Sparkles of dew shimmer atop the lush grass. Sunlight seeps between tree leaves, spotlighting the dancing pools of moisture.
The constant background music of a heavenly chorus might only be inside my head, but this wonderland is better than anything I could dream up on my own.
Applejack is growing larger every day. His strapping physique grows more masculine and muscular every day. The little boy now lunges both ways at a walk and a trot; knows how to stand on a pedestal; can pivot (ish); can shake his head no; has started to lift his feet for the Spanish Walk when I tap his elbows, can back up when I pull his tail; backs up when I move my finger back and forth; picks up all four feet very well for the farrier and for anyone who hoofpicks him; will stand square anytime I ask; will follow anyone’s movement at a walk, trot, over a jump, and stop; and will allow me to snap a whip at any point around his body without flinching.
In a few short months, I’ll be seeking out a blanket to fit the boy.
His old ones won’t work anymore.
Winter will be here soon; the cold weather will begin in a few short months–or possibly weeks.
The days pass on, some leaving twinkling moments while others fade quietly into the background.
It’s glorious to notice the sparkles as they occur, instead of longing for them after they have passed.
He chases a wisp of hay in the corner, and she lifts her head to observe. He snorts with pleasure as he catches the stray piece, and then shakes his head. She follows suit within her own stall, and watches him through the bars. Her lack of concern borders on relief.
It’s almost time. The time that she’ll cuss me out and call me every name in the horsey book. The time that he’ll wish the fence would crumble and fall to dust.
The time that they’re separated. Permanently.
They’ll both stay here. They’re not going anywhere except separate pastures with other playmates. It’s time to broaden their horizons and test their strength. It’s time to show them that there’s more to heaven and earth, Horatio, than dreamt of in [their] philosoph[ies].
Honey and Mumma will go into the RAMM pasture while Sidney and Applejack will remain in the wooden pasture.
I’ve been told it’s easier on the horses when they’re unable to see each other during weaning, but I just can’t get behind that school of thought. I’ve gradually started to lock them into separate stalls for a few hours each day, and it’s gone very well–even when they can see each other from a few stalls down, or can’t see each other at all.
Besides, Mumma’s milk is dry. He’s sucking air when he goes in for a taste. He’s head-butting her poor teats and nipping her constantly.
And she’s such a sweetheart that she lets him.
Sidney and Honey are the lowest on the totem pole for their respective herds, so they’ll be perfect to initiate Chex and Applejack into their groups. Then, when I move the horses into the paddocks (Mumma into the mare paddock, Applejack in with the boys) the transition will be smoother.
There are a few steps inbetween. I’ve let Chex meet the girls, and Applejack has sniffed Twist, Dusty, and Zeus through the stall bars. Jack has even been in with Sidney for a few weeks when Sidney was meeting Mumma and Jack. (I’ve always known Sidney would be the perfect babysitter.) The mares and geldings will be added from the bottom of the totem pole into the pasture one-at-a-time. I’m taking no chances with my precious baby boy or his exquisite mother.
The peace of horses eating floods over me and elevates my spirit. Jack gives me a once-over, assessing whether or not I carry treats. If I call his name, he bounds over as if to ask, “What kind of fun shall we have now?” If he’s in the paddock grazing, all I have to do is call, “JackJack! Come here, baby boy!” and he’ll gallop in my direction the moment he sees me.
Soon, I’ll be his Mumma. Until then, I’ll share parenting duties.
Two years, and it just didn’t work out. I started by breeding Melody, who miscarried. Later that year, the stallion we’d tried to use as the stud died. There was no chance for a re-breeding.
We later discovered Melody has endometriosis.
Last year, we bred Honey to a more local stallion. She started out as pregnant with twins, and then for her safety had to have a “twin reduction,” which is a nice way of saying that a specialist made sure that only one twin survived.
And then, this spring, no foal.
I have friends who have horses who get pregnant if a stallion so much as sniffs them.
But not mine.
Instead, I had heartbreak. Over and over.
This spring, I told the stallion owner to keep her deposit. I couldn’t deal with breeding anymore. The overwhelming sadness creeping through my thoughts every moment of the day shadowed me. I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t think.
Everything else is perfect in my life. I have the barn of my dreams. I have an amazing, supportive husband, and three other phenomenal horses. I have boarders for which any normal stable would trade their right arm.
But no foal.
I longed for that foal I’d bred; grieved for it. Went through my day wishing and hoping and dreaming about something that didn’t exist.
But he does.
If you’re a Facebook friend of mine, you may remember that I recently posted a photo of someone that I called “Honey’s Doppelganger.”
He became mine as of today.
My dear friend helped me trailer.
We followed the glorious sky west, toward home.
Please meet Applejack.
I know he was meant for me when I saw him online. His markings are just the same as Honey’s. His mother has my initials branded onto her tushie. How likely are these things both to happen? He was made for me, and the universe made sure I didn’t pass him by. I let him, and his mother, play in the indoor arena this evening just for fun.
I love him already. Thank you so much, Sand Stone Farm’s Rescue Efforts!
If you would like to donate to Sand Stone Farm’s Rescue Efforts, please visit their pages:
-Wish List: http://www.sandstonefarm.info/wish-list.html
-GoFundMe Site: http://www.gofundme.com/helping-ssfre
The tiny feather-fluffs hop and chirp and cheep. These ping-pong balls of energy peck and poke and scratch.
They’re so much fun. I’m in love.
I bought 3 types of female chickens (pullets) this year. The breeds are 5 Aurucanas, like Nugget; 4 ISA Browns, and 4 Black Laced Wyandotte.
Erika, Sherin and I visited the Farm store, and there they were. Cute and cuddly and I couldn’t wait to own some. The ladies helped me pick out babies. We brought them back home, but then I panicked when our old chicken container wouldn’t come loose from the ice and snow.
So we ended up pilfering the water trough from Suzi Q.’s pasture. Now that she’s in with the ponies, there’s no reason to keep it running. We hosed it off, scrubbed it out, and brought it into my living room.
(I didn’t warn the husband ahead of time. It’s just better for him not to know until the deed is done.)
We started with 13 chickens. The little ladies all made it through the first few nights, and I’m hoping they all survive.
So far, our chicks are named Rusty, GlenCoco, Lea, and Noname.
I bought a new saddle for Twist, and it fits Honey, too. Within this gallery, there are photos of Twist wearing this new saddle.
But mostly, the photos below are of our fluff-balls.
The world was covered with ice, and nature’s glass steadily broke apart everything it touched. Our silent guardians, the trees, appeared Leprosy-riddled. Their limbs quivered and fell as they stood helpless against the assault. Ribbon-wire fences swayed and drooped; their burden a glittering, crystal swag.
The horses were irritable–their playground too icy to frolic upon. Their excitement was reduced to running in the indoor arena. My charges, grateful for time to buck and nip without falling on their noses, took full advantage and were reluctant to exit the barn once inside.
We retained heat and electricity for the duration of the ice storm, and never lost it in the ensuing days–a fact, for which, I’m still grateful.
The stable is back to normal for the horses. The kids are frolicking once more in their pastures. For us, cleanup has just begun.
(As a side note, the cleanup will commence once the cold snap is finished. Until then, I’ll play with ponies in the indoor arena.)
The bay mare shivers, sighs, and then braces herself; shaking silver raindrops from her gleaming body. She stands sentinel at the wooden fence, observing the other mares. She lowers her head and snuffles, then raises it as she hears a distant whinny. Her pacing resumes. She cares little for the other mare in her pasture, wanting to belong, but refusing to submit to their dominance.
Honey watches from the shelter of an open run-in stall, munching contentedly on hay that was meant for both horses. She doesn’t attempt contact with the other mare, nor does she shy from it.
Honey (my shy palomino) and Hart (the new bay mare) are perfectly matched to become best friends. Hart is dominant and Honey is extremely submissive around new horses. However, that’s not the way Hart wants to live her life. Instead, she wants to be
Phoenix, the very large and in-charge Canadian Horse. The horse who is considered Beta to Melody’s Alpha.
Hart whinnies and nickers and cries to be let into the pasture with Phoenix. When I relent and put them out together, Phoenix kicks little Hart’s tushie. Like kick-her-and-then-run-after-her-until-she’s -100-feet-away tushie kicking.
Hart and Honey are in a bonding-time-out in the wooden pasture today. I have two run-in stalls open, both with hay inside.
Meanwhile, Honey reaps the rewards of being chill. She munches, licks her lips, and in her own little pony way, smiles.