Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Squall Season

The enchanting Fada, her dark grulla color nicely offset by the long, dry grasses

Manitoulin Island is now into "squall season". While our weather remains a bit buffered from extreme cold by the lingering, relative "warmth" of the surrounding waters of Great Lake Huron, these same conditions make for quickly changeable conditions--calm and sunny for several hours, then blustery with rain or hail for a short period, giving way to partial clearing and gentler air for another few hours, only to be followed again by a brief storm. It's an exciting time, filled with exhilarating clouds, colors and scents. I like to be out in the midst of all this and find it invigorating. The horses feel the same way.

Sunday was another day with repeated squalls and often times instead of slashing rain, there was biting hail. I ran for the house, and I thought the herd would dash for cover in the woods, but they did not! Instead, they put themselves on the lee side of our house and snugged into a fairly tight group while the hail pinged and bounced off them. Occasionally, they would lower their heads and shake them, but otherwise didn't demonstrate that it was as uncomfortable a situation as it seemed to me.When the storm clouds passed by the herd moved off to graze in the freshened grasslands. They appeared to be in grazers heaven--plenty yet to eat, no biting insects, no extreme heat--what's a little hail when the benefits are so terrific?!
Zorita, looking lovely after a rinse from a passing autumn squall

Fada (left) and Interessado looking so similar in color this autumn

The past few days as I was out among the herd, I was able to capture a lot of fun photos and moving footage because of the high degree of energy in the air from the unsettled weather. This energy found added expression in rambunctious behavior among certain herd members. Those who didn't feel a compelling desire to leap and run with abandon or get involved in "contact sports" were Doll, Dee, Belina, Bella and Ciente--everyone else cut loose from time to time.
Altamiro plays with Zeus, while the rest of the grullas mill about seemingly disinterested in the drama

The pups, seemingly ever present with me when I'm out with the herd were not on their best behavior, wanting to much to "play" with the foals which were so keen to be sparking about with abandon. This got Altamiro feeling he needed to demonstrate a bit of discipline by chasing the dogs off:

After the satisfaction of sending the dogs off a distance (temporarily) the young Sorraia stallion decided it was time for a roll in the close-cropped grass. Fada felt it was important to observe her father's efforts and then entice him into a sprint race:

Fada continues to look as if she is the reincarnation of an Upper Paleolithic cave painting. And while 2 month old Interessado's mane has begun to lay over, Fada's even at five months persists in remaining upright. So curious!
Five month old, half-Sorraia filly, Fada

And one final photo of the lovely Zorita to end today's entry. Later today, or tomorrow, I will put in some more photos and moving footage of frolicking foals and a sparring stallion.


Annemiek said...


Zorita looks wonderful. I was wondering how she was doing. She really looks great. It seems she has adjusted very well in the ”wild”. I wonder if she is carrying a foal already? How is she in the group, does she have a special friend or connection with one of the others?

Lynne Gerard said...

I think Zorita looks wonderful too. Its as if this new world for her enhances her Sorraia characteristics. She hasn't altered in size, but she no longer looks like a pony. It is quite possible Altamiro settled her shortly after she integrated with the herd in September, because she has shown no further tendency towards a heat cycle. That would make for an August foal if she is pregnant.

In the group, if one were to describe a hierarchy, she seems to have arranged a place for herself below the other mature horses, but above the mules and foals. She does not seem to have a special friend, but her connection with Altamiro remains evident and th two of them will often be grazing side by side.

We are so thankful to have been able to bring her to Ravenseyrie, she completes the herd beautifully.

Thanks for your comments and questions, Annemiek!