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Kenneth watched in delight as ...

December 13 2011 at 1:14 PM
Kenneth of Alloway 

Response to The following morning...

Sir Kent examined this prize foal. It was the first-borne result of his experiment. Starting with the stallion and a borrowed mare, this had been the product of that breeding. As soon as it had been weaned, he had bred the mare again and returned her. So delighted with the results had he and Melinda been that they had invested in the four mares that now resided in the barn. Motioning to the other man to come with him, Kenneth returned to the barn, leaving the women to admire and pat the colt.

Kent helped him to put on halters, and two by two they led the mares out and turned them out to graze in the lush pasture. As they went, Kenneth explained all this to Kent. He also gave some background on the stallion.

"Fra' fer-auf Arabie, he be, Zor, sae I am tellet. Nae onythin' wha' is tae be foonet in these parts as a naermal thin'. I dinnae ken his sire oor dame, but he luiket soond and has a lively, buit contraelled dispaesition. I ha'e ridden him aunce oor twice m'sel', and he tolerates it weel. Gaes like the wind, he doos, and seems tae ha'e nae end tae his energy. He's an easy keeper*, as weel. A real gentlemon. Wi' my Melinda, he is e'er sae delicate. It is she," he said, his face reddening slightly, "wha' can handle him when he is rooset by a mare in season. He seems tae ken tha' she will see tae his needs and bring him tae a mare." He shook his head in apparent amazement. "Soome a' the time, I think him tae be maere hers than mine." Then he flashed a grin. "Nae tha' it matters, ye ken."

They had returned to the barn by then, this time putting a halter on the stallion and leading him to a separate pasture. Kent commented on the height of the fence rails. the entire pasture was ringed by a four-rail fence tather than the more customary three. Kenneth grinned.

"Ye wuid nae beliefe it, Sor Kent. He can sail onything less. Head and tail high, he joomps the ither fences, like aun of His Majesty's deer!" He stood there grinning as the stallion, now released, pranced about the pasture. His springy step assured that it was from him indeed that the colt had taken this aspect of his heritage. No plodding plow-horse this, but an animal in his prime and full of vigor.

He whuffed, shook his head, and finally tucked down and rolled on his back, squirming and wriggling with pleasure at being free of the stall. Then, in an instant, he was up on his feet again and galloping about just inside the fence. The run went on and on. In silence, Kent observed his speed.

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* easy keeper - In modern terms, an 'easy keeper' among horses is one that will thrive on half of a 12-flake bale of hay or less per day. Normal is about 3/4ths of a bale, and any more than a full bale constitutes a hard keeper. By comparison, the Frisians normally are hard keepers, for they consume about a bale each day. That is, of course, reasonable for their size. The average 'courser' (war horse) usually was an average keeper, bordering on being a hard keeper. The genetic disposition of the Arabian breed is to be an extremely easy keeper, for they have had to survive and thrive in surroundings that did not present much in the way of forage. Thus, the offspring of the genetic paring of a Frisian and an Arab usually would be for being a moderate or normal keeper.

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