EASTER’S HOMECOMING

easter JRLeaster (7)easter (4)easter (2)easter (8)Easter Storm returned to his home pastures in Iowa last weekend, traveling south 500 miles to my grade-school buddy Jim who has Easter’s mom. Her name is Antigone (Tony for short). She is 100% Saddlebred. Easter’s dad is an Arabian stallion named Java.

Almost 8 years ago Easter morning at 2 AM, Jim, wakened by a violent thunder storm,  remembered that he had left pregnant horse Tony in the round pen. He braved the storm to discover a newborn foal. He went back to the house to get help from his wife. The two of them went out into the pouring rain and severe thunder storm. Their way was lit by lightning as Jim carried the hundred pound colt, his wife coming behind leading the frantic mare fifty yards to the shelter of the barn.

Because of the exposure to the cold rain the newborn Easter was weak. He could not stand and had to be held up to his mother to get milk. The veterinarian diagnosed the colt as having sepsis in the blood. He administered shots intravenously three times a day for a week.  I met Easter at three weeks old. By then he was totally recovered and a precocious, strong, healthy, active colt.

I brought him home to our farm when he was six months. I started training him in the fall of his second year. He is a steady, pleasant learner. Marybeth took over training the following spring and he has been her horse until this summer when she had to withdraw from his care because of other responsibilities. He has turned into a fine horse and a good companion.

Jim has two granddaughters, seven and nine, who love horses. He called around Christmas time and asked about Easter, who has had experience with “young lady” riders.

We put Easter in a stall for his first night back in Iowa and after a short ride that Saturday morning we turned Easter loose with his mother. Like grade school boys, the first order of business for horses is to find out who is the top dog. Jim and I were speculating about who would be the top horse, each of us backing our own horse. Jim thought it would be Tony. I thought it would be Easter. We were ready with our cameras but we had to scramble to get out of harm’s way during the 30 seconds of fur-flying fighting. Just as quickly mom and son settled to what grass they could find in the light covering of snow. Sure enough, from that skirmish on, it was Easter pushing his mom not her pushing him.

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