Special Deliveries Coming SoonBy: Mike Feb 11, 2014
I'm sitting in my office with the little space heater running to take the chill off. The weather has been an oppressive, heavy grey. Grey skies, which have alternated between sleet and snow for long enough to turn the ground into a sodden mess. Half the ground is melting snow, the other half mud, and in the horse pastures there's a distinctive aroma that reminds one that not everything that looks like mud is. The whole place is — what's that word? Oh yes, dismal.
Over the past couple of days we've been moving horses around. It's a bit like one of those tile-puzzles. This horse doesn't get along with that one, but does fine with the little ladies over there. This one needs grain, and that one's on a diet. But the shuffling is done, and there's two very pregnant mares grazing contentedly in the mare pen. Of course, they both need to get immunizations tomorrow, and they'll be less contented when I whip out a giant needle . . . but for tonight they're slogging around trying to eat their hay before it floats off somewhere.
I was going to grab photos, but it seems almost unkind. They're still in winter fur, so they're as wooly as mastodons. Their coats are packed with mud. (Why do horses roll when it's muddy out? Is it just to make their owners look bad?) One of them has a shabby, ratty, gnawed-off excuse for a tail. It was long and full and glorious until this year's foal decided to eat it. Like an indulgent mother, she let him. *Sarcastic voice* Isn't that just precious?. If I were Southern, I believe this would call for a "bless her little heart." And, of course, both mares are heavily pregnant, and not quite their usual graceful selves. . .
And, now that you mention it, that's very strange. No, I don't recall Patty ever being less than beautiful and graceful when she was pregnant. I would never have described her walk as a bow-legged waddle. No sir, I'm a smart man, and a happily married man. And neither my wife nor her mares have ever been less than beautiful. Honest.
So Patty and I are looking at these two beautiful mares, both of whom are bred like princesses, and we're wondering what sort of surprises we'll get in the next month or two. One of the mares is tall and black, with extremely animated gaits. She's bred to a famous gray that recently passed away Hey Hallelujah. The other mare is a dark bay, and is bred to an up-and-coming chestnut named Apalo.
I think Patty loves the anticipation. It's like Christmas in the spring. Will we get colts or fillies? What color will they be? Are they going to be knock-your-socks-off amazing, or just nice? Will Patty ever breed a horse that she doesn't lose money on? These are the questions that keep us up at night (and believe me, if you could see the feed bills, they'd keep you up at night too!).
So here we sit, side by side, staring into the lowering, gloomy, soggy night. I'm calculating the cost of a larger shelter, and trying to figure out how we're going to pay off the tractor. She's smiling to herself as visions of foals-to-be gallop and cavort in the grassy meadows of her mind. There should be a moral to this story. . . oh yeah, that's it: Be careful, lads, when you marry a dreamer — you might be expected to make those dreams come true.