Last night our standard paint jenny, Donkey Oatie (say it all together), had her foal. When we bought her last December, all we knew was that she had been in with the jack at SOME point, so it was anyone’s guess when she was due. We thought about sending her to be trained to ride with Janet Vance, but not knowing where she was in gestation, I was too nervous to let her off the farm for so long. So, we kept her home and worked on ground manners.

Now, 11 months later, she had finally had that baby! I kept checking her all last week as her udder bagged up, and Elizabeth picked up where I left off, looking for the wax seals on her teats that would signal an impending delivery. Well, she fooled us all, as early yesterday evening Elizabeth looked out to see four tiny black legs standing behind Oatie’s four gray legs. She went and had that baby in the privacy of the back part of the pasture without letting anyone know! Go figure. She had it taken care of. Last night Elizabeth brought the two of them up into the front pasture so the jack couldn’t mess with them, and this morning I went out to get a good look at them properly.

Oatie seems to be doing just fine, much less round already. The foal is a jack, all black except for a white nose. He’s a well put together guy, all legs and ears, curious and bold. Oatie is very protective; she watched me and Philip like a hawk! I was careful to keep an eye on her, and back off when she started getting antsy. She wouldn’t let me touch him last night, but this morning I got my hands on him and rubbed him all over. See, baby boy, people are NICE! He has such long milk whiskers! Great big eyes, nice hard hooves with upright pasterns, straight back. I think he will be really good looking.

Valkyrie is also with foal, and will presumably foal sometime next year. If that foal is a jenny, then she will belong to the Priebes. If it’s another jack, then the Priebes and I will decide who gets which jack foal. I am hoping that once Oatie is trained to ride, we can work with her baby and he can be a riding donkey, too, or perhaps he can pull a cart when he gets big. We’ll get him gelded around the time he weans; there are enough stud jacks in the world, and he will be far more useful as a gelding. We have named him Solomon. Ain’t he a cutie?

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