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Friday, October 05, 2007

Foaling Around

We moved Julia and her foal yesterday evening. They couldn’t stay on the meadow they’d been grazing for the last couple of weeks (Julia grazes, the foal fools around and annoys its mother).

Jack, a friend of ours and Mrs.B’s horse jumping trainer, lend us a hand and his truck – it’s difficult to cram a horse in your car, let alone two. He was late because of traffic jams and after he’d picked me up we got to enjoy two more of those. There used to be a time when there were barely any traffic jams in the late evening or during the weekends, but now it seems everyone drives three cars at a time.

This waiting and staring at the back of another lorry gave me ample time to imagine how on earth we were going to catch a young horse on a big meadow and stuff her into the truck. Normally with an adult horse, you put on the halter and lead it by the rope on the truck. But a foal doesn’t know about halters, ropes, trucks, dangerously high ramps or cooperating with humans in any form.

First hoorah: they didn’t hide on the other side of the dark field, but came over to greet us at the fence. Second hoorah: the foal didn’t scramble when I put the halter on her mother but stayed close to her. It took four adults to lead Julia to the truck and drive the foal without any lead to the back of the truck. Then Jack and I grabbed her behind her hind legs and around her body and pushed/lifted her on the ramp while the anxious mother stood half on the ramp and half in the truck. Somehow we got her in without anyone getting kicked by the foal or an angry mother. And surprisingly quickly too, the whole operation had taken us barely ten minutes.

So off to the new stables, as fast as the old truck would go. That’s not very fast, and Jack had to be careful that he didn’t create a giant heap of minced meat by turning or braking to abruptly.

An hour later we arrived at our destination. Getting Julia and her daughter off again took some effort. This time I held the big mare while Jack and Kirsten, the owner of the stables, tried to coax the little mare off. Diplomacy didn’t work, so in the end they practically had to lift her off the truck and off the ramp onto the street. I had my hands more than full with Julia, who was getting fed up with humans manhandling her baby. But in a matter of minutes the two of them where safely in their new stable. First order of the day for Julia: picking a fight with the new neighbour. Just that he’d know she’s the boss and nobody touches her food and baby (in that order).

Julia will stay there for a couple of weeks, until we find stables with indoor riding facilities and jumping equipment. For the filly, it’s time to part from her mother. This weekend she’ll be weaned and go to a special farm where she can grow up with lots of other foals and get all strong and learn some social skills. A stable is not a good place to grow up for a foal.

Posted by Bart at 8:56 PM
Categories: Animal Farm

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