Foaled: 24 January 2005
Sire: Samford Jack Dam: Marlie Auriol
Foaled at 1.20am, on a warm still night at the height of summer, Bess was on her feet so quickly and feeding well when we left her with her dam, Auriol.
Most mares are foal-proud with their new progeny, and will herd the foal away from other horses across the fence lines. And across in the next door paddock, there’s usually great curiosity about the new arrival.
Intrigued by the approaching horses in the adjoining paddock, Bess had attempted to approach them. Initially, Auriol attempted to head her off, while laying her ears back in a definite signal to the others to keep away. In the meantime, the horses are acting like a magnet to Bess.
Auriol suddenly spins round, tail lashing and with a warning squeal shows her rump to the would be enticers of her foal. They, and Bess, decide discretion is the better part of valour.
In their first couple of weeks, foals seem very definite in what they are doing: drinking from their Dams, suddenly flopping down to sleep, waking and alert almost instantly, then getting to their feet in a tangle of limbs and racing off in a sudden burst of speed.
Sometimes mare and foal take off together.
Around 9 each morning, if the weather is dry, our horses seem to like a bit of a morning snooze. Usually while the foal is resting or sleeping, the mare will stand guard. By the time the foal is this age, we usually have another mare or two in with them. In this photo, but out of shot, Auriol’s Dam, Golden (and grandmother to Bess) stands on guard over the tiny herd.
Already Bess is growing her winter coat and has become a much richer looking chestnut; her tail has become longer, fuller and lighter, but the mane is still a length of russet tuft.
Sporting a flaxen mane and tail contrasting with her deep rich chestnut coat, Bess stands relaxed for her photo session.
Heading back for unharnessing after a working session, this was the only the second time that Bernice had met our horses. Bernice and her sister, Louise, had politely introduced themselves to Bess with a good hard brushing of the woolly winter coat (complete with dried mud from the paddocks). Used to riding light horses, this was the first time Bernice had ground driven a heavy horse.