Eleven months is a really long time, but this filly was worth the wait. Only one day past her due date, her dam, Neela, paced a few circles in her foaling stall before dropping down and delivering her foal in 20 minutes flat on Thursday, May 14. Neela had let me know earlier that day she was ready by coming in early from the pasture and hovering near the gate, as if to say, Please bring me in.
So I did, and then Matt and I proceeded to spy on her from the house with the iPad via the foaling cam he had installed weeks earlier. About 10:30 p.m. we were just getting to tag team some naps when I glanced at the monior. Neela was down on her side, and…hey, she was having contractions! I flew out to the barn and without hesitation let myself into the stall. Neela was so engrossed in her labor that she didn’t seem to notice me. When the foal’s nose emerged, I peeled the membrane off it, and wiped out the tiny nostrils. Soon, the rest of her emerged, and we were stunned.
She is gorgeous. She’s also a very big girl.
It looks like this filly will be solid black just like her sire, Litrik, one of the top Friesian stallions. She has her momma’s pretty face and her daddy’s tall stature. When I look at her I think of the song, “Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress.”
We dried her off, then stayed with her while she figured out how to stand, giraffe-like, on her gangly legs. After what seemed an intolerable amount of time during which she careened awkwardly around the stall, she finally found her target and nursed, and then we hovered some more to until she peed and pooped, just to make sure everything was working. Two hours after being born, she was cantering circles around the stall. The next morning, we let her and Neela out into the big bright world as we introduced her to her paddock. There’s a bench next to the paddock if you want to stop by and watch her for a while. We’ve named her Wilhelmina, after the Dutch woman who started the modeling agency of the same name. Because she is, after all, a supermodel.