Meet a Little Sweetheart ~Tanya Hanson

Mucking at the horse rescue the other day let me meet baby Jasper for the first time. He’s two months old now and the sweetest thing. When he was eleven days old, he and his mama Bella were rescued along with six pregnant mares from a trip to a Mexican slaughterhouse. The other six were rescued by other sanctuaries.

He’s a little fireball who loves people, loves carrots (the pieces have to be really small; think baby carrot broken into three or four pieces), loves to play with his toys, and is learning how to wear a lead as well as a small saddlebag on his back. The sanctuary’s ultimate goal is to get him and Mamma adoptable. 

Since I’m just a wanna-be, I thought I’d check into just what goes on with a newborn foal. 

Jasper likely stood up within an hour of birth to start nursing and probably fell over many times until he figured out just what legs are and what he was supposed to do with them. These days, his rump is higher than his forelegs, a natural progression of growth. 

Hopefully nursing started within two hours and he found Mama’s milk by instinct. He needed the colostrum she provided. 

At the rescue, his temperature would have been checked often; normally just one degree higher than an adult, and blood  samples are closely monitored. 

For the first few weeks, he followed right next to his mama before getting bolder. I was told his mama, due to the trauma of capture, didn’t produce as much milk as she would have in less stressful times, so Jasper started in on “mature” food sooner than he likely would have. Nonetheless, his intake is closely monitored, as too much rich food in a foal causes “founder”, an ailment similar to gout. But Jasper’s grazing instincts have always been good. 

He and mama spend time now in the round turnout, which is carefully tended and free from rocks and sand. Because he’s still learning, his natural grazing instincts would have him chewing on such stuff, too.  Although he and his mother have a nice-sized stall,  he needs plenty of room to run and play like any kid. He has a jump-ball , the big rubber ball with a handle on it, that he loves. 

Oh, and he has managed to nibble on Mama’s mane a little bit. It’s great entertainment for him. He also likes such things as traffic cones.  And as yucky as this sounds, apparently the foal has needed to chomp a little bit on mama’s manure…his gut has no bacteria  naturally to break down food. 

The two lovely ladies in charge of him have already started halter-breaking, and he’s quite a champ. In a foal, halter breaking starts at about one month because he needs to have strong-enough neck muscles. Walking him helps wear him out and gets him used to people. 

Jasper will be vaccinated and weaned between four and six months. And by now, his hooves have hardened enough to be picked clean and brushed. 

I hope you enjoyed meeting this little sweetheart.

 (Thanks to this website for some cool foal info.)

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31 thoughts on “Meet a Little Sweetheart ~Tanya Hanson”

  1. Tanya, what a sweet story. I have a friend in Amarillo who works with the rescued horses and I’m so proud of her. Of interest, in a couple of my stories in our anthologies I have a reappearing Jasper, but he’s a stuborn mule, not a precious colt. Thanks for everything you do for the animals who can’t help themselves. Your Jasper is precious. Hugs, P

  2. hi Vicki, he is just adorable. Tried to take a chomp out of my blouse! Just too huggable. Hard to get to work with someone so cute right there. oxoxox

  3. HiTracy, funny you should say that. When we lost our two black Labs in less than a year, I was desparate for a critter but we decided to take a pet break and heal up. I knew if I vol’ed at the animal shelter I’d bring home every dog and cat there was. So this way…well, I can’t build a corral in my little cul-de-sac front yard!

    I have a good time there. ALl the horses are precious. I’ll talk about more of them in future. Thanks for posting. oxoxox

  4. Thanks, Elizabeth. I’m such a newbie at the rescue I learn something every time. And I found a good site to confirm. It’s a very peaceful, lovely place surrounded by orange groves and foothills. Thanks for enjoying our cute boy. oxoxox

  5. Hi Phyliss, say hi to your friend for me! The rescue had a naming contest for Jasper and Bella. And took a vote. I think both names are good ones. Bella is a beauty and filling out nicely. I do love mules and donkeys, too. They’re supposedly stubborn because they dont want to do stupid things LOL. Thanks for the post. oxoxox

  6. Tanya – too cute! Jasper has stolen my heart. I’m so glad these rescues are happening. My cousin has rescued at least six horses and has stabled them on her property. They are lucky to have you there, to help out too. I bet it’s just as rewarding to you.

  7. Tanya, he’s soooooo cute! I fall in love with little baby animals. I love watching them try to figure out the world and their place in it. You’re quite something, my Filly sister, volunteering to help out at the horse rescue. My hat’s off to you.

  8. Oh what a cutie… nothing makes you feel better than babies.. whether they be two or four footed…

  9. Hi Charlene, would love to see your cousin’s place sometime. I wish I had room LOL. I do so love helping out there and wish I lived a tad closer so I could do it every day. It’s about 20 miles from home. I will tell more about the entire place in a future blog, but couldn’t resist Jasper today. oxoxox

  10. Hi Linda, oh, I agree. Babies are the best. The San Diego Zoo has a new baby elephant and I just wanna kiss him all over. In theory at least LOL.

    I do love the horses. They all have a story to tell. Thanks for the post oxoxox

  11. Hey Linda C, good to see you here. Oh, he is a little heart-tugger, that’s for sure. Like a big puppy LOL. I’m so grateful he’s alive and well, mamma too.

  12. Hi Anne, I have to admit I didn’t have a thing to do with the “politics” of adopting Jasper and mamma, but I’m sure glad for the rescue’s clout. The folks there are a blessed bungh, that’s for sure. Always good to have you at Wildflower Junction!

  13. Hi Kathleen, you are so right! And it’s pure excitement at our house…our daughter is expecting a little boy in the fall! Her first, our second grandson. Oh, all’s right in our little world!

    Thanks for posting today and so glad you enjoyed little Jasper.

  14. Tanya, You are right he is adorable. Hope he and his mamma are adopted soon. I, too, have a friend who used to work at the Horse Farm. She loved it and now lives on a ranch in western Nebraska where she has horses, longhorn cattle, and multiple other animals. I love going to visit.

  15. Tanya, I so admire the work you’re doing — God bless you in abundance!! And Jasper is too cute! The inner child in me kept shouting: “I want a pony, I want a pony!!!” LOL!! xo M.

  16. Hi Connie, oh, good luck and hugs to your friend! I wish I had some land, not just a little suburban backyard so I could rescue some animals. And you might already know how much I love Nebraska. My “Marrying” series is set near today’s Platte Center. Enjoy your next visit and wish her well. Thanks for posting today!

  17. Hi Marianne, I SO hear you! I could just imagine my little grandson sitting atop him! Just the right size. Thanks so much for popping in to enoy the view of that little darlin’. oxoxox

  18. Oooh, Tanya. Thanks for sharing pictures of the little cutie.

    Thank you and your friends for the wonderful work you are doing, saving these beautiful animals from a slaughterhouse. God bless!

  19. hi Dora and Catslady, thanks for stopping by! Yes, I see him and all the other beautiful horses and just can’t imagine. Praiss God for second chances!

    Colleen, so good to see you here, too. I think everybody here at Wildflower Junction, bloggers and our wonderful visitors, have special places in our hearts for animals.

    The Lord God bless them all!

  20. Tanya,

    Thank you for such a great post. I love Jasper and his mama. This is such a wonderful thing. Tell the ladies who protect these sacred animals thank you from me.

    Also, thank you Tanya for all the wonderful things you do

    Walk in harmony,

  21. Hi Melinda, always happy to see you here! These are indeed sacred, special critters, that’s for sure. Thanks for the post and for stopping by. 🙂

    Everyone, I really appreciate your good thoughts today! Thanks!

  22. New foals are the sweetest things. The colt my daughter’s mare threw was gorgeous. Beautiful white blaze and four white socks. It is really too bad she couldn’t keep him.

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