Foal of the frost

(Photo by Will Dendis)

(Photo by Will Dendis)

The Mayone family welcomed its latest addition in the wee hours of a Friday morning, as a new colt, Ben, was born in a heated stall on Frontier Rd. in Glasco. Contractor and developer Ray and his wife Carol Ann, a realtor, are known to many for the free horse-drawn wagon rides at the annual Holiday in the Village, and became known to many more last year during a heated campaign for highway superintendent against Doug Myer.

That seems like a distant memory back on the farm, where the Mayones tend to their new colt like experienced but still giddy parents. That’s no exaggeration: Like many of today’s young, tech-savvy parents, they have cameras fixed in the stalls so they can monitor the horses from their phones and computers. A few nights before the birth the couple were dining out when they noticed expectant mother Bella showing signs of agitation and discomfort. They took the check.

Carol Ann said she got little sleep in the nights leading up to Ben’s birth. This kind of anxiety is warranted for horses. A lot can go wrong. Many foals are lost in unattended births because a leg gets caught during delivery, or because the newborn, once out, is unable to free himself from the placenta and the mare doesn’t chew through it in time.


Ray, who estimates he’s been present for over 100 births during a lifetime working with horses, stands back and lets the process unfold naturally unless there’s a problem. In Ben’s case, there was: After he emerged, several minutes passed with him still encased within the placenta, so Ray swooped in to cut him free.

Just four days old when photographed on Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 25, Ben was a healthy and rambunctious 150-pound colt, dancing around his gentle giant mother and angling his head beneath her great 2000-pound body for frequent milk breaks.

Ray doesn’t know yet if Ben will join the team of horses that pulls wagons during special events. Only the calmest, most disciplined, and un-spookable are chosen for that duty. Since several foals are born each season and the herd stays stable at around ten or 12 members, that means most born on the farm are destined to end up somewhere else. But that’s in the future. For now, Ben, snug in the barn, soaks up the adulation of his mother, doting caretakers and friends stopping by to see the new baby, while the rest of the herd sidles up to the barn to sneak a peek at the newest member of the herd.