Monday, March 26, 2007

Sassy and Laurietta's Story - Tragedy or Miracle - 4th Twin Pregnancy in Horses Part 5

Part One starts here

Later on Mare Stare we were to learn that the delivery had started off badly with a red bag. Laurietta (horse owner) had indeed taken something to the back corner of the stall. It had been the first foal (horse), small and mummified. She had told us earlier on in the tread if there was a mummified foal, she would wisk it away because mummified foals (horses) are very disturbing in appearance. The second foal (baby foal) had its head and neck turned back, wedging the foal (baby horse) and preventing it from moving into the birth canal. The care givers had tried everything they could to get it into the correct position but it kept slipping back to the original postion.

At first the large foal (horse) had been alive but as time went by with the lack of oxygen caused by the placenta detaching prematurely, the foal (horse) died. It had actually died a short time before the vet arrived. I've heard before that dead foals (horses) are much harder to remove from a mare (horse) than live ones.(Supposedly, a live foal will work with you and the dead one can't.) Maybe that partially explains the duration of this dystocia. The other factor was the size of the second foal (baby horse), a beautiful filly, weighed a whopping 148 pounds. Sheer size alone would have been enough to cause a delivery as difficult as this, let alone having it's head and neck turned backwards. This tragic foaling had nothing to do with twins (horse) and everything to do with an abnormally large foal (horse) and a very bad malpresentation. Life and it's quirks had dealt Sassy and Laurietta another devestating hand.

Was this a tragedy brought on by a thoughtless owner or a miracle perpetuated by a woman's devotion to her mare? I think that everyone will have to decide for themselves. But for me, I know what I think. I know that veterinarians encourage breeding mares(horses) that have had twins. They believe the circumstances can be managed. The success rate for delivering healthy single foals (horses) from mares (horses) that settle twins are actually considerably higher than for those that don't double ovulate and settle twins. I have experience with both twins (horses) and foalings. I know lots of horror stories. Most of them, like this one, have nothing to do with twins (horses).

I didn't need a vet to tell me this mare shouldn't have survived this delivery, yet that's exactly what Laurietta's vet said. the odds were against this mare, the dystocia was that extreme I watched in awe as 5 dedicated people gave every thing they had to save this mare (horse). Pulling a foal that doesn't want to come is exhausting work for even a few minutes, let alone 3 hours. . Even when under attack from a phone call by a heartless intruder, they did not allow the assualt to interfere with their determination to save this mare (horse). Despite the odds, they never gave up.

Neither did the mare. This mare who had a history of abuse and neglect causing her to distrust people when she was first purchased by Laurietta had hung in there and trusted her humans to save her life. They didn't let her down. To me the fact that this mare (horse) survived this delivery is a miracle and directly related to her owner, Laurietta, and her care and planning for her mare (horse).

For me the tragedy of this event was caused by the few ignorant people who took advantage of the accessibility of the internet and attacked a mare (horse) owner who was just trying to do her best for her horse. They decided she didn't have the right to breed her mare and everything after that was a result of stupidity. They appointed themselves judge, jury and executioner and administered their sentence at the most inopportune moment possible as the owner was in the throws of trying to save her beloved mare. The results of this behavior had multipe effects on the the internet community and the owenr. Those are the real tragedy here.

While the experience of watching Sassy's dystocia was horrifying it was equally educational. How brave for the owner to allow it to continue to be broadcast across the internet so people might learn. It would have been much easier to turn off the cam and not give any more fodder to the vultures. Because of the attacks levied upon the horse owner, there are mare owners who have made their web cams private, afraid of being attacked like Laureitta. Who can blame them? The result is those webcams are no longer available for the public to share in the triumphs or the heartbreaks of mares foaling, an incredible learning experience that only a media like the web could provide.

The effect of this trash talking has spread past the internet and spilled out into the community as well. I was at a small horse show last weekend and the ordeal was being discussed even there. Of course, the facts were not correct, a well meaning person was repeating what she'd read on a horse thread on the internet and trashing Laurietta. Not one to tolerate injustice, I set the record straight there, like I'm setting it straight here. The woman doing the talking had no idea she was spreading gossip. She had relied on people she trusted to be honest yet nothing was farther from the truth.Their remarks were based on personal opinions and assumptions with little regard for the truth. My guess is that Laurietta will be bumping into this for a very long time. As a breeder she takes her horses to shows as part of her program. With the large scope of coverage on the internet, the damage has been done and the attacks are far from over. I expect she will continue to be assaulted by uneducated people believing they know what's right. I hope I'm wrong.

The people who know me would tell you I"m a tough critic. My standards are high and I hold my horses in high regard. With that being said, I respect Laurietta as an owner. It was her right to decide whether to breed this mare or not. Once she made that decision, she relied on the experts to help her take proper care of the mare. Whether or not those people were as knowledgeable as others out there, we'll never know. It is my opinion that she did everything that was humanly possible to protect her mare and keep her happy and safe. My hat is off to her.

And to those people who expended such energy in trashing Laurietta and exploiting the story of the mare in foal with her fourth set of twins, I feel sorry for them. Not even a post by one of their own consitutiens who said " It seems the tragedy of the lost foal and the earlier diagnosis of twins are unrelated." was enough to stop their rantings. People who expend such energy trying to destroy other people and their reputataions are not only pathetic but usually miserable themselves.

As of today, Sassy is doing well. She has been depressed over the loss of her foal but her health is good. With the help of viewers on Mare Stare, Laurietta located an agency that takes orphan foals. She went to find a foal for Sassy to replace the foal the mare is pining for. (Laurietta came home with 5 foals because she couldn't bear to leave their fate to chance, that's the kind of person Laurietta is.)

Two of the orphan foals are living right next to Sassy and the mare is beginning to warm up to them. She's no longer standing depressed in the corner wondering where her baby is. She's visiting the foals. Some mares are happiest when they're mothers and Sassy seems to be one of those horses. But then that's obvious, she happily raised two healthy sets of twins. Whether or not Sassy takes one, both or neither of these foals is up to Sassy. Laurietta is again just trying to do what is best for her mare, to see her happy. Today, Sassy was happy out in the field with both foals.

In the meantime unscrupulous people harassing Laurietta gleaned the information from the mare stare thread about the ophan foals. Then called the adoption agency the foals came from and tried to make trouble for her there. There seem to be no limits to their cruelty. So unfortunately the tragedy continues.


  1. Hi MiKael, you must have posted that as I was reading and posting to yesterday's one LOL.

    I was so sad that these babies didnt make it. Just such a shame that the ultrasounds didnt pick up on the twins in the beginning, but then the chances are she would have still had a large single foal and difficult delivery.

    I was amazed that Laurietta took on 5 orphans and equally amazed that Sassy is bonding with two of them, how wonderful!!!! I never thought of that when Cat lost her baby but then maybe her milk was not in properly anyway because she was more than 2 months early. The lengths some of the trolls would go to with their poison, getting hold of the adoption agency is just rediculous.

    What an amazing lady, kudos to her and if you are in contact with her tell her that she has more support and fans than she could ever imagine.

    Thanks for that story MiKael, I hope you will keep us up to date on the progress of the mare and the two orphans.


  2. Hi Mikale
    This is a very hard situation. I just cant believe that people would be so unjust with Laurietta. She did the only thing that she could do. You being in that same situation would know. You have been there. Thank God things turned out better for you! Unless people have been in that same situation they should not judge others. I am not an expert but I truly believe that you are. Just look at your horses my goodness they are awesome. What a shame if people like me lose out on web cams just because of a few people that have to call and make rude comments. No less what they are making Laurietta feel like. Hang in there Laurietta and I am hoping and praying for Sassy. Karen

  3. You said the stillborn filly was large at 148 pounds. What is the average weight for arabains?

    Also, I cannot believe that people called the adoption agency to say bad things about Laurietta. Don't these people have anything better to do?

  4. dressagemom, the average weight for a newborn for most light breeds would be about 100 pounds. A few arabian foals might be a little smaller.

    At a 148 pounds this foal was like a foal and a half for weight. Massive would be a better word than huge. Iit's incredible this mare survived this delivery.

  5. I've been reading this story from Part One, and it's truly a commentary on human nature - how good people can be and how evil they can be. No one can say what they will do in any situation until it is upon them. Sassy is truly fortunate to have Laurietta.

  6. What an amazing story. As you know, I am very passionate about animal rescue and welfare. I have no doubt that this horse was rescued by a kind hearted woman who cares a great deal about her, and that horse knows it. The world of horses seems quite complicated, and the "right" thing to do isn't always an easy or obvious answer. It sounds like everything was done to make this pregnancy and delivery as easy and safe as possible for Sassy. I hope the community will take the time to educate themselves on the facts of what happened and not contribute to further pain for Laurietta and Sassy. They've got enough pain to work through.

    It is just so easy to be a faceless critic with the internet. I'll admit, I've put my foot in my mouth a time or two, but when I realized it I tried to make up for my mistake. It seems these people glory in the drama and the suffering. They don't want to hear what really happened.

    Good for you for devoting so much space to clearing her name.