Friday, June 06, 2008

Orphan Foal

A story by Amber Applegate:

Well I had a very interested day starting at 7am. I really am glad there is a group to share such a dramatic and miraculous event! If I had not seen this with my own eyes I never would have believed it.

The last of the LOOK foals an outside breeding to a Kiger Mustang mare was born sometime after midnight. The mare was not due until the 28th of June. This was her first foal. The owner was down in San Francisco last week until Wednesday. She was pretty concerned about her mare and I offered to drive over on Tuesday and check her out. I saw her and she didn't look like she was in any danger of foaling soon.The teats didn't have wax, the vulva was not stretched, I palpated the buttocks and they were somewhat soft but not so soft as I was worried. I relayed the message to Sheila via email and told her not to worry, the mare was normal in my opinion.

then at 7am I get a call. Sheila told me she had very grim news. My heart sank believing the foal was born early and died. No, the foal was born but the mare was dead. The baby was out side running around with the other mare in the pasture. Sheila ran to the barn and found Spirette dead in the barn stall, the placenta half way out of the vagina.

Sheila was a wreck so I called our vet to come quickly and I grabbed a big tub of Foal replacement that I had on hand, baby bottles and headed to Jacksonville.

The baby was absolutely perfect. Small, but up and healthy and vigorous. Not a champagne again, but black and he looks exactly like my two black fillies. A star like Obsession and two hind fetlock socks like Illusion. Same Look features exactly. The three could be triplets he has stamped them so well.

I was panicked because the foal needed food, colostrum to be exact. Dr. Everman already told me his office had none. this time of the year it is just impossible to find Horse Colostrum. As we sat waiting for the vet I told Sheila to call Crater Animal Hospital over in Central Point a large animal hospiital and see if perhaps by some slim change they had and horse colostrum. A stoke of luck they had one bottle, 500ml. I told her to tell them to give it to me, charge it to her CC and I would be there in twenty minutes. I noted the time,told her to tell Dr. Everman when I left and not to leave until I returned with the life saving goods. I made it over and back in breakneck time.

Dr. Everman was so relieved that I found the colostrum and immediately tubed all 500cc down the baby. Checked him all over and was delighted he was so healthy. It took four of us to hold the little tiger down for the tubing and shots.

I asked if he knew of any nurse mares and he said he did not. All the vets keep in touch for a miracle mare that has lost a foal and will take on an orphan. None that he knew of.

He suggested that Sheila get the baby on the foal replacer asap and try to figure out how she would feed the baby using her pre teen twin daughters and husband for the every two hour feedings. I just felt so sorry for all of them and knowing the nightmare of raising a orphan foal that was in her future. She also is one to imprint too much and does not realize it is cute when they are little but a PITA and dangerous when adults.

The other mare that the foal was running with after mama died is just such a case. When I went to check the mare on Tuesday that mare was so pushy and in my space I had to throw sticks and stones to keep her at bay. I detest a horse in my space. She thinks they are just being sweet. I feared already for the colt.

I also had to run back to my ranch and get a foal blanket for the baby, The weather has been so cold and windy I thought since he has no mother to cuddle up with and no groceries he needs some extra warmth. So off I go again and get my blankets. On the way home there is a sign on the side of the highway for a backhoe service. I jotted down the number and called Sheila so she could contact him to come bury the mare. She did and he was over there by the time I returned. A huge relief for her.

Dr. Everman determined the mare ruptured the uterine artery after she birthed out the baby. He said it is a huge artery and she bled to death internally. She died quickly and did not suffer at all. Nothing at all that could have saved her even in the Vet had been right there at the time of birth. Spit happens. He could tell because the gums were white and that indicated she bled out, nothing else would have caused that.

What I saw hanging out of her was part of her uterus. I told Sheila that what we saw was not just placenta, it had to be uterus too as it was so massive and thick. Dr. said it was pushed out because of the bloating set in already, not prolapse.

then the miracle happened. A friend of Sheila's called, her trainer. She knew of a woman that lost a mare last year. she took her foal to a lady not too far from where Sheila lived that has a mare that will accept any foal and will let down milk as soon as the foal starts to suckle. I said WOT?? the mare doesn't even have a foal and will milk?? Sheila said that is what she is saying. I said call her now!

She called this gal and she claimed this mare will take on any foal and within two hours if it starts to suckle will produce milk and will become the surrogate mom. I just couldn't believe any of this, but hey? I was sure willing to try it.

We loaded up the baby in her trailer and in five minutes we were at the ranch. A load of women and the husband were waiting for us. The mare in a nice big clean stall and we took the colt into the mare. A big ol dun mare. I was so afraid the mare would maybe kick the baby or run it off or something normal that mares do to strange babies.

But no! this mare took one look at this little waif and nickered like a mother, went to him and started licking him all over. My jaw just dropped. The baby took to this incredible mare like she was his long lost mama. I was fighting back tears I will tell you. The baby searched for a teat and the mare nuzzled his tail like a mother does to get her baby to nurse. She nickered softly to him. It was the most amazing thing I have seen. I just stood there dumbfounded.

The foal was not getting it too well so the woman whose foal nursed on this mare last year took a hold of the teat and the owner of the mare took the foals mouth, I held the foal under the mare and he latched on and started to suckle. He swallowed and we all rejoiced. The mare has something coming out of that teat an the owner said if they can get him to keep sucking she will drop milk withing an hour.

I asked how old this beautiful and amazing mare is. 24. I just couldn't believe the luck that we were having. The only colostrum in the entire county, and now finding a miracle mare five minutes from Sheilas house.

The ranch has other newborns so within a week once the foal and surrogate get real well bonded and he is doing really good, the owner said she will turn them out with the other mares and foals! I really liked hearing this as now the baby will be a horse instead of a little human spoiled brat.

Monday Dr. Everman will come and draw blood to see how the antibodies are doing on the foal from the Colostrum. It really is not enough and he may need a plasma transfusion. But I have great hope he is going to make it. I like the ranch he is at and feel they are most competent breeders and they have a lot of help also very knowledgeable.

And the surrogate is also preggers at 24! Is this an amazing mare or what? I am still just overwhelmed at the entire situation.

Now for the color. Not champagne again drat it all. But! I was really looking at this colt. He looks just like my two black fillies but the inside of his ears, the fuzz is almost white. I got a photo of a smoky black after Illusion when I thought she was a smoky. the previous owner of my mare La Nina, Illusion's mother said she didn't think Illusion was a smokey because her inside ears were not white like the photo she sent me of her smoky black with the white fuzz inside the ears. I did a DNA of Illusion and sure enough she does not carry cream.

So I am looking at this guy and he has the white fuzz. I told Sheila I bet he got the cream from his dun mother. Well Sheila doesn't know anything of color and really isn't interested especially today. But I was. Then I looked at him while he was sleeping and I swore I saw barring on his legs. It hit me like a hammer. could he be a GRULLO??? I dared to even think of this but I knew it was a possibility in the colors the two horses could produce.

When we got him to the surrogates ranch one of the women has had many duns born to her and she said he is a grullo! I said how do you figure. She said look at the dorsal stripe going down his butt on to his tail. Look at the pinkish tinge around his eyelids. Look at the silver color on his butt cheeks.Look at the white in his ears. Look at the baring on his legs. This colt I am 99% sure is going to be a grullo.

Now that is awesome. But still I am going to save my complete answer on him until I can really see true barring and dorsal stripe. But wouldn't that be something? If the boy gaits, maybe I will have to trade something for him.

Anyhoo, that was my day and this is my story. Sorry to be so long winded but I think this is a cool story.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pony Ride

The pony is learning to target a ball, then to follow it, and eventually to push the ball around.

Riding on the pony. He was a lead-line pony and no one knows if he was ever ridden without being lead. It seems like he's not sure if he should move unless he's lead by a ground person, so we're having him target the ball, as he did without a rider, only this time he has a passive rider on him.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Breed Natural Gaits

Breed Naturally Gaited Horses; not horses that need boots to gait!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Mini Guide Horse

Here's a short video of a miniature horse acting as a guide for the blind:

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Little Girl and Pony

Meeting a new pony, leading him around, doing some targeting with clicker training.