Laddie and Robin had opposite experiences a couple of days ago. I took them both on a two-hour road trip, and their experiences there were similar: snow blowing into the trailer. However, at the end of the trip, Willowtrail Winter Lad became a gelding, and Willowtrail Black Robin was examined for his stallion license.
At the vet’s clinic, they asked me to bring Laddie into the barn. Laddie hadn’t seen anything resembling a barn since a week after his birth. While normally he follows me wherever I ask, this particular barn had snorting, grunting sounds coming out of it, and he let me know that he didn’t trust my judgment about entering. When I helped him determine that the snorts and grunts were coming from other equines and that concrete was worthy footing, he went into the stall he was assigned. I was glad that the musk oxen that had been at the hospital last time weren’t in residence this day!
Taking Laddie from the barn to the operating area – a padded room inside the hospital through a narrow door and hallway – ended up being much easier than the initial entry to the barn. He liked the veterinarian and his assistant and willingly followed everyone, though the padded floor was a novelty. True to his human-friendly nature, after the operation we left him alone, and when we returned we found Laddie looking for us. When the general anesthesia had worn off, he’d left the padded room and headed towards our voices. We all got a chuckle out of that.
I was pleased with Robin’s exam. When I was the treasurer of the Fell Pony Society of North America, I coached several people through the stallion licensing process, but I’d never gone through it personally. My first stallion was boarded at a friend’s and she handled the licensing for me. My second stallion was licensed before he was exported.
Two key pieces of licensing a Fell Pony stallion are height and cannon bone circumference. Often colts are examined for their stallion license as soon as they turn two, but I had waited because I wanted to be sure that these two key measures on Robin would be adequate. I needn’t have worried. He came in at 13.1hh, so he doesn’t need to be re-measured for height at a later date (many colts grow over the maximum height allowed in the breed standard). And his cannon bone measured 8.75”, a full ¾ of an inch over the minimum requirement (adequate bone is an important characteristic of the breed). I was further pleased when the vet called Robin ‘fancy’ when I was trotting him out. He then commented that Robin was ‘a very nice stallion’ on the form he sent on to The Fell Pony Society.
As I brought Robin and Laddie home later that day through another snowstorm, I was satisfied with the opposite experiences the boys had had. It definitely helped that the vet said he felt I was a very responsible breeder and truly cared about the breed, as evidenced by my choice of these two colts’ futures.