Foaling Time

Is there anything more precious in the world than a newborn foal? Well, maybe human babies… but in the animal kingdom I think that foals definitely take the cake for cuteness; their big eyes so wide in wonderment, their hair so soft and clean, and their mile-long-legs so wobbly. Many an hour I have sat in the corner of a stall watching in amazement as these sweet little darlings experience their first hours of life. As most mares prefer to foal at night, it is only fair to say that a large percentage of the time I have spent in the barn gawking at these babies have been in the wee hours. Ask me about foaling season and most of the time I will gripe about all the lost sleep. BUT the truth be known, exhausting or not, I absolutely LOVE being in the barn in at night checking on expectant mares or watching the newborn foals! There is nothing else like night time in a barn full of horses. The heavy coolness (okay, sometimes really COLDNESS!) of the night air weighs upon you as you bundle up in blankets or coats. The comforting aromas of hay, horses and yes, even manure, linger in the still night air. As the noise of daytime living is asleep, it leaves the path clear for nighttime sounds to be heard; sounds that we often miss during the day because there is so much else to listen to. An occasional whinny or nicker, or a heavy sigh as the old mare in the last stall lies down to rest her weary legs. The soft munching sounds as the horses quietly enjoy their hay… and then a dog can be heard barking in the distance. The munching stops for a moment as the horses briefly listen to see what the commotion is all about, and then resume almost immediately as they are sure that there is no danger. The sounds envelope you, surrounding you so completely that you become a part of them. And if you listen really, really close you can even hear the horses' breathe, and it will seem as if your breath is theirs and theirs is yours. It is times in the barn like this that I am reminded why I have horses. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day chores associated with horse ownership; feeding, cleaning stalls, exercising, hauling hay, breaking ice, etc… and especially in cold weather the cons seem to far outweigh the pros! But come springtime and foaling season, we are given the opportunity to reconnect with our passion. Along with the excitement of welcoming the new little lives of the precious God sent foals, we also are put into a position to enjoy being surrounded with these often passed over sensations; sensations that warm and comfort our horse loving souls. Night time hours spent in the barn at foaling time are magical reminders of how special and wonderful our horses are, and how amazing that time spent just sharing space with them, can be. So even if you don't have any babies due this Spring, give yourself a treat and go spend some quality time with your horses. At night. In the barn.