That's Dolly on the right. It's not a great photo of her but she wasn't so interested in posing. We arrived just as they were having a Memorial Day brunch by the looks of it. In the middle is Derby Belles and on the left is William, AKA Sweet William, a name that most definitely suits him. He has retired from his first career as a show jumper and is now living a lower key life and just being ridden by his owner, a very nice, pretty lady, for pleasure.
This is Dolly's house. It's right next to the paddock where William hangs out, which as it turned out, was one of those little details that change lives.
Not long after arriving at her new home, Dolly began to gain weight. People began to wonder if she was expecting. Back home in PA she'd spent some time in a field with a stud, but no one was aware of any mating. Debate ensued. The vet thought she was pregnant and she shoudn't be allowed to carry to term because they couldn't be sure the foal wouldn't be too big for her. Others thought it was just weight gain. New feed, new place. It could happen. Anyway, while they were figuring this all out, Dolly took no notice and gave birth to Derby Belles one night, thereby putting an end to all speculation.
No one knew she was about to foal that night, so there was no one with her except that William was in the paddock adjacent to the little house. Being a full sized horse, all William had to do was lean his head over and he could look right into Dolly's stall. What I figure must have happened was that William was standing around, as horses are wont to do, and heard Dolly cussing up a storm and saying things like, "You did this to me you son of an ass! Don't ever come near me again. I swear I'll bite you if you do." You know - all the types of things ladies of most species say when giving birth. Especially when you're giving birth to something with hooves. Ouchies! Anyway, being the only one around, William probably thought she was talking to him and looked in to see what the problem was and immediately concluded it was time to give out cigars. So I figure he didn't take the cussing out personally and said encouraging things like "Not yet. Hold on, you can do it. Breathe! Now! Push now!" . That's how I think it must have gone down, but even if I'm a little off the end result was a beautiful, healthy bouncing baby girl and William assumed he was the happily married father of one from that day forward. Dolly did nothing to disabuse him of this idea, either. While Dolly was recovering from giving birth and getting the baby started in life, William could hardly be persuaded to take his head out of her stall. He was entranced by the whole fatherhood thing.
|Belles as she looks today. She was more amenable to|
posing for the flashy beast than he folks were.
William tries to think of everything. While they're dining en famille he makes sure to toss out plenty of hay for his diminutive family. He may be a gelding, but he's a great Dad. I hope someone has told Dolly and Belles that Father's Day is coming up soon.
So that's the family. And I guess that once again, four leggers demonstrate that it's love that makes you family, more than anything else.