Meet baby Salty, the newest Newfoundland pony
Salty's mother, Belle, was overdue and 'very moody' while pregnant, says Kelly Power-Kean
Sometimes life shows up when it's most unexpected.
Belle the Newfoundland pony was pregnant and overdue, but not showing any signs of labour.
On Sunday morning, the owner of the Manuels stable where Belle lives was on his way to a funeral when he figured he'd pop in to check on her.
There, nestled in with Belle, was her newborn baby girl.
"We were waiting, waiting, watching for signs, and she surprised us," said Kelly Power-Kean, who is the registrar for the Newfoundland Pony Society. Her daughter owns Belle.
Belle's little baby, named Salty, is a big deal, she said. Newfoundland ponies are endangered — and Power-Kean estimates the current worldwide population is about 450 animals — and every baby helps.
"It's excellent, the herd is growing every year," she said. "This year seems to be a pretty good year for the Newfoundland pony that I know of. I think [Salty]'s the fourth or the fifth in Newfoundland this year."
Power-Kean figures Salty was born some time around 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
A loving mother
Belle was pregnant for 11 months, which is about normal for a Newfoundland pony, Power-Kean said.
And she didn't seem to enjoy it.
"She was the sweetest little pony until she got pregnant and then she became a monster," she said. "She didn't want you to touch her and her ears would go back and she would kick. Oh, she was just nasty."
But she's back to her sweet self now that Salty is here and is taking to motherhood well.
Power-Kean said Salty was standing and nursing within about 30 minutes of her birth, with lots of love and encouragement from Belle.
"We were in the barn tucking them in and the baby went into her mother's stall and did her first little pee which was great. That means she's nursing and everything's working well in her body. And she went into the corner, and Belle lost sight of her and she let out a big whinnie as if saying, 'Get over here, I can't see you anymore!'"
A healthy baby
Even though Belle didn't follow the regular birthing plan, Salty is ticking all the boxes for a healthy newborn Newfoundland Pony, Power-Kean said.
"Baby's doing extremely well. So cute. So cute," she said. "Nature is amazing.… They know what to do, she's mimicking Mom, she's pretending she's eating hay when she has no teeth. She's so sweet."
And after all that anticipation, Salty was the talk of Manuels on Sunday, Power-Kean said.
"Eleven months is a long time to talk about a pony," she said. "I can hardly wait to go to work this morning and say, 'Finally, that pony had her baby!'"