Mustangs V


I can’t believe it’s been seven weeks, almost two months! The big questions now are “exactly how old is Cavalry?” and “when is Cody’s foal due?”

Typically, mares aren’t bred immediately after foaling, but physically it’s possible; it’s called “foaling heat,” and occurs within a week or so of a foal’s birth. The gestation period for horses is about 11 months, so two foals from the same dam could be just eleven or eleven and a half months apart in age.

A friend and I tried to “age” Cav by looking at pictures of her foals and of him. Hers are reportedly turning eight months old today, February 1st. I’m sure he’s not any younger than that; but I’m putting him at nine months based on—wait for it—his tail, of all things. Compared to her foals, his is longer and more “horsey” than a foal’s tail would be.

If he’s nine months old, then Cody could foal within two months, or around April 1st. If he’s only eight months old, then foaling time will be around May 1st.

But, here’s the thing: looking at his teeth a few weeks ago, I’m not sure if I saw the third set of baby teeth or not. For obvious reasons, it was a really quick look! But yesterday, with the aid of a very large carrot, I got a much better look, and the third set is most definitely there and looks more like a set of yearling teeth.

And that means that every morning, I count how many horses are in the pasture . . .

Now, originally, I’d pegged Cody’s due date at April 20th, then revised to May 20th based on the discussion with my friend. Cody’s size, however, makes me think it might be sooner that both those dates.

I can’t really use the size of her bag, because Cav is still nursing a couple times a day for maybe a minute at a stretch. However, other signs, like her tail taking its time to lower after she raises it and the muscles on her rump becoming looser, are there.

I think.

I may be overthinking the entire thing. Maybe.

What I really think is that I better keep counting horses every morning . . .

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Work Wednesday—Mustang Saga Part Two


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Besides cutting wood and feeding the furnace and all the holiday hoopla, I have, of course, been working with the horses. Chestnut is much happier since we removed her too-tight halter, although she’s still pretty bossy in the pasture and bitchy about food. She follows me around like a puppy, but she’s still tossing her head a little too much for my taste. She really hates being alone too, without the others, when I move her into the south section of the pasture. Now that she’s finally with horses, instead of cows, she doesn’t want to be away from them!

Cody is proving to be a tough nut to crack. I can approach within a few feet before she starts to step away; sometimes, especially when I’m carrying hay, she’ll come to me—again, within a few feet. She’s taken hay from my hand once or twice, but we’re both really stretching!

She’s sniffed at feed buckets a little, but isn’t really interested in grain. Or treats. When she’s in the south section, with more pasture, she eats constantly. She listens to me, whinnies when I whistle in the morning, and pays attention to everything. Nothing much seems to faze her, except my getting too close.

Still, she truly isn’t crazy. I haven’t seen any bucks or kicks or testing the fence. She doesn’t chase or nip or flatten her ears. I can herd all of them, at the same time, from one section to the other without any trouble.

Cav, on the other hand, is a constant source of entertainment. When I first brought out the buckets a few days ago, he promptly stuck his nose in one; followed by a foot. Naturally, it tipped over within seconds, and he wandered away.

The next day, nose went in, foot stayed out, and he’s becoming quite the little grain hog. Cody keeps checking it out, but moves on pretty quickly to the hay.

He’s come “this close” to taking a treat from me. One day, I sneakily tossed an apple chunk his direction. It landed smack in between his front feet, and those front feet went straight up in the air to avoid, and then kill, that terrifying apple.

He bucks now and then too, when running around the pasture with Chestnut or his mom. And he and Cody both give me that same side-eye . . .

I’ve been able to touch his soft little nose, and barely his face, but that’s it so far. His fuzzy forelock and ears keep calling me, and it’s hard to resist!

The immediate goal is to get Cody to take grain, to put on some weight, and to start she and Cav on de-wormer. And we’ll keep working on touching and scratching.

It’s a slow process, but much better than “breaking” them.

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ETA: I DID touch that fuzzy little forelock, but with gloves on. It’s 14 degrees here this morning!