Friday, April 30 2010
After 380 days of waiting and wondering, on April 22, 2010 Gem finally had her foal! There had been many jokes about it. Like, "The baby will come out wearing Easyboots" "The baby will be FEI qualified and ready to race when it gets here"... etc.
Jeremy and I had just about given up on guessing when she might have it when one morning (April 21st) she had waxed. That evening she still hadn't had the foal yet. We headed home to take care of things and returned to the ranch at 11:20 pm. No foal in sight. Gem was being pretty active though. She was also being really nasty to the by-standing pasture horses on the adjacent fence. She can be this way anyhow, on a normal day.
We went in our LQ and set the alarm for 12:30 am and went to sleep. I got up when the alarm went off and headed out into the pasture/paddock where Gem is living. It had just stopped raining within the last few hours so everything was very damp. It was cold. There was a foggy mist hanging about. I looked around in the dark until I saw Gem. Then there were two. The birthday was April 22, 2010... Earth Day. Really cool!! I walked over and the little one nickered to me. It was already standing up and was curious as to what/who I might be. After quickly confirming all was fine I went to wake Jeremy.
We stood around together looking at the mare and foal. We also imprinted the foal at this point. I thought that we had had a filly and then Jeremy looked closer and it was a boy! That is what we really wanted. I was surprised by just how much more excited I got when I found out that it was not a filly!
Since Gem is a maiden mare she was really concerned about where her foal was at all times. She was constantly touching him. They were having some trouble figuring out the whole nursing situation. The colt's legs were REALLY long so he had trouble fitting under her to find the right spot to nurse. She wasn't helping at all as she would only allow him on the uphill side of her. Then when he was able to get in the right area she would spin around and face him! We tried to help but it only made Gem frantic. We decided to give them some time to get it sorted out on their own.
We walked around and found the afterbirth. That was great as we didn't need to worry so much about Gem having possible problems from that being held up.
We went back to sleep and I set another alarm for an hour later. After the alarm went off there was still no nursing. The colt was still on his feet trying to figure it out. We tried to help again but had no luck. We did syringe a little of her milk to him at this point.
Back to bed. We woke up at 5 am and then Gem was willing to have help with the nursing process and he finally got it. He was extremely happy when he discovered where and how to eat. It took three of us to succeed. Our friend Megan Robinson just happened to be at the barn really early on her way to work. She held Gem's head, I lured the baby with milk covered fingers (I was on the opposite side of Gem as him). He would suck my finger and then I would redirect him. Jeremy helped hold him and guide him. It worked.
After all of this we went home and Jeremy went back to sleep so he could go to work and I got warmed up and then headed back out to make sure he could eat on his own.
I measured him that first morning. He was 43" tall (not bad for a maiden), Heart girth 32, chest 7" wide, weight 93 lbs. I am not sure if he is actually going to be a chestnut after all. He is looking more and more bay. He has identical markings to Gem. A blaze and a tall right hind sock. His legs were really folded up. He was very low in his lower leg and probably would have been at least 2-3" taller if he was unfolded. That first day whenever he lay down he would lay with his legs straight out. It was pretty funny.
Now the baby is getting very coordinated. I saw him itching his right ear with his right hind and then, probably because his legs are so long, he itched the left ear with the same leg!!
He is also really great at copying his mom. She was drinking at the trough and so he did the same. This is when he was three days old. He also saw her eat grass so he tried gumming some too. He is way too cute.