What a challenging few months this has been. After the recent loss of our dear friend Randy, the death of my Azteca mare, and in the last week the death our little Fox Terrier Buddy, our hearts have been heavy and it has been a challenge to carry on. However, looking forward to new life, the birth of a foal from my mare Heather has kept me going. I have learned to have faith and never give up. We have a lot of challenging moments here, and each day is a new challenge indeed..
Meanwhile back at the ranch:
Fri. April 9th : It was a quiet warm 70 degree evening, after an exhausting week, and looking forward to finally getting to bed, at 11:00 PM I did my mare check to see how Heather was doing. She was not due for still at least another week, but I knew I needed to keep a close watch on her. I had her out in the paddock area, walking around in the dark w/my flashlight I could not see her standing. Then I saw her lying down and heard her moaning, my heart pounded as I ran to her side.
Suddenly I forgot how tired I was. Upon examining her I saw she was in labor and serious trouble...and here I was by myself, w only a small flashlight, no cell phone on me in a critical situation. The baby appeared lifeless, had its head out and 2 front legs, (good I thought), in the right position, and was still in the sack which I tore through to get to its head. I saw no movement in the baby, I opened its mouth, eyes were closed, and I feared the worse, but still had hope. Upon closer examination I realized the worse: The baby's head was actually coming out the rectum, and it's legs were coming through the vaginal opening, and it was stuck, (who knows for how long). It was hung up in the tissue between the rectum and vagina and was appearing to be strangling by it's neck. My heart pounded as I raced into the house for Michael, cell phone, towels, knife and better lighting.
In the few minutes that I was gone Heather somehow broke the tissues that was holding the baby in and was really struggling. I realized at this point the life of the baby and mare were at high risk. We had to get the baby out, so Michael and I each grabbed a front leg and pulled.
It took a lot of pulling, slipping in the blood and water bath on the ground. We got the baby out, and I still had hopes for a live baby, I cleaned around his face and removed debris around his mouth and even blew into his nostrils. I saw some movement in his eyes as I flicked upon them and soon we had life. We massaged him vigorously w towels, cleaned him up and before we knew it he was flopping around!!!
Oh my God, he's alive!!
Meanwhile Heather just laid there in a pool of blood, w much pain and exhaustion. We tried to keep her quiet, I was calling every vet that I know while Mike struggled w the baby, trying to keep him from bothering her so she could rest. She talked to him and he talked back. What a moment. My heart pounded as at midnight no vets yet were available. I could not give up, went into overdrive, the night had just begun.
Finally I got Dr. Williams on the phone, however he was out of town...he told me how serious this was and that since he was not available I should try and get the mare and baby in the trailer and drive to the Retama Equine Emergency Center, or Texas A and M, (someplace that has 24 hour care). I knew this could not happen. Heather was near death, could not get up, the baby went through a horrible traumatic birth, but I still had hope. Then I was able to get Dr. David Behrends, in Blanco on the phone. He talked me through what to do to get her through the night, and to bring her in first thing in the morning. I always have medication on hand for emergencies such as this.
First we needed to give Heather Banamine to get her out of pain, and anti-biotics to reduce infection. I needed to milk her to be sure the baby got the much needed colostrum. She allowed me to milk her; we put it in a baby bottle and by this time the baby was standing and hungry, and full of life! My barn buddy Nancy also came over to assist, we had our hands full! What a delight to have this beautiful colt, (it's a boy), looking into your eyes as he takes in his first nourishment.
After Heather had a much deserved rest, and the pain meds set in, she was able to rise. I had hope! We got them settled in a stall, and the colt was able to nurse on his own, and she had plenty of milk!
I was able to turn in about 3:00 AM and fell into bed. I could sleep a few hours, then at daylight, get them in the trailer, and get Heather the medical attention she needed. Upon walking to the barn I the morning, I had my fears, but was delighted to see they made it though the night! They both greeted me and was I happy to see them both perky.
The good news: Heather has a chance of making it. The vet trimmed up the torn tissues, internally sutured the floor of the rectum, and the internal wall of the vagina. She will be on pain meds, anti-biotics, stool softeners, need lots of flushing, and attention... The colt is the most gorgeous baby, friendliest baby on the planet. He certainly got lots of imprinting, since he was born in our arms. He is bay like mom, white stripe on face, and four white socks. He is the biggest baby, so strong and healthy. His size is what hurt....Heather just could not get him out in an easy fashion.
The colt's sire is a gorgeous Spanish Andalusian with a page of National Grand Champion wins. Heather is a Thoroughbred that I rescued from Retama, she has been the most gracious and loving mare and gave me a perfect gift. We are going to register the baby as a sport horse w the Andalusian Horse Association. His registered name will be Magnifico Magico. His father's name is Majico. And this is such a magical story it brings tears to my eyes.
And here's a little video of that big boy. We'll have cantering video later in the week. :)