Chippewa Loves His Alfalfa
Little baby Chippewa, the young foal who we have been featuring in the EP News, continues to do well.
According to Dr. Marie Richardson (Dr. C) “This week Chip has decided that he really likes alfalfa. For those of you who have felt or seen a horse’s tongue you will understand what I am saying for those of you who have not, let me describe it to you. (Some may think that this is a bit quirky but I promise you that there is a point to this, just be patient….or heck…you can skip ahead) Anyway, I am sure that many have seen videos of giraffes or cows that show them reaching their tongues out and grabbing objects and wrapping their tongue around them.
When I was growing up, my family always compared what each individual could do with their tongue. I mean whether or not they could curl it or turn it over each way, etc. MY brother could make this really cool clover with his tongue. I could only make one side a clover…it is not very attractive, trust me. My mom can’t even roll hers. It may sound like I had a weird family but I know other families did weird stuff like that too so you can go ahead and admit it. I digress. Anyway, horses lack that tongue mobility. Their tongues basically are just for swallowing. Now don’t get me wrong, they do lick things but as for turning them upside down or any of those cool giraffe tricks, unless something is going on behind closed lips that I haven’t seen, there is not much to them.
Back to the point, Chip has decided that he really likes the leaves better than any of the other parts. He will take a stalk of hay and strip it of the leaves. Now, how he does this with that tongue and no fingers, let alone an opposable thumb, I am not sure but he has turned it into an art form. Pretty impressive, especially with the fact that eight weeks ago he had facial and tongue paralysis.
You can see that in his earlier videos on www.estesparknews.com. He will finally eat the stems but only once he has decided that the leaves are gone. He is still not voluntarily eating pellets but sometimes I am smarter than the horse and trick him by putting them on top of his alfalfa leaves.
As for drinking his milk, no luck yet. He does however drink water from a bucket. I had to hide out and watch him do this however. Whenever I go outside he stops what he is doing and whinnies at me. I like to think that he is saying, “Hey Mom, what’s up? I missed you.” But I think that he is more likely saying “Hey, where’s that tube thingy that makes my belly feel full?”
It was fun last week having Chip meet Finley. I think that the humans were more excited than he was (Paula and Kris both were crying.) but I do think that he enjoyed getting to explore the area and meet another horse. At this point he has seen more elk and deer than horses. They come up to the fence all of the time to say hi and to try to get him to fork over some of that hay that they smell. The Rent-All was very helpful. They lent us a trailer to get him over to the Britains’ to meet Finley. As for Chip, he did a great job. He loaded right up with me, never complained about getting in the trailer, and rode down main street like he was the king of a Mardi Gras parade. My husband, Mike rode in the back with him on the way there to keep him from slipping and Mr. Britain rode with him on the way back. ( They DO have opposable thumbs!)
Health wise, Chip is doing remarkably well. I have started some training exercises with him using the Natural Horsemanship Method. I can tell you more about it later but I am just learning myself. This week he will have his first visit with a farrier and he will get his first vaccinations. Our little baby is growing up!”
If you would like to help out Dr. C with some of Chippewa’s medical and upkeep expenses, you can drop off or mail a donation in care of the Friends of Chippewa Fund to the Animal Hospital of the Rockies, P.O. Box 2897, Estes Park, CO 80517.
Thank you and keep watching the EP News for further updates.