Friday, December 10, 2010

Documenting Altamiro's Offspring / Fada

Fada (Sorraia x Sorraia Mustang)
Summer 2009 / Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve

The second foal born at Ravenseyrie, like Animado, came before I had taken up recording events here on our Sorraia Mustang Preserve in the Journal of Ravenseyrie blog. Altamiro's first filly, Fada has her birth story documented once again at the website of Leslie Town Photography. There are some delightful photos there as well as the telling of how Fada came by her name. I hope you will follow the link to read about our introduction of Belina and Altamiro's tiny filly, Fada.

And now, a feast of photos showing off this exquisite being...


When she was first born, Fada was SO tiny that she often walked underneath her dam to get to the other side, rather than going around the "long" way. A pity, I have no photo of that adorable maneuver.

In the birth story published on the Leslie Town Photography site I relayed (as I have done elsewhere in the Journal of Ravenseyrie) that Fada's dam, Belina is not the best example of Sorraia phenotype and she sometimes can appear rather pony-like and plain. Curiously, though, I've noticed after each of the three foals Belina has so far delivered, she blooms with an uncanny beauty that accentuates the best of what Sorraia characteristics this pony sized mare does possess. The above photo demonstrates very well what I mean, don't you think?

So many of the foal photos of Fada are absolutely enchanting, and I feel as human mothers must feel, a tremendous reluctance to let go of this phase of their babys' growth, wondering how they will ever be more lovely to behold than they are as infants. But, when I see how stunningly beautiful Fada is now as a two year old, I am glad for the natural maturing process and oh-so-thankful to be witness to these many stages of development.

How amazing it is to watch such a young body negotiate handily the rocky beach at Ravenseyrie!

One of my favorite beach scenes when Fada was a foal...I am always moved to see that tiny, confident form taking a standing snooze with her family without a care in the world.

An obviously poor photo, yet I share it here because it shows the counter-shading "cape" Fada has over her shoulders during this stage of development.

When she still had her foal coat, one could see that Fada not only had a cape over her shoulders but leg stripes as well. These have both gone into hiding once she shed out to such a dark grulla shade.

As Fada began to shed out her foal coat, her very dark, almost black grulla colouring was revealed.

As dark as Fada's grulla colouring is, even in a long winter coat, her dorsal stripe is still visible.

I've noticed that the first winter the youngsters go through they grow a much longer coat than they do as yearlings and two year olds.


Fada with her sire, Altamrio


This photo gives a good indication in the small stature of Fada as she stands among Animado, Mistral and the big fellow, Zeus.

Small, but perfectly proportioned and lovely on the eye!

Note the contrast here between the very dark grulla colouring of Fada and the light grullo shade of Animado, in the above photo. Some sources have call the very dark grulla colour "lobo dun". It is believed that the typical shade of grulla for Sorraia horses is medium to light.

If it were not for her dorsal stripe and the buff colouring of the interior of her ears, one would think Fada is a black horse.

Fada is smaller than the average Sorraia and darker, too, but in every other way shows the appropriate characteristics. Hardy has reminded me on more than one occasion that with the right stallion, this beautiful daughter of Altamiro could contribute in an important way to the preservation and consolidation of these primitive Iberian genetics. I think she already has made an important contribution by adding a special type of loveliness to our Ravenseyrie landscape.


June said...

Heaven is here and now! I like that!

Annemiek said...

I think Fada is gorgeous Lynne. Like you said, on some photo’s it seems she is black. I love the way the color changes during the seasons and the years.


Máire said...

I love the delight expressed in your account of Fada's birth. She is indeed exquisite.

Lynne Gerard said...

June, Miek and Maire--
Thank you for your comments and for taking the time to read Fada's birth story and enjoy the stream of photos in this journal entry.

Fada is a very sweet gal, a bit shy, but not in a suspicious way...once she "knows" you, she is very happy to have attention.

Alan said...


Lovely entry and it makes me long for time on Manitoulin. I hope you, Kevin, the dogs and all other creatures under your care are well.

Alan Block

Anonymous said...

I'm glad her dorsal stripe is soobvious, I've been wondering awhile how she was genetically put together.
Her father is homozygous dun "by genius", so she can't be other than at least hetorzygous-Dun, but Altamiro too has a large amount of black pigment, so he has a moderate form of "melanism" while Fada really has the "full-blown-melanism", probably amplified by her dam's side.
Great horses you have and a very rare project !

Lynne Gerard said...

Alan wrote:
"Lovely entry and it makes me long for time on Manitoulin. I hope you, Kevin, the dogs and all other creatures under your care are well."

Hey! Alan! Are you still in Ohio? I think you might have more snow that the island right now. Kev and I are in good form and Manitoulin Island remains as magical a place as ever. Somewhere on the blog is my email address if you want to catch up on things in greater detail.

Thanks for reading and for taking time to leave your nice comment, Alan.

Lynne Gerard said...

The mysterious has resurfaced and written:
"...but Altamiro too has a large amount of black pigment, so he has a moderate form of "melanism" while Fada really has the "full-blown-melanism", probably amplified by her dam's side."

The curious thing is that Fada's dam, Belina has had two more fillies by Altamiro, each progressively lighter. (See photos of Encantara born in 2009 and Tocara born in 2010.) Whatever amplification you might attribute to the dam's side, doesn't appear to have carried over to subsequent foals.

As an aside, I should share with you a perplexing phenomenon: when I read your comment on my iMac G4 "" is not in blue with an underline, but when I read your comment on my iPad, it IS underlined and in blue and linked to a radio/television personality in Belgium. Now I know what the .be stands for, but I can hardly believe you are peter van de veire...could such a person have time to read about colour genetics in primitive horses living on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada??

Anonymous said...

haha, NO !!!! I'am definitely NOT Peter Vandeveire, allthough I well appreciated his performance on the historical Brussels marketplace in a pink ballet-tutu and starknaked with a plume up his euh... let's say "dorsal stripe", I think it's still findable on youtube.....

I have a bucketfull of usernames and passwords which I tend constantly to forget, so let's say i'll sign with peter_be

But apart from this, do you have more info on the parents of fada's mother, Belina, to define her genetical make-up ?
A lot of genetical factors can be fenotypically hidden but crop up in other combinations


Lynne Gerard said...

The slightly altered, "bucketful of user names" peter_be wrote:
"do you have more info on the parents of fada's mother, Belina, to define her genetical make-up ?"

In earlier journal entries I described Belina as our "wild card" and relayed that we imported her mainly to keep Bella company on the long journey as well as give her a good same-age friend to be with once integrated into the Ravenseyrie realm. While Belina is a nice solid grulla with nice shoulder marks, she is of mixed parentage that normally I would not have figured to be good to introduce to such a preservation project as ours.

Belina's dam is a black & white Appaloosa mustang pony captured from a BLM range in Washington. She was registered with the POA as BLM Dreamer, later purchased by Isa Kirk of Plenty Star Ranch and produced six foals, all Appaloosas. Then Dave Reynolds of Caballos de Destino acquired her and bred her to Chato's Shadow (med. grullo with a white star), one of their Sorraia type stallions, and Belina is the product of this union.

You brought up melanism as accounting for the excess black pigment in Altamiro and Fada. This confuses me (an easy thing due to my layman's lack of comprehension of colour genetics).

You see my impression was if the grulla colour is attributed to a dun dilution on a black base coat, then wouldn't the darker grulla colour be on account of the weakness of the dilution rather than the strength of the melanism?

At any rate, the nick of Altamiro with Belina has provided three sucessful examples of Sorraia type. I continue to be amazed at how well the "present day" Sorraia genetics consolidate with the "old world" Sorraia genetics that are present in some of the North American mustangs...causing me to imagine this is indeed a consolidation of actual surviving ancestral genes (like the Koniks) and not an attempted recreation of an extinct phenotype/genotype (like the Heck horse.)

Anonymous said...

Janet says. . .

Why do you have to sell her?

"Good things come in small packages!"

I wonder where BLM Dreamer is today. . . . hope she has a sunny hay-filled stall at Caballos del Destino in which to dream away the winter days. .
P.S. Could Belina have as easily been an appaloosa even if bred to the Sorraia-type stallion? Maybe Fada's young could be appys.
? with the right sire. What do you think.

Lynne Gerard said...

Janet inquired:
"Why do you have to sell her?

We offer Altamiro's offspring for sale in the hope that they will assist other people who are helping to consolidate the Sorraia ("Iberian Tarpan") genetics that persist among some North American Mustang horses. Even though Fada is undersize and of darker colour than the typical Sorraia, Hardy Oelke points out to me that she is otherwise of good type and being half Sorraia could prove very beneficial to the overall preservation of these types of horses.

We don't have to sell any of these horses, but to keep them all to ourselves does little to forward the cause. And in time we'd have to begin chopping up Ravenseyrie into separate pastures to keep the horses from overbreeding and inbreeding...which would completely change things here and take away from what makes Ravenseyrie so unique and beneficial for these horses.

Most traditional breeders hold on to their best offspring. All of the youngsters born at Ravenseyrie are for sale (thought not everyone has a sale page up yet.) We figure our best are precisely what others need to place with their own Sorraia types.

Our role in the conservation effort is small, but vital. We are not financially capable of managing several different breeding groups here. If we had more acreage and a "money tree" on the property, I'd not part with any of our youngsters but instead import more Sorraia and Sorraia Mustangs from elsewhere to bring together to put with the Ravenseyrie colts and fillies. Even though having more land and cash would mean I could keep the kids all to myself, this is not something I wish for--because one can only give so much of oneself in a meaningful way, and as you said in regards to Fada, "Good things come in small packages." I agree with you, small is terrific in the size of horses and but also in the size of one's ventures. We feel it is best to keep Ravenseyrie a small affair.

I wonder where BLM Dreamer is today. . . . hope she has a sunny hay-filled stall at Caballos del Destino in which to dream away the winter days. .

Do you think this is what horses (especially a feral free range horse like Dreamer) want to sequestered in a stable during winter, instead of having the freedom to follow winter's glorious rhythms exploring the landscape to see what comforts they can naturally find on those few days when the weather is bitter and harsh? Is winter (for horse or human) a season to "dream away", or is it to be experienced in a fuller way than what than those creatures the Great Creator has designed to hibernate until spring returns?

P.S. Could Belina have as easily been an appaloosa even if bred to the Sorraia-type stallion? Maybe Fada's young could be appys.
? with the right sire. What do you think.

From what I was told, when they bred Dreamer to Chato's Shadow, they fully expected a dynamic Appy foal, because Chato's Shadow has some brindling--but you see the result with Belina is a solid dark grulla. Only those who have a scientific understanding of colour genetics and breeding are equipped to provide you with answers to those last questions...I'm sorry, Janet, I just don't have the expertise in that area.

Thank you for appreciating what a gem Fada is and for stopping by with your comments. I hope you can understand my viewpoint on these matters.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you have decided to keep Fada and her young there with you! She is such a little gem and I am glad her future is settled for now!

I guess about my comment with the 'sun-filled stall' -- I was trying to figure out how old BLM Dreamer must be by now and can't help imagining how comforting it might be to a very old horse to have access to a place like that. . .