Thursday, March 31, 2011

A rare day!

We enjoyed a rare thing today in western Oregon: a little bit of sunshine! (Though it was mostly clouds still). The girls got to go out for the second time this year on the spring/summer pasture, because it had a little bit of a chance to dry. They had a lot of fun. Sage did a few steps of galloping, but mostly Brandy took the chance to really stretch her legs. I have way too many pictures to share here, but here are a few!

You could really see her udder in this one...that is, until I made it small for blogger.
She might be fat, but she can still tell Brandy what's what.

A peaceful scene!

Trying to run but saying that it's not very comfortable with a big foal in your uterus!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Some pictures, some musings

Sage says she's ready to have this baby: she's got a full bag of milk and I think she's tired of having to pee every 30 minutes. However, the baby clearly wants to wait a little longer. It's the baby that decides when it wants to come out, and I think it wants to wait until midterms start or something inconvenient like that, which is how most horses operate!

Sage says, "Isn't my belly cute?"

Now Sage says, "Okay, seriously--you can stop taking pictures of my belly now."

The girls have had a great week, because despite there being quite a bit of rain, there's also been quite a bit of sun. They've been out on the grass pasture for a few hours almost every day. They're technically outside all the time, but because we've got to manage the grazing really carefully, they're only allowed out on the grass pastures in good weather during the rainy season. And with the sun shining, even Sage kicked up her heels and galloped around a bit. I can't imagine that could be comfortable with all that foal in there, but the sun felt so good I'm sure she couldn't resist!

Since I haven't had to study over break, I've had little bit of free time, so I went down to our local tack store Double H and bought a tiny halter for a newborn and a small rope halter to use for training. They are so cute that I just had to take a picture of them next to Brandy's halter.

I was looking for a leather halter for the foal to wear, but I couldn't find one locally. The general idea is that leather is safer because it will break if a hoof gets caught (in theory). However, my plan is never to leave this on the foal unattended, so with careful observation we should be just fine.

In my spare time, I've also been watching the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting on youtube and preparing my comments to the newly released wild horse strategy. I've almost gotten through all the hours of footage they have posted online, and I'm grateful for the chance to give input. Since I've been watching this, I've thought many times about Sage and the horses I saw at the corrals in Burns. And this totally random thought kind of popped into my head: If I tried to turn Sage loose back into the wild, would she go?

Trust me, I wouldn't do that, but it's an interesting thought. And I think the conclusion I've come to is that she'd probably run around for a bit and come right back to the trailer. Though I know sometimes she wishes she had more space to graze around here, overall she's pretty well meshed into her new life. She loves her food, her people, her little herd. She loves meeting new people, loves her ear and butt scratches. Anyone who has adopted a mustang would probably attest to this feeling that their mustang has totally blended as a member of the family.

Anyway, just some things to think about--I'll keep updating and I promise the second there's a baby, there will be pictures!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Just a few more photos

From today: She has been much more comfortable since last night. I think the bun wants to cook a little longer! Though she still has a full bag that doesn't get smaller, there's no wax and no other changes. I have a feeling this maiden 3 year old mare thing is going to get the better of our hopes sometimes...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Foal watching and waiting

Since yesterday, Sage has bagged up even more, and the muscles around her tail head really are best described as "Jello" (just like everyone says!). Here's a shot of her from this afternoon--once again, I feel as though she doesn't always look that pregnant in photos, but I'm realizing this is because it's hard to get the depth/shadows quite right to demonstrate this properly.

She enjoyed a quiet afternoon grazing outside with the girls, but as you can kind of see from the expression she has on her face, I think she's uncomfortable. For the last two days, her respiratory rate has been pretty high. She takes deep, stressed out breaths, especially in the evenings. She's also started to half-heartedly crib, which definitely makes me think she's trying to make herself more comfortable.

Poor little girl...she looks a bit distant, doesn't she? I don't really blame her. I brush her twice a day to make her feel a little more relaxed. She enjoys having her butt scratched. Isn't her little muzzle cute?

Although I don't necessarily think that tonight is the night, I will definitely keep checking on her often. My only wish is that she acts like a normal wild horse and foals at night, so that I can definitely be here. In any event, everything is ready for the little bugger:

What do you think...colt or filly? Bay? Roan? Sorrel? Black? The possibilities are endless...!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Final exams are over...let foaling begin!

Okay, I know it's not that easy...but one can only hope, right?

As you can see from the photo below, Sage has developed a bit of an awkward little udder. Although the photo doesn't really do it justice (there's more milk in there than you think!), I'm happy to see that she's showing classic signs and not doing the maiden thing and just foaling without bagging up.

Like I've said before, she literally looks like she's going to pop. Sometimes she lumbers around, but she can still get a little wild every so often and trot around. But she looks like she's just full, and I can't imagine that moving so quickly is very comfortable!

Since there has been so much foal activity lately, I've been trying to capture it on video. Of course, the moment I bring the camera out, the movement is NOTHING like the normal alien-tapeworm-beast looking movement! But, I uploaded a couple of videos anyway. The first is just to demonstrate what a nice lazy afternoon it is around here, and how cute those two are together (Sage and Brandy--often called Bran Muffin).

And here's a little bit of foal movement. Not much, but hopefully you can see it!

If you can't, I did manage to capture an alien-tapeworm-beast moment on still photos. Look at how far her belly pokes out in the top photo and compare to the bottom:

Mustangs are definitely wild, even in utero! I wonder if Sage realizes what's going to be happening soon...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just some photos

It's finals week, so there's nothing much going on here except for me studying (and shamelessly watching re-runs of "Heartland" while I do so). But the horse work never goes away (good, that's how I like it), so there's still time every so often for some pictures.

Here are some from tonight; it's been blustery and gray but then there will be fabulous (albeit) windy sun breaks--very spring-like weather. Sage goes from looking like she's going to pop out a foal any second to barely being pregnant to popping at the seams the next. She's a little more bagged up as of today, though her teats haven't changed at all. She continues to eat me out of house and home in alfalfa pellets, enjoys her daily naps with Gabby, and takes great pleasure in teasing Brandy. All in a day's work for a mustang!

Brandy is always on the lookout for her best friend.

There's my little girl!

I know what you're thinking--she doesn't look THAT pregnant. But really, for a 3 year old maiden mare, I think she looks huge!

Since she's been shedding out, her brand has been coming in clearer. I can't count the number of times people have asked me what happened to her neck!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Foal time is almost here!

Well there, I've said it. I think this baby is just about ready to come out! And by that I mean within the next few weeks. Sage has been looking progressively more relaxed in her butt and she has even developed what I would call a little bit of bagging up (roughly 1/4 full). So yesterday I switched the horses around to "go" position: Sage on in the other half of the aisleway and Gabby and Luna out with Brandy. So now Sage has her own stall, a long section of aisleway, and the whole arena to herself. When the time comes, the aiselway will be filled with straw for her to foal.

She is a such a trooper that she doesn't mind this arrangement at all. She's always bee quite flexible, willing to go wherever as long as there's some food. She's definitely been more flexible than Brandy about a lot of things. Take for example this week: on Monday I brought home three mini ponies from the vet school, ones that we had used in surgery class, to stay here for the week before they go off with Patrick's cousin to fulfill their lives as kids' ponies. They are pretty much the cutest things you've ever seen. I keep them in a stall away from the others, as I don't want Sage to interact with them (and contract something like EHV!). But every morning and evening, when the horses are locked in their stalls to eat their grain, I let the little fellows out in the arena. The first time I did this, Brandy just about climbed up the walls. Sage just looks at them like "Oh, huh, those things are kinda short" and moves on with her day. I suppose she thinks the are just foals!

Speaking of foals...Tonight a good family friend came over to visit the horses (and the ponies!), and we spent quite a while just petting Sage, who was very content to relax and have some soft, quiet attention. She was so amazed at how calm Sage was--she has met her before, but it was in the phase when Sage was still a little nervous around new people. We felt all over her belly, and after a while, the baby started to move a LOT. There were several jumps out of both Sage's right flank and left lower belly area. Poor girl, the little thing is so active! I just hope it comes out soon...this waiting game is difficult already!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Destructo-stang strikes again!

Well, it's been a while since Sage has destroyed something, so I had to kind of figure that it was coming. Somehow this time, she managed to rip the door jamb (I guess basically the piece of wood on the corner of the barn at the entry where they walk in) clean off while only getting a tiny scrape on her hip. It's unbelievable what this horse can do without causing egregious bodily damage to herself and others.

I think it might have had something to do with her being a bit plump these days, and not really knowing where her belly is. I swear, pictures don't really do it justice, but she looks like she's going to pop. We're not too far off! The foaling kit is just about goes nothing!

She's got sawdust all over her back from rolling in fresh shavings. :)

Lots of tummy!