Kathy and I are pleased to announce that our mare Leira gave birth to Solfaxa at 9:20am 6/2. Mom and filly are doing very well.
We were taking Leira on her morning constitutional around the pasture, and at the farthest (furthest?) point from her pen she decided she was done being pregnant. Being prey animals, mares are normally very secretive about giving birth, and they have some control over exactly when to deliver, so we were very honored to witness the whole affair.
Proper alignment for foals being born looks like they are emerging "superman style" - first one front hoof, followed rapidly by the second front hoof, followed rapidly (did I stress "rapidly"?), by a nose. Leira got up and down a few times during this process, which scared me to death because I didn't want to have to catch an 80 lb. baby , but finally she stayed on the ground, and from the water breaking to a head sticking out of the sack took about 12 minutes!
Within 40 minutes the foal was standing up and taking a stroll around her mom, and within the first 90 minutes she and her mom has trekked back to the "nursery" (about 300 yards away). Horses are a so-called "precocious" (sp?) species, meaning that they start out pretty smart, and they are capable of learning important horse related stuff right off the bat. Within the first 3 hours Solfaxa had achieved some semblence of a trot and a canter.
Within the next 12 hours we witnessed very crude versions of her "special gaits", those being a "tolt" (which is basically a foxtrot or rack for you horse lovers), and a pace. (About 5% of horse breeds are known to be able to perform at least one of these "special" gaits - these "gaited horses" are prized because the special gaits are very, very, smooth to ride.) Finally, to cap it off, Solfaxa has been practicing her "flying lead changes", which means reversing her footfalls (a left side to right side miror image), at a canter without stopping - the idea being that she can go from a clockwise circle to a counterclockwise circle, at the canter, without having to stop.