Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thankful Hearts

Our hearts are spilling over with thankfulness that the third foal born at our Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve arrived in excellent form.

What appreciation and relief to have each of our three young mares relinquish their maiden status with no difficulties or complications. Bella, Belina and Ciente have taken on the mantle of motherhood with an exquisite, intuitive grace that has enhanced the already heady beauty of Ravenseyrie.

A poetic scene at the edge of the forest

And, of course...the interior hub which this magical micro-universe revolves around is the magnificant Altamiro. Soon I will get back to the topic of "how it all began" and relay how we came to acquire this handsome Sorraia stallion.

Three year old Sorraia stallion, Altamiro

Until then, I offer up more photos to enjoy.

Altamiro grazes by his newest son, and the lovely Kiger Mustang mare, Ciente

Two more images of the interesting striped lay pattern of the new foal's hair-coat

Last evening, Ciente's offering of manure held great fascination for many of the other herd members, and Ganja too! Look how big Animado is, standing next to Bella, while Altamiro demonstrates the "flehmen response" to make the most of Ciente's perfumed poo.

At breakfast this morning, Ciente and her colt (we're still waiting for him to inspire the right name) kept themselves far off in the north field, so I brought her a special pan of oats & dried molasses. Just as she was finishing up, the morning "rush" of the rest of the herd came upon us. There is a lot going on in this little video--a worthwhile study of equine behavioral relations and body language.

Kris posted some questions in the comment segment of yesterday's entry:
"What an adventuresome fellow the little newbie is! Has Ciente let you interact with him? Has Altamiro been as protective and helpful a father as he was with the first two?"

Yes, Kris, Ciente has been very accommodating of my being so interested in her colt. This colt is a mix of shyness and curiosity, with curiosity winning out--largely because Ciente is so relaxed in my presence. Unlike Belina, who wouldn't tolerate anyone near her except Altamiro during the first several days of Fada's life.

When I first noticed Ciente and Altamiro alone in the west fields, in the pre-dawn light yesterday, the rest of the herd was quite a distance off, barely perceptible, grazing among the Ossier Dogwood shrubs. It seemed that the herd and myself noticed Ciente and Altamiro simultaneously, because the horses and mules just then ran up to investigate, which is when I could see the foal moving about while his Ciente and Altamiro tried to shield him from the rush of equines.

Altamiro had the herd fended off in short order and I set about putting out breakfast, which brought all of them up closer to the house. Ciente and the foal stayed to the west, but Altamiro figured he'd better not miss breakfast and soon joined us by the house. While the others were eating, I went out to greet the newcomer, he was still wet but all cleaned up and nursing with vigor. Ciente still had the umbilical cord hanging out behind. It took another fifteen minutes or so before she passed the afterbirth. It would appear that we arrived on the scene shortly after baby found his legs and began nursing. While I didn't see it, I'd have to conclude that because Altamiro had been right there at the time, he most likely assisted with the birth of this foal as he did with Animado, and probably also with Fada.

After his breakfast, Altamiro rushed back out to be with Ciente and the new foal, but later went off to the forest where the rest of the herd had gone to escape the flies. It took Ciente and the colt about and hour and a half to traverse the grassland and get to the north woods (with me encouraging them along) where they spent the day on the peripheral of the herd, with frequent visits from Altamiro.

While I (reluctantly) went off to work, Kevin kept an eye on things and said Ciente and the colt stayed pretty close to the herd, even mingling at times (Fada touched noses with the newbie), but she moved off with him when things got too tight while Altamiro would intervene on her behalf and chastise the others for getting to pushy.

I love my career with the art studio and gallery...but sometimes I would rather just stay on the farm and mingle with the horses all day long--they are an endless source of learning and pleasure.


Annemiek said...

Hi Lynne,

I can imagine you would like to stay home and watch your little herd of horses and mules all day. For me it would feel like living in a National Geographic movie. You know when I go out with Rudolf I spent a lot of time just watching him. He is only one horse and we go out together but I never feel bored for one minute. If being out there with one horse feels so good, than it must feel like heaven to spent time with your colorful family. I have one daughter and you know what fascinated me more than anything else? Seeing the world through a child’s eyes. I have learned so much by just watching my baby grow and explore the world around her. I believe you will learn just as much from watching the world through a foals eyes. It would be nice if you could let us get a glimpse every now and then with pictures and films from your wonderful new camera, haha! But knowing you a little, I’m sure you will. Know that it is highly appreciated!

As for the little new colt: he looks absolutely magnificent! And Altamiro must feel proud indeed. It is so funny to see how the rest of the herd is trying to get their curiosity satisfied. I have seen a film once where the members of a herd all acted as if they where grazing, and in the mean time slowly tried to advance on the little new member of their group. It was hilarious, they pretended to be really busy, but at the same time it was SO obvious they were trying to sneak closer to the mare with her baby. Oow you are lucky to be able to see this all happening in front of you!

Maria McLaughlin said...

I tried to leave a comment before but I don't think it worked! I just wanted to let you know I was excited to find and read your blog and the foals look amazing!

Maria McLaughlin

Lynne Gerard said...

You are very right to note how observing the world through the eyes of these foals is similar to how mother's delight in the way their children discover the world around them.

I don't have children, but always have been incredibly interested in how my animal friends experience the world and take pleasure in every little thing they do.

Maria! What a treat to see you here. I'm glad this time your comment was published and I look forward to your future visits.

Maria lives here on the island and is a horse lover who has temporarily gone horseless as she raises her two children. Maria is the daughter-in-law to Hugh McLaughlin, an island relator, and is the fine fellow who helped us obtain our fabulous property which we call Ravenseyrie.

Thanks for the comments, Annemiek and Maria!