Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Legacy Continues - Another Rocky Road

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

Part one of the Second Foal Crop

Then one night, shortly after weaning both colts, we left from a brief visit at a friends's to put the horses in for the night. It was already dark by the time we arrived at our farm. I went out into the front field and called for the weanlings. Legend came running lickety split but there was no Image.

My heart sank. As I went into the barn to find his halter, I knew that something was terribly wrong. That colt had always been the first one to reach me. There was no way he would willingly let his brother get to me first. Image clearly ejnoyed keeping Legend away from me.

I walked through the darkness calling my beloved colt. Finally I heard a plaintive nicker. It was barely audible as he came to me out of the darkness on three legs. The fourth, a front, was dangling precariously.

I took a deep gulp of air trying to calm myself as I put on the halter. Then carefully I led the hobbling horse to his stall. Once inside the colt stood quietly as I manipulated his leg into place and applied a standing wrap. Then I buted the weanling and called the vet. At no time through this whole procedure did Image complain. I knew in my heart that this was not good but refused to allow myself to accept what I saw. I would wait for the vet to tell me what was wrong with my colt.

The vet told me he would be there in the morning. Whatever was wrong with my colt wasn't going to change much overnight. I had done everything I could to make him comfortable. Now, I just had to wait.

In the morning when the vet arrived, I explained again what I had seen and done. As the vet took off the standing wrap, he began to wonder if he really was going to find much wrong. The colt stood so patiently and quietly the vet thought the horse couldn't be in pain. Even with the leg unwrapped the vet wasn't sure there was a problem so he asked me again what it had looked like the night before. After listening closely to my description. the vet cautiously took the leg in his hand and lifted it. Immediately the bone popped out of place. Again it was dangling like it had the night before.

Palpating around the top of the bone, it was then the vet confirmed my worst fears Image had broken his front leg. The injury was a clean break diagonally across the growth plate right at the top of his right front cannon bone. The small piece at the top was kind of triangular in shape and included half the area of the growth plate. There were no outward signs of trauma to the leg . The only thing the vet could figure was that it had been a stress fracture that had finally given way.

There was nothing that could be done for the young horse. While the bone might mend, the growth plate was so compromised there was no way the leg could grow normally. The colt would have one leg severly shorter than the others.

Because horses are quadrapeds a short limb is devestating to the entire skeletal structure. Not only would the shorter limb hurt, but his back, neck and other limbs would all be affected by the imbalance. His life would be filled with excruciating pain. I could never do that to Image. I had to make the decision to euthanize this colt that had so taken over my heart. I had to chose to put him down at four months of age, a thought I still cannot fathom. I don't know that I've forgiven myself even yet.

I know I never forgave Legend. Not that it is fair or right but every time I looked at Legend all I could think of was the colt I had lost. I wondered why couldn't it have been him instead. I know that sounds cruel and I hate that I felt that way but I did. While Legend was a nice colt, Image was a super star. Legend was a horse that I could sell, Image was the horse that was going to carry this dream of mine. I was going to sell Legs and keep Image as my new herd sire. The plans were all laid out, the dreams off and running in my head.

I didn't think I would ever feel a loss as difficult as that of Scandalous but this one has been even worse. This baby that I had gone through such trials to get healthy and sound had won my heart in a way I had never imagined was possible. I don't think that I have ever in my life been as connected to another living thing as I was connected to this colt. The loss was devastating. Had my barn not been filled with pregnant mares, I would have quit this dream of mine right then and there.

I just couldn't resolve that Image had come and gone and his life meant nothing. I wanted him to count for something, so I clipped a peice of his mane for DNA testing so I could at least register this foal. I wanted him to show as one of Leg's progeny AND I didn't want another horse to get his name. The only way to do that was registration. But, I had never done the DNA testing before and I hadn't understood it required the follicle at the end of the hair so it turned out I wasn't able to register him afterall.

If you go to my website, there up over the top of the links on the left hand side of the screen is Image. It was the only way I could find to make his life mean something besides just in my heart. At least there, he's visible for the world to see. Gone but not forgotten.

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

The Third Foal Crop

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  1. That's horrible - I'm so sorry. I don't know how you do what you do, but I'm glad you stuck with it, even after such heartbreak.

  2. You made me cry on that one. The horse of my life was born this past August and I can't imagine losing her. I know it must have been hard, but you made the right decision.

  3. Awwww....I'm so sorry! :( I'm in tears...I admit it. That was heartbreaking!!

  4. Very sad. Your words make it quite clear how much this colt meant to you.
    Horses are so much more fragile than people imagine.
    I'm so sorry.

  5. Oh MiKael I am sitting here in tears, my first thought was "thank heavens that you had those photos done and have such beautiful pictures of this little guy". I don't know what to say, this is so devastating I can feel your pain and understand your feelings towards the other colt. This post couldnt have been easy either. ((((Huge Hugs)))))


  6. how heart breaking!

    I am so sorry :(

    I understand how you felt towards Legend.....sometimes we cannot help how we feel.

  7. You've had so much tragedy in your life. Nothing I can say would really help, I know, but you do have my very sincere sympathies. I realized just now that it seems like all the horses you've really, really connected with have not been able to stay in your life, and I realized that the hardest thing for me in that situation, would be being afraid to connect that deeply with a horse again. I admire that you are able to continue loving them without holding anything back.

  8. Oh my, how very, very sad. I just don't know how you do it. So tragic.

    I saw his precious picture. Just breaks my heart.