In the spring of 2016 we tried to breed Charli, our smoky black silver mare, to a dun stallion.
After months of monitoring her for a heat cycle- which included repeated ultrasounds by my vet
(with no stallion on the premises,
determining heat is nothing but guesswork at best) she never seemed to be in heat. We finally ended up using drugs to bring her in heat
and bred her (AI).... only to check the semen afterwards and discover it was less than 10% motility. Charli
did not conceive, and got an
infection to boot. I could not afford to try again and did not have much confidence that the situation would improve
even if I did.
I chalked it up to another story in my long saga of failed breeding
attempts over the past 8 years.
In November, local friend Sue Martin listed a pretty dun mare for sale, HCTF Lost in a Storm
(a Stormwashed daughter),
due to the hay shortage here in Georgia. I have always loved this mare and thought if we could get her bred, maybe
I could get my potentially stripey foal. I asked Sue to go ahead and turn her
out with Adiel's Snicker Zip, her bay splash stallion (Sweet's
breeding). "Lacey" got in foal on the very first cycle- and in
Fast forward to mid-October 2017. Lacey was absolutely huge. I mentioned to her that it would be great if she could foal at about 4 in the afternoon
foal watch of 2015- when she went nine days past her due date- was still fresh in my mind). Well, I ended up spending just two nights on foal watch; the second night, Lacey was very restless, so I knew we were close.
Her milk came in that night as well, but morning came and no foal. I kept an eye on her,
and at about 3 in the afternoon I saw her lie down. Some 30 minutes later
Sweetie entered the world.
Like her dam, Sweetie is a thinker. She is very willing and easy going. If something worries her- like the first time she encountered a mud puddle at
the gate after a rain- simply pausing and giving her time to process the situation (instead of forcing her) yields
positive results. Guiding her to and from turnout has
been easy- she goes where I point her and is so amenable. She gets
leading lessons every day, gives all four hooves for me to
clean them and accepts being brushed and touched all over. Her
first hoof trim was so unexciting she literally slept through it- I
trimmed her while she was lying down! The same thing happened for
her second trim! Sweetie is friendly to everyone who has come to visit her, and her personality continues to emerge.
Sweetie's sire, Adiel's Snicker Zip, comes from the Sweet's breeding
program of the late Harry and Mabel Sweet, featuring old and comparatively rare midwestern bloodlines. He carries the splash gene, and
passed it to Sweetie. Sweetie's dam Lacey is by the well known grulla stallion
Stormwashed. Lacey's dam,
Tiger's Silent Saint, comes from an interestingly marked 100%
Foundation line of horses from the late Carol Copeland's breeding
program- strong old
Devan, Easter Twilight (thought to be the probable source of white
in this family) and Flyhawk breeding. Sweetie is a very high
percentage Foundation filly, with only one outcross through the dam line via the stallion Springdale King
(who is behind the well known and prolific sire of dun Morgans, Robbi Sue's
Sweetie's extended pedigree can be seen
There are pictures of many of her ancestors there as well.
Sweetie at 4 days old.
Sweetie, hoof handling, 8 weeks old.
Sweetie getting a trim, which she didn't even get up for!
More photos of Sweetie (click on a thumbnail to enlarge)
October 17, 2017- From the house, I noticed Lacey lying down so headed to the barn. She got up and down a few times. No water breaking yet.
Milk just pouring out of her as you can see.
She chose a spot right next to the peanut gallery. That's Roadie. He knew something was up.
The amnion appears. Then, OMG! Two white front feet and some white on the nose! At this point I had to stop taking pictures and help
She took awhile moving past this point, so I held onto the foal's fetlocks to help keep her progress from sliding back inside.
All out! I broke the sac over her head and started clearing it away from her front legs.
My friend Doreene Gaustad (a former ob/gyn nurse) had asked how the in utero foal's hooves don't puncture the mare's uterus, so I took this picture to
show her the little protective feathers
of tissue that cover the end of the foal's hooves. Kinda hard to see since the leg and hoof are so light. It wears off as the
foal moves around after birth. A small bit of it remains and becomes their frog.
Sweetie trying to get up and Lacey, who had been resting up until this point, gets a good look at her.
Is there anything more beautiful than a mama greeting their newborn for the first time?
Lacey got up and encouraged her filly to do the same. I used some baling twine to tie up the ends of the amnion so Lacey wouldn't step on it.
The weight provides just the right amount of traction to encourage the
placenta to release from the uterus properly, which happened just a few minutes later.
And she's up! Like a sawhorse ;-)
Almost dry and checking out her new world. Mama is getting a well deserved snack of alfalfa.
October 18, 2017- One day old. Sweetie looking in the wrong spot. Lacey watching the guy working on my neighbor's roof. He was a great ear getter!
Found the milk bar. Sweetie is a bit up on her left front toe. The vet suggested starting her
on Ulcerguard until the fetlock relaxes (pain can cause ulcers). He thought it would be normal inside of three days,
and that did turn out to be the case. Her IGG was super good- always
Here she comes! Her trot looks a little stiff because of the upright left fore. Her movement looked much better by the end of the day.
Those WHISKERS! They are white, and she has so many it's like a beard, LOL!
I think this was my favorite picture of the day.
She sleeps so soundly- I sat down beside her, brushed her all over and ran my fingers inside her ears- and she never woke up. Look at that cute lil face. I think model horse folks call the little detached spot on the muzzle a "kissy spot". Not sure if that is in use in general horse lingo or not. But it
was the first thing I saw when she was coming out of her mama yesterday- that and the two white feet!
This was my best attempt at a conformation picture. You can see the upright left fore. It actually looks much better just 14 hours later.
October 20, 2017- Three days old. I failed in the foal photo department today. I slept in (finally) and by the time I got my chores done,
Sweetie was conked out. The afternoon heat was not conducive to activity; she pretty much slept through the short period I had available for photos today
before we had to go to an appointment. I hated that, because today was Day Three, an important
milestone in the "future looks indicator" department. I only took 4 photos, and here are all 4. They're not very good because I missed the frolicking
she'd done earlier in the day before it got too warm.
By nightfall, she was zipping around again, but of course it was too dark then for pictures.
You can see her left front fetlock has relaxed and she is no longer on tiptoe- YAY!
October 21, 2017- Four days old. You cannot be a Brookridge horse and not know what a bicycle is. Jim was off to a mountain bike practice and
stopped by to say hi to Sweetie and Lacey.
How's this for your future reiner or cutting horse? Or dressage... or CDE?
A few days ago she just about fell over if she tried this stunt. Leg is looking great!
I am pleased by what I see here. She is filling out nicely.
Sweetie and Lacey get a visit from my neighbor Elizabeth Allen
Lacey said "be sure to give ME some attention too."
Sharing Mom's hay.
October 24, 2017- Sweetie is now one week old. (Lacey ruining the shot by coming to see me. I love her!)
Somebody discovered that those red dirt mounds are to be avoided. Or you will burn, then itch.
I was cleaning up the dropped branches and pecans in their new paddock. Sweetie was curious about the wheelbarrow.
Every time I got down to take a picture, she took it as an invite to come in for scritchies.
A bigger turnout space inspired a major case of the zippy zoomies!
The beard...blowing in the breeze... just cracks me up!
After exercise comes mealtime. Sweetie is savoring every tasty drop. (Diane Keiter posted on this pic on Facebook "That's her num-num face!!!!")
One week old conformation picture. I will need help to get one with her head and neck straight-
she is always watching me!
October 27, 2017- Our friends Dale and Doreene Gaustad dropped by tonight to see Sweetie. Lacey continued her attention seeking behavior (she LOVES having her shoulders scratched and will present herself to anyone she thinks will oblige) which gives me a huge warm fuzzy when I think of what
she was like when she arrived here back in January.
October 30, 2017- Sweetie is 13 days old and oh so pretty!
Yesterday was Sweetie's first day out in one of the bigger fields. She had a great time running and exploring.
This looks like a very expensive dressage baby to me. So uphill and soft. She does a very slow, very collected canter.
It's really beautiful to watch.
Once in the new field, Lacey's first priority was grazing- the smaller paddock they had been in up til now was stripped, so the luxuriant grass in
this bigger field made her VERY happy. Sweetie is trying out the grass too.
The cedar trees were like a magnet for Sweetie. It occurred to me that they are kind of a natural "cowboy curtain",
if you are familiar with that obstacle from Trail Challenge events.
A really neat shot of Lacey showing that flying Morgan trot!
These aren't much different... but they were having fun.
After exercise comes sleep.
Sweetie discovering she can eat while lying down.
I didn't get the perfect side shot, and her knees are buckling in this one, but you can see how nicely she is filling out.
November 3, 2017- Sweetie is 18 days old now. I love to see a horse with a short underneck and a long crest- they will carry themselves correctly.
Sweetie already has "on the bit" down, both in motion and standing.
Sweetie watching my yappy dog Sophie, who is great for getting ears up. Mom is checking on her. I love the way her parts fit together- even at this stage, where
she's starting to look pretty motheaten. I despair of Lacey ever growing a winter coat, but Sweetie is
getting nicely fuzzy.
Showing off her "uphill" canter.
November 14, 2017- I didn't take any pictures of Sweetie last week; after Pat's loss I was kind of in a funk, and the weather-
cold and rainy- didn't help. I have to say, the irresistible charm of a foal is a very effective anti-depressant. It's hard to feel sad
when you're hanging with the Sweetums :-)
I always said that's Pat's main purpose in life was to make me smile, and now Sweetie is doing the same thing :-)
Lacey knows when I want them to move. Every horse that is born here or moves here later in life learns what to do when Mom has the camera :-).
Official four week old photo. Sweetie is now at the "milk fat stage". That is not dark hair around her eyes-
it's skin. Jim calls her "the raccoon". I think if I painted a model horse like this, people would think it
looked unrealistic; it's kind of unrealistic looking in real life, too! She grew out her slick birth coat into the
wooly bear that she is now; I don't think this will shed until spring, unlike foals born earlier in the year, but we'll see.
Cheeky Sweetie. Getting her off me long enough to take pictures is quite a feat.
She is VERY friendly and will walk right up to anyone, looking for a good shoulder scritch. She'll be getting her first hoof trim this week.
Baldy face! Glamour shots will have to wait until spring. But she's so cute- like a big stuffed toy!
Lacey is an EXTREMELY good mama. She always has one eye on Sweetie. Some of this is a bit overboard as she
still herds the filly away from any horses that venture too close to the fence.
Sweetie is very curious about the other horses and nickers to them, only to have mama come barreling up and threaten the
other horse with a "how dare you?" mama bear face.
Lacey is finally letting Sweetie hang out with the neighbor's goats. Hopefully Lacey will continue to relax her vigilance in the coming weeks so Sweetie can get a new equine friend.
Sweetie exploring a log that Jim salvaged from a cedar that came down in Hurricane Irma. The rest of the tree met Jim's burn pile, seen behind Sweetie.
The second pic shows her calmly stepping over the log (she's training herself!).
November 18, 2017- Sweetie was officially one month old yesterday. This is the age I generally start introducing them to the other horses.
WAR Adikyrie, my Forever Morgans rescue mare, was chosen for the very important task
of becoming Sweetie's first horse friend. Things went very well! I had put out several piles of hay so hopefully everyone would relax and just eat- and that's what happened. This is about
fifteen minutes into the introduction. Sweetie is sacked out and Lacey is on guard.
Time for some Mother/Daughter mutual scritching.
Sweetie WANTS to go visit with Kyrie, but Lacey kept herding her away when she got too close. You can see her displeasure in the first picture (ears back).
This is about as close as Sweetie was allowed to get today. Kyrie was very good with the situation and knew not to push to get closer to the filly.
I was pretty sure she would handle this well since she was good with Callie two years ago.
November 20, 2017- Two days after Kyrie joined the mare/foal herdlet each afternoon, I looked out and saw this. Which mare is the mom of that little punkin? :-)
Makes me so happy that Lacey is trusting her new babysitter :-)
November 28, 2017- Sweetie is six weeks old today- it seems like she's been here forever :-) She's become the high point of my barn time, every day. Last Friday she had her first hoof trim. She SLEPT THROUGH IT. When I was ready to trim her she was lying down almost asleep- one eye was half open- and she just did not care to get up. Well, I discovered it is possible to trim (well, rasp mostly) the hooves on a sleeping foal, LOL! When she got up later I was able to check all four for balance and discovered I did pretty good- only one heel needed a smidge more off :-) and the toes rolled a bit. She is excellent about having her hooves handled- I need to get someone to video her ground handling to date.
It occurred to me today that Sweetie is my only bay now that Pat is gone. I have such a representation of colors here... it's like God knew
Pat was leaving soon, so he sent me another bay for my little herdlet.
It is hard to get exciting photos of the Sweetums. It's warm here and she is in full winter coat, so her active periods are at dusk and dawn,
before it gets too warm, and it's hard to get good photos in the low light then. As I was about to give up on getting any "exciting" photos,
suddenly Coral came galloping across her field. Sweetie's tail went straight up and she started prancing around- of course, I did not get a picture of
it! I just wanted to watch! But I did get a couple of her leaping with joy :-)
December 3, 2017- Long time friend and riding student Cassidy Sutherland brought her two year old son Evan out to see Sweetie and the other horses.
December 16, 2017- Sweetie is 8 weeks old and officially two months old tomorrow. She has turned into a lil fluffball and I don't worry about her in the cold weather
we've been having (but her Mom has yet to grow a winter coat, and is in fact, shedding! Rosie is shedding too
(weirdos!) but I've seen no signs of that from any of the other horses- that's usually a late January "thing"). This was my favorite shot of the day.
More eight week old pictures. My "attention getter" of the day was Roadie's old Jolly Ball.
December 24, 2017- Merry Christmas, from the Sweetums!