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Old 09-13-2015, 06:42 AM   #117
Firefoot
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 7,646
Firefoot has been trapped in the Barrow!
"Not too soon," said Leof. "I'd guess a couple more weeks." This would be his third year of delivering foals, and though he was getting better at recognizing the signs of upcoming labor, he still found it difficult to predict, especially since all mares seemed to be just a bit different, and the length of their pregnancies could be highly variable - about 11 months, but give or take as much as three weeks. Cinderfoot had been bred last June - theoretically the foal could come a week from now or six. It was her first pregnancy, too, so he had nothing to compare to. He hoped it would be several more weeks, though - although the horses had had able quantity of feed during the long winter, Leof had eventually run out of everything but regular hay. He knew that horses couldn't live off hay alone anymore than a person could eat nothing but potatoes and still be properly nourished. Since the caravan had come, he'd been reintroducing other grasses and grains to the horses' diet, and he figured the longer the mare could eat well while still pregnant, the better.

"Come see," Leof said to Eoghan, beckoning him closer. Cinderfoot was a steady horse and, though mares often became moody and restless before delivering, she seemed calm this morning. Eoghan stepped closer and Leof showed him what he was looking at.

"See how her udder is getting bigger?" Leof asked. "It's getting ready to make milk for the foal. When the milk comes, it means she's almost ready. And see how wide her sides are? When the foal is ready to come out, Cinderfoot will actually get narrower, but her belly will hang down much lower." He could see Eoghan taking in the information and filing it all away. "Would you like to feel the foal kicking?" he asked. He was relieved every time he came in and felt the foal still moving - that was how he'd first known something was wrong with the mare who'd lost her foal that winter.

"Yes," said Eoghan again simply. So Leof lifted up the boy's thin body and placed his hand against the mare's side where he'd seen and felt the movement before.

Last edited by Firefoot; 09-13-2015 at 10:49 AM.
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