Don’t you just love surprises? I love surprises – well, some surprises.
We had a surprise just about three months ago this week. I went out, as usual, to feed the critters. Neither Memory the Morgan mare nor Manny the Morgan stallion were down in their usual place to eat. This is MOST unusual.
A little ways away, still near the barn and food supply but not close enough to see clearly, I saw Manny running round and round, clearly worked up about something. Then I saw Memory standing at the rise – he was running around her for some reason.
Then I saw the surprise. A little chestnut surprise, standing next to Memory.
Given that we’d let Memory run with Manny for several years now, and had resigned ourselves to the fact that there would be no foal from these two, this was, indeed, a most pleasant surprise.
Mad dash into the house to get the camera and the husband (not necessarily in that order). Then I went, slowly, with two feed scoops and said husband. With much care (and a watchful eye on Manny – I had to pin my ears at him more than once) we managed to approach close enough to get a good look. A beautiful, HUGE, unexpected chestnut foal was taking a nap – exhausted from his first encounter with gravity. The Donkey Girls had noticed and were there, and Memory was at her wits’ end trying to fend everyone off.
Manny was lured away with feed (did I mention he’s a Morgan, one of the equine breed known as the tallest, prettiest pigs on the planet?). The Donkey Girls were run off fairly easily, though they hung close by – they consider themselves the Nannies of the place whether it be colt or calf, and they were eager and ready to do their duty.
We went inside to let things settle down. A while later, we went back out and, between the two of us, with a scoop of feed, managed to lead the foal and dam into our paddock (which we had frantically baby-proofed) where they have been happily residing (with access to a long swale that runs across the property, used right now for baby-exercise purposes). Inprinting (familiarizing the foal with the things that a horse might encounter over the course of its life, while these things are still no more weird than, oh, say, grass or cows or everything else it’s seeing and experiencing for the first time) commenced and continues today. It was also determined that the new inhabitant of the ranch is a boy. His registered name has not been determined, but I’ve fallen into calling him Rowdy.
His first experience of me, beyond being rubbed all over, was to try to figure out how to get milk out of my fingers. No one is ever going to have trouble handling this boy’s mouth!
Today, three months later, he’s very certain of his place here. He drives his mother nuts by going off with his Dad, Manny, for a ball game and not getting back for dinner until late. (They BOTH got in trouble the first time they did that!) He's imitating his Dad in many ways, some not quite socially acceptable, but the Donkey Girls are putting him in his place and teaching him his manners. His mother, not so much, but it's been over a decade since she had her last foal so she's putting up with a bit more than she should. He's been herding cows on his own for about two months now; looks like he's destined to be a Morgan cow horse! Which goes along with the name we finally settled on for him, after he told us the first week his barn name is Rowdy. He'll be registered as Morannon Rowdy Yates.
Yes, I do like surprises. Some of them, anyway!