Once again we had no trouble haltering Alexios today which gave us the opportunity to let him experience something new, a foray out into the big pasture with his mother. Some of you remember that he somehow got out there when he was less than a week old, but since then he has been confined to the pen. He's seen Anastacia go out there to graze but hadn't had the opportunity himself, until today.
We left his halter on but removed the lead rope. He looks snazzy in purple.
Deb led Anastacia out into the pasture and initially Alexios followed her.
Then he stopped. Who knows what is going through his head at this moment but he is thinking about this change of events.
He sees that the gate is open and Mom is on the other side and there is no threat.
Cautiously he approached the open gate...
...and started to graze.
We were hoping for a mad dash of nervous energy as he boldly explored his new environment but no...he grazed.
And grazed some more.
Finally, he realized that he had room to kick up his heels a bit, and did just that.
He danced and pranced just a little.
Then he nursed. There were all sorts of new tastes in his mouth, some that were not too palatable (we watched him take a bite of onion grass and then spit it out immediately while shaking his head, seemingly shocked by what must have been a very bitter taste).
Once he's reassured himself that his world was still complete, he noticed the other horses out grazing in their pasture, and called to them. It was as if he was saying "Look at me! I'm a big horse too!".
The he grazed some more. It is unusual for a horse this young to be so interested in solid foods but he is definitely more developed than most. If Deb had not been there to witness his birth she would question whether he was really just four weeks old.
He did relax and frolic a little more.
Maybe he was trying to race his shadow?
It was very interesting watching him experiment with the different forage, learning what tasted good and what did not.
He was very tolerant of the halter, it has really become a non-issue for him, but occasionally it seemed that he was trying to play with the ring at the bottom where the lead rope attaches.
All too soon it was time to head back into the pen. Just like any kid, he didn't want playtime to be over and tried to convince his mother to stay just a little longer.
When it was obvious that was not going to happen, he relented and followed.
Though it had been exciting to be out in the big world, he did seem a bit relieved to be back in his own space which he knows so well.
When we saw how much Alexios was grazing we decided it was time to offer him some grain. The feed that we've been giving to Anastacia is designed for nursing mares and their foals so it is perfect to start him on. He showed great interest in his momma's feed and she was kind enough to share.
He got some in his very own feeder, and proceeded to paw at it and dump half of it on the ground - just like his daddy does.
Anastacia showed interest in his feed, and it seemed only fair that he should share since he'd been nibbling on hers.
They switched feeders and contentedly finished the scraps that were left in each.
We will start making sure that Alexios receives some grain every day now. There are many different philosophies out there about when a foal should be offered feed as a supplement to mother's milk but it seems that Alexios, by showing interest, has told us that starting now is just fine with him.
And for all of you who have been closely following his progress, it may be a few days before I can get another post up. We will be down there on Saturday and I will undoubtedly take lots of photos but Deb's granddaughter's are coming for the weekend so I doubt I'll have much time until Monday to post the next installment.