I never understood why we’re supposed to forget aquaintances just because a number is arbitrarily increased. Really now!
So after writing up a blog post about foals for the second time today, I’m scrapping it and trying again. My life sometimes…
So, this is a sloppy attempt at symbolism or covenient timing or I don’t even know. There is a new year coming so talking about all the kiddos who came into the world in 2012 makes sense. Mostly I want to show you pictures of cute babies. Any complaints? I didn’t think so.
Oh those darn precocious little foals! What mischief they can get into! I bet a foal could skip down the hallways of an office without getting chewed out by the VP of the Company. Unlike me, I should add. Lucky sods…
When I went up to the Pryors I was fascinated by the foals. I returned home and found 40% of the photos I took were of the little tykes. I checked in with my Dad by sending text messages like “Not dead. Holy Jackson the babies!!!” Thankfully he’s used to incoherency.
Such a reaction was not merely the result of too much caffeine and too little sleep. The Pryors are a smaller herd so even with the PZP and the low birthrates, there are enough horses in a contained area that there are plenty of youngsters to be seen.
Foals are not so readily viewable in White Mountain. Bands with new foals are very protective of their little ones and I try to actively avoid anything beyond snapping a few pictures. My goal with any horse herd is to observe and share a part of their lives, not disrupt them. If a horse isn’t okay with a human’s presence then it is time to move on.
Even when a band is willing to accept my presence, I am always careful to make sure that the foal is the farthest horse in the band from where I am standing. I don’t want them to feel threatened.
But the horses in the Pryors are pretty used to people and didn’t care. Lucky me!
Foals probably have some purpose beyond just being adorable. Or maybe they don’t. What makes them so irresistable?
1. They give stallions a purpose. Stallions are the primary protectors of a band. Their role is to keep their mare safe from predators. An adult mare can defend herself from a mountain lion attack, but a foal is a sitting duck. Stallions just seem more content when there is a foal around. I would like to think that foals help them fulfil a role that a millenia of evolution has ingrained into their being.
2. If foals are important to stallions, then how much more do the mares value them? It’s another one of those darn biological traits. Unfortunately, it’s one that I don’t understand despite being female myself. I’m guessing it’s something about nurturing or the wonder of creating life or something… Moving on!
3. They give the grown ups something to boss around. Think about it: all you want to do is relax and get in some grazing, but will your mares allow you do that? Of course not! It’s always nag nag nag. The mares want to know why a stallion can’t just ask for directions and why doesn’t he court her the way he did when she was a filly? Stallions get sick of always hearing that his mare is “too tired”. Would it kill her to lose a few pounds? (Poor Brumby)
Foals don’t start backtalking until they’re… what? Two months; maybe even more if a band is very lucky. That’s two months of having a little peace and control.
4. Foals sleep. They sleep all the time. This falls in line with point # 3. A foal may be a little hellion but they give their family relief in the form of naptime. If a mare doesn’t get along with another mare in the band then that’s just tough luck because they will be awake and near each other constantly. Twenty hours a day means a lot of time for snide comments and even more time to find somethiing to gossip about. No buneo my friends. No bueno.
5. They’re just plain cute. This may be a human reaction but I think wild horses would still agree. Seriously, which would you rather see: Mato Ska wandering through lupine or Starman?
6. I’d like to think that their love of life and all the new things they encounter is inspiring. It adds that little spring to a horses step.
Um, can I quit coming up with excuses to blog and post pictures of foals being adorable now? Thanks.
And finally, here’s one last tale to bring in the new year right. The foal above had an annoying little sister who was removed later in the year. When I say annoying, I mean really annoying. She refused to accept that her brothers weren’t interested in playing with her.
Towards the evening, Jackson’s band was headed into the trees. It was on the way to my tent so I followed them. I didn’t expect to get any photos out of it, but boy were they fun to watch. Running seemed like a good way to get away from the brat.
It’s a good idea but it doesn’t work out so wel. He slipped and went down in grand style.