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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
April 23, 2014     Feather River Bulletin
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April 23, 2014

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ulletm, Kecora, 'rogresstve, Ieporter Wednesday, April 23, 2014 1B REGIONAL t Equine students train horses from k,irth to sa00ldle Carolyn Shipp Staff Writer cshipp@plumasnews.corn t,s that time of the year again. After almost a complete year of carrying four-legged creatures in their bellies, the mares at Feather River College are giving birth to curious and frisky foals ready to take on the world one long-legged step at a time. The many students at the FRC Equine Center closely watch the 20 expecting mares at the school in eager anticipation. They are excited to see what new additions are going to enter the herd this spring. "Boy or girl? What will they look like? Will they be gray like their dad? Will they be gentle like their mom?" A thousand questions could run through the students' heads but every question is answered with an exclamation of adoration as soon as the little foal is born. For'the students enrolled in the equine program's mare and foal class, there is an inherent pride when the mare they have been caring for over the past semester presents them with a pretty filly or a curious colt that will one day be a well-trained 3-year-old horse heading to a new home. Such is the circle of life for the equine program. According to Crystal Anderson, the barn manager and administrator of the mare and foal class, students receive vital experience working with the pregnant mares. They gain knowledge about the gestation process and they have the opportunity to have hands-on experience with a brand new baby horse, which, according to Anderson, is very important to the future training of the horse. "It teaches the student how to handle young horses," said Anderson. "How people handle the babies is just so critical; the handling really does carry over to the training. You can't skip steps." "This place is so thorough with everything," said Ani Oliver, third-year student in the program and also three-year veteran of the mare and foal class. Along with grooming, graining and monitoring the mares, the students also take shifts throughout the mare's labor, which generally lasts for only a few hours. However, the nature of the horse is to have her foal during the night without a lot of fuss, to avoid attracting predators. According to Anderson, often mares will surprise the students in the morning with newborn babies. When the foal does come it introduces the student to a new world of penthood and duty. "The students seem to become way more responsible and conscious of the little things that!he horse does," said Anderson. Within the fn'st few weeks of its life, the Above, a gangly newborn keeps close to its mother as it gains its feet. Within an hour of being born, foals are up and walking. Their long legs may be awkward but they enjoy running and frolicking just the same. Photos by Laura Beaton Above Right, the white mare in the background has yet to foal, while several of her companions have already delivered their spring foals. Above Left, with geese grazing in the wetlands beyond the vernal pool in one of FRC's pastures, a mare and her new baby soak up some sun. It doesn't take long for babies to start venturing out on their own. This little colt has a lot to take in this new world. Middle Left, mother and child relationship is special in all worlds - human and equine, as demonstrated on April 9. Right, a mare keeps a close watch over her progeny from the shelter of the far pasture on the college campus. Keeping the foals out in pasture rather than in stalls is safer for the babies because it keeps them from getting sick from dust. Left, Sam Moore laughs as she gives the college's mare Annie a good scratch. Annie's long lips is an expression horses wear when they are enjoying being pampered, but her new foal sees it as an opportunity for a smooch. Photo by Carolyn Shipp Below, Feather River College equinestudent Sam Moore gives a young colt a kiss, to the amusment of fellow student Makaela Cooper. The equine studies students who participate in the mare and foal class are some of the first students to interact with the new babies. Photo by Carolyn Shipp "How people handle the babies is just so critical; the handling really does carry over to the training. You can't skip steps." Crystal Anderson, Barn Manager & Mare and Foal Class Administrator students teach the foals to be haltered and ledl an essential lesson to teach while they are still small. "You learn a lot of horsemanship working with young foals just because they think so differently and their minds are so malleable," Oliver said. "Any little thing can mess them up in the long run, but you still have to get a goal accomplished so you have to figure out how to do it without making the foal afraid of i people for the rest of its life.' ..... They receive handling and grow accustomed ........ to people, but the studentsdo not put much more training on them than that. By the end of the spring semester the foals and mares are turned out to pasture and generally left alone all summer. In the fall, the ........... babies are brought back to the classroom . where the adolescent foals, now called yearlings, learn manners and how to respect .... and respond to people. After another break, the yearlings, now almost 2, get brought back to the students to be started under saddle. By the time they turn 3, they are the matured horses that are featured at the annual college horse sale in May. "You get to watch them grow while you grow," said Sam Moore, a second-year equine student and aspiring equine reproduction major. "It's really good to see them start to finish." "It's really interesting to see them grow up," said Oliver. "Seeing how they were handled as a baby carries over to them being started and then carries over to the rest of their lives as horses." t