Over the Fence: Why do I own a mare? Because it's worth it
I bought her for my husband, a reluctant rider, and she'd been trouble from the beginning. Others could ride her if her mood was right, but she cowed (horsed?) my husband every time. More than one friend exclaimed that Leah was just another good reason to support their belief that one should never buy a mare. Mares were moody, unpredictable and dangerous. Why put up with such an annoying personality? Sell her!
It was a black and blustery night in the spring and I had just set my alarm for 12 a.m. for the third night in a row. Leah, supposedly my husband's horse, was destined to give birth momentarily. This would be her first, and therefore the event could be highly unpredictable. I watched her as she paced impatiently in her stall, giving her words of encouragement when she passed by (as in will you EVER have this baby so I can get some sleep?) I then went to bed, only to return at midnight. Through bleary eyes, I encountered our solo horse resting comfortably. I figured the birth might not happen this night and stumbled back to bed where I remained until the 2 a.m. vigil, which also found Leah napping.
At 6 a.m. the following day, I trudged wearily to the barn and found to both my joy and chagrin, two horses where there had been one. I missed it again, I thought, but instantly forgot my disappointment as I watched the new foal struggle to its feet. The large brown eyes focused on some unseen image, while the delicate pink nostrils quivered in the cold. Four perfect hooves danced in the first light of dawn, tangling and untangling.
Suddenly the spindle legs collapsed and the foal went reeling against the wall, causing me to flinch. Then it popped up like a bobbin and came to a shaky standstill against its mother's well-padded hip. It stood, in all its young glory, waiting to embrace life. A tiny, excited whiny escaped its mouth, causing me to laugh out loud. I recognized somewhat sheepishly that the laugh was closer to a cry.
I watched while Leah nudged her baby toward its first meal, but it tended to get its ends confused and more often than not, tried to suckle her front leg. After a long time of trial and error, I entered the stall and guided the still-damp foal to the correct destination. As I stroked the silk-soft fur and contemplated what a beautiful morning it truly was, I also gave thanks for Leah, our moody mare. Why do I own a mare?
Because, it's worth it.
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