Painted Pony Foal Is Born
To my readers: This is my children's story about the birth of a foal and
his struggles to survive in a new world. Geared primarily to young and
young-at-heart horse lovers, it details the loving care of his dam, the
humans that inevitably enter his life almost from first breath, and his
natural instincts and fears. Told from the foal's point of view, he
contends with strange new experiences, fears and his mother's life
lessons. I have been given the right to publish this Painted Pony story
by The Trail of Painted Ponies© for reader enjoyment.
This is Part 1.
The newborn was gasping for breath. Little foal, Carries the Spirit, was
no longer warm, cozy and curled up inside his mother, and he found the
ground cold and hard. Everything was strange, and Spirit felt wet and
weak. He rested for a moment. Only his ears flicked. Then, as he caught
scent of his mother, he raised his head for a better look. This simple
movement was hard for him.
Spirit lay still again. His breaths were coming regularly now and he
felt himself getting stronger. Then, his mother, the beautiful Native
Jewel, was moving her body close to him. He took a long look at her and
thought she was the most beautiful sight. Slowly and rhythmically, Jewel
licked his still-wet coat. He managed a tiny nicker and she lapped his
face in response.
Jewel conveyed warmth, comfort and delight to Spirit. "I already love
you," she softly chortled. Her voice was melodious to him, giving him
the strength to reach out to her with his head, to make an effort to get
closer to her, to take in her scent, to show her that she was special
The little body thrust out long, sinewy and perfectly formed front legs.
He bent them at the knees and tried to shift his unsteady weight.
Something was telling him to get up.
Instinct was driving Spirit now. It was pushing him. Energy came
flooding into his body. With the steady rhythm of his mother's tongue
drying him, he felt stronger by the minute. In fact, he was feeling
strong enough to try to push up with his rear legs. As he did, he felt
powerful. It was a nice try but Spirit was still uncoordinated and
unsuccessfully flopped back down on his tummy. He mustered up his
strength, tilted slightly over on his side and, again, willed his legs
to support him.
Carries the Spirit gave a mighty heave and, to his amazement, made it
into a wobbly upright position. He forced himself to stand. Even though
he was able to hold this position for only a short time, his
uncoordinated legs buckled and down he went again. Plop, and he was an
ungainly little heap on the floor. His breathing was quick and raspy.
Some inner strength made Spirit lunge back onto his feet. This surprised
him and, standing awkwardly, he whinnied to his mother. "I'm standing!"
He started teetering, but he was determined. And he remained standing.
"I am so proud of you," said Native Jewel. "You are my firstborn, and
you are perfection. Wait until I show you off to your Daddy, Medicine
Horse. Let me get a better look at you, my son."
Jewel's methodical licking had dried his coat and, even at this early
time of his life, he was a stunning miniature version of Medicine Horse.
It was already apparent that he was strong and lithe, handsome and
sound. Indeed, Carries the Spirit was a remarkable specimen of the
Painted Pony Breed. Jewel was mesmerized by the colt.
"My little son," the mare murmured. "You are so amazing and strong. I
can't believe you're on your feet already! Come to Mama and lets
practice walking. You need to be a fast study in case we have to run."
"Why would we have to run, Mama?"
"Because sometimes there is danger," said Native Jewel.
He felt himself getting stronger on his feet. He was breathing normally
now and his fur was dry. His legs were under better control and he felt
good. "Mama said I might have to run," he worried.
Just then, a two-legged being came in through the wall where, somehow, a
door slid open. Spirit found his legs quickly now. He jumped over to
cuddle next to his mother, seeking protection. But she moved. She placed
her body between the colt and the human. Spirit was completely hidden
behind his Mama. Without any hesitation, the stranger came directly over
to Native Jewel and grabbed her halter. Carries the Spirit was so
afraid but his mother stood perfectly still. Did he see this right? Mama
reached her nose out to be stroked. This stranger was so different from
his own kind there was no mane, no tail, no fur; the person was
stroking his mother who seemed to like the attention.
Spirit peeked around her flank and thought to himself, "I wonder if Mama
has forgotten me?" He remained in position behind her, keeping
motionless. With any luck, the stranger would not see him.
Still ignoring Spirit, the person walked Jewel to the middle of the
foaling stall and carefully examined her. There he was, standing in the
open. He was so scared. There was nothing to do but run. Spirit ran
straight into his mother's tummy and bounced off. Once again, he was in a
heap on the stall floor. He snorted and shook his head. Scrambling onto
his feet, Spirit cried to himself, "I have to get away." He made a
Thank goodness Mama answered him. She gave a short soft whinny. "Stop
that," Mama said. "This is our human. Jennifer is our friend. She's good
to me and loves me. She will love you, too. Let her get close to you
and be good."
Still, Spirit moved away. He watched Jennifer from a distance, stomping a
front foot impatiently. As he faced his Mama and the person, he
wondered what he should do.
"Mama, help me. I'm scared."
"Don't be afraid, my sweet little one. I told you Jennifer is our
friend. You can trust her. Let her touch you. I want you to be good
friends," said Mama.
"OK - I'll try."
He stood his ground, confused and afraid. His little head bobbed
nervously back and forth as he watched Jennifer with his mother.
Slowly, very slowly, and with soft cooing words, Jennifer approached
him. She reached her hand out to him and steadily approached. Her scent
was strong but pleasant. Spirit stuck his nose out to get a better whiff
of her hand. He spooked as his nose came into contact with Jennifer's
fingers. Darting into the corner, his small frame flattened against the
wall. Instantly he felt his legs go wobbly again. Spirit willed himself
to stand still. His gaze turned to Mama - she was smiling.
Softly she whickered, "You are so brave, my little one. I am so very proud of you."
Now Jennifer was reaching out to touch his side.
"I can't stand this," Spirit blurted and bolted back into the corner.
His body roughly brushed against Jennifer's outstretched arm. He stood,
quivering. All he wanted was to get away. Spirit composed himself and
moved to his mother's flank.
The human was leaving the stall. Could it be? Spirit found himself alone
with Mama. Jennifer was just outside the door, still watching.
"It's time to eat now," said Mama. "You must learn this quickly."
She positioned herself next to a still-shaking Spirit, rubbing softly against him.
He didn't understand. Wise Native Jewel aligned herself with Spirit,
encouraging him while soothingly instructing him. His instinct kicked
in, and before long, Spirit was enjoying a tentative first meal. He was
new at this to be sure but Jewel was patient and kind. Spirit decided
that milk was a good thing! Oh, he felt so good!
Tummy full, legs stronger, Mama close, and Jennifer watching from
outside the stall, Spirit began to feel drowsy. He nudged Mama.
"It's OK little son," she said. "Lie down a spell and rest. We are safe
here. We'll practice running soon. But, first, there is still another
lesson you must learn."
With that, she moved away from Spirit and methodically backed up to the
wall. Holding her tail aloft, Mama stretched out and let go of
something. His curiosity took over. As he got closer to Mama, he smelled
the something - it smelled strong, very strong.
"You have to learn to poop and pee," said his Mama. "This is poop. We
have to do that to stay healthy. It is a good thing to do."
Just then Jennifer came into the stall again, carrying something. She
scooped up Mama's pile, dropped it into the bucket, patted Mama heartily
and exited the stall. Spirit noticed that Jennifer didn't even look at
him this time. He was puzzled.
"I'm still here," thought Spirit. "Now she doesn't like me anymore."
As he watched Jennifer, he felt strangely drawn to her. "Mama likes her. She seems kind – Uh oh."
Someone was coming. He thought, "I have to hide."
Running behind the mare, Spirit did the best he could to conceal himself.
This was another human. The two-legged person had a deeper voice and it
scared him. Then the door slid open and both Jennifer and the new
stranger came into the stall. He was carrying a miniature version of a
halter. Fear struck him and this time he really wanted to get away.
Jennifer said to the mare soothingly, "Whoa there Jewel. We want to get a
better look at your little guy. He hasn't gone yet and we know he ate."
They made no move to catch him. Both stood at different spots in the
large stall and just watched him. He was so nervous. A loud rumbling in
his own body startled him. It gave him the urge to lift his tail and,
and – wow, he was doing the poop thing.
"Mama, I did it!" Spirit managed.
When it was over, he jumped away from it. Back to his Mama.
She was reassuring him, "That's what Jennifer wanted to see. Good job, Spirit!"
He asked her, "Will they leave now?"
The two people remained in the stall, planted in place. The horses moved
around and the people did not interfere. Once in a while, they had
brief conversations with each other but, mostly, they baby talked to
Jewel and Spirit.
"What a beauty you are."
"You are a fine boy."
"Your mother is the grandest horse ever and she's wonderful."
"Spirit looks so much like Medicine Horse, his Daddy."
The words were sounds to Spirit yet the humans were . Calmer now, he was
getting used to hearing and seeing the people. His fear was fading.
Spirit liked having them there, fawning over him and his mother. When
they petted his mother, he felt left out.
He thought, "I wonder why Mama likes it so much?" With his curiosity
growing, he decided to check for himself. "She doesn't mind their touch.
Think I'll try it."
One step at a time, Spirit moved closer to Jennifer. She had a sweet
voice. He inched as close as he dared. She could not quite reach him.
"She's not making a move to touch me," thought Spirit.
So he moved closer. This time he was within reach. Still Jennifer did not touch him.
"It's OK," nickered Mama softly giving him encouragement.Carries the
Spirit, with all the bravery he could muster, poked his tiny nose at
Jennifer's hand, withdrawing it just as suddenly as he had brought his
nose forward. Again Jennifer did not move. Nor did the other human. Both
watched him with great interest.
His curiosity and desire to be touched by this human had grown into a
need. This time, Spirit stuck his nose into Jennifer's hand. She stroked
the velvety nose lightly. Her touch tickled him but it was a pleasant
feeling. He stood perfectly still, kept his head in place, and permitted
the touching. Jennifer continued stroking him. Again. Up a little
higher. Spirit was unsure of himself. He enjoyed the touch and stood
"I already love you, you handsome boy," Jennifer was cooing. "I've had
your Mother since she was a filly. Your Father, Medicine Horse, came
here as a yearling. And now I have you, my precious Spirit. I have the
most beautiful Painted Ponies family. How happy you make me!"
They all stayed in the stall for a long while. Carries the Spirit was
strong and healthy. His eyes shone with gentleness and intelligence.
Native Jewel watched him with great pride. She knew the humans were
pleased with her and Spirit. She was devoted to them and trusted them
with her life.
/ - / - / - The End - / - / - /
Written by The Old Gray Mare © and published with exclusive permission
by The Trail of Painted Ponies©
using Painted Ponies.