Tag Archives: horse tales
…back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Josh Meets the Horses
Can you believe how big Isabelle is? She’s 10 months old and is a spotted Shire, so she’s not done growing yet. For reference, my dad is 6’4″. She’s a typical teenager who sneaks out at night and misbehaves. Annabelle does her best to keep her baby in line, but I keep my distance with my baby.
Vinny is a gentle giant, and I feel much more comfortable around him with the baby. Again for reference, I’m 5’7″. He’s a Dapple Gray Percheron and has squabbles with the girls, so he gets a pen to himself. His teammate Bill died this year, so he’s on his own.
Getting out to visit at the farm was just what we needed tonight!
Isabelle is almost 7 months old now, and I’m 32 weeks pregnant. Due to both of those facts, it’s a little bit too dangerous for me to go in her pen now. She’s frisky, and I’m not in any shape to dodge her high kicks and air jumps!
Duke loves to get in on the action and visit with Annabelle and Isabelle.
Isabelle and Dukie are friends, even if he is jealous of the attention she gets.
Thanks for the pictures, Mom!
Bill passed away overnight. My dad and uncle buried him inside the horse pasture by the pond. As I said before, Bill had many tumors, had begun to act unlike himself, and we expected him to go soon. He’ll be missed, but we’re happy he’s not suffering anymore.
Isabelle was born on June 25, and it’s so amazing to see how much she’s grown in the last four months. She loves to run when she gets out to the pasture, and she nibbles at hay and grass like her mom. She’s frisky, and it’s clear we’ll have to get a bit in her mouth to train her soon, as she’s realized she’s bigger and stronger than her humans, and even nipped my brother on the arm before bounding through the open gate. She’s still nursing, and it’s amazing how much weight Annabelle has lost. The vet spoke to us about weaning her, about how if she doesn’t stop nursing on her own, we’ll have to separate the two of them until Annabelle’s milk dries up. He said we’ll risk having a full-grown nursing horse if we don’t start to wean her around six months.
To behonest, I disagree. I see the bond between mother and baby, and I don’t want to have them separated. Our draft teams, Bob and Duke, were full brothers and they hated to be separated, even for a short period of time like having a bath. They’d call to each other, and it would be clear that they were nervous. I can only imagine how that would be magnified to separate mother from baby. Isabelle is Annabelle’s third foal, but both of her others were sold, and while I don’t know much about thought processes in horses, I would imagine Annabelle would think Isabelle was going to disappear forever, too. That’s not the case, however, we plan to keep both of them together, and breed Annabelle again so that Isabelle and the new baby can be a team. So, I hope that Isabelle will wean herself or Annabelle will stop allowing her to nurse on demand. Either way, I hope we don’t have to separate them.
Isabelle and Annabelle became the star attractions of the petting zoo at the farm this summer and fall. They had a double fence, with electric on the inside, so people couldn’t pet them, but still, everyone loved visiting with them. Parents and children read the signs to learn about draft horses, Shires, and Isabelle’s birth. Even when Annabelle kept her baby in the shade of the barn during the hot day, people would wait to see them come out and graze. Annabelle’s a wonderful mom, and when Isabelle takes a nap, she stands over her and guards her while she sleeps. In fact, nap time is the only time I think Annabelle has something more important on her mind than food.
We’re so happy to have added these two horses to our family, and looking back, it’s hard to imagine life without them.
Don’t forget to visit Horse Tales for all the stories and pictures of our horses!
Isabelle turned 7 weeks old today, and she also had her first visit from the vet. Look how big she’s gotten in only 7 weeks! For comparison, her mom, Annabelle, is 18 hands.
Of course Dukie was there to look on, jealous that all the attention wasn’t on him. As the vet was leaving, he called Duke “the perfect fat farm dog.”
Back to the visit: The vet made friends with her, chatted with us about her birth, training, and eventual weaning, breeding Annabelle again next summer, and the merits of artificial insemination vs. natural. Apparently there’s a 30% pregnancy rate with AI as opposed to about an 85-90% pregnancy rate the old-fashioned way. We’d love to breed Annabelle with Isabelle’s dad again, but he’s out in Michigan. At least we have a year to figure it out! As for Isabelle’s checkup, the vet listened to her heartbeat and then gave her a shot for tetanus, West Nile, and Western and Eastern Equine Encephalitis. He said he didn’t want to give her too many shots at once, and he’ll come back in 4 weeks. When he gave her the shot, my dad scratched her neck, I scratched her rump, and the vet sneakily gave her the shot. She didn’t even notice. During the exam, Annabelle munched happily on grain.
As the vet said goodbye to me, he told me he couldn’t believe how lucky we were to get such a nice horse from the internet. He said it was like a fairy tale. We agree!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Horse Tales!
Bob, Bill, and Vinny
I took this picture 10 years ago when I was a senior in high school. I was in a photography class, and we could only print black and white photos in our darkroom at school. Now, I love that this photo is in black and white.
Bob and Duke were our first team, and you can read about when we got them in “Our First Team”. Bob was heartbroken after his brother Duke died of a split intestine when I was a sophomore in high school. We got Bill and Vinny, a new team, and my dad turned the wagon into a three horse hitch, so Bob could stroll along with them. By this time, Bob was older, so he didn’t actually pull the wagon, but he was hitched to the other boys and got to feel like he was pulling. Now that Bob’s gone, too, we’re back to a team of two.
But someday, when baby Isabelle is big enough, we plan to bring back the three horse hitch.