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Winter Foaling

It has been ten years since mares have foaled on Aunt Scarlett’s farm, but just like getting back on a bike, all the necessary preparations fell into place. Three mares were scheduled to foal during March and April.

Here they are enjoying some winter fresh air long before their due dates.
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All three mares, Hope’s Pass, Port Wine and Best of Aly are retired thoroughbred racehorses and this was a first foaling for all of them.

The sire of all the expected foals is named Mirabeau. He stands 16.2 hands, and is an imported Cremello German Warmblood horse that was born on July 4th 2000. He is definitely a handsome horse.

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Primarily originating from Europe, Warmbloods are a middleweight horses bred for equestrian sport. The term warmblood distinguishes them from heavy draft horses (cold bloods) and refined light saddle horses such as Thoroughbreds (hot bloods).

Mirabeau lives on Blazing Colours Farm in Southern Ontario. They are well known for breeding top quality Coloured Warmblood and Thoroughbred Sport horses. Blazing Colours Farm specializes in breeding horses for their athleticism and ability to perform as hunters, jumpers, dressage or event horses but they are also known for unique colours. Horses found on the farm are palomino, buckshin, cremello, perlino and pinto patterns of all types.

To prepare for the foals arrival, two stalls in the barn were converted into double-sized ‘foaling’ stalls. This allows a mare and foal plenty of room to move around comfortably and exercise in a safe place.

Cameras were setup between the foaling stalls and the main house so that Aunt Scarlett could watch the mares and be alerted when they were ready to foal. It’s always good to keep a close eye on the mares before and after foaling.

This worked out well and when not viewing from her large office computer, Aunt Scarlett was able to move around the house with her ipad and keep watch in the kitchen, while she watched television, and even during the night, from her bed.

There is always a cat or two eager to help out whenever Aunt Scarlett is set to watch the mares from her office.

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March brought the arrival of two beautiful foals to the farm. Hope’s Pass, a dark bay coloured mare was the first to foal on March 15th at 7:40am. She delivered a big strong lightly coloured filly, which was named “Mona” by Shelley, who assisted in the foaling. The filly did not waste any time as she was up on her feet at 8:16 a.m. and nursing on her own at 8:45 a.m.

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Port Wine, the chestnut mare foaled on March 23rd at 11:02 a.m. and she had a large lightly coloured colt. He stood on his own long legs at 12:32 p.m, and found his way to nurse by 12:55 a.m. “Maverick” was the name he was given.

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This mare had a harder time foaling than the first mare, as the colt was very large, but both mare and colt are doing very well.

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Mother nature is a beautiful thing to observe; the mares’ maternal instincts fell nicely into place. Both mares knew how and when to nudge their foals to guide them to nurse and stood over them in a protective manner while they slept.

Along with the sunrises of April, Aunt Scarlett and Shelley eagerly awaited for the final foal to arrive.

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April 14th marked the arrival of Best of Aly’s colt and this was the last foaling of the year. Like the other two mares this was a first time foaling and just to be a bit different, Best of Aly “stood” through most of the foaling.

Come to think of it, Aunt Scarlett noticed (while watching the mare on camera) that she did not lay down for a few days prior to foaling. The foal was a good size so it could be the mare was afraid she might not be able to get up if she did lie down.

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A long legged colt arrived at 8:40 p.m. He was up standing on his own by 9:16 p.m. and found his was to nurse by 9:40 p.m. Given that he, too, is an off spring of the stallion Mirabeau, Shelley gave him the name “Marcus”. Apparently, within warmbloods, it is customary to name foals with the beginning initial of the sire.

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Shelley is a champion at foaling and all things horse related so it will be nice to watch the three “M’s” grow under her watchful care. In the early days of a foal’s life it seems our little fella’s and filly romp around, nurse and sleep often, all the while with the affectionate direction of their mares.
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And speaking of sleep, Aunt Scarlett has endured a month long stint of sleep depravation in order to monitor the expectant mares during the wee hours with the cameras.

Foaling is a stressful time for all involved (especially the mares) so we are glad it is behind us for this season. We welcome the spring and summer months where the foals will become apart of the farm’s animal menagerie.

The snow has finally left and spring snowdrops are waking up too!

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