me that is a ball of stress, nerves and anticipation over unknown arrival date of the wild baby.

Having bred a couple of horses already, and hearing others experiences. I know most of the things, that can go wrong with horses, when giving birth. I have had the 'pleasant' experience of having to pull a baby out of a mare, in the middle of a cold, wet, night (all of my mares except one have delivered between 11pm and 2am). Then the horrible decisions of having to euthanize babies born with deformities. Also the even more horrific stories of friends, whose mares, going weeks over their due date, and vets having to kill the foal and having to remove it piece, by piece, to get it out of the poor mare.So until their is a healthy baby, on the ground you have all the worst case scenarios, going on replay through your head.But then, all the excitement and joy of a nice healthy foal makes up for any other losses you experience.

Now,the broodmare paddock has been eaten bare, yet there is still no baby. Grey now comes into the barn for the day, and back to the paddock with hay at night. Every morning shes waiting by the gate looking directly in my bedroom window. If i ever wanted a sleep in, it would be impossible as i would have to face, her pleading expression, for her stable and food, and the guilt would force me to get up.

good news is that you can definitely still see and feel, the baby kicking inside her. Which reassures me its healthy and alive in their. Also she is full of milk again today. I'm going to take this as a sign that the baby must be closed...It better be, the suspense is killing me.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

taking a tumble

This post isn't about wild horses but i thought id put it in anyway.

It happens to the best of us. At some time in every horse riders career, we find ourselves no longer riding a horse, but parting company, and quickly forming a new relationship, with mother earth instead. Basically, every now and again we fall off our horse.. There is in an old saying "you got to fall off 100 time,s to call yourselves a rider". I think there is some truth to this saying. Because, if your smart, you look back and can figure out, what exactly led to the parting of company, from the horses back. if you can figure out why, then you can deal with fixing the problem. Because the next old, and wise saying is "you always have to get back on the horse".

yesterday went bad. too much to do, and too little time. It seems the more you rush, the more things fall to pieces. by 5 o'clock yesterday evening i still had two horses to ride,calves to feed, horse to put away, horses to bring in, and a truck to pack for the show in the morning. To make it worse i wasn't even home from picking up a horse that had been out on lease to a Friend for the past year.

so it went like this. Get home unload horse. Rush to make up calf milk. Place buckets of milk on back of farm truck. Realise farm truck (which has tires that are so bald they could be a slide) is stuck on wet ground. Try for ten minutes to free truck. Fail. Carry buckets up long hill to calves.Spill 1 bucket, so have to make second trip. Feed calves, which are bellowing protest of starvation, at being fed so late. Back to the barn, to saddle up 1 horse. jump on horse. trot down to jump paddock.

This is where it all goes horribly wrong. You can never rush things with horses. It never works. I know this, and yet last nigh,t its exactly what i did. I had a jumping show today, so just wanted to quickly pop over a few jumps in preparation. Being in a rush, i ddnt spend enough time warming up. He ( my 17hh black warm blood, my version of owning a sports car) was going around nice and relaxed, but if i was paying attention, and not daydreaming about what i needed to pack for the show. I would have noticed that he like me was just going around in his own Little world, day dreaming as well. Not sharp, and listening and aware of whats going on, like we both needed to be for jumping.

So around the paddock we went , down the line of 5 jumps that i had set up as a gymnastic exercise. That went fine, horse just cantering down the line of jumps. After doing this a couple of times. I hopped off put the jumps right up. Thinking that I'd jump him over the bigger ones just once, before calling it a night. Should of known, horse in a day dream +rider not as switched on as she should be = bad news. Down the line of 5 jumps. one jump. two jump. three jump. four and crash. Coming to the fifth and final jump my horse finally woke up, saw that it had changed size. hesitated, went to jump and then ducked out to the side. The problem with big powerful horses, is that they have a lot of momentum. For riders like myself (not very tall) it a bit of a balancing act to stay on top, not having the leg length to wrap around his chest. So when the horse changed direction, i didn't, the forward momentum carrying me straight into the jump.

Its good, i don't hit the deck often, so when i do it good to go all out, make it impressive, destroying the whole jump out with me. Bonus the jump poles broke my fall and the metal stand broke my knee. Not really but it sure felt like it. So as i crashed to the ground, my horse getting the fright of his life, that his rider had suddenly parted company. Galloped off up the hill, circled a couple of times, then headed to the barn. Excellent. I dragged myself to my feet, happy to find i was till in one piece. Then made the trek to the barn to fetch my horse. Walking off the pain in my knee in the process.

So everyone falls. It really is the best thing to do, to get back on the horse. Both for you and your horse. So after catching up with my horse. i hoped back on, back we went down the hill. This time we were both awake and paying attention. After spending five minutes, getting our confidence back, jumping some other jumps. Down we came through the line of five jumps. Him wide awake, me paying attention, keeping him straight. Bit awkward at the last jump, but this time we made it. I jumped the line a few more times until he was jumping it perfectly and was relaxed about it all. You always want to finish any ride with you horse relaxed. Never finish with him tense or nervous.

Unfortunately waking up this morning, i was a bit worse for wear. With a knee the that was bit black and blue. I Pulled my horse out of the paddock ,while it was still dark. With every intention of still competing at the show, even though just walking was proving to be somewhat painful already. No luck, horse had overreached in the night. Both him and me were out of action. So instead, i climbed back into bed, got an extra hour or two sleep. Then spent the day catching up on paperwork, feeling irritable and restless. I think feeling physical with drawl symptoms, from not being at a horse show on such a lovely day.

Lesson learned from all of this. Wake up and pay attention. Nicely rolling along in a day dream, while jumping your horse, does not always equal succes. Take the time, to warm up your horse properly, or dont do anything at all.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

more milk no baby

Grey girl has been walking arounf looking like a dairy cow, for the last three days. No wax on her teats yet, so still not looking like a birth anytime soon. But her udders are so full of milk its is a pic of just how big that belly is getting!

i wish she would have the baby so i can stop worrying. Two days ago she was so miserable and uncomforatble , i checked her through the night. She stood in the same place all night and neighed to me every time i visited. But still no baby.