Throughout the night I was up, as if in a dream, walking around in the complete still and silence, soft light of the full moon diffused behind the patchwork quilt above of heavy clouds, misting the air with a gentle spring rain and warmer air than we’ve felt in days.
Another mostly sleepless night as I await a mare ready to foal.
I don’t know if it was false labor (is there really such a thing?) or high expectations that had me fooled yesterday, combined with the enthusiasm of anxiously observing guests, which overshadows my own judgment at times. But no foal arrived as of yet.
The lovely mare, Willow, began “waxing” yesterday. Her colostrum is ready to go, she is ready to birth, this is her clear signal the baby will be born within 48 hours. I took her off pasture and allowed her to be in the back yard with Canella and Cricket. How beautiful this site, to see the mares join up together again in the natural need of companionship. They lived together last summer, raised their babies together side by side, and they took to it directly again this year, slipping into the role they know and are so comfortable with, proud of. The broodmares. Such an honor. Such grace.
This will be Willow’s third foal. She knows what to do; and by now, I should know her. And so, I should have known better; it shouldn’t have been last night. But in the early evening (I’ve never known a mare to foal early evening, but I sure don’t know it all, so I was open to believe) my guests come get me and say “it’s now.”
Well, I admit she sure acted ready last night, but most mares, and certainly not my very shy and aloof Willow mare, wouldn’t be down and doing it in front of all these strangers.
In any case, I checked on her throughout the night, every hour, with no further signs of labor. Time well spent. I can miss a little sleep. I hate to miss a foaling. And I love to be there for my mares, to share this with them, to comfort them as need be, to be present for them, allowed to share this miracle of life that will never cease to amaze me.
All night I dreamed of foals being born… that is, during the few sporadic moments I did sleep.