Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Legacy Continues - Part 3

Part 1 of the Legacy Continues

It was immediately love at first sight, both for Heiress, the Arabian mare, and for me. The mare nickered softly immediately recognizing this wet infant as her own. She struggled to reach the filly not wanting to get up but still wanting to touch her foal. The horse somehow managed to scoot enough to actually reach her filly. The expression on the mare's face was priceless. Heiress was clearly enamored with her new baby.

As I gazed down at the two of then,I just couldn't believe this beautiful little filly was actually mine. Here she was the first foal of my second generation of breeding and she appeared to be absolutely perfect. Legs had done pretty well for himself. This was definitely a quality filly.

Even though this filly was absolutely darling, she was a bit slow. The problems with the birth had evidently caused a lack of oxygen, she was clearly a dummy foal. Her reaction time was a bit slow. She just laid there at first. When she did move to get up she struggled just to get to an upright position. Once she was there, she just stayed there not wanting to get up.

She did an odd amount of blinking which struck me like she was confused. I could see her little wheels turning but just not making any sense of what was happening. There were clearly cobwebs in her head.

I still needed to get her up to nurse, When prompted to rise by running my fingers down each side of her spine, she just couldn't figure out how to use her legs. The long spidery things seemed to go every which way but underneath her. They went so many directions at once, there was no way she had any chance of getting them underneath her. Heck, she couldn't even get any weight onto them. It was funny but frustrating.

Even though the filly appeared to be slow she sure didn't want any help either. It was early to be deciding what about her parents she resembled but I was pretty sure in disposition she was taking after mom. As the vet and I worked together trying to help her to her feet, I know I saw that Heiress look. The one that says "back off or I'm gonna kick you or bite you or something........" It was a a good thing this filly couldn't figure out how to use the equipment she had.

In those days, Dave and Lindsay weren't all that excited about new babies. They liked them but not enough to get out of bed for them. Taking care of newborns was totally up to me. I was glad that the vet was here for this one.

While I had had dummy foals before, this one was more confused that I was used to assisting. Then there's that thing with me an patience. Getting a foal to nurse is not my long suit. I hear the clock ticking like it's a time bomb ready to explode at any moment. I'm get so focused on antibodies that my patience gets pretty thin.

Thankfully, the vet had enough patience for both of us. With his help, we finally did get the filly up and nursing. Her suckle response was good and once she had it figured out, we were good to go. The vet left to get some sleep and I settled in with the new mom and her foal.

Once the vet was gone, I cleaned the wet stall and then gazed at the foal for hours. I don't know that I even noticed the cold, I was so mesmerized by my first filly. It was dawn before I went back into the house. By then the filly was acting like a normal foal. She was getting up on her own and nursing easily.

Things were looking like they were going to be all right but we did blood work at the appropriate time to confirm the IgG scores were good. Because Heiress was a maiden mare there was more chance that she might not produce enough antibodies for the foal. We wanted to be safe.

It's a good thing we did, the test came back with the score under 400. That is not considered to be a safe level. So right of the bat we had to deal with the filly having a transfusion to insure that her antibodies came up to acceptable levels.

This new filly was not the least bit inclined to stay still to be poked and prodded. She was unhappy about being stuck for the blood test and even more cantankerous about holding still for a transfusion.

It took the two of us to get her even into a position were I could hold her down so the vet could get the shunt in place.The darn filly was a spitfire. I have to admit that over the years, I've become pretty accomplished at wrestling with non-compliant foals. This filly was the beginning of my education. Up until then my foals had been easy to handle, but fillies, well fillies are a different animal than colts.

To be continued...........

The Legacy Continues Part 4

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  1. Great entry and very educational too! I know little about the breeding aspect and so never heard the term "dummy foals". Thanks for adding a new term to my vocabulary!

  2. Oh Foal wrestling, It's so much fun - NOT! Luckily my first foal was just great, born, up and nursing all within 20 minutes. It was a good initiation.

    I'm glad the little filly figured things out, can't wait to hear what happens next.

  3. It's a good thing that people like you love mares, because I'd rather have a stallion or gelding any day! Maybe Teeya just spoiled me for the rest of the mares, but it would take an exceptional mare to convince me to own one.

  4. equinespirit, I know I've used the term here before, I've had a number of dummy foals including the twins. I've also had lots of other problems with foals so you're bound to come across things you haven't heard before here.

    I'm not sure if that's good or bad. lol

    lady of chaos, yes foal wrestling is indeed an art. I'm glad that your first foal did everything by the book, I think I'm still waiting on one of those. Mine are always really long legged and that makes things a bit tougher both in the birthing part and standing part. Getting those legs unfolded and in the right position can be a real trip.

    dressagemom, I know that you've said this before about mares. I think your opinion was tainted by that first mare. I have had and do have some very special mares. I think if you every encountered one you would be hooked.

    They are truly amazing creatures.There is a reason that the Bedouins brought the mares into their tents.

  5. LOL MiKael this post brings back so many memories. Although I have never been as diligent as to spend the night in the stable with the mare, I have been present at two births and when Taxes was born something woke me at 1.30 in the morning with two inches of slushy snow on the ground while Larry was in hospital, telling me to go and check on the mare. When I got out there was Taxes still trying to get up, wet and freezing so I was really glad that someone had been watching over us and got me going. I spent two hours out there getting him into a baby blanket, up on his four loooooong legs and eventually nursing. He was also a spitfire!!!

    When Blaze was born the year before he got his name because the little devil tried to double barrel me when I gave him his enema!!! All of four hours old!!! Today he is the most laid back accepting horse that I have ever bred, I can do anything with him, even got the electric clippers out and clipped him twice and he didnt bat an eyelid.

    Mares are wonderful. I have missed not having babies this year, will have none next year and if things dont improve will not breed again next year and until things in the industry improve.