Life in Our Foothills – December 2023 – Make a Joyful Noise
Published 11:59 am Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Who does not enjoy the twinkling lights, welcoming wreaths and festive garlands that announce the holiday season is upon us? Lucky ponies like me anticipate new holiday décor installed at the barn as well.
Extra horse treats also accompany this time of the year as steadfast volunteers bake for us. They bring gifts of homemade goodies and freshly sliced apples. We full-figured equines cast aside our worries concerning the few extra pounds we gain that enhance our girth size during this merry season. We are blessed to live safely in the rescue, under the care of Helping Equines Regain Dignity (HERD.) We are thankful to be here as the last month of 2023 rolls off the calendar.
As the year closes, we are full to the brim with young equines that need our support. Most horses who arrived to us in 2023 are very young. They are approximately a year old or less. Most of them came downtrodden and thin, and weary of humans.
Three foals recently arrived nursing their thin mothers. However, positive transformation is swift for younger equines. Within a few months, they are galloping around, kicking up their heels, making a joyful noise. They squeal with delight. It is amazing what good food and clean water served in nice accommodations can do to restore a young life. One should never take good fortune for granted. This is the season to count one’s blessings and share our happiness with others.
Our latest arrivals here are Midas and Sonnet. They join Sloan, Mia and Jupiter. Even as I pen this story, my mistress Heather Freeman is working on travel arrangements to bring the seven-month-old colt, Clayton, to join our herd. He will grow up with Sloan and Jupiter.
There is nothing more entertaining in my opinion than watching a group of young foals as they frolic. They invent games, even when they are pastured separately, still under the care of their watchful mothers. For example, Jupiter likes to go to the far end of his pasture, hide behind an ancient tree, and then gallop back bucking at top speed headed straight for his mother, Forget Me Not.
A few strides before colliding with his dam, Jupiter veers off, letting out another mighty buck of joy. Clearly, he is delighted with himself and his daily antics. He is one month younger than Sloan who resides in the neighboring pasture with his mother Calypso.
Sloan was gelded in October and will be ready for weaning soon. He grows more independent each day. He has two favorite pastimes to entertain himself. One is to chase and tackle the giant rubber horse ball. It is almost as big as he is, and he has a wonderful time pushing it and landing on it when he oversteps and loses his balance. The other game that keeps him amused is throwing a rubber traffic cone that was given to HERD. He spends hours picking it up, throwing it, and carrying it around the field in his mouth. Sloan often tosses the cone over the fence at visiting humans. He is intent on having it thrown back to him, an endearing sign that he loves interaction with people.
Mia, who was born a week earlier than Sloan, has been weaned and resides with the two-year-old filly, Bambi. Mia’s mother has already gone on to training in Gaffney, South Carolina, at Three Nails Ranch with Shelby Dobbins, who is fostering her for the winter. Mia was delighted with Bambi from the onset of weaning because they had become friends over a mutual fence line. Mia settled into a pleasant routine of galloping around her pasture, grazing and sleeping very close to Bambi. The girls are not as rowdy at play as the colts just across the grassy alleyway. It was also surprising that Bambi was more upset than Mia when Grace loaded onto the trailer to leave us.
These two young fillies have a handsome two-year-old, Avenue of The Stars, just over the fence from them. He resides in the neighboring field. Avenue was born in HERD, and he was gelded at age six months. He shares a pasture with his mother, Mystic. Oh, we tried housing him with a few other horses; Bambi, Ming, and then Royal to name a few. However, they all were too rough on him. He was joyful to return to share accommodations with his dam. She lets him be the boss of everything, except her twice-daily grain service. Avenue also enjoys his turn at chasing the big rubber horse ball to the amusement of his mother. She just watches his fancy footwork directing the ball around his pasture.
Last, but not least, let me tell you about the newcomers, Midas and Sonnet. Both are yearlings, with lots of potential. They were down on their luck and had ended up running through livestock auctions. The highest bidders were kill-buyers. So, HERD stepped in and purchased them. Midas ended up in this situation as he had a small hernia that needed surgical repair. His previous owner did not want to pay for the procedure. Sonnet was presented in a saddle at the auction without a rider due to her young age. She feared all the noise and lights and did not attract a potential home to bid on her. Both equines arrived to us underweight. We paid for Midas’ hernia surgery and for Sonnet to get over her respiratory infection with vet care.
These two horses are now looking much better and have started to trust us with their daily care and some light groundwork training. The sweet pair gallop around their pasture with glee in their eyes. They have received the incredible gift of life and time. Time to grow up, time to learn to accept a rider for a career trail-riding or competing in horse shows. They will have the chance to find a loving safe home in a few years. My friend, this is even more of a reason to make a joyful noise.