Sniker Bars' Aero
||Was there ever a sorrier sight? She came to us in March of 2004. She was shaking from the trailer ride out here. Her rear end was covered in diarrhea. It was painful watching the poor old girl stagger back and down out of the horse trailer. She wobbled shakily as she stood quietly beside us. I took her lead and gently spoke to her. Snikers had moon blindness, but she immediately responded with trust in me. We slowly navigated the yard. There was snow, ice and large patches of mud. The mud must have looked like a hole to her, she hesitated, but as I gently spoke to her she ventured forward gingerly. All went well. I brought her to her new home in our corral. She stood with her head down barely noticing my mare, Ruby, whinnying and excitedly racing around in the next paddock. Sniker Bar seemed to realize she was safe, she relaxed in exhaustion.
I coaxed Snikers to drink. The silver automatic waterer frightened her. I am not sure if it gave her a shock, or if it was just unfamiliar and therefore scary. So I put some water in a bucket for her and she drank deeply. Over time she figured out the waterer and she refreshed herself often. She thrived here and quickly gained back her health, everyone's goal in bringing her here to live with us.
Snikers was my saving grace. Ruby, being a young, healthy horse and newly trained, tested me continually. She was a terrible brat some days. Hard to catch, pulling her feet away when I went to clean them. Snikers was none of those things. She was quiet, gentle, needy and just a plain sweetheart. I cleaned her back legs after I got familiar with her and knew I could trust her completely. She gave her feet readily, loved to be groomed and never, ever was she pushy. Granted she was ugly. She had such a large head. She could have gotten the nickname 'Jughead` easily - but you wouldn't hear it off my lips! I loved her. Soon all of us grew to love and appreciate her gentleness.
As time went by and she became healthier; her bare patches growing hair, her coat shedding out the winter curls, and her sunken hollows filling in, she began to liven up. She was visiting with Ruby regularly now over the fence. I knew it was time to put them together and see how things went. We had been told that likely Snikers would be boss, being the older horse. Not a chance. Ruby took that role right away. I almost worried she would hurt Snikers. But they quickly worked things out - basically Snikers just submitted and things settled down. It was good to see them together. All was well.
We suspected she was pregnant. Sure enough something definitely “bumped” out her side one day while we were watching her graze. It was exciting. Soon after, while I was grooming Snikers, I felt something push out her side as I groomed over her belly. OH man that felt awesome!! From that day on I played push and shove with the foal inside. It was fun.
On a sunny, warm Victoria’s Day in May, we decided to do some cleaning up in our south pasture. On our way in for lunch the family noticed Snikers looking very agitated. As we were putting something away in the barn we heard the kids yell from the house, “Mom! Dad! Something is sticking out of the back of Snikers!!!!!” I ran to see and sure enough two front feet and a nose were protruding out of her back end. It had begun! And it was too late for Snikers to stop now! We promptly forgot about cleaning the far pasture to watch the miracle before our eyes.
Over the next half hour Snikers repeatedly got up and down. She violently threw herself to the ground each time. It was horrifying to watch. We felt sure she would burst something. Clutching and reading the library book on horses and foaling - we were relieved when she did everything expected for a good delivery. It truly was an amazing gift from God! The chances of actually catching a mare in labor and having her allow you to watch are pretty rare. We were a pretty excited bunch.
Aero, as our son named him, was a pinto dun. Aero stood shakily after only 15 minutes. He ventured to mom and after searching all over her belly; Snikers guided him gently to her teats. He was so skinny but strong...amazing. He was crooked though. His back was curved. We learned later it was called “windswept” and was nothing to be concerned about. In fact, he did straighten out quickly over the course of time.
There is nothing so wonderful and exciting to watch as a newborn babe. We all touched him after he flopped down exhausted with a full belly. Snikers was shaky but completely trusted us with her babe. Aero became such a pet. We became accustomed to hearing his deep whinny whenever we called his name. He always galloped to us for loving. His coloring was gorgeous and he filled out quickly, a stocky strong boy. We enjoyed teaching him to lead, tie, get his feet done and he was so curious that he was almost completely spook proof. He was a nuisance when it came to vehicles, he just simply would not get out of the way - even if we honked loudly. He chewed the hood on our poor farm truck. It is amazing how fast time flies watching a babe growing up.
Both Snikers and Aero have new homes now and they are loved there very much. Snikers is teaching a family with four young children how wonderful curlies are. Their daddy, who is extremely allergic to horses, does quite well with Snikers. Aero, at his new home, will be starting training soon to pull a pony cart and the young boy of that house immediately adopted Aero as "his" horse. Aero still whinny's and gallops up to his new owners for all the attention. I look forward to pictures of Aero pulling that cart and showing off his curls for the neighbors to see! Curlies making families happy, isn't that what it's all about? Susan :0)
About the Author: Susan has been a strong supporter of Curly Horse Country and I always appreciate her taking the time to share her stories with us.