Westfalen NA Inspection

Sharpie’s inspection was going to be today, July 28, 2017, but due to likely all-day thunderstorms, it was moved to yesterday. This meant I was already at work, working, when I received the notice that Sharpie was going to be inspected, and did I want to come watch. I did, but I had a meeting at work that prevented me from immediately leaving and enjoying a day of foal inspections. Instead, I got there late enough that I saw 5 foals go, including mine and D’Arcy’s. 

Side note: I decided I don’t like the name “Sharpie” anymore, and am testing out a new name, “Stu.” This is Stu. Stu is awesome. Everyone likes Stu. From now on, he will be referred to as Stu, unless I decide I don’t like Stu anymore, in which case, stay tuned for the next name. 

All the inspections follow a basic format. First, the foals are brought in and examined at a standstill. There were two inspectors, which included longtime RPSI inspector of North America and German, Otto. He will be traveling nonstop until October to see all the horses on the North American tour. 

westfalen
This colt got the comment, “Very muscular.” Not a surprise since he looks like a weight lifter!

After being inspected at the halt, the mother is lead around the arena and the foal follows. This one was very energetic…he decided the best action was to attack his mother while being led. 

westfalen
“MAAAHMMM, play with me!”

Then he ran around like a barrel horse.

Serpentine Babou!

It was fun to watch the foals come out, and speculate on what their futures may be. One foal, Oh Henry, seems destined for the hunter ring. I was a little envious of his clear hunter ability, and also of the other fabulously talented foals, but I really only need the one. And need is a strong word anyway…I really only want the one. Even if I want every one of them. 

Olivet and Stu were the last to go. Olivet is having a weird growth stage right now, and has earned the nickname, “Carpet Mule.”

We are pretty sure her father was a horse…but maybe a DNA test to be sure?

They clipped off her baby hair, but she’s looking very splotchy right now. Poor thing, it stinks she had to go through inspection at this awkward stage. Otto did acknowledge that she’s clearly going through a growth phase right now in his remarks. 

Carpet Mule canters placidly. 

Stu was the final horse to go. He came in very casually with his surrogate mom, and quietly hung out. His mom is definitely a calming influence in his life. 

foal

As he trotted with his mother, he suddenly had a burst of energy and raced down the long side!

westfalen inspection

It only lasted a moment though, and then he was back to trotting docilely along. 

foal trot

Otto’s comments, which were luckily recorded for posterity:

Long legs, showed good movement, good stride at canter, nice balance, easy flying changes. Good trot, with nice swing, and good rhythm. A promising prospect here, interesting cross with long legs.  

Possibly vague, but sounds good enough. He did not get premium, which if I’m honest with myself, I am disappointed, but they look for dressage quality when they decide on those features. I assumed he wasn’t going to move out well due to his placid mother, but I’m also not looking for a dressage prospect. I saw two premiums inspected before Stu, and now that I’ve seen both premium and not, the premiums truly are a sight to behold. They have a little bit extra something going on, but I’m not educated enough to put it into words. I’m considering going to Germany for the Westfalen event in November to both see all the horses, and examine more closely what they look for in a foal. But we will see, I’m not made of money here!

After the inspection, the foals get hair plucked, microchiped, and branded. Some of them took it better than others – I wasn’t able to get photos, but one of them reared straight up. Most of them twist around for a moment at the least. None of them notice what’s going on until the deed is already done. Stu shuffled around for a moment but didn’t react otherwise. 

Westfalen North American tour
Olivet being branded.
westfalen brand
Stu’s new brand.

After branding, we hung around for a few minutes to take pictures and pet our oversized pets. Stu posed for me for several minutes and while this isn’t a quality they look for in foal inspections, this is a quality I greatly appreciate!

foal
We are really into deep, meaningful staring.

Stu was very interested in the decorations. 

“hmm, what is this? I better paw it to check.”
“It’s attacking! Run for your lives!”

Right before we left, they announced the site champions. The filly champion, which may not be a surprise to any readers who liked her before, was the black beauty look-alike, who is now named Delta. I sadly missed her inspection, but D’Arcy said she was spectacular. I’m very sad I missed it. She currently has a three people waiting list, so if you’re interested, better get in line!

site champion
Despite being sunbleached, her expression says she still knows that she is the best.

After everything was done, I talked to Otto for a bit about the foals, and the inspection. He’s a very interesting man. I asked him if he could elaborate on Stu’s potential for hunters. They don’t have hunters in Germany, it’s a very American sport, but he did offer some great perspective. He said they don’t judge the foals on their suitability for hunters (due to the previous sentence) but he personally thought Stu would be great for hunters. He thought Stu was great at being elastic in his movement, and he emphasized how important that is. 

This is very much making me want to go to Germany for the November stallion inspections, but we’ll see how the pieces fall. Overall, it was a very cool experience to see the foals inspected!

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Choosing the Right Foal

We took another visit to the breeding farm to see the new foals that have been born, and see how the older foals have been developing. Brace yourself for FOAL PHOTOS! (which could be the best kind of photos!)

To start, it’s probably a good thing there is a legal limit to how many horses I can have on my farm, because I basically want every single foal. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. I’d get two or three, and I’m not even joking. By going through this process, I have realized that my greatest weakness is adorable foals because every single one I see, I want. I fall in love with their little faces, and their little personalities. Some are shy, and some are braver, but all are curious and they poke their little heads around their mothers to examine me, tentatively reaching out with a tiny muzzle, before thinking better of it and retreating. They are so stinkin’ cute.

The first foal I looked at, I was in love with. And he a tragic backstory, making me want to take it home and cuddle it all the more. The poor little colt is an orphan.

champagne warmblood foal
He was pretty bold though, likely due to the humans who care for him.

He was so handsome and cuddly. He had just gotten a bath (or fell in a bath, unclear) and was damp and adorable. His color is called golden champagne, which means he’s going to shed out to look similar to a golden palomino. I just luff him so much! He was so stinkin’ cute! 

They tried to get one of the other mares to adopt him as their own, and the mare was actually willing and was accepting him when the little guy got upset/scared and started kicking at the dam.  He’s still pastured with just her and her baby, so there could still be a chance that it will work out, but the breeder said the main issue is that he just wants to be with people. He has to learn to be a horse, and how to interact with horses, but at this point, he wants nothing to do with the mare and foal.

Keeping up the colt love, the next colt I saw, I fell in love with. 

warmblood colt chestnut
Three-day old strut.

Being both a colt, and a chestnut, he has two strikes against him. But he is out of the same dam that I already decided I loved, just a different sire. The sire is very impressive but definitely very frisky, and a bit of a clown. This could be hilariously great, or it could be overwhelming for me. I haven’t decided yet. 

bay stallion
Stallion picked up this weed and carried it around for several minutes. Unclear on why.

He’s looking a bit rough at the minute due to ulcers, breeding season, and spending far too much time pacing a fenceline looking for his ladies, so I’m not posting any other photos of him as I think it would be unfair to him. But he’s completed his 90 day stallion testing and is approved Oldenburg NA and RPSI (Westfalen now) in stud book 1. 

But back to the foal – I’m pretty sure we connected on a spiritual level. 

warmblood foal
We gazed deeply into each other’s eyes.

Just to throw it out there in case it’s unclear – The mare he is with is his mother because she is a recipient mare. They took a fertilized egg from his genetic mother and put it in this mare. (very sweet mare, too!)

He hasn’t been handled since he was born, and was suspicious, but I managed to get up to him while he was drinking milk. I started rubbing him, and he decided it liked it enough to stand there, suspiciously eyeing me the whole time. 

warmblood breeding
“I see you back there, hooman…”

We stared some more at each other.

chestnut colt
“Let us discuss the terms of your potential ownership of me. I demand four carrots a day (I hear they are good) on days of leisure and an additional two apples on days of exercise.”
“Hmm, yes, you also seem like an acceptable hooman.”
“Ahhh! I am cantering by and you appear out of nowhere!”

He was gorgeous and doing flying lead changes, and looking so super cute. He also liked to keep pace with his mother, and when she was doing a leisurely walk, he did the teeniest of little trots to keep pace. 

The next foal I saw, I fell in love with. Clearly there’s a pattern emerging. She is a black filly that looks exactly like Black Beauty.

I’ve always wanted a true black horse!

She was very dressage-y though so I’m not considering her as an option. I’ll just admire from afar as she goes on the horse equivalent of those child beauty pageants, and grows up to be a glamous star. 

And finally, a repeat of one we saw when we were here last time, the beautiful Olivet. D’Arcy had an extended bonding moment with her, and D’Arcy’s scratches incentivized her to groom her mother.

Could it be love!?

I haven’t spent much time with foals, but it was really shocking how much she’s grown in the three weeks since we last saw her. 

6 week old foal
Pictured with her mother. 6 weeks old, and HUGE! I think her legs are already the same length!

So many beautiful foals… I wish I could have all of them. Although I have the logic to realize I will only get one, and it will be out of the dam I love. I was planning to wait until the two from the other sire are born… but that chestnut colt is sooooo cute, and we definitely had a moment. Although having a “moment” probably isn’t a great way to pick a horse. I was told the next two foals definitely won’t be chestnuts due to the magic of genetics, so there’s that to look forward to. I will wait and see what comes out, despite being very eager to pick one already.

I asked Dave afterward what he thought of all the foals. His exact words were, “They all look exactly the same. Oh, except one had ridiculously long legs, I couldn’t even see her torso when she was on the other side of her mom.” I can only assume he’s talking about the giant Olivet. 

I just need the next few weeks to go faster! Or those babies to come out already, ugh, why do they need to be in there so long!? There’s only so much to do in there, aren’t they bored yet?!

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