is always exciting at a miniature horse farm, when the foals start arriving. Due
to a quirk in nature, our Spring 2001 started in early February - when our first foal
arrived - wet, cold, a maiden mare Mom with no milk and caregivers without a
heated barn or foal experience in -35 below weather. With the help of some
frozen colostrum (previously saved for such a situation), heat lamps, heaters
and sheets of plywood, Survivor II is now cavorting with his brothers and
sisters. We had two more foals in February, but our foaling kit now included a
hair dryer (most important) which, coupled with moms with milk and having some
cold weather foaling experience, they arrived and thrived without incidence. Our
next six arrived when the temperatures were more accommodating, and aside from
losing sleep watching the monitor 24/7 (do need a foal alert system), all went
well. Fortunately, Marilyn retired this spring, so sleep loss was minimized. I
mentioned the first foal providing a challenge, well #10, the last one, was a
(small) bigger challenge. The little filly arrived at day 285 gestation, which
is very premature for a foal, and frequently do not have much hope for survival.
Fortunately the mare was ready with colostrum milk and is an extremely docile
and accommodating Mom. The foal was too weak to stand up to nurse, so we milked
and bottle-fed her every hour for three days, after which she had gained
sufficient strength to stand and nurse on her own. While she is small, today she
races around the pasture with Survivor II.
the foaling is finished, the breeding season is in full swing. At our farm this
seemed to be a Spring, Summer and Fall affair this year, with a few maiden mares
not settling, and a few previously "confirmed pregnant" mares coming back
and cycling again. We are expecting 15 (+/- 2) foals for next spring (none in
February) which we are awaiting with great anticipation, especially since we
acquired a few different stallions and are anxious to see their offspring. At
this time, the first dozen horses are 5/6 months pregnant, so the foals are
already doing aerobics in the mares' bellies, which is readily discernible to
we seem to acquire more foals/horses than we sell, every year requires
additional run-in shelters and fences to be built. In anticipation of next years
foal crop, additional stalls needed to be built. Of course, with more horses,
more hay bales and shavings were needed which had to be hauled and stored.
the years our farm has become an annual outing for many parents and
grandparents, daycare and school classes, who bring their youngsters to enjoy
visiting and interacting with the miniatures, especially the babies. We enjoy
their visits, as seeing the smiles and the joy on the faces of the little boys
and girls is very rewarding. Of course, we love to talk "minis" and to
showcase these marvelous little creatures. Visiting the Seniors Care Home and
attending local fairs/parades/events also elicits many "oohs" and "ahs",
along with the routine "What are they good for?" and "What do you do with
After writing this, at least we now know where the summer went!!!
"Home is where the Herd is..."
lovers hate to clean out kennels ...
Breeders of quality AMHA
registered Miniature Horses