Friday, March 30, 2012

Gosto Gusto!

 The 2011 Sorraia studcolt, Legado in the foreground of a beautiful vista at the Ravenseyrie Sorraia Mustang Preserve on Manitoulin Island

This journal entry will be mostly pictorial with captions, sharing with the world the arrival of the first foal for 2012 at Ravenseyrie. Enjoy!

  March 5th after a substantial snowstorm

My calendar told me Bella would be looking to deliver her foal this year in mid-March, and the alterations in her body and behaviour concurred.  The weather on Manitoulin Island this March, after "coming in like a lion" was mostly "like a lamb" with warm temperatures and sunshine quickly  melting away the heavy snow that arrived in those first few days of the month.  The horses were still eager to eat their hay, but were also spending now long stretches of their day grazing on the emerging grasses. A lovely time to be born.

March 19th, putting out morning hay, after the melt and thaw

On Thursday, March 22nd, I had been out walking and noticed that while most of the family band members were taking an afternoon nap at the edge of the forest, Bella and Altamiro were not among them, but were standing some distance off under a stately, weathered pine tree.  Though a few days prior, Bella had me convinced her foal was going to come shortly after breakfast oats, she didn't deliver...and on this day, she didn't have that look of urgency about her at all.  Nevertheless, seeing her and Altamiro apart from the others indicated something significant was at hand.  Could it be that Bella had foaled or was just about to?  As I got closer I could see a tiny dark head poking up from the ground, at least my imagination felt that dark form was in the shape of a foal's head.  It wasn't until I got a bit closer that I could see, indeed, there was a foal laying in the grass!  And crazy me--I had neglected to take my camera out on this afternoon walk!

I must have come just shortly after this foal had been expelled from Bella's womb.  He was still all wet and quite compressed looking, with his "golden slippers" looking like they hadn't yet been walked upon.  As I congratulated Altamiro and Bella on another perfect foal, the newborn got up and began stumbling around looking for his first meal.  I could see that this foal was a solid grullo colt and after welcoming him to the world, I quickly made my way back to the house to tell Kevin and get my camera.

I was back on the scene within fifteen minutes, but already the new colt was on the move, with Bella nervously nickering and trying to keep up with the fast, feathered feet of her new colt.

I paused to take a photo of the place of birth:

and the expelled afterbirth:

and since Big Daddy was standing nearby looking so photogenic, I collected an image of him, too:

 Sorraia stallion, Altamiro

By the time I had finished taking these photos, the colt had led Bella to the bluff's edge.  The rest of the family band was now aware there was a new herd member and when I joined them, the newborn was searching everywhere on Bella's body for something to eat, finally connecting with the right location, while Bella's 2011 filly, Altavida stood nearby:

With the colours of the North Channel of Lake Huron filtered through the trees, Bella and her boy made an especially pleasing composition for a photo:

The spring break up of the lake around us had only just occurred over the night:

Above us, in the twin Spruces, a Raven announced the release of the water and the arrival of the new foal:

And the boy, less than an hour old, not even completely dry, was again, on the move:

On the move and already so steady on his newborn legs!  All the Ravenseyrie foals are typically up and moving within the first hour, but this much balance and action is unprecedented!:

"To do anything truly worth doing, I must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in with gusto and scramble through as well as I can."--Og Mandino

Each time the colt would pause, Bella would catch up to it and try to complete her job of nuzzling and licking the birthing dampness off:

Bella the beautiful, Bella the proud:

And already, within that first hour, dam and new baby are comfortable mingling with the rest of the family band--never have I seen things with a newborn progress so quickly!:

In the course of the following days, Bella's boy continued his accelerated, enthusiastic exploration of his out-of-the-womb world.  This, of course, included getting a feeling for the funny looking human holding the camera:

(Notice how compressed and scrunched this fellows face is.  The concave shape will not stay with him, but he will fill out to have a more convex profile.)

My, what nice milk teeth!:

In all that this colt does, there is such expressiveness, zest and gusto.  Here the colt takes advantage of his dad's nap-time to pester him without repercussion:

His older sister gets fiddled with while she naps, too:

When Bella isn't in the mood to for aggressive nursing, this colt expresses his displeasure with high animation as he petulantly tries to get her to reconsider:

After finally getting the meal he desires, our little man takes a nap himself:

Long time readers by now have guessed what inspiration we have for naming Bella's new colt.  In Portuguese, the word, "gosto" (pronounced:  gows-two) means many things, among which is "zest" and "gusto".  When presented with the opportunity to be linked to the name "Gosto", this colt left no doubt that he was pleased:

And to confirm that we had chosen a name he really liked, Gosto put on one of his high-spirited shows:

And like his  purebred Sorraia sire, Altamiro, Gosto likes an audience and responds with even greater vigour when applause and cheers are given:

Gosto and Altamiro:

Gosto is Bella's fourth foal, and perhaps her last as she and the other Ravenseyrie mares are now on a contraceptive program.  Gosto is a full brother to Animado, Pinoteia and Altavida.  What an interesting and inspiring fellow he is already, wouldn't you agree?

"Today is life-the only life you are sure of. Make the most of today. Get interested in something. Shake yourself awake. Develop a hobby. Let the winds of enthusiasm sweep through you. Live today with gusto. "--Dale Carnegie

Update:  Photo sequence from April 4th

I couldn't resist adding these photos of Kevin and Gosto.  We do not do any "imprinting" with the foals born at Ravenseyrie, rather we wait for them to initiate contact with us.  Some do this right away, others take weeks, and on rare occasions (as with Encantara, Levada and Destimedo) months go by before they seek us out for a real connection.  Typically, even for the shy foals, once they find out what great itches Kevin and I can give, they become fast friends.  Gosto wanted to connect from day one, and feels very confident interacting with the interesting looking hairy man who helped me deliver hay on this day.


Diane at Spanish Sage Ranch said...

Lynne, words cannot express how saddenned I am by your apparent closing the book on your Sorraia Mustang breeding program there, and no longer being an active participant in a valuable genetic conservation project. You appear to have decided that once you give all your mares the PZP, which I have never supported in any horse herd, that is the end of the story and the horses will only be providing you a visual reward. I would much rather have heard that you were trying to lease out the majority of mares to Sorraia Mustang preservationists, and only keeping one or two so that Altamiro has his own mares still, even if you PZP'd those. If that is something you tried, then I did not get that request to see if I were interested or knew anyone who might have been. Seeing a program that I thought was firmly dedicated to the Sorraia Mustang program being terminated in this way just breaks my heart. I hope that some day you change your mind.

June said...

I love the way Gosto leaps about with such verve and energy, and yet at the same time with such a sweet and serene expression on his face - what a winning combination!

Lynne Gerard said...

I have copied your comment and edited it into the journal entry I recently did on fertility control as it is more appropriately addressed there, than here in our welcome to Gosto. Check there, please for my reply, ok?

June, Gosto's charm is boundless, thanks for your comment!

Lynne Gerard said...

My reply to you is posted as an update to the original entry titled:

PZP, Castration and Horse/Human Relationships

It was too long to be accepted in the comments section, and probably is best in the original entry anyhow.

Thank you again, for sharing your thoughts.

Annemiek said...

Hi Gosto,

What a lovely little colt you are! Welcome to the world and may all your days be filled with happiness and love.

eva said...

A belated welcome to the world, Gosto! I bet his cute little nose has un-wrinkeld by now. And congratulations to the proud parents!

It must be bitter-sweet to see this last crop of foals grow up, but I am sure it will be a relief for the mothers to have a break. There was an interesting suggestion in Kirkpatrick's research regarding the impact of contraception on longevity in mares.

I cannot get enough of Gusto's escapades. Give him a good scratch from me.

Paulette said...

What a spunky young man Gosto is! Congrats to all!

Lynne Gerard said...

Annemiek, Eva and Paulette,
Thank you for welcoming Gosto and enjoying his photos. I couldn't resist adding some more taken on April the fourth with Gosto and Kevin having a boy to boy conversation. Eva, you will see that Gostos scrunched face is a bit less than the earlier photos, but still has some decompressing to do.

This fellow is sure a character and Bella is giving him a lot more "free rein" than she allowed her other foals at this young age--he seems to inspire confidence in her that he can keep himself out of trouble even though he is goofy wild and always on the go!

Annemiek said...

Wonderful photos with Kevin Lynne. Gosto seems to be a very special little colt. Amazing how confident and relaxed he is. To think that he is only 9 days old! I bet his father (and his mother)will have something coming with this little fellow!

June said...

Love the new photos!

Kris McCormack said...

Congratulations to Bella and Altamiro, and to you two too, Kevin & Lynne!

Young Gosto, may you always keep your zest for life -- and may you know only love and respect from the humans you encounter.


Máire said...

A very belated welcome to Gosto. Wonderful photos which allow me to share you joy over here. I have a smile on my face reading this. And, with Kris, may he only encounter humans in the friendliest of ways.

Also -greta quote from Dale Carnegie. It is a Saturday morning here and my 6 year old is dancing around the sitting room as I type this urging me to join in - which i am about to do!

Anonymous said...
Lynne, when you wrote the above article, you mention Altamiro's maternal behavior! It looks like neither Mom nor Pop had much of a chance to dote on this little guy before he was off and running. Did Altamiro's maternality continue through the years?
Love all the photos.

Janet Ferguson

Lynne Gerard said...

Janet wrote: "Did Altamiro's maternality continue through the years?"

I was so surprised by Altamiro's assistance with that first birth that I was very much desiring to be on hand for another opportunity to witness those first moments of birth. Unfortunately, because these horses have the run of 360 acres and are allowed to follow their own routines, it wasn't until Ciente gave birth to Esperanda last March that I was there at the time of delivery. Typically I seem to come upon these foals an hour or two after they have been born and have noticed that Altamiro is standing nearby watching closely, but not at those times participating in assisting with the foals.

With Ciente's delivery of Esperanda, both Altamiro and their 2010 colt Silvestre were very interested in getting into the middle of things, but Ciente drove them off, clearly indicating she did not want them hovering around her.

When that first born foal came (the real cool dude, Animado) Altamiro was only three years old and hadn't yet taken on the air of a dominant stallion with the mares, but was still more like a friend or brother to them. Now he mostly seems too "other" to engage in any play with the mares and foals (like he did that first season). When the mares are in heat, he becomes a little less domineering and more of a paramour, but all the other times he is a serious-minded tyrant when with his family band.

While the males also produce the hormone oxytocin it appears Altamiro no longer gets an additional "contact high" off the mare's more extensive rush of the naturally occurring "love drug". I think those tender paternal ministrations I witnessed at the first birth might have a one time deal...but not being able to observe all the births we've had at Ravenseyrie, I may be wrong and it happens more often than I think.

Cyndi said...

It's been a while since I've checked in here, and as usual, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts!!! Welcome to Gosto!! What a little firecracker he is!!

I love all the photos that you post, too! They make me feel like I'm right there, taking it all in. Thank you so much for sharing your herd(s) with us!

Lynne Gerard said...

Kris, Maire and Cyndi--

Many thanks for your comments . Gosto continues to charm us and he now has a new brother to romp with, who I will introduce soon.

Maire, I am glad you appreciate the quotes! I can usually find just the right quote to help me adjust my thinking when necessary, and no one's words do it better than Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta.

Lynne Gerard said...

I just wrote: "Maire, I am glad you appreciate the quotes! I can usually find just the right quote to help me adjust my thinking when necessary, and no one's words do it better than Sri Maharaj Nisargadatta."

Funny...I was responding to this journal entry, but my mind was on the quote I ended Esperanda's weaning entry with. That's what happens when trying to respond to the blog while sitting in the holding pasture with Tocara and Levada and my iPad. (Could be because I am hoping for ecstasy and experiencing a bit of agitation instead.

Rua Lupa said...

Thanks to your lovely photos I was able to base the local school's new Robotics team on Gosto - since their name happened to be Colt's Connectors and since I am always looking for some local tie in, your colt was ideal! Here is the link to the logo result!

Lynne Gerard said...

Rua Lupa,
Gosto continues to be wonderfully inspirational even as a full grown stallion living wild up on the East Bluff with his father and brothers. I'm glad his coltish antics gave you an idea for your logo. It's very colourful! Thank you for sharing the link.

Irene Williams said...

So loved browsing these amazing pictures of Gosto's arrival and mingling with his family, showing great curiosity and personality. This was a wonderful introduction to a new day when I rose earlier than usual and the right alternative to logging onto the morning news. The pictures of Kevin and Gosto also brought a huge smile. Thank you for a great start to a new day.