Start Blog - Sorraia Mustangs 4.1.15: A pregnant moment
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4.1.15: A pregnant moment



Mini-Shetties, foals on the way, and Grelo's icy  Christmas adventure


Well, with the holidays upon us and as we eagerly wait to seen how many foals will arrive in the spring, training of the Sorraia Mustangs is pretty much on hold. Our stallion, Grelo, went out with the mares in March, so we could see some new additions in the next several weeks - it certainly looks like it! While some of the mares are definitely in foal, with others it's hard to tell whether they have just been tucking into the hay rather enthusiastically, or whether they really are hearing the patter of tiny hooves.


For the importance of this, have a look at our Iberian Wild Horse page, on which Claudia Radbauer, the owner of the ranch and the Sorraia Mustangs, explains their background and endangered status. 


It's a very exciting time, so, while we sit on the edge of our seats, I'd like to share some of the photos and stories from the holiday season.



Dreaming of a green Christmas...


Yes, well, here we are on Christmas eve. 13°C, sunshine and grass - almost like a spring day. I should mention that as well as the Sorraia Mustangs and domestic horses, Claudia has now added four Mini-Shetland ponies. You might think, as I did, that a Shetland is small enough already - but there are, indeed, Mini-Shetties, and they are about the size of a large dog. They are still "real deal" Shetlands - with Scottish bloodlines - just bred to be a little smaller than the standard Shetland Pony.


However, what they lack in size, they make up for in character and it's been fascinating to see how they are in some ways similar to, and in other ways compl etely different from, regular horses and ponies.


No particular training or preparation, just general handling - and the pony is competely untroubled by a person being on both sides at once.



The photo is one classic example. The whole issue of something above a Mini-Shettie is a non-event. While we were playing around with them on Christmas eve, Claudia tried "riding" - obviously with both her feet on the ground - but just seeing what would happen with a person having a leg on each side. Answer - nothing at all. 




... and a white New Year! 


While Christmas was warm and green, things turned on the night of 26th December, and in a few hours we went from spring to winter wonderland. Especially in the snow, the Mini-Shetties are the cutest fluff-balls on legs you've ever seen!


Mini-Shetties in the snow, and in a hurry! Left to right Sunny, Honey, Crystal and Dusky.  Not their posh, registered names - but based on them, and it's what I call them. The brown one, Dusky, is by far the cheekiest. It's quite amazing how fast such little creatures can move, when they want to!


Looking cute with snowy noses! A refreshing roll in the snow.


The Minis are completely unpeturbed by the cold weather, and even though they have a snug shelter offering plenty of hay, straw and comfortable, dry mats, they hardly go in there and prefer staying outside come rain, snow or -10°C.



Meanwhile, the Sorraia Mustang mares are getting bigger and bigger...


We're not sure about all of them, but some of them have unmistakable "foal bumps"!





Understandably, the ladies are mostly moving at a rather sedate pace at the moment!



... and the stallion is amusing himself getting up to mischief!


Grelo, on the other hand, is full of energy and taking every opportunity to play, and to get himself into trouble!



He loves some fun and games with the gymnastic ball..




 ... and just plain showing off to anyone who happens to be watching.



Then sometimes, it all goes horribly wrong 


A couple of days after Christmas, disaster struck.  We're not sure whether he simply didn't realize that the ice on the pond wouldn't take his weight, or whether he misjudged the bank, or maybe it was an act of macho bravado - whatever it was, he fell in and found himself literally up to his neck in freezing water!


It's not clear exactly how it happened, but one minute Grelo was standing on the bank, and the next he was floundering around in freezing water! The ladies don't look too impressed, do they?



Luckily, he quickly scrambled out on his own, and after a few hours wrapped up in a rug in a sheltered box, he dried out and was back to his chirpy self when he went back to the mares that evening. Close call - pictures of the fire brigade trying to haul him out haunt my imagination when I think about it! However, I think he learned his lesson and will be staying away from the pond for a while!



So, that's a quick roundup of the news as we head out of 2014,

so a Happy New Year to you, and everything good in 2015!



As always, please feel free to post any comments or questions on the Thinking Horse Facebook page! There are lots more photos on the Aktivstall Mauerbach Facebook page - as well as day to day updates as things happen.


Thanks to Birgit Finta and Claudia Radbauer for the photos!



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