22 April 2010

Heaven Sent....

Annie and Miss D
April 17, 2010

What a gorgeous week.
Sunny, breezy.

Of course, the horses are enjoying it too.
Probably more than I am!

Sunny and warm means it is time to break out the
fly masks that they wear.
Several of you had a question about
what Miss D had on her head in the video
from the last post.

One of the greatest inventions for horses,
is the fly mask.
In my humble opinion!

It keeps the flies, which carry nasty little diseases,
from crawling around their eyes.

The mask also helps the sunlight
not be so harsh on their eyes.
Kind of like sunglasses for horses!

Annie now has her own little fly mask!
It was an adventure to get her used to it.
She DOES NOT like the sound of
She jumps every time she hears the Velcro
tab opened.
And just could not understand why she
had to wear this funny looking thing on her head!

The first few days after the flies arrived, Annie would toss
her head, over and over.
Trying to get them off her face.
I do believe she is quite appreciative of her
little fly mask now!

We had Miss D wear her fly mask for several days,
so Annie could see it on her.
And also watch us put it on and off her.
She did try to take it off her Mom!
I wish I had caught that on video!!

The newest rage in fly masks, for the well dressed
horse this Spring, are these new designs!

Are they not hilarious!

But, alas, these horses will have to settle
for old-fashioned masks.

I also think it may be a little too much
for Annie to have to look around and
see these odd faces on her Mom,
Grandmother, and Auntie!


I have been in deep contemplation
the past few days.
Thinking of our 
Little Miss Annie.

Within the next few days and weeks we will begin a slow
weaning process between Annie and her Mom.

My years working for huge breeding farms,
weaning was usually done in pairs.
A method called Abrupt Weaning.

Two mares and their foals.

The mares would be walked to the
furthest pasture together.
They would have one another to be with,
for comfort.
The foals would stay in a stall together, at night
and go outside to a paddock during
the day for grazing time.

Sounds simple.
It is heartbreaking.

As we would take each mare out
of their stall,
without their baby,
the mares would begin to bellow.
The two foals would be put into a stall together.
Again, to comfort one another.
But, the further the mares are led away,
the louder their screams get.
Both mare and foal literally become
drenched in sweat,
from the stress of this.

It is heartwrenching.

The foals bellow in their loudest whinney.
This is heartwrenching.

The idea is that during the weaning process,
the mare and foal cannot have any contact.
The mare's milk needs to dry up.
The foal is now old enough to sustain on it's own.
When a farm has 20 mares and foals to wean this
is the usual method.

Misha and Annie
March 27, 2010

With our sweet girl,
we are going to use the Gradual Method.
In a few days, when it is time to come into the barn
from the pasture,
Annie and Miss D will be in stalls next to another.
Annie will go into their stall,
Miss D into the empty stall next door.
The first few days it will just be for a few minutes.

March 20, 2010

They will each have a snack waiting,
(comfort food, no less!)
though I doubt either will want to eat.
They will be able to "nose" one another
through the stall bars.
I do believe it will be quite noisey.
Miss D will no doubt have quite a hissy fit
that her filly is not with her!
(I would too!)
I can almost predict that Annie will be
running circles in her stall,
totally not interested in her snack!

Annie loving on J!
March 27, 2010

We will keep at this pace for about
10 days.
Each day letting them spend time apart,
working up to several hours into the evening.
Until they are able to spend
an entire night, sleeping seperate :(

(Eventually, they will be moved to stalls
at opposite ends of the barn.
They will have different turn-out times.
This will enable us to wean them from
one another, totally.
But, this part of the plan will not happen for a while.
So I don't have to think about it now!)

Annie looking scuffy in her Wnter coat!
April 2010

Annie is such a confident filly!
She is brave; very little scares her.
She explores the pasture at great lengths.
She is not timid at all!
When ever we walk out toward the fence,
she makes a mad dash to come visit!
She adores people.

But, she absolutely adores her Mommy....
as she should.

Miss D and Annie at Daybreak
April 2010

I know to many this may seem quite trite.
But, I do have a feeling that
I will be bellowing and drenched in sweat,
just like Miss D and Annie!

Annie waking up.
April 2010

For so many years I had the privilege
of working as a breeding manager on different farms.
I have lost count of how many mares I bred,
how many little foals I witnessed
being born.
They were all special.

But, this filly, Little Miss Annie,
is so close to my heart.
She is the One.
The one I get to watch grow up. 
The one I will grow old with....

I cannot believe she is almost 6 months old.
Where did the time go.....

 Tonight, as I was finishing up in the barn,
I caught Annie watching me.

Our eyes met.

All the other horses were eating hay
and watching out the windows.

Annie was munching, but watching me.
She stuck her still-slim-enough-muzzle
through the stall bars.

I walked over and kissed her furry face.

 Looking into those dark, beautiful, eyes,
 I thought about our recent visit from 
an elderly neighbor 
 who came to see her
for the first time.

Annie at 24 hours!

 Annie stuck her head through the fence to
greet him.
He scratched her neck and she licked his fingers!
Then she had a "baby burst" of energy
and flew around the pasture
in the most beautiful cantor.
Showing off for him, no less!

"Something that sweet and beautiful
was heaven sent," he said.

And he is so very right.

My Annie.
My own little piece of heaven.
I just love her so....



Julie Harward said...

Ohhh, I just love you Misha and Annie...these things are so close to my heart too. I had an arabian colt, his name was O'Mar Shareff and his mama's name was Fiddlers Fancy...it was the best of times raising him from a tiny baby...hugging and loving on him and scratching him til he went all silly, watching him go flying across the fields...he was my baby. Even when he got older as we were out in the fields doing anything, his nose was right there under my arm or in my pockets!
I don't remember weaning him though, I think it just happened with time. It is all so wonderful and the thrill and beauty of an Arabian is unmatched! Thanks for sharing :D

Laura said...

Heaven sent indeed, great post, I could almost see her doing the things you described, I know that moment you described, when you caught Annie looking at you, there is magic in those moments.

Feral Female said...

Such lovely pictures as always Misha. I LOVE that fly mask with the face!! Too funny!

Lucy said...

Hey....I'mmmmm back! Mean Blogger!

I just love looking at all those photos of yours. And I love the fly mask. When I see them I always think of one day when I was in Memphis. Went to Graceland (be still my heart-- patpatpat) and in back of the house is a pasture with beautiful horses grazing around. They had fly masks on. But there was also a sign to tourists that said they were NOT to take the masks off of the horses. The horses could see, it did not blind them, yadayadayada.

I couldn't believe that 1) somebody would have the nerve to just take a situation upon themselves and 2) people really think the horses can't see???? and 3) no one has told them what flys do in their eyes apparantly. :)))

Deb said...

So educational, I always learn something about horses every time I visit your blog. My hopes are that Annie and Miss D have an easy transition and that it's not too hard on you either.

So how do the horses see with the masks on?

Sandra said...

Gradual weaning sounds a lot better and nicer for all involved; wish I'd known about it those many years ago when I was breeding American Curly horses.
I always hate hearing the bellow of the cows when their calves are taken from them; seems so sad and mournful. I could weep for them all.

~Kim~ said...

You have so beautifully articulated the life and love that you have in your heart and surrounding you, and even added humor to that with the fly-masks! You are indeed a special person who gives so much!!

Sydney said...

They have these really neat "stylish" fly masks this year by farnam in all sorts of shimmery colours like silver and pink.

I'll tell you how we weaned stormy and we will definately do it again. We got a cheap breakaway halter for her since none of ours are turned out in halters. We put a few screws into the noseband of the halter. When she went to nurse she would poke Suzy in the belly. A moms first instinct is to warn the baby by lifting a foot, which she did. After about two weeks Stormy was completely weaned and there was no heart wrenching crying going on when one or the other left to go someplace else for the weaning time.

Rural Revival said...

Heaven sent indeed Misha. Her beauty never ceases to amaze me. You know that I don't much about horses, everything I know I learned from you! However, I just can't imagine Annie and Miss D going through that first weaning process. It makes me relieved and comforted to know they're with you; loved and cared for, always.
I've printed off a copy of the photo of you and Annie and have placed it beside my copy of the Artist's old farmhouse in winter painting on my desk. Two reminders of why I love the country. : )

Be well friend! Hugs ~Andrea~

PS. I most definitely want to be a cat too! Spending the entire day in someones reading chair and being waited on hand and foot. Hhmph! Must be nice! Expect an email in your inbox this weekend. See, I'm slow at emailing too! ; )

Jeanette said...

Oh look at sweet little Annie! I can see why you love her so! Weaning must be heartbreaking to witness! Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures and that information.

Flat Creek Farm said...

Heaven Sent, indeed! What beautiful words and pictures, as always :) I know weaning will be bittersweet! Hugs, Tammy

Aunt D said...

This is one of your very best posts. I'm so proud of you. Love, Aunt Debbie

Heart2Heart said...


Your blog is the perfect place to visit because when I finish reading your posts, I feel so relaxed and at ease.

Thank you for the warm and inviting feel of your blog and for what you share. I have had a love of horses since I can remember and get lost in what you write about your wonders!

If you get a chance, stop by and participate in some of my giveaways, most of them end this weekend! I'd love to have you join!

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Donna said...

I hope that you ALL get through the weaning process without much stress! I've never seen the fly masks around here, even though we have lots of small horse farms in this valley. Interesting!

Country Dreaming said...

What a process--glad you have to do it and not me.
I've said it before and I know i'll say it again--I just love the Annie stories. She is growing up to quite a lady.

Good Luck.


Snappy Di said...

I'm not a horse owner but the 'gradual method' certainly sounds much more humane. As with any baby they feel wounded when giving up that close time with their mama. I'm sure Annie will do fine. It's you I worry about during this time as I know it's going to be heart breaking for you to have to do this.

The Blue Ridge Gal

Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage said...

Oh Misha you made me cry...that was a BEAUTIFUL post. I feel for you and I bet you WILL be covered in sweat and bellowing too when the two are separated for the first time. I bet you cry too. I like the way you're going to go about it...just a little bit at a time so they get used to the idea. You're a good 'Mom' Misha. I do believe the elderly neighbor was right...she was heaven sent. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such a nice comment. I hope you and your J and the animals have a wonderful weekend! :)...Maura

Alisha @ Crafty Brooklyn Army Wife said...

Thank you for the anniversary wishes. You are so sweet!!
I love the fly masks...those are too cute.
I hope the weaning process goes well for Miss D and Annie...and especially you and J.
Have a wonderful weekend.

Lynn said...

Hi Misha, I just found your blog and I am so glad I did! I am a horse owner wannabe! Love your blog!


Leslie said...

Misha. I just love this post. I feel like I there with your horses. Annie is precious!!!
I love the fly masks, Never knew there was such a thing. Funny!
Have a great weekend.

Ann On and On... said...

It will be so difficult...I can not imagine. The sound alone would kill me. I hated when we separated the cows on the ranch.

Will it effect the way Annie feels towards you? Will she shy away or show any type of emotion? Sorry if that's a silly question.

Donna said...

I love your sweet Annie! I know it will be hard to wean her. Please keep us updated!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi There, I'm trying to catch up today... Will take me forever!!!! ha....

I just love how you express your love for Annie --and all of the horses. I know how special that is...

I know you dread the weaning process. It would break my heart to hear them bellowing... Oh My Heart! Glad you are doing it gradually....

Hope you have a wonderful week.

Catherine said...

the fly mask is very...funny! i hope Annie won't miss her mother too much.

Ivy and Haley said...
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