Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Different Kind of Lesson on Farming

On March 27, 2007, I received a call while I was at work more than 60 miles from home. Little Miss, then 11 years old, was in a panic because her beloved pony was showing signs of labor.

A year earlier, Little Miss witnessed the mating of a handsome Arabian stallion with the Hackney-Arabian-Shetland pony she rode and loved so dearly. She had been told the foal to be born would be her very own horse.

The entire time the pony was in foal, Little Miss was a proud little mommy. She took such good care of her pregnant pony and found herself spending hours in her bedroom compiling a list of baby names.

How could I not go rushing home once that frantic call came in?

I arrived home an hour-and-a-half later, gathered the important things we would need to have with us while at the barn (like the camera), and off we went to help the pony through the birth of Little Miss's baby.

The experience was amazing. Some don't like to see the story in pictures, as the entire event is documented. We, however, love reliving the moment as many times as possible. Especially the one that happened at 9:42 p.m. ~ when Little Miss saw her colt for the very first time.

Though not the first time Little Miss witnessed the birthing of a foal, this was special in more ways than one. The only other time she watched a foal born, the foal was not alive. It was heartbreaking for her. Surely, that traumatic experience contributed to her nervousness this time around. Also, this was the pony she loved so dearly who was giving birth to a horse that would be her first horse. Her horse to name, her horse to train, her horse to ride whenever she wanted, her horse to love and grow up with.

Tonight, Little Miss and the Little Boy are at the barn to once again watch the birth of a foal. This foal is not becoming part of our family, although it is related to Little Miss's horse because the sire is the same handsome Arabian stallion. Still, to watch a foal enter into the world is an amazing learning experience that very few actually get to see.

As I type, the text messages are coming in from the excited Little Miss. The mare's gone down and she's pushing! No, sadly, I am not able to be there with the children to share the thrilling moment with them. We're a one-car family and daddy needs it tonight. There's no way Little Miss will allow anyone to miss out on the action, though! The latest message was, "she didn't break yet ohh..here she goes." It won't be long now...
The Little Boy was only 5 years old for the birth of the colt. This is the second time he gets to see the miracle of horse birth. Being that he's now an 8-year-old, this lesson in farming is sure to make a more lasting impression. ;) I wonder how he's doing?

These kinds of things are true privileges of being homeschooled. It's a Tuesday night - a school night - and the children are able to be at the barn at 10:00 p.m. to watch a horse come into the world. Really, how many children get to do that? Children can read about foaling, watch movies, or see stuff online, but nothing compares to actually being present for such a miraculous event. Not only seeing the first seconds of a horse's life, but enjoying the interraction of a mare with her new foal and watching the foal stand and take its first steps just moments after it's born. I didn't get to take part in such a momentous ocassion until March 27, 2007. I was 29 years old. I loved sharing the joy with my children and will never forget that night. I love that my children are able to see it for the second (or third, in Little Miss's case) time in their young lives and hope that it's something they will never forget having the privilege of being a part of.

...The text has come in ~ the new COLT is here! :D
At 10:10 p.m., Little Miss's horse's half-brother was born. He's a bay colt with a star and a left hind sock, she tells me. Other than the left hind sock, he looks just like his big half-brother. :)

I can't wait until the children get home to tell me all about what happened at the barn tonight.

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