The foals of 2023

 

This year’s crop: a colt and a filly; both dark with a very small star and that is pretty much where all comparisons end.

Thorium (Finest/Wolkentanz II/Ferro) the colt was born first to the maiden mare Divine who despite a difficult birth (as in the colt was big and she was a maiden and she retained the placenta and needed some amount of intervention) revealed herself to be a terrific doting mother.

From day one he looked like an Asian supermodel: Sexy as all hell, thin, bony and a bit androgynous at first :. We could tell right away that he was a tall, leggy, long-lined colt. He had a long head, long body and long neck. He looked elegant and together from day one. He was jet black and completely unfazed by the world from day one.

He looked perfect from the get-go.

He took about two weeks to fill out; his mama did not have a lot of milk at first but once it ramped up he filled in nicely. Even as a very young foal, he had three good gaits. He showed a terrific walk, a springy trot and a good up-and-climbing canter.

I had picked Finest for Divine to shorten her back a bit and give her a bit of a stronger loin, I did not want to add too much height and I wanted a calm temperament to balance her more sensitive one.

Finest did not pass on in his short back: Thorium is well balanced in the neck-to-back length department but he is not any shorter coupled than his dam. While he was a very tall colt at birth he levelled off a bit and at this point, he looks like he will mature around 16.2 or 16.3 so not huge and close to his dam’s size.

Thorium was a fan of people’s touch and attention from the moment he was born. He accepted directions and manipulations quickly. It took him maybe a touch longer than normal to get used to the feel of the halter on this face (he kept nodding, trying to get it to come off) but once the concept of leading and following pressure was introduced, he was very good and easy to halter train and he never hesitated to follow us and we were always careful to honour the trust he put in us.

Thorium on the plateform at 2 months old

 

Like a lot of very confident foals, he comes across as a bit lazy and hard to motivate. We sometimes forget how much fear, discomfort and reactivity play into making foal move and respond to our cues. When foals are born with an abundance of self-confidence and aplomb, they don’t move because of those and you need to spend a bit more time with them to motivate them appropriately. Once you do: they are a lot of fun because they take things in stride and you can play with them a bit more and push the envelope earlier. Thor was walking on a tarp and onto platforms, away from this dam and friends and getting sprayed a lot earlier than the average foal.

 

I am very happy with Thor and will likely use Finest again: perhaps on Zigami in the near future.

 

 

Kreation filly’s: Tia Krea (Sandro Hit/Rubinero/Donnerhall).

After 3 foals looking a lot more like Krea than their sire, I decided to breed her to one of the most prepotent stallions around and one I knew was a very good match for Krea: Sandro Hit.

I had bred her dam (Donation) to Sandro Hit because the Sandro Hit X Donnerhall mix is so proven. The work ethic of the Donnerhall is usually well paired with the athletic and modern line of Sandro Hit. This was sadly the only foal Donation failed to carry to term. I then bred Kreation to Sandro Hit as her first mating (as an ET) and the surrogate failed to keep the embryo. So this was my third and final try at this cross.

I will say that the filly seems to have her sire’s head and croup, everything in between is her dam’s. A short strong back, well-sprung ribs, a nice balanced neck, and nothing long or wispy about her and she will likely not be very tall: probably about 16 hh to 16.1hh at maturity at most.

She is a lot more self-assured than Kreation was at that age, however. She came into the world determined to be some human’s best friend. She loves the attention of people and she is very calm about it, she will brave spooky things to come and snuggle and get scratches and hugs.

When I look into her calm eyes I am reminded of her grand-dam Donation who was such a grounded soul but I knew her as an older mare: Tia Krea had that vibes from the moment she figured out her legs. She stood perfectly for the farrier from the first trim and onward. She was no trouble at all following mom to the stocks when it was time to re-breed and ultrasound Kreation. She is overall a very sweet and calm filly. She will leave what she is doing to come and greet you and if you try to walk away she will follow and insist on more attention.

Always following you around-Tia

She does love to move and so while directing the motion was a challenge at first: she was not hard to halter break. One or two really good fights about giving to pressure and going THAT way-not THIS way-and it was settled.

She did come out as a windswept, contracted, pretzel little thing, that had no idea anything was wrong with her. The windswept and contracture were no sooner resolved, that she managed to sustain a crushing injury to one joint and a fracture to the pastern.  She was not born under a very lucky star!

Windswept baby Tia

Thankfully she and her mom handled the two-month confinement she needed to heal rather well. It was a lot of work to keep both of them fed and calm while not overfeeding them either. With no activity other than to walk a few feet from water to hay, it would have been easy to have them both get overweight. It was a fine balance to keep them occupied but not overeating.

Her x-rays now look very good and she was able to get back to being a normal foal roaming the pasture with the herd after that. She was sold in-utero but with the uncertainty surrounding her injury, we opted to buy her back because the perceived risk and uncertainty were just too much for this particular buyer’s circumstances.

She could have a taller and longer shoulder and I was hoping that Sandro Hit would give her longer legs since he is usually known to make more modern looking babies but this was not the case with Tia.

She is a little bit toed in on one leg from being so windswept but it is slight. She has good bones for her size and her gait are bit more hunter-y: sweeping trot and a rhythmical rocking horse canter. This paired with her very level-headed, people-pleasing personality makes me think she will be a real pleasure to train and ride. We shall see how she develops but while she is not a springy extravagant mover she is very balanced, swaps leads effortlessly, knows where her feet are and is very pretty with a kind eye and the mind to match.

Tia and Kreation in unison.
Owner and worrier in chief at Formosus Sporthorses in Alberta she's been breeding horses for over 18 years. Warmblood, warmblood crosses, and a few saddlebreds. She loves handling mare and foals and is passionate about giving foals the best start possible.

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