Musings of an everyday woman . . .

Reflections on living and loving life . . .

How Cute is This? July 26, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Family,Farm,Workhorses — everydaywomanusa @ 10:35 am
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My guy and “our baby” Isabelle, now four weeks old.  She just LOVES to have her neck scratched . . .

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Obviously, they’re still “bonding,” aka “imprinting.”

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“Are you taking pictures, again?” they both seem to say.

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Isabelle’s main source of nutrition is still her mother, Annabelle, but as she ventures into new tastes, like grass in the pasture, or grain, she is so cute . . .

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Baby Belle’s legs are still disproportionately long to her growing body and neck and she has to do this weird stance, bending her legs, to reach the ground.  She reminds me of a giraffe!

Do you have animals in your life who give you joy?

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Aloha Friday #11 July 2, 2009

Filed under: Aloha Friday,Animals,Workhorses — everydaywomanusa @ 11:27 am
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Friday is coming again, so that means it’s time for . . .

My “Aloha Friday” question this week is: 

IF YOU HAD A BABY SHIRE WORKHORSE THIS CUTE,

WHAT WOULD YOU NAME HER?

Here’s a little background . . . her Mom is a Shire Workhorse named Annabelle and the baby filly (girl) is black & white and a week old.  She’s more than 150 lbs. already with long, spindly legs, who loves to run!

Here are some of the names in the running, but our family is having trouble coming to consensus on the perfect name:

  • Belle
  • Bella
  • Isabelle
  • Shiloh
  • Shania
  • Beauty
  • Cinderella/”Ella”

(Thanks so much for your ideas!!!)

 

If you’d like to participate in more Aloha Friday questions, click on over to  An Island Life for Kailani’s  “Aloha Friday.”

"Mommy, will they be nice to me?"

Annabelle & Baby (3 days old) out in the pasture for the first time.

 

“Imprinting” AKA “Bonding” June 30, 2009

Filed under: Adventures,Animals,Family,Farm,Reflections,Workhorses — everydaywomanusa @ 3:58 pm
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I guess you could say  that everything people know they learned from animals–about bonding with newborns, that is.

I’ve always appreciated the importance of “bonding” with our newborn children and I felt the same way about “being there” with our newborn baby filly as soon as she was born.  Instinctively, I felt the need for my husband and me to bond with that filly, even though we aren’t the biological parents.  After all, her mother, Annabelle, gets all the credit for all the hard work she’s done with carrying and delivering her baby, and with what lies ahead for this single mother (as the father is in Michigan and never got to meet his offspring.)

Anyway, back to the bonding. . . I knew it was important, I didn’t know until just recently that there’s an actual word for it in the “horse world.”  It’s called “imprinting” and it’s vital to the newborn foal’s future relationship with people.  I admit we humans are only surrogate parents here, but we do want to do our part.  By the time we greeted our baby foal (still yet to be named, as we continue to seek the perfect fit!), she was already licked clean by her dear mother, nursed, and was walking around the stall. 

My husband, Al, bonding with our new filly.

My husband, Al, bonding with our new filly.

Horse experts say  that imprinting in the first days after birth is crucial.  This includes handling the foal, while always being cognizant of the mother horse’s anxiety level of those around her.  Using soft tones, you must hold the baby in an embrace, while it’s laying down, and stroke its ears  and handle its feet and gums, so that it’s comfortable later on when you need to clean and attend to these areas.  Horse people even say you should blow gently into the baby’s nostrils, so that it recognizes your breath and smell and feels comfortable with you.  If the mare is comfortable with you and how you handle her and her baby, then the baby also generalizes that people are good.

I’ve so enjoyed being a part of this process, although I’ll be the first to say that Annabelle and her new baby respond first and foremost to my dear husband and our children, who have always been directly involved in their care.  I must admit that sometimes I feel like a “third wheel,” more of someone who documents this incredible phase of life through pictures and words.  They’re the ones who actually do it.

I’m happy to say that all this imprinting is working.  Annabelle’s baby is adjusting to her new home so well and Annabelle is such an accomplished mother.  She is somewhat of an expert, as she’s delivered and cared for two previous foals before she came to live with us.   Annabelle came to us as an expectant mother and as already an expert in the matter!

"The fam" walks Annabelle and her baby out to the pasture.

"The fam" walks Annabelle and her baby out to the pasture.

Annabelle’s baby walks nicely with us, in her halter now, as long as dear Mom is nearby.  Annabelle also makes sure that she is always the one in charge, knowing where her baby is at all times.  When the baby is sleeping, Annabelle stands guard over her.  When people approach to visit, the baby will come up to the fence to greet them, and as I found yesterday, will even suck on your fingers in her effort to appease this oral stage.  She gets the idea that people are good.  We’re just protecting her from too much visiting by closely monitoring the time she spends–always with Mom–in public view.  But we’re all adjusting nicely, this new family of ours!

Annabelle stands guard over her sleeping baby.

Annabelle stands guard over her sleeping baby.

Our new filly, exercising her sucking reflex, on my fingers!

Our new filly, exercising her sucking reflex, on my fingers!

 

We’re Having a Baby! February 26, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Family,Farm — everydaywomanusa @ 6:16 am
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. . . Baby Workhorse, that is!

OK, this may be a bit “premature,” but we’re pretty excited!  The mare in the above picture, who is a beautiful Shire Workhorse and stands 18 Hands tall, will be joining our farm family tomorrow!  Here, she’s pictured with a foal she had previously, on the day he was born.  Isn’t he cute?

Here’s another picture of this beautiful female Shire, showing her true black color in the winter, at her current home in Michigan.  Looks like she doesn’t mind the snow with that nice, thick coat.  Well, the good news is, she’s pregnant again, due to foal this summer . . . on our farm!

Here’s the “Daddy” . . . . .

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He’s a magnificent, registered Premium Spotted Draft, who stands 18.2 Hands tall.  Can you imagine how beautiful–and big– their baby will be?

So, we’re eagerly awaiting “Mom’s” arrival on our farm tomorrow, and hoping she has a comfortable ride here, which is about a 12-hour drive.  Then, of course, we’re hoping for a very healthy, happy pregnancy.  We’re also thinking baby names, but, yes, that is a bit premature!!!  It’s always been my husband’s dream to raise a workshorse from the baby stage, here on our farm.  Although we’ve had two teams of Percherons (a triple-team at one time!), we’ve always gotten them as adults.  Kind of like always getting a grown dog, never a puppy.  You know how cute puppies are!!!

We also need to decide if we should keep the mare’s current name or adapt it in some way.  We really have to meet her first!  She’ll be welcomed by our current team of dapple-grey Percherons . . .

. . . as well as  Duke, our Golden Retriever . . .

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and our mini-horse, Whinny . . .

I’ll keep you “posted!”