Monday, March 30, 2009

Old Wives Tales

While ya'll are waiting for pictures... I'm not teasing... honest I'm not. I am very frustrated with my supposed computer skills and the lack of video link. Really I am.... Anyway, while we're waiting for pictures, let's discuss the evaluation of our new little bundle of joy. Naturally, as a breeder, I like both his sire and dam. I am also thrilled to death to get a healthy, sound foal. Just the sex and color I wanted to boot. Now it's time to do a little objective evaluation. That's pretty hard to do when they are this age. You honestly never know how they will look when they grow up.

You can always go to the old wives tales.

3 days, 3 months, 3 years: According to lore, these are the points in time you should attempt to evaluate your new colt. It is at these stages you can get a truest picture of what his mature confirmation will be like. In between, they are going through rapid growth stages. What looks like a big ugly head today, can look beautiful next week. And lets not even talk about balance. The hind legs don't bother coordinating with the front ones.

Measuring the Canon Bone: Many people use canon bone length to predict height. The basic theory behind this is that the long bones in the legs are close to the mature length. Everything else may be miniaturised, but those canon bones don't change a whole lot.

Whorls: Now we're getting into a little superstition. Many horsemen swear by whorls and other color or hide traits when predicting a horse's temperament and intelligence. I must admit, there are certain physical traits I associate with certain personalities. This art of prediction goes all the way back to the Bedouin tribes and some scientific studies have been done and seem to support the traditional beliefs. Some people also see a connection between the whorls on the forehead and left and right brain dominance. Left-handed horses had more counter-clockwise whorls and right-handed horses had more clockwise whorls. I had always heard that the way the foal lay in the mare determined the left or right handedness. A foal laying on his left side would naturally have longer muscles on the left, and shorter muscles on the right and would therefore be more comfortable galloping on the right lead.

Markings: Now we one up the superstitions and resort to nursery rhymes..

One white foot, buy a horse
Two white feet, try a horse
Three white feet, look well about him
Four white feet, do without him


A four stockinged horse is a horse for a fool
A three stockinged horse is a horse for a king
If he hath but one I'll give him to none.

And then the most drastic...

Four white feet and a white nose, take off his hide and feed him to the crows.

Oh my.

Old wives tales aside, I like my colt. He has a very fine little muzzle and his head reminds me very much of his sire's. His neck looks pretty standard for such a young one. I like the slope of his shoulder. He seems to use his forearm nicely. I think I see his dam's prominent withers. He has a nicely balanced hip. His tail is on straight. That might seem like a funny thing to say, but the last one we had came out with a tail like a corkscrew so straight is a good thing. And lastly, I've seen some pretty crooked legs on newborn foals. Those joints are soft and can turn in almost any direction. I can't get my eyes off Ace's strong legs. Those wonderful little hock joints look so perfect. And he sure is learning to use them.

As for the other stuff. I'd say he's going to be average sized. His forehead whorl is right between his eyes and appears to be a star burst with no rotation. If it were higher it would mean he would be erratic and difficult. So far, he's not. He does have whorls on each cheek which predicts debt and ruin. Well, anyone who keeps horses can relate to that. If they aren't putting you into debt, they're ruining something. The stall, the fence, their expensive blanket.

I just received a note from Mom. She got Ace and Copy out for 40 minutes wherein Ace put about 10 miles on his odometer - full blast... no fancy trotting for this guy. Everything is going well. The vet called back yesterday with his test results and he got plenty of antibodies from his colostrum. So, we're good to go.