“Let’s Play Doctor (Part 3)”

Today’s Post, “Part 3” is the final post of this recent experience. In “Part 1” we discovered the newborn Gila herd foal and it’s first life-experiences. In “Part 2” we saw the little guy struggling to stand and the mistreatment he received from another Gila herd member. In “Part 3”, it all comes together and the little guy “becomes one of the herd”.

“Part 2” ended with a member of our group helping the little foal to stand up, and then holding him up so he could learn to hold his balance. At the same time, another member of our group walked back to the car and drove to the caretaker’s (Karen) house to alert her of the situation, particularly the little guy getting bitten and not able to nurse yet (since it couldn’t stand). While we waited for Karen to show up, we slowly walked the foal to a less windy area; it was a very windy day on top of the hill and this had to make the job of standing up even more difficult for the foal.

While we were waiting, the stallion that we had chased from the foal had come back into the area and began to whinny at us, as if to show his displeasure with us. Here is a photo of him (looks like he is doing the horse equivalent of “thumbing his nose” at us, doesn’t it!):


Gila herd stallion whinnies at us


Meanwhile, although his form wasn’t quite a “10”, the foal was gaining confidence in standing :


Gila herd foal "gets his legs"


Meanwhile, the stallion had managed to pick a fight with another stallion. I believe his new “victim” may have been the foal’s father (sorry, but at this time it was becoming real difficult to know who was who on the scorecard!):


Gila herd stallions fighting


Gila herd stallions fighting


Gila herd stallions fighting


As this fight ended, I turned to see what the foal was doing … staying pretty calm, by our sides! Kinda got the feeling he was “adopting” us :o)


Newborn Gila herd foal


By this time, our group member had returned with Karen. Karen aptly pointed out that she needed to get the foal to the mom so that she cold start nursing. One of the things I learned that day was the importance of the newborn foal to nurse as quickly as possible after birth, taking in the nutritious and protective colostrum from the mom’s milk. With that, Karen gently grabbed the foal and walked it down the hill towards the mare. As Karen made her way down the hill, a stallion (the trouble-maker?) began chasing the mare:


Gila mare chased by Gila herd stallion


As Karen let the foal go, the next photo shows more action coming up! With Karen and Weldon looking on, the trouble-maker stallion was about to be confronted by another stallion, believed to be the foal’s father:


Gila herd newborn foal with mom


In this next photo, the mare is attentive to the foal while the (father) stallion bites the trouble-maker stallion. One thing to note is that Weldon and Karen have their arms up and waving at the horses. This was a safety measure that was taught us before we even reached the pastures. Whenever horses get into fights, they usually don’t notice anything around them except their adversary. By waving/shouting, you can usually get the horses’ attention so that you don’t get trampled!


Fighting over the newborn foal


Reintroduced Gila newborn foal and mom


Reintroduced Gila newborn foal with mom


Reintroduced Gila herd newborn with mom


Shortly after this last photo, the fight ended and mom and foal were reunited! You’re next question is likely “Was the foal ok?  How is he doing?”. Well, we had one additional day with the Gila herd. The next time we saw them, the foal was acting like any “normal” day-old foal! Here he is nursing:


Newborn Gila herd foal nursing


And I’ve heard that since our adventure ended, the little foal has been seen running and having fun with other young foals in his herd! I’m sure glad Weldon knew how to “play doctor” with the horses!

I want to say “Thanks” to readers that have been leaving nice comments on the posts. It has taken a lot of time to edit and post all the photos needed to support this exciting story and I appreciate the comments very much! Tomorrow, we’ll cover another subject in my nature post :o)



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