A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 5

Young horses are prone to accidents but most often they grow up strong and healthy and now after a couple of years of watching Marco grow up the scariest part of the dream arrives. Finding the right human for him.

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Young Marco loved visiting people. In fact, it was nearly impossible to visit any of the other horses without him trying to get your attention back over to him. So we needed someone who is going to give him lots of attention.

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He was sweet natured and easy to work with so it didn’t have to be a highly skilled professional but, of course, someone who had the skills to bring him along without spoiling him or destroying the trust he had already developed.

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He likes to “use” himself and loves to be learning new things. He likes life to be “interesting” not boring. He would pick up the plastic tarp or the ball and intentionally try to stir up some excitement with his buddies. Round and round in an arena was probably not his calling.

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As soon as we offered him for sale (on Northernhorse of course) we got a call and a visit from a young lady who appeared to be just what Marco needed. You know his whole future depends on the handling, care and training he gets. People who don’t raise baby horses probably don’t understand just what it feels like when just the right person arrives to look at purchasing him.  The perfect person arrives and your heart soars with hope that they will choose him. Your dream is that you will get to see him in the future and that he will be happy and loved and well cared for.

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Kayla is making our dream for Marco come true. Watch for more stories about Marco. Kayla has offered to update his story from time to time here on the blog. It will be interesting to see her dreams with Marco and how they unfold.

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 1

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 2

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 3

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 4

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A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 4

Summer goes fast in Alberta. Seems the snow is barely gone before the grasses along the ditches are heading out. The countryside changes from greens to golds and yellows and hints of red. The days shorten even more rapidly than they lengthened or so it seems.

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Before you know it, it’s weaning time.

At first it is all very exciting to be back in the paddocks you were born in and racing around with Mom and mates.

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Then Mom is gone and you are left with old George and your buddy Hawk. George waits patiently while his newest charges figure out that looking for Mom is a waste of time. He soon lures them over to the nice hay and bed that have been set up and gets them learning about “life after Mom”.

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Marco got busy figuring out what it was he was good at.

Slope sliding…

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Racing in the snow…

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Stopping…

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A few dressage moves…

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He made some mistakes…

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For which he appeared to almost lose his head…

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But soon he learned how to get along in the herd and join in the dance.

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Not everyone has the opportunity to watch baby horses grow up. Only the very luckiest. When you spend lots of time out watching this process, they get into your heart. They become your friends.

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 1

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 2

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 3

A Horse breeder’s Dream – Part 5

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 3

PART 3: He wiggles into your dreams

So it isn’t long before this soft and furry time sink has got you convinced that he is the number one, most wonderful horse ever born. SPECIAL. Very SPECIAL in fact. He could be or do anything in your mind at this point.

You admire his smarts when he hangs out under mom’s tail when the bugs are biting.

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You love that every time he sees you he comes to see how you are doing.

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He is, of course the best little Mama’s boy ever. Even she knows he is Very SPECIAL.

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You could spend hours every day watching him and his friend Hawk play. And do.

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And you love that he even breaks away from paying with his friend to come visit you.

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It is all part of what makes up your dream for him. It becomes important, of course, to learn who he really is and to keep up his education so he can have his feet done and be easily wormed and handled when necessary. This is the real fun part. Getting to be the young horse’s first contact with people. A big responsibility with rewards that are beyond my skills to describe.

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You start noticing who comes snooping around the barn door when you are working in there?

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Who grabs the plastic bag from the tack store and removes the new ball before you get a chance to? He holds onto the ball handle while the bag blows away.

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And you suddenly realize that you now have dreams for Marco. Dreams that might include all kinds of successes. Dreams that he will always have this happy, trusting look in his eyes. Will the trust you have been developing be tossed away by misunderstanding? Will he get the care he needs? Will his start be the kind of start that opens lots of opportunities for him? Or will he fall through enough cracks that his only opportunity will be at a slaughter plant? Many of us have seen it go both ways. There are lots of things that can go wrong. And right. But first he needs to grow up a bit. And where better than in a herd on a ranch in western Alberta.

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 1

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 2

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 4

A Horse breeder’s Dream – Part 5

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 2

PART 2: Marco Learns about halters and lead ropes

Friendly and curious described Marco. It wasn’t long before he was interested in the halter and lead shank when we would put it on his mom. We would let the rope drape over his back or over his nose when he was standing beside her.

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One day we left the rope hanging over the fence (with the intention of getting Marco’s interest and maybe starting his halter training). He got Mom to come and check it out just in case

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and when she showed no alarm about this new plaything, we were soon saving our rope from sure destruction.

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I really don’t like chewed ropes so even when he gave us this cute pose we decided it was time to stop using the rope as a teething ring and move on to learning what it really is for.

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You can see the trepidation in this photo. He had to use all his braveness to stay.

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Soon he was more than willing to let me rub it on his face and put it over his nose.

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We have been helping him learn to give to pressure every time we handle him. Just a little bit here and there.

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We ended the lesson with a very relaxed and still curious colt.

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From this point on Marco never refused to have a halter put on. In fact, he became one of those “Pick Me” horses. I didn’t have a photographer when we started actually leading Marco but it was pretty unremarkable. He figured out almost immediately that the pressure on the halter quit as soon as he stepped forward or towards the pull and he seems to think he is quite special when he has a halter on.

We have even more photos of Marco to share. Stay tuned.

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 1

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 3

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 4

A Horse breeder’s Dream – Part 5

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 1

PART 1. He enters our lives and our dreams

When you witness a new foal being born into this world and watch as he learns to use those long legs and figures out where the lunch box is you can’t help but wonder what is in store for that little life. You laugh when he finally gets his belly full of warm milk and then  spends some time shuffling those long legs and tentatively bending them further and further until he can lay down and sleep.  You feel a special bond and dream that one day this beautiful little spirit will have a loving and patient human of his own to care for him and participate in his training.

Maggie’s 2013 colt Marco was born on a warm spring day in the back paddock. A beautiful dun colored colt with a cute head,

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long straight legs

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and a friendly, curious attitude.

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Time sinks are what they really are. You run out to check on him after lunch and the next thing you know it is supper time.

It is very interesting to watch how quickly mother nature can prepare a helpless newborn foal to live in a world where being able to run fast beside their mother is their only hope for survival.

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Or, at least it was that way, if not so much now but those instincts and the ability to run fast when only a few hours old still remain. Within hours they know how to balance on those long legs

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and to watch out for obstacles

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and to stay by their mom’s shoulder when she wants them to.

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Of course we stop often to find the warm milk that fuels the energy needed for all this to happen.

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You might think they are all very similar that first day but in reality they are all different.

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Some like Marco are brave and curious.Some are almost impossible to see as they are always on the far side of their mom hiding from “strangers”. Their moms’ have something to do with this but if you get the opportunity to watch different foals from the same mare you soon realize they are all different right at birth. Often similar but still different.

Like us I guess.

There is more to Marco’s story. Check back.

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 2

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 3

A Horse Breeder’s Dream – Part 4

A Horse breeder’s Dream – Part 5