WoodBarn Bess

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.

Day 1: very early morning, about six hours old
Day 2: early morning, sticking close to 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.

Day 2: mid morning, “Who’s this?”

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.

Day 2: Two minutes later

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.

Day 3: and a curious Bess views the human with a camera.
Day 3: late afternoon and Bess is about to flop down for a sleep.

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.

Day 8: cantering along the fence line
Day 10: Alert and always curious, and getting bolder
Bess at four months of age

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.


Bess at 15 mths
Bess at 15 months of age, learning about harness

Sporting a flaxen mane and tail contrasting with her deep rich chestnut coat, Bess stands relaxed for her photo session.

Bess at four years of age with new chum, Bernice.
Bess at four years of age with new chum, Bernice.

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.

February 2017  
WoodBarn Bess, now a brood mare with colt foal at foot.