A horse ‘neigh’med Juliet: Asbury welcomes first foal of the spring

Published 10:43 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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As Kentucky begins to ring in the springtime, accompanied by longer days and birdsong, Asbury University in Wilmore has welcomed a spring surprise to add to its ensemble of Amerian Quarter Horses: a baby foal.

Juliet was born in the early hours of Tuesday, April 4 to a mare named Blue Sky and a buckskin stallion named Romeo.

”She’s a delightful, cute little filly,” said Asbury Equine Director Harold Rainwater.

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The foal is a rare color and pattern, a blue roan.

Rainwater said her uniqueness makes this barn addition even more special.

Asbury typically receives three newborn foals each year. Juliet is the first of 2023, with more expected to come. Asbury needs these births for their equine and police mount programs and prefers to raise the horses themselves.

“We don’t pick up somebody else’s mistakes that way. You’re a baby horse only once, and we want to do it right,” Rainwater said

With an ever-growing program, Rainwater already has plans for the newborn horse. Within a few years, she will begin training for Asbury’s Western Program — which is an entire field of training that includes multiple disciplines, like team penning and Western showmanship.

Right now, Asbury has two courses in the budding program.

“One is called Western performance. It’s basically an introduction to the different disciplines within the Western field.” Rainwater said. The other class is called Liberty. “And it’s basically, you’re working without a bridle or without a saddle to develop skills that way.”

Asbury only has one horse for each Western class for now but is beginning to move dedicated horses to the program and is raising quarter horses now to strengthen the future of the program. Rainwater said he hopes that Juliet is “a part of that future.”

The foal is already learning how to move on her own.

Only a couple of days after birth, Juliet had her first run in the arena.

“It’s fun to watch those wobbly little legs from a baby run across an arena. It’s always a thrill- spring and babies,” Rainwater said.

Other than visiting and playing with Juliet, Asbury equine students have been active participants in helping Farm Manager David Mcilrath with taking care of the mare and the baby after the birth.

“We have a very small breeding program, intentionally, but we want our students to be familiar with breeding reproduction,” Rainwater said.

The university has three mares, and Rainwater said one of its dreams is to grow its broodmare program.