Sandy LeGate – Great Things…Small packages

April 25, 2008

Great Things Come in Small Packages…like, Sandy LeGate
by Wendy LeGate

There is no easy way to try and define a woman, such as my Mom.  She contains within her small 5 foot 1 inch frame a vast array of virtues.  My Mom is the backbone of Old Growth Oak Morgans.   Without her, just the sheer numbers of foals born would not be possible.   There would be no way to equal the personal handling and attention that she gives each foal.  Here is just a small example of her contribution…

About a month before foaling, each mare is brought to Indian Spring Equestrian facility.   It is here, where my mom begins her magic. Each mare is usually coupled with a partner mare that will be foaling on, or around, the same time. During this time, each mare is supplemented twice a day.  They are also groomed once a day, if weather permits, to allow my Mom to monitor the changes each mare goes through, as the foaling date comes closer. My Mom also uses this time to acquaint herself with the mare’s habits and behaviors-along with, allowing the mare to build that bond of trust and love towards her. When my Mom sees that the mare’s body is ready for the event of foaling, she starts keeping a very close watch.  She has a time table to check on the mare, usually something like this…7 AM, 10 AM, 12 Noon, 4 PM, 7 PM, 11 PM, 2 AM-and finally, between 4 and 5 AM.  The schedule then starts all over again at 7 AM.  She has found that most mares like to foal very early in the morning around 4, or 5 AM.   However, we have had late morning foals born, as the horses were being fed breakfast in the morning, around 7 to 8 AM.

If the special event happens on a weekend, I am called, and I drive over to help with the imprinting.  But, if it is on a weekday, Mom recruits one of her many friends to help her fully imprint each foal, so that they are accustomed to human touch, feel, and scent-as soon as possible. My Mom inducts the umbilical to iodine, until it is dried.  She gives the tetanus booster shot and monitors to make sure the new born doesn’t need an enema. The vet is called to check the palette and overall health of the foal-and of course, to check the new mother, as well. It is important to make sure that the placenta has been fully released and is intact.   There will be pictures and a whole parade of people to view the newborn, which we have found is quite enjoyed by both the humans AND the horses. My Mom always has her watchful eye on to make sure that neither the foal, or mare, is becoming tired and quiet time needs to be enforced.{mospagebreak}

Mom inducts the new foal to halter-from day one, and depending on the foal, lead lessons may even begin. My mom is the authority on the proper time for each foal to move on to the next phase of handling. She knows, which one is ready to learn to tie, or go into the trailer, and to run at liberty with the mare in the large sand arena. She builds a close relationship with the mare, so they may work as a team to have the foal learn the best behavior possible. By the time these foals are 4 weeks old, they have more experience than many yearlings-or two year olds.  The way they are introduced to each new experience leads them on a course in life full of confidence and the ability to take things in stride.

“Ambassadors of the Morgan breed” is more than just a goal to Sandy LeGate…it is her motto.  As Old Growth Oak Morgan foals leave to their new homes, they are as much of an ambassador to the dedication of one woman, as they are ambassadors of the Morgan breed. She owns a real mother’s pride for each and every one of the Old Growth Oak foals.   Whether it’s a visitor’s first encounter with a baby horse, or if they have come to take a look for a prospective purchase, she relishes in the “Oohs” and the “Ahs” that inevidibly come. 

In short, my Mom’s amazing dedication is what makes Old Growth Oak’s foals the sort of foals that “everyone” wants.