Barely a month ago we adopted a pregnant mustang from the BLM facility in southern Mississippi. At that time she had never been handled or even touched willingly by any human. Her seven-hour trailer ride home turned into nine, delayed by two wrecks on the freeway. She was covered in stressful sweat and not a happy camper. But still, less than an hour after arriving home, she took a bit of forage from my bare hand.
This was clearly an unusual mustang.
At least as judged from our limited experience. Noelle, our first pregnant mustang adoption, took 19 days to have a bite of food from a bowl in my hand. Longer to nibble from my bare hand. That was a bit more than three years ago. There has been progress, but it’s been slow and often regressive. Her fear quotient is still very high and she is very slow to trust. It comes in fractions of inches, not leaps and bounds. Her baby, Malachi, killed himself at three months in a freak accident during a storm when he ran into a pole and snapped his brain stem. We were devastated. It has taken us this long to have another go.
All clearly set up by God (see earlier posts). From the start it seemed that this was going to be a different experience.
We were told that she was due to foal in May. Until we arrived at the BLM facility to pick her up. That’s when we were told she was bagging up. Oh my. What to do? Vets have told us that a pregnant mare should not be trailered within 30 days of her due date. It was only 16 days from the time Noelle started bagging up until she delivered. The BLM agent said he thought everything would be fine. The ride is only six to seven hours, right?
So off we went.
Three days later, at approximately 7:45 in the morning, Miss Saffron delivered a beautiful, healthy filly who we named Firestorm (for the firestorm she will likely cause in the traditional horse world :). And because she has a funnel cloud on her face.
Her mom, Saffron, was named because the spice is a deep golden color, as will be Miss Saffy when she sheds her winter coat. Saffron is the spice of kings, one of the rarest, costliest spices on the planet because it must be harvested by gentle hand. Certainly, even at the BLM, we recognized that we were with a very rare young lady (see the video: Here We Go Again). And her relationship will be harvested by the most gentle of hands. Saffron is a therapeutic spice and has been used for it’s medicinal and therapeutic values since at least 7000 years before Christ. If you should doubt Miss Saffron’s therapeutic value just look at the silly grins we’ve been wearing since she arrived.
During the no-agenda time we spend with mama and baby every evening, mama Saffron quite simply and unexpectedly blew us away. Only a month ago she had never willingly been touched by any human. But yesterday evening, her ever so slowly eroding trust barrier suddenly cracked, crumbled, and fell completely away. With no advance notice she was suddenly all over me. Blowing noses, rubbing my cheek. Accepting scratches and rubs everywhere I could never touch before. Her neck, under her jaw, down her shoulder and leg. Her rib cage. Behind her ear.
You might remember that, for me, the most important element in Monty Roberts’ Join Up is that the choice to join up belongs to the horse. It is not forced by the human. And when the horse makes that choice freely, of its own free will, everything changes. And last night everything changed right before our eyes.
It was amazing. Kathleen says it’s because she told Saffy it was my birthday.
And what a spectacular birthday it was. With gifts that keep on giving: Kathleen… family… baby Stormy… and, especially last night, Miss Saffron. God is soooo good.
Enjoy the additional photos below. I apologize for the few fuzzy ones. It was well after sunset, cloudy, and as mentioned this was totally unexpected. Kathleen whipped out her iPhone and shot what she could.
It was quite a birthday.
Follow our latest journey with these two amazing new arrivals from the wild.
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From no horses and no clue to stumbling through mistakes, fear, fascination and frustration on a collision course with the ultimate discovery that something was very wrong in the world of horses.
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