Inexperienced stallions can be confused, sometimes difficult, but Cody started the summer teasing mares with great enthusiasm, focusing nicely. He was very vocal, touching noses, squealing and bellowing with great interest and nibbling necks through the corral rails.
Amarilla, the first mare he was to breed, was showing strongly in heat, was a herd mare with live cover experience, so I decided the best option was live cover with the mare controlling the situation. During teasing she sidled up to the fence with no reluctance, obviously thinking he was, in fact, a very handsome young man. I wrapped the tail, moved her back from the gate and opened the gate, expecting Cody to charge in to the mare.
Oops! First little hitch in the program. Cody gets one jump through the gate, looks at the mare … and stops to sniff the ground where the mare has been. Amarilla and I are both looking at him with surprise as he completely ignores her to step to the next interesting spot. Sighing, I step forward and urge him away from interesting spots on the ground toward her.
Oh! He trots to her side, arches his neck and bellows. She cuddles up beside him, he keeps stepping forward to sniff her ears, she keeps stepping forward to present the proper rear view. This little “dance” goes on for several minutes until she manages to block him in a corner of the corral, bump him in the chest with her rump and instinct kicks in. Up he goes!
Well, sort of. He now has both front legs over her back and a very confused look on his face. She scoots out from under him. He tries again and ends up with one leg around her neck. Again, Amarilla slides away and presents the correct end. After several more tries, success! One leg on each side and facing forward! Not very steady but Amarilla is getting backed up under him and he's trying for the connection, at least.
Again, several tries, but finally the connection is made! Enthusiastic thrusting, everything is working well … but I can see that in his enthusiasm one small facet of this process is being ignored. He needs to stay balanced and hang on with the front legs. Three strong thrusts and …. oops!
The shoulders go down, the off foreleg slides over the back, the hind feet kick up sideways into the air and the ribcage hits the dirt flat, an audible thump with an explosion of dust around the black body. For an instant four black legs wave aimlessly in the air, reminding me hilariously of a beetle turned on his back.
I'm now hanging onto the corral rail, laughing, while Amarilla, having put up with all this juvenile scrambling, turns her head to look at her hapless lover. The look on her expressive face is one of complete disgust and scorn … then she snorts!
At that point, I completely lose it. Abandoning the corral rail, I wrap both arms around my aching ribs and slide down to sit in the dirt of the corral, laughing until the tears are rolling down my cheeks. Although the next attempt was successful, I'm sure I will never look at the foal resulting from this breeding without giggling.
Naming the foal should be a challenge!