Since a glitch within Blogger is temporarily not allowing me to upload photos, I am attempting a video upload instead.
In my last entry, I was wanting to show you how our young Kiger Mustang mare, Ciente, is looking at this point in her pregnancy. I happened to get a bit of moving footage of her on my camera a few evenings ago.
Let's see if this upload works, shall we?
I think this is going to work! I sure wish I had taken something a bit more interesting, but now I will plan to do both photos and videos for future journal entries.
Ciente is the most affectionate and gentle horse I have had opportunity to be friends with. Two weeks ago, she had me convinced she was going to deliver her foal right into my open arms.
I had begun to take a morning walk with the pups (my collective term of endearment for our four, mature dogs: Shelagh, Maeb, Tobacco and Ganja). We were headed the opposite direction from where the horses and mules were grazing with a plan to loop around and spend some time with them on our way back. I noticed Ciente had stopped grazing and was slowly walking towards where the pups and I were. I stopped and waited...she kept coming on a deliberate path to intersect with us, so I changed course and met her halfway. Ciente presented me with her head and neck, desiring rubs and itches, and I of course granted her wish. After several minutes of this, Ciente turned and pressed her rump into my hands--leaving no doubt in my mind which section of her body wanted attention now, and once again, I fulfilled her wish.
I massaged the lumbar-scaral region, hips, buttocks and tail for Ciente, all the while telling her how beautiful she is and what a fine mother she is going to be.
Those of you who have spent any time massaging and itching your horses when they are at complete liberty are aware of just how demonstrative they can be with their bodies when they have no walls or ropes restraining their movements--swaying, pressing back into your hands and contorting themselves to gain all the possible pleasurable sensations that can be had. My first experience like this was with Mistral many years ago...and it was one of my many epiphanies since beginning this long, marvelous journey of being with horses--in fact it was so transforming that never again did I tie Mistral or the others up for grooming or tacking up or any other sort of thing.
So, Ciente has trained me well, and I have gotten her so mellow that it seems to me her croup muscles had relaxed with the type of slackness textbooks say occurs just before delivery begins. Did her vulva also look slightly swollen and slackened? It sure seemed so to me. I stopped the massage and took another look at Ciente's udder...no swelling or "waxing up" occurring here (of course not one of these indicators was present when Bella surprised us with the birth of Animado in April!). I went up to Ciente's head and brushed her forelock aside, looking into her eyes, asking...are you telling me you are ready? Her answer was to close her eyes and slip her head over my shoulder, laying it there with great heaviness and a soft sigh. With tears of happiness, to be so close with her like this, I supported her heavy head and stroked her neck for a few minutes or a few hours...the time was unmeasurable as we both melted into the moment.
When we returned to the everyday plane of reality, the rest of the herd had disappeared, the dogs had given up on our walk and gone back to the house and it was just Ciente and me in the middle of the grasslands. I motioned for Ciente to follow me and I began walking in the direction I last saw the horses. Ciente followed, not because we were conjoined by a halter and lead rope, but because we had that most sublime connection of all--heart to heart. Carolyn Resnick (see her website in my links column) identifies this type of tack free connection as the "magnetic heart connection" and considers it the best basis for any further training. I not only agree, but no longer have a desire to work with tack at all any more--this type of connection, this means of understanding each other--is what I want to cultivate as the norm, making tack obsolete.
Soon we came up to a narrow copse of Cedar trees separating the large grassy plain from another strip of meadow near the bluff's edge. Through the trees I could see the swishing of tails and I knew the herd was just beyond these trees. Stepping aside, I motioned for Ciente to walk on by me and join the others. She picked up her ears, gave a whinny and softly trotted around the copse of trees to rejoin her herd.
Can a human sigh, smile and tear-up all at the same time? Surely its possible, because this is how it felt after sharing such a marvelous time with this lovely, young mare.
Ciente is a very fine example of the Sorraia phenotype and we are looking forward to seeing what her and Altamiro have created together.