Saturday, August 30, 2008

Heart Connections/Doll

Something very pleasant happened yesterday morning with Doll, one of our draft mules.

While on my morning hike, it is my habit to practice T'ai Chi (Yang Long form) in different locations on the property. Sometimes it happens that as I am moving through the various movements the herd will be watching while grazing nearby. Most of the time they do not come over for attention, on occasion they will totally disrupt things and other times just one individual herd member will come over to ask for a little personal attention.

Yesterday morning, Doll determined that I should quit "Waving Hands Like Clouds" and give her some scratches instead. She was so sweet in her request (she is not always so demure!) it would have been extremely rude of me to withhold my services from her, so I went right to work, getting all the usual spots and enjoying the obvious pleasure she was having.

After a good session of itching and massaging and fawning over Doll, I thanked her for her visit and turned to go back to practicing T'ai Chi. But Doll wasn't satiated and pressed me for more. I knew what type of "more" Doll wanted. Doll wanted me to perform "mounted itches", a little game Mistral and I invented several years ago and something that Doll has an incredible desire to induce me into performing whenever she gets an opportunity.

To explain "mounted itches", I'd first like to give thanks to Carolyn Resnick for writing her book, NAKED LIBERTY, which served as my first inspiration to attempt to ride a horse completely free of tack and in a wide-open setting such as what we have here at Ravenseyrie. I felt that if Carolyn, during her childhood, could be mount a wild horse on the range at liberty and completely without tack, I surely could do the same with my horses who were not wild and were not unfamiliar with being ridden.

My first time trying such a seemingly reckless thing was on a similar morning as yesterday. I had been practicing T'ai Chi and was interrupted by Mistral. Of course, I didn't hesitate to honor the Emperor God of Ravenseyrie by giving him my best itches and massages. When I was done, he seemed unwilling to go back to grazing. My shoulders and forearms were weary from the effort I had already put in on appeasing the horse God, so another idea came to mind. I went over to a nearby rock and stood up on it. I told Mistral if he wanted more attention, he should come over to the rock. He did! And he lined himself up perfectly for me to mount up. I did! To thank him for honoring my request, I proceeded to lean down and give his neck and shoulders more itches, and in doing so, I found I could use a lot more pressure while on top, much to his added pleasure. And so...the game of "mounted itches" was born. (From this we progressed to brief rides in complete liberty but that's another story for another time.)

Back to Doll...
Now, Doll is a typical raw-boned, oddly put together mule. Her daddy was a Mammoth Jack donkey and her mother was a Belgian Draft horse. Doll is somewhere in her latter teens and measures 15.3h. We acquired Doll seven or so years ago. Doll exudes an air of crankiness, intolerance and disdain with her fellow herd mates and especially with the dogs--but she most of the time has the self-discipline to hold herself back from deploying aggressive means to show her displeasure. When her composure crumbles, however, watch out! because Doll is very deliberate and powerfully forceful in making sure her opinion is heard.

Yet Doll has a feminine, sweet element to her otherwise coarse mien...which Leslie Town captured well, when she came to photograph Altamiro last October. Wouldn't you agree?
So there is an immense gentleness within Doll and for some reason she has determined that she can indulge in being utterly adorable when I am available to have some one-on-one time with her. Because of this, I was not the least bit surprised that, when I first suggested the "mounted itches" game to her, she understood my request as if we had no language barrier whatsoever. Despite being perhaps the most cantankerous member of the herd (Mistral might have the edge) Doll is an adept at establishing a "heart connection" with me. We'll have to talk more about the "heart connection", but there isn't time for me to do so today, and anyhow, I'm still studying about this very real phenomenon.

The two occasions earlier this summer that I was fortunate to be down at the beach while the herd was also there, Doll hooked into me with great determination to induce me into some "mounted itching" games. The problem was that I didn't feel we two were in the best place for such an activity--the rocky footing, in my opinion, didn't provide Doll with a stable balance and I sure didn't want to complicate her instability by placing extra weight on her back. During both of these lake side occasions, Doll was unwilling to accept my reasons for turning away from her favorite "game" and while I hopped from rock to rock to avoid her, she step by precarious step continued to pursue me. I'm including a series of photos first from one day, and then the other, to show you the determination this long-eared equine has when she really wants something. In then end, she rather grumpily accepted that I was not going to change my mind and went off to doze with the others.

Doll tries to find a closer spot to place her foot near the rock I am standing on.
Doll, be careful!
Yikes! Doll, go'll get stuck out here!

She gave up, but wasn't happy about it!

Now, in this series, I went into the water to try to get out of playing the game...but so did Doll! She was so persistent, or "stubborn as a mule".

Stubborn, but also, very cute!

Yesterday's morning interlude of "mounted itches" with Doll was especially nice because it was the first time the opportunity had come since those times at the lake when I felt it was not appropriate to give-in to Doll's requests. Both her and I had a nice long time together and when I slid off and thanked her for visiting with me she thanked me back with those earnest eyes and long, velvety ears. When I suggested now that she should go rejoin the others and graze, she quietly walked back to where they were and pushing through the youngsters got straight back to nibbling the flavors of late summer.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Observations of Late Summer

Often, when I think about putting cohesive thoughts together for this Journal of Ravenseyrie, I am put off because I have some quirky feeling that first I should attend to writing more about the "How it Began" topic, of which we still have a few segments to catch up with. Such entries though (requiring revisiting the dustier regions of my brain and digging around for older photos) tend to be extremely time consuming. I enjoy putting together a cohesive and readable record of how Kevin and I have undertaken the establishing of our Sorraia Mustang Preserve--and I think it is important to document this all before the past becomes even dustier, but right now, really all I want to do is tell you about how marvelous the light over the grasses are in the mornings and how delightful it is to see foals playing in the fields.
The scent of late summer is in the air...colors are less voluptuously verdant as the foliage mellows. Though the cropped grasses are a vibrant green, the taller, mature grasses have gone blonde while waving leaves anticipate the touch of autumn's flame. The light is changing too...there is noticeably less of it upon waking and at the day's end. These changes, have not gone unnoticed by the horses either...while grooming some herd members this morning it was evident that Interessado, Fada and Animado are already growing winter hair! The rest of the herd is still sleek, but it won't be long and they, too, will become well equipped for colder weather.
The mornings, after the increasing chill of evening, have been consistently heavy with dew--a magical substance that illuminates the otherwise hidden kingdom of the grassland spiders! The effect is astonishing when viewing the prairie from a certain angle...everywhere, as far as the eye can see there are intricate, perfect spider webs of all sizes...yet, step sideways, look back over your shoulder and they are gone! It is not a parallel universe, or is it?

A little treat to close this rambling nothing of an entry today...a short video of Interessado trying his best to get a foal game going with Fada. Life is rich, isn't it?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

How it Began/Part II

In the pre-spring chill of 2006, Kevin gave me the financial thumbs up, and I enthusiastically began a search for the appropriate suitor to join Bella and Belina on our Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve.

Thankfully, Hardy Oelke agreed to review any potential stallion candidates because I was still very green in my skill of detecting the Sorraia phenotype. My neophyte grasp of these matters was compounded by the difficulty of attempting to determine how well a young colt might mature (something even grey-bearded, experienced breeders find hard to predict) and also because I found something endearing about all the young weanlings and yearlings in the photos being sent my way.

With our finances limited, and because I didn't want to impose a mature stallion on our young fillies, it seemed prudent to narrow our search down to stud colts who were two years or younger. If Caballos de Destino (where Bella and Belina came from) had happened to have a non-related stud colt, I wouldn't have hesitated buying from lady Sharron Sheikofsky again, however, for our preserve Hardy thought it best to look for Sorraia types coming from different bloodlines than those represented in Sharron and Dave's herds.

There were many youngsters available from folks who were breeding mustangs in captivity out in the western United States...breeders with names like "Double L Kigers", "Spanish Sage Ranch", "Karisma Kigers and "Circle S Ranch"...each candidate, however, had one or more features that kept him from being the ideal stud colt destined to be the foundation sire of his own Sorraia Mustang Preserve.

I nevertheless kept up my search, knowing that one day "Mr. Right" would present himself.

Imagine my surprise when Hardy relayed to me that there was a purebred Sorraia yearling colt born at the Wisentgehege zoological park in Springe, Germany which might possibly be for sale. This surprise, of course was accompanied by a loud laugh on my behalf, for surely a purebred Sorraia (with less than 200 of these horses walking the earth world wide) would be far too costly for Kevin and I to consider. Hardy checked into the matter and in a day or two, relayed to us that the zoological park would indeed sell us the colt and the sum they were asking was within our reach.
Altamiro, purebred Sorraia colt, as he appeared shortly after his first birthday.
Photo taken by T. Hennig/Wisentgehege, Springe

Great news, right?!!!

Ah, but wait...

...sure we could buy this colt without incurring financial hardship. But flying a horse from Germany to Canada was an extravagance beyond our humble island means. How could I possibly even discuss this with Kevin, knowing that since our immigration we necessarily had to live extremely frugally, especially while much of our disposable income lay tied up in our yet unsold farm back in Michigan?

Of course this was all true...but you just know I had to at least discuss the offer with Kevin.

"NO!" he said, "It's absurd!...Duckie, we cannot do it!"

Yes, he was right. Considering our limited finances and our dedication to focusing on paying off our mortgage on Ravenseyrie--to assume the financial burden of importing a horse from Germany was a ridiculous undertaking.

So, "No" it was...

...besides, having once been a peon at a boarding stable where dressage queens were frequently importing horses from Europe, I knew our manner of living was far removed from the "well-heeled" lifestyles where such things were done.

So, this was impossible for us, right?

I don't remember sulking about it...perhaps Kevin remembers differently...but I do recall laying awake at night ruminating over what a huge contribution we could make to the plight of the endangered Sorraia horse by having a purebred Sorraia as a key player on our Sorraia Mustang Preserve.

The two purebred Sorraia stallions residing in the states (Sovina and Tejo II), due to the choices of their respective owners, were not breeding to mustangs of Sorraia type. Sovina had initially bred a few mustang mares, but his owner, Erin Grey had decided the preservation of the Sorraia type mustang was too controversial and later refused to breed to any mustangs, no matter what their phenotype. And Tejo's owner, Karen Dalke, desired to have her Sorraia stallion trained and shown in dressage before embarking upon a breeding career. It seemed that efforts to created a vigorous outcross by mating these Sorraia stallions with mustang mares showing atavistic Sorraia traits had lost momentum.

Transported (corrupted?) by that particular ether that impregnates the mind when trapped in the dual agitated states of absolute fatigue and insomnia, I imagined that the good spirit of Dr. Ruy d'Andrade himself had aligned the fates in such a way that Manitoulin Island, in the great country of Canada, was being provided the opportunity to carry the torch, if you will, and participate in something larger than life--what a folly it would be to let such an opportunity pass us by!

"Are you sure, Kevin..there is no way?"

We began to study what type of paperwork and financial commitment was required to import a horse from Germany. A lot! But, in reality...not all that much more than what it would cost to have a horse trucked from western U.S. to Manitoulin.

Deciding to put off for a year or more some of the things we had hoped to accomplish on improving the farm, we found that while it would put us very tight, we could actually free up enough cash to be able to pay for flying the colt across the ocean after all.

Hardy immediately put things in motion and the process was soon underway.

Now, for Altamiro, this idea of humans suddenly wanting to begin handling him was completely unacceptable, and in the end, in order to obtain the blood samples necessary for the health paperwork, the little Sorraia colt was darted with a tranquilizer so that his examination and the installation of a microchip identifyer, along with the weaning process could commence.

Halter training the colt was next on the agenda, but with this there was a bit of difficulty, too, as there was no one available to do the training in the time it needed doing. In an effort to move things along, friend Hardy made the several hours journey from his home to the zoological park to help Altamiro learn about following a human on a lead rope. Unfortuately, the halter had been slipped and once again, there was no capturing Altamiro for his lessons while Hardy was there. Our first window of opportunity was lost and we had to wait for the next assembled shipment of equines to North America.

Altamiro, as he looked on the day Hardy visited with him at the zoological park.
Photo taken by H. Oelke

Although disappointing, this gave a little more time for Altamiro's domestication and in the end, the folks at the zoological park managed to get Altamiro comfortable with the halter and lead rope and also some practice with trailer loading was accomplished, just as the next available flight was organized. He was soon picked up by the transporter taking him to the awaiting plane. The little Sorraia colt would be traveling with larger, warmblood horses destined for the United States and then routed to Canada. A re-incarnated primitive horse jet-setting in modern times--isn't that amazing?

Once the final landing in Toronto commenced, Altamiro was picked up by the folks who would be stabling him for the ten day quarantine, during which time, several blood tests would be run to assure no pathogens were present.

In an effort to keep the costs down, friends of ours who have horses on the island were willing to drive down to the quarantine facility north of Toronto to pick up Altamiro and bring him to his island home. While Nancy and Lynne stayed at home, tending their respective farms, husbands John and Kevin went south to fetch a "wild" horse.

Altamiro stepped into his new world at Ravenseyrie on August 23, 2006 in the after-10pm darkness, with a calm curiosity, not the least bit unnerved. I loved him immediately.

John, Kevin and Altamiro, just after they pulled in to Ravenseyrie

There were many people who helped to make this dream a definite reality, people I will never meet, who nevertheless were part of something historic, each carrying out their job so well that Altamiro arrived in excellent form, body and mind--much to our collective relief.

Altamiro, as a two year old, growing into a fine young stallion/Ravenseyrie, June 2007

And you know what? Thanks to art lovers--those who are locals and those who are tourists--within one season, my little studio earned back the money we'd used to make Altamiro's trip possible. I guess d'Andrade knew what he was doing visiting me in my thoughts that uncomfortable, sleepless night and impressing upon me that this thing was not only worth doing, but that common folk like us could actually do it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Splendor of Ravenseyrie

A colorful evening's eastward view, at Ravenseyrie

On Thursday, while Kevin was preparing evening tea, I went out to spend a little time with the horses and check on how three-day-old Interessado was faring. There had been "pop-up" thunderstorms throughout the late afternoon and, as is so typical of the atmospherics of the island, these storms would be chased north or south by some curious force and we would miss out on some much needed rain. So, though I could see clouds building to the north as I began my hike, I paid them little heed.

I found the horses grazing in a prairie strip between a copse of woods and the forest proper. The air was fragrant with drying grasses and crushed Yarrow flowers, slightly heavy, mostly still and filling up with the sounds of evening approaching. The herd was very, very mellow and drugged by the pleasure of summer grazing.

First, Doll, then Jerry, Animado, Bella and on to Mistral then Zeus, Belina, Dee, wee Fada, Altamiro and finally Ciente and Interessado--each received a special evening blessing and their own particularly favorite itches. Some encounters were brief, others, like the one with Altamiro was lengthier as the mental space of this young stallion was such that for the moment, testosterone and guardian responsibilities were mellowed by a desire to just be doted and loved upon by his human friend. These types of interludes make me tingle with wonder and appreciation, especially after seeing Altamiro spend so much of his day wearing a very mighty mantle of stallion behavior as he vigilantly kept Mistral away from Interessado. Altamiro's softness of touch, delicate breathing and a desire to be close felt so much like a private moment between lovers--not of a sexual nature, but of a deep bond representing the pleasure of empathetic companionship, or two hearts beating as one, in sync, entrained.

Goethe said, "We have all some electrical and magnetic forces within us; and we put forth, like the magnet itself, an attractive or repulsive power, as we come in contact with something similar or dissimilar."

Stephen Harrod Buhner wrote,
sensory input
takes the place
of internal chatter

You could say this was the underlying element of being out among the horses and mules on this special evening.

I began taking some photos and a few videos and while lost in marveling at the form of Interessado nursing, soft rumblings of thunder wafted behind the forest, then above, a bit louder. Not a one of us felt any threat or any need to take cover from an impending drenching...we just carried on being a part of things as they were.

Then, faint, but insistent, I could hear Kevin calling. I became immediately alert--there was distinct anxiousness in his voice. I ran out into the open so that I could see the house in the distance. I could hear him calling, "Duckie! Duckie!! DUCK!!" I didn't know what was so urgent, but I heeded him--sort of, since Bella followed my retreat and needed one more short itching session and I was a bit reluctant to leave such a mellow, loving place. Kevin's voice persisted and I soon began running toward the house. After I got well away from the forest, I looked back at the herd and saw the ominous sky above them. I had to stop and get photos, the drama was so wickedly intense. I could hear Kevin better now, "Duckie, goddamnit! Get back here!" I aborted my attempts to stand and take photos and resumed running to the house--but still from time to time I just had to pause and look over my shoulders at the storm moving rapidly upon us.

When I got back to the yard, Kevin admonished me with colorful phrases, pregnant with concern and relief and love--I said, "I just have to take a few photos and then we'll go inside."

The storm-creature's arm reaching over the east

And the other arm of the storm, reaching out to the west

Once inside, the storm-creature released its energy of wind, thunder, lightening and extremely heavy rainfall. What a thrill to have been just ahead of such a quick moving storm!!

In fifteen minutes, it was to our south, and we could see the horses grazing peacefully along the treeline.

Such is the tenderness and the wildness and the Splendor of Ravenseyrie.

Just for your enjoyment, I'm inserting a handful of photos at random, each displaying a different beauty.

Our yard, which we prefer to run wild...
Creeping Bellflower, Bladder Campion and Canadian Thistle abound

The curious natures of Animado and Maeb

Seagulls down at the beach

Himself--the impressive Jerry


My first horse, my first love, the most handsome, Mistral at age 29

Altamiro keeps Interessado and Ciente safe, while they rest on the evening of the first day

What beautiful, subdued colors...what fine, attractive shapes!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Mistral and Fada exchange pleasantries, while Ciente keeps a watchful eye with her colt at her side in this photo taken on Tuesday evening.

I tried to put this entry into the Journal of Ravenseyrie yesterday, but internet connections and blogger traffic were unable to accommodate me. The electronic ether is full of zip this morning, however, and my photos and video clip loaded with amazing speed.

Yesterday morning when I went out to visit with the horses and mules, I once again was hopeful inspiration for a suitable name to bestow upon the new colt would present itself. I was disappointed that I could not get in close and have a one-on-one interaction with the little fella--but the rest of the herd had an agenda, which was similar to mine--they desired to have interactions with the new colt as well. This created a rather unsettled environment and kept the herd in near perpetual motion between brief grazing sessions and various efforts to sneak in for a closer appraisal of Ciente's contribution to the expanded herd.

Mistral was especially persistent in his intent to gain access to the foal and made many attempts to impress upon the colt his status as Supreme Emperor God of the Land of Ravenseyrie. Mistral's preferred method of might is harsh and relentless hazing, so I was very much relieved to observe that each time the twenty-nine year old Arabian ruler would make a rush for the colt, Altamiro would intercede by placing his young stallion body between them, while Ciente wisely shepherded her two day old foal to more neutral territory. I was equally pleased to note that Mistral never once challenged Altamiro's guardianship and the potently tense atmosphere quickly evaporated each time these interceptions took place.

Despite this unrest, I managed to take several photos and a few minutes of moving pictures, before I realized I'd better hike back to the house, lest I make myself late for work. I was confident that in the evening I'd have a better opportunity to learn the name of the colt.

Upon uploading the photos and videos to my computer, something quickly became apparent, exposing the inspiration for a name that had missed my awareness earlier. In virtually every photo I took, the colt was either keenly looking directly at me, or his attention was fixated on some other figure. It became quite obvious that this colt was hugely "interested" in everything around him, and already was quick to leave mother's side to investigate. This, I had noted in Tuesday's video as well--it is what Kris termed "adventuresome" in her comments to that journal entry.

Left to right: Altamiro, Interessado and Ciente

With my Portuguese/English dictionary in hand, I began looking up the Portuguese words for: "observant", "astute", "aware", "awake", "alert" and the like...but it wasn't until I saw the word for "interested" that a flush of affirmation pervaded my being. "Interessado"..."interested", yes! this adjective suits him well as a name!

Closer up; Altamiro, Interessado and Ciente

Pronounced : in-tere'sadu

Because these horses have the blood of their primitive Iberian ancestors flowing in their veins, and as an homage to Dr. Ruy d'Andrade's foresight to save the Sorraia horse from extinction, it gives me great pleasure to discover Portuguese names that capture the essence of Altamiro's foals.

Animado, with Bella. He rarely nurses these days, but did so yesterday morning, during all the scuffles among the herd due to Interessado's presence among them. Perhaps Animado required some "comfort food"?

You might have read here about Animado's birth:
Animado's name means "lively" and from the minute he emerged from Bella's womb, Altamiro's firstborn was amazingly vibrant and active.

And here you may have read how Fada obtained her name:
Fada's name means "sprite" or "fairy" or "wise woman", and describes the ethereal quality of this youngster amazingly well.

Front to back: Fada, Animado, Bella, Altamiro, Ciente (hidden) and the inquisitive Interessado

Now, we add to our family, Interessado , the long-awaited offspring of Altamiro and Ciente, who is so wonderfully "interested" in his new world.

Interessado fixes his attention on Maeb, while giving us a nice view of his shapeliness.

Our video clip today, while initially meant to capture Mistral in the act of trying to enter the safe space created by Ciente and Altamiro during a grazing session up at the bluff's edge, wound up becoming an up-close visit with that little woodland sprite, Fada. And, while the camera was still recording, we get a view of Belina (Fada's mother) taking the opportunity to craftily (and rudely) bite Interessado on the rump. What curious and seemingly nasty ways these horses have of welcoming a new being into their world.

I couldn't resist putting in this photo taken Tuesday evening, with Kevin and Animado playing. Animado loves to toss and pick up the fly this photo he has just dropped it after Kevin had been trying to take it from him.

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.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ciente's Foal Arrives!

I am still finding it difficult to put in quality time on the computer to keep the blog up as I'd like, but I had to provide a quick entry here to show you that Ciente's foal has arrived.

Ciente, our young Kiger Mustang mare gave birth to the third foal by our purebred Sorraia stallion, Altamiro. This colt was delivered early this morning, and both mother and baby are doing well.

More details (and a name) will come soon...for now, enjoy the photos!

Much of the striping you see is the way the hair is laying, in sort of rippling lines. Most likely the majority of these stripes will no longer be so apparent in a few days.

Ciente is learning the feel of a foal nursing. Her expression appears soft and yet there is a sense of discomfort which she stoically internalizes. She's already an amazing mom.

And a little moving footage to see how well an hours old foal moves around his new world: