Some of you may remember “The Florida Girls” from last winter. Now that they have been here for more than a year, they have acclimated to the Kentucky winter and have their winter coats, so no additional blankets were needed this spring. But they have kind of tended to do things together, and eight days into March, we were waiting for Our Unbridled Gem (whose due date was Feb. 23) and D’Chili Pepper (due date Feb. 26) to foal.
The March weather in Kentucky this year has been unseasonably warm, making being at the barn much more comfortable for us humans. Our Unbridled Gem was enjoying the weather and looked to be very content to hold on to her baby indefinitely. D’Chili Pepper was of the same mind, and she was showing no signs of getting close to delivering.
The only one looking like she might deliver was our mare, Miss Dixie Rose. So for several days, Miss Dixie kept us on our toes, thinking “Today is the day.” And then the next day, “Today is the day.” Our Unbridled Gem wanted to know why we kept looking at her, and D’Chili Pepper had us convinced she had no intentions of having her baby in the immediate future.
Soooooooo, at 11:30 PM on March 8, while refilling water buckets, D’Chili surprised us by saying, “It’s time!” and within about 20 minutes, it was all over and she was licking….and licking…and licking her filly by Old Fashioned. (D’Chili was really loving her baby.) The filly weighed in at 106 lbs and is the exact chestnut color as Mom.
While we were watching D’Chili Pepper 16 and waiting for her to stand and nurse, Miss Dixie Rose decided it was her time to deliver. So, almost to the minute that Miss Dixie delivered, D’Chili Pepper 16 nursed on her own!
Dixie gave us a nice colt by Majestic Warrior (he’s by A.P. Indy, out of the millionaire mare Dream Supreme). He was up in less than an hour and walked and hopped all around the stall, making Miss Dixie Rose dizzy. He would get close to nursing, but just not latch on… so I though I’d just help him locate the teat (as we often do so they can nurse). Wellllllll, NOT this little guy! Every time I tried to help him, he would back up and plop down on his butt. He was showing a warrior’s attitude already!
Finally, he nursed all on his own…thank you very much! Funny thing was that the next morning when Chuck went to take the colt’s temperature, he did the same thing to Chuck….back up, plop down and not let Chuck get the probe near him!!! We may just have to name him Dixie’s Warrior!
After Miss Dixie Rose 16 nursed, it was 4 AM, I had to do breakfast at 8:30 at the B&B so I go to bed for a few hours and Chuck starts planning and writing his vet tickets for the day. Although Tuesday night ended quite late, Wednesday was a normal day. I finished breakfast at the B&B and headed to Lil’s. Chuck finishes morning rounds with Cory (our vet), checks the new babies and older foals and puts Our Unbridled Gem in a paddock close to the barn, so she can be closely watched….before he heads to the breeding shed with a mare.
At about 4:30 that afternoon, Chuck finished feeding and checked on Our Unbridled Gem. She gave him that look that says, “Are you looking at me???? ….well STOP!” So he decided to do some chain harrowing. [Let me digress a moment and tell you that there’s always mowing and chain harrowing to be done on the farm. I think it’s kind of therapeutic for Chuck…there’s time to be filled, it needs to be done, you don’t have to concentrate, and you have a sense of accomplishment. I have tasks at Lil’s that give me the same therapy.]
I pulled into the farm with just enough time (barely) to change clothes and return to town to meet Margaret Layton bto drive over to the Tony Leonard exhibit opening gala at the Headley Whitney Museum. I saw Chuck in the field and told him I’d pick something up for dinner on my way home. He says, “Great” but before I go to the house, would I go to the barn and take a look at Gem?
I did, and she started pacing. I called Chuck and by 5:05, she delivered a beautiful Into Mischief filly. Bay filly. 112 pounds. Stood and nursed at 7:00 PM. Whew! Three foals in less than 18 hours!!!
I didn’t get to the Tony Leonard opening, which ended at 8 PM, but was told I had missed a really nice time. I’m really looking forward to seeing the exhibit because Tony had a great eye for a photographic moment, and all this legacy has been preserved thanks to Bobby Shiflet of Frames on Main Gallery — right across the street from Lil’s Coffee House. (Have I mentioned lately how much I love living in this special town?!?!) But the exhibit continues through to mid-June, so I’ll have time to see….and I hope all of you do, too. See this link for hours they’re open and see this link for a really good article about the exhibit.
Chuck and I discussed how these Florida Girls… just like last year… like to keep everyone on their toes, by not showing the typical pre-delivery signs, but showing just enough to keep you watching and then — when you least expect it — voila!