When Coconut the foal was born, her owners couldn’t believe their eyes. They’d never seen anything so unusual, and soon they realized just how rare the latest addition to their herd was.
Jackie and Scott Nelson live in the city of Melbourne, Florida. There, they own a family-ran ranch called Down Under Colour. On the land, they care for beautiful Australian and American paint horses.
Paint horses boast a distinctive patterned coat and usually feature pinto markings of both dark and white furs. Thanks to their unusual good looks, they are one of the most popular horses in North America.
And, when it comes to horses, the Nelsons are experts. Not only do they breed and raise the animals, but they also train them – often taking their horses to shows, where they compete for rosettes.
So, it’s safe to say that the couple thought a lot of their team of horses. As a result, they were probably delighted to discover one of their string would have a baby in 2013. The mare in question was called Poka.
She had become pregnant by Chief, the Nelson’s stallion. They would have quite a wait on their hands to see what their baby would look like, though – but, little did they know, the anticipation would be completely worth it.
Horse pregnancies last 11 months, on average, and a mare usually only produces one foal per pregnancy. More often than not, foals are conceived in summer and born the following spring.
As a result, the Nelsons prepared to welcome their new addition in February 2013. And like all good horse owners, they ensured Poka had plenty of room to wander. They gave her lots of food to keep her energy up, too.
Then, thanks in part to their efforts, Poka went into labor as planned at the beginning of February 2013. And, to the Nelson’s delight, it was a beautiful and healthy little girl. Furthermore, there was something rather unusual about the foal.
The animal, who the Nelson’s later named Coconut, was tovero-colored. This meant she was mostly white with darker markings on her face. The foal was in fact a Medicine Hat horse.
Medicine Hat horses are a form of pinto horse with peculiar markings. Such animals have a white coat that is offset with a dark patch, which covers the very top part of their head and their ears – hence the comparison to a hat.
These strange, cap-like markings are shrouded in mythology. Native American tribes believed that horses with these features were magic. As such, some believed that they could protect their riders during battle.
People also believed that Medicine Hat horses had the ability to warn their riders of dangers. Furthermore, riders believed they were expert game hunters. So, it’s fair to say, their kind were highly sought after.
As a result, it wasn’t unusual for tribes to steal Medicine Hat horses from other tribes. They believed that this would help them bring good luck to their communities. So, the horses were usually heavily guarded at all times.
Today, Medicine Hat horses are extremely rare. And while their magical abilities may be debatable, there’s no denying the captivating animals are beautiful – Little Coconut being no exception.
A video taken just two days after the filly’s birth showed her skipping merrily as she took her first steps outside. As she circled her paddock, the rest of the Nelson’s herd came over to meet her for the first time. It seemed even fellow horses couldn’t resist her beauty.
“The other horses are very excited and interested because it was the first time they had seen Coconut,” a spokesperson from Down Under Colour said on YouTube. “They have seen other foals, and the momma Poka is part of the herd and had just been out with them a few days before. It was amazing to watch!”
Coconut was a hit online, too. The footage of her first adventure outside has since clocked up over two-and-a-half million views on YouTube. Moreover, many people couldn’t resist leaving gushing messages in the video’s comment section.
“Such a beautiful baby, it’s just unreal! Congratulations on a gorgeous foal,” one viewer wrote. Meanwhile, another added, “The more I watch this, the more awesome I think Coconut is. So cute and alert and curious. Love that baby!”
The Nelsons later put Coconut on sale for an impressive $74,000, although it’s not known if she was ever sold. But, wherever she is today, Coconut is no doubt managing to win everyone over with her unique looks.