Wednesday, May 07, 2003


On a cool foggy morning at Whiskey Creek Farms, a new foal greeted her first day.

I was alone at the barn and just beginning the morning feeding routine. I went to get Kodak, our two-year-old stallion, to bring him in to the barn. As a stallion, he naturally tends toward the wild side, but today he was insane. He ignored me as I entered his paddock, standing at the opposite end of the enclosure and staring intently into an adjacent field. He was obsessed and screaming. I followed his gaze into the foggy field and saw the object of his attention. It was a new foal.

Normally when a mare is about to foal she gives some signs. She will wax up on her nipples. Her udder will fill with milk and tighten. Her entire back end may even shift and relax. This mare, Stella, was due May 15 which meant it could be any time now, but she didn’t show any of the telltale signs that she was about to foal so we didn’t have her under the normal “foal watch.”

But foal she did.

I dropped the halter I had in my hand for Kodak, climbed two fences and headed straight for Stella and her baby. Because of the fog it was almost like I’d had a vision of a foal in field where there shouldn’t be a foal yet, and I was just checking the reality of this vision. As I cut through the fog, the foal indeed turned out to be real.

I checked the foal and discovered it was a filly--a female. When a horse is born they stand up almost immediately. This foal was probably about two hours old. She was standing next to her mother--all bones but very tall. She was chestnut with a big white blaze on her face and two white socks on her hind legs. Like all babies, she was a miracle, and beautiful.

I named her Monterey after the Spaniard who ordered an expedition along the West Coast of North America in the early 1600s.

We brought Stella and Monterey into the barn. The filly wasn’t nursing immediately which was a concern, but after a few hours she figured it out.

As I write this she is less than a day old and is doing well.

She is our fifth foal this year. Our sixth, and last, is due in the next ten days.

There aren’t many mornings in life like this one.