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© Diatom Graphics
BUR-DALS GINANAH'S EASTER GIFT TO US!
At 22 years of age Gina is the matriarch of the farm. She can still keep the other adult and young horses away if she chooses, but generally she is the farm babysitter. She is pretty much contented just to be outside and soaking up the sunshine. If she is in a particularly happy mood, she trots in the sunshine.
In the last few months of this latest pregnancy trotting meant that Gina's body shook from side to side like a bowl of Jell-O. Getting through the stall door was literally a challenge because both sides of her belly brushed the opening at the same time. Consider that she was ten days beyond her foaling date and had already experienced several bouts of false labor when the real blessed event finally occurred at 12:30 AM on April 10, 2007. Ordinarily, it would be enough to say that April 10 was Easter Sunday, but this Easter Sunday was no bed of daffodils or gentle breeze from the south.
Gina's actual due date was March 31, the last of a string of days that were sun-blessed and warm enough to bring forth daffodils, buds on trees, and the growth of actual green grass. We were so positive that March 31 was Gina's chosen day that we hesitated to leave home for any reason, fearful that the moment we left the farm in either broad daylight or pitch blackness, the foal would make his or hear chosen debut. So March 31 came and went, followed by the wind, snow, rain, sleet, and hail of the following days.
Surely, no self-respecting veteran broodmare would choose to deliver a foal during a snowstorm with 40 mile-per-hour wind gusts and 18 degree temperatures. Good thing we're not folks who depend on making bets for our survival or success. Sure enough, as Saturday turned into an Easter Sunday with snowstorms dumping twenty inches of snow and snowdrifts that no vet could dare negotiate, Gina went down into earnest, hard labor.
Thank goodness for the video cameras and the intercom that kept us tuned in to every development. The fetal sack was thick and rough and not very transparent. We bit our fingernails and worried out loud that this foal would be delivered normally. As two front white legs appeared, they seemed at the wrong angle, and then the nose seemed not to be in the right place.
As soon as the nose became visible through the now translucent sack, Tom tore the sack so the foal would at least have a chance to develop normal breathing if anything else might go wrong. It was a very concave face with a huge white blaze! Oh, so far, so good!
And then the foal seemed to become stuck, no matter how hard Gina pushed. We agonized as we remembered the ill-fated 1999 foal of the ill-fated MI Hallelujah. Things seemed to be progressing in slow motion. As Gina pushed, Tom pulled. This foal was huge, all legs! At last a normal foal lay at Gina's hip. Gina was too worn out to get up on her feet to break the umbilical cord. Putting on her halter, we pulled on her to get up, while this foal sucked incessantly and tried with all its effort to get up. Miraculously, it did get up while Gina was still heaving, breaking the umbilical cord all by itself.
Too exhausted to lick this new baby dry in frigid weather, Gina terrified us. Both she and the foal were shivering from the cold. We used up towel after towel drying both her and the new baby and trying to plug up the drafts from the outside. In the midst of this terrible time, the new foal seemed to stop sucking. We were fearful that it was going into shock.
Without Gina to do her job, we started vigorously drying off this baby. As confused as she seemed, she started licking our jackets dry while her baby seemed to be losing his vital signs. We felt in grave trouble, knowing just how difficult it would be for a vet to find us during a 2 AM snow and windstorm. We struggled to get this foal on his feet again so we could cover him with a foal blanket. He swam in it, but at least it would conserve his body heat. Finally Gina got to her feet, and we put a blanket on her as well.
Now an even bigger problem loomed. Gina's
milk was not dripping, and this foal was too tall to get his head in the
right place. Besides, every time his nose managed to even touch her teats,
she roared in pain and avoided the foal's approach. This was not good. It
was already 3 AM, and Baby had not had a taste of milk. It seemed to take
forever for him to learn to duck his head, and I was on the verge of running
back to the house so I could thaw out the colostrum I had frozen some years
back. I weighed my odds of success if I left versus sticking around to get
the mare to drop her milk and to get the foal's head in the right place.
Unlike most new foals who were very ribby,
this new colt actually appeared to have a lining of fat. We concluded that
neither Gina nor this colt would have survived in the wild between the raging
snowstorm, the large size of the colt, and the trauma of this birth. We
remembered all the times we had been reluctant to leave home and realized
that at last the ordeal and the sleepless nights spent in monitoring Gina's
late delivery were now at an end.
It was close to 5 AM when we finally hit the bed. Three hours later the bright sunlight reflecting on the new snow woke us up. It was time to get back up to the barn to feed. It was going to be a LONG day, but at least the colt and the mare had survived. We thought at last about a name for this foal. Although he had four legs with high white and a wide blaze and looked much like his sire WIW Windys Choice had looked at birth, he was no pinto. He was a dark chestnut with the tell-tale light luster around his eyes. He was going to turn grey in time, and he was so very handsome. We both decided his name must contain the word CHOICE, and we agreed on WIW IMAGEOFCHOICE.
In the midst of continuing snowstorms and bitter cold weather Bur-Dals Ginanah and WIW Imageofchoice did not make their debuts outside for several days. Instead we made a poster for the neighborhood that read, "It's a BOY! Easter Sunday 12:30 AM)
Now that the weather has improved on his two-week birthday, IC is tearing around the pasture and making contact with the ground as he loses his balance with some frequency. He has been eating hay with great purpose since day three and grain from his mom's feeder since day ten. He seems to have good vision and great courage. One of the biggest risk-takers we have ever produced, he seems to face everything that is new and untried with great curiosity and willingness. We have started his first lessons on the lead rope--with mixed results!
This seems to be true stallion material.
Welcome to Earth, WIW Imageofchoice! Love ya, IC!
18, 2007-UPDATE ON WIW IMAGEOFCHOICE
SEPTEMBER 3, 2007--UPDATE ON WIW IMAGEOFCHOICE
What a Labor Day Weekend! We were up yesterday morning(Sunday) by 5:45 AM so that we could be on the Burton, Ohio, fairgrounds by 8:30 AM. The first class would start at 9 AM. Both Icky and LC had managed to keep clean with all the show sheen we had applied to their coats. We were on the road by 8:15, a little later than we had anticipated, and we crossed our fingers that we would be on time. We arrived at 8:45 AM without any surplus time to check the grooming on the two youngsters. The second class, Open Halter, attracted 11 entries, all Paint-type horses. Icky was the only non-stock horse in the class.
He decided that he did not want to trot, so we had to walk away from the judge. He set up beautifully and held his pose. The judge was interested in his age . "Four months," I answered. Icky did not place in the ribbons. I could have been disappointed, but I was delighted about his quiet behavior and willingness to listen. He had done well enough, I thought.
Because the classes for the Labor Day show were slated to begin at 8:30 AM, we cleaned up Icky and LC again and were in bed by 10:30 PM. The alarm went off at 5:30 AM. It was way too dark and way too early, but we were off to the barn to check on dirty spots accumulated by Icky and LC. Sure enough, Icky's white legs were very stained, and we had to wash him again in the cold grayness of the morning. He shivered but did not resist.
Miraculously, we were on the road by 7:30 AM and arrived at the fairgrounds by 8 AM, a full half-hour before the start of the first class. Today would be an opportunity for Icky only, since there were no additional halter classes. We were betting on Icky to make his mark. As luck would have it, the first class did not start until 9AM so we could have slept a little longer, but it was better to be half an hour early than 5 minutes too late. This time Icky decided to trot gloriously away from the judge, with his tail flagged over his back. He set up immediately and stayed calm and attentive with very lovely, forward ears.
As the judge looked more closely at Icky, she remarked about his beauty, and just like on August 18, I thanked her for the compliment. When she asked us to trot again, Icky willingly complied and then set up again. He was glorious as the only baby in the class. He won third place, and I was elated!!
June 15, 2009--
Icky is now 26 months and just shy of 14 hands. In April we had him gelded and removed his wolf teeth so that we could start his groundwork. He is now regularly lunged in our arena and is becoming accustomed to seeing and hearing the plastic bag rustle on the end of the lunge whip. The goal is to get Icky to tolerate and accept the noises and confusion that occur without rhyme or reason in the real world. A horse that is flexible enough to accept disruptions of its world is a valuable, in fact, priceless riding animal.
As far as we can tell, Icky is going to be a splendid mover. He has a beautiful floating trot and carries his tail over his back much of the time. We get goosebumps when we watch him work in the arena because his face and ears are VERY typey. At this point we are not certain how tall he may be, but we suspect that it will be in the 14.1-14.2 ranch, a good size for children and small adults. Like all of our purebred and partbred-Arabians, he is sturdily built for endurance and stamina at the same time that he displays elegance and refinement.
In the arena Icky makes clear his intention of bonding with his human handlers. He nods his head up and down and expects us to do the same. When he is ready to partner-up after a good workout, his tongue comes out and he walks alongside us, mimicking our every move, including our halts. We expect to have him backed by summer's end.
He loads in the trailer, although at times reluctantly, so we practice with Tsammie to give him confidence and assurance. He trusts the farrier, and he appears to be an easy-keeper as well as a calm individual,
The biggest change in Icky is his coloration. Although the forelock, mane, and tail still carry a reddish cast, one can see just how grey his coat has turned. He is dappled on his flank and chest, but the wide blaze and the high white stockings are still evident in these pictures of June 7, 2009. He is indeed the image of WIW Windys Choice, especially in profile. Those tippy ears have descended to him from his great-great granddam, the great Varian Arabian broodmare, Halali Wind Kite. Although Choice was spotted and Icky is not, Icky's personality and bearing more closely remind us of Choice than of Gina. Although he is basically quiet in nature like Gina, his whinny is Choice all over again. We are pleased for this lasting gift from Gina, who just turned 25 this spring and is experiencing some health issues.
At Windt im Wald Farm we are preservationist Arabian horse breeders. specializing in Crabbet/CMK bloodlines. We also provide Arabian horse training and riding lessons.
Check our Arabian horse sales page for both Purebred and Half-Arabian Horses