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Meet Star's FOAL, Valor! See His Itty-Bitty Newborn Foal Hoof!

A newborn foal and his mother
Mare Dark Star and her foal, Valor

I had the most difficult time finding the right photo to draw you in. I must have hundreds of photos of our new colt, Valor, already. The day was absolutely perfect for a baby story, and thankfully, Dark Star, resident Mangalarga Marchador, gave birth around 11:45 a.m. on a Thursday, and we were just finishing a therapy session. Both Feeby, my BFF/business partner, and I were there, and we got to see everything except the birth which is both good and bad. We were so thankful that it all unfolded the way it did. The marine layer was just starting to burn off, so the light was truly this perfect. The only editing on this photo was contrast so you don't have to see the dirty barn wall behind them, and a vignette. All of these photos were taken with nothing more than my iPhone 13 Pro+ or whatever it's called these days. Many were taken in portrait mode, which I recommend for a million reasons, but that's a post for another day.

Horse playing with lead rope
Please put me back in the barn!

We had tested Star's milk that morning, and her calcium levels were high, so we knew we'd have a foal within 24 hours. We used the kit that Foal Watch sells, and it was a fun homeschool science project. Based on her relative discomfort, pacing, pawing, etc., and being moms, we had a feeling it would be sooner than later. Star kept getting her lead rope, essentially asking to be put back inside the barn. (We have since seen Star pick up her lead rope like this a second time, also when she REALLY wanted to go back to her stall. It is truly amazing how smart the Mangalarga Marchadors are!!)

newborn foal standing for the first time
Newborn Foal Standing for the first time!

We had put Star away, and at the end of our last session of the morning, we went to the barn to check on her. We saw her standing from outside her stall. Feeby spotted Valor first, in the corner. He was still very wet and gooey, so we had missed the action by mere minutes. I'd never seen a mare and foal this soon after birth, so watching this outstanding horse transition to mom-mode was fascinating. Valor would try to walk outside of the barn stall, and she would herd him back inside. He delayed nursing longer than any of us would have preferred, but she kept nudging him in spite of the fact that she still has a splinter near her femoral artery from a stick puncture she suffered when she was out in a pasture. She almost bled out before she was found. She received blood transfusions, etc., and the fact that she and Valor survived is miracle enough.

veterinarian examining foal
Temecula Creek Equine Veterinary at 24 Hour Checkup

When he was 24 hours old Valor had his first vet check. My son, Evan, was holding onto Star because I was wearing open-toe shoes... normally I wouldn't mind risking my toes, because she is very mellow, however, she was pretty anxious when strangers came in and restrained her new baby. Valor had a great checkup, but the vet ran SAA levels because we had noticed his fetlocks looked puffy - my technical term. His levels came back okay and his temp was normal, so I stopped worrying.... until his eyes started to get gunky no more than 12 hours after the vet left. (Why does it always work like that?) We called the vet back out, ran the SAA again, got another temp reading, which was just over the borderline threshold, and put him on antibiotic injections for five days. He's super healthy now, and frolicking like a maniac!

Newborn Foal being held by vet tech
He fought the exam - HARD!

A Newborn foal laying beside veterinarian
After a few minutes, he plopped down.

He is every drop a Mangalarga Marchador, a breed known for steady temperament and solid mind! I have been able to pick up all four of his feet since he was TWO DAYS OLD! I only have photos of the front. Would you look at that perfectly healthy hoof? It's soooo cute! 🥰 He has the cutest newborn foal hoof I've ever seen... but I could be biased!

A woman holding the hoof of a three day old foal
Newborn Foal Hoof

We've been training already, using lead ropes, halters, desensitizing to whips, etc. I really need to get him into the trailer a few times with Mama, but that requires a second person, and I usually don't have that luxury. He's happily learned about the turnout, and he loves to go out there! Valor is most happy when he is zoomy!!

Thanks so much for stopping in to meet him! Below is an album from Valor's birth so you can enjoy it as much as we did:

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