Monday, December 17, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Third Foal Crop Part 4

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

The Third Foal Crop Part 1

While I was working on resolving the issue with Bey Aana kicking at her foal, I also was still on foal watch. The first three mares due to foal had dues dates that stretched out evenly over a month's time. Yet all three mares began showing signs of foaling imminence in the same week!

The watch was on with Faye so I was still sleeping in the barn at nights, checking in from work during the day, trying to make sure I was available for the delivery. I hadn't caught the mare foaling with her first foal, last year. She had foaled in the early morning when I went to the house for a potty break.

The Arabian horse did the same thing this time. On April 10, 2001 at about 6 am the mare dropped her foal about the same time I dropped my pants in the house. I caught her down with the newborn foal about three minutes later.

The membrane was still over the foal's nose and the newborn was just beginning to stir. I crept in quietly and removed the slimy tissue from the foal's nostrils. Then I grabbed its two front feet and pulled it free of the mare. Faye was already talking to it and licking it so I left her briefly to get my "stuff." (towels and iodine)

It was another colt and from the first moment I saw him, I was concerned. Not about his health, but about this great huge white marking that seemed to cover his entire face. I know that foal's grow into their markings, but looking at the white on this nose, I remember thinking: "Oh my, some one's really going to have to take a chance on this one."

It's really the first emotional reaction I remember having after the death of the other colt. Odd, I know, but feelings can be weird sometimes. I guess I'm glad that I was feeling anything at all other than over whelming grief.

Despite being put off by the marking, I went in and dried this colt off. He didn't much like the towel on his face but running it down his neck, he almost purred. He arched that neck up high and pretty pressing back hard into my hands. His eyes opened wide and he blew. The attitude of the Legs boys was definitely there!

I cleaned the stall and blanketed the colt giving the mare some time to bond with her foal before I tried to help him stand and nurse. The colt was showing no indications of having any inclination to get up on his own.

By the time I finished the cleaning and cooked the mare a bran mash, the foal still was making no attempts to get up. With those trademark long legs, I knew it was going to be a chore.

The colt not only wasn't interested in getting himself up, he wasn't much interested in me getting him up either. As I tried to put his front legs into position, the little varmint struck at me and snorted a time or two. I actually laughed out loud at his antics.

The sound of that laugh almost scared me. I hadn't laughed in so long, I'd forgotten what my own laugh sounded like. But that wasn't going to be the last time I laughed. This colt turned out to be something of a character and there was no way I could help myself. I did a lot of laughing that day and for the days after.

But laughing wasn't the only thing I did. I finally managed to get him on his feet but no way could I get him to nurse. After four hours, I ended up calling the vet. I was worried about getting that valuable colostrum down this foal in time.

When the vet arrived, it wasn't my usual vet but someone who worked for him. A young woman who wasn't long out of vet school. It turned out not to be a pleasant experience.

Three different times we held that foal down so she could put a tube up his nose and down into his stomach. And three different times she told me she couldn't tell if it was in the right position or not.

The only places that tube can go are the stomach or the lung. Putting liquid into the lung is deadly. You can't be making any mistakes. To say I was frustrated would be kind.

So we pulled the tube out, yet again, and decided to give the colt a break before trying to insert it a fourth time. My mind was reeling trying to figure out what my options were. When suddenly, the colt rose to his feet and went straight over to the mare to nurse.

I couldn't believe my eyes after all of that. The foal was up and nursing on his own with no assistance. Just like he'd known how to do it all along. But talk about relief. I paid my $450 vet bill for something she couldn't even do. Then I couldn't get her off my place fast enough. Thank God! the foal had nursed and I didn't have to deal with that vet anymore.

Today, I never would have even called the vet. Over the years, I've learned if I'm having problems getting a foal to nurse, I milk the mare. Put it into a large dose syringe and hand feed the foal. That way I don't have to worry about colostrum getting ingested on time. It takes off some pressure and saves the foal going through a risky procedure.

Now, why don't the vets just tell owners to do that instead of putting a vulnerable foal through such a risky procedure?

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

The Third Foal Crop - Part 5

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  1. Lovely. I bet this little clown grew up incredibly beautiful.

  2. Interesting story. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Great post and cute baby pic! Scary and frustrating though that ya had to deal with a vet who didn't know what she was doing, didn't get the job done, and then charged ya an arm and a leg to boot. Oye!

  4. The trials and tribulations of foal rearing!!! Wow little tyke but thank heavens he came around on his own. I can't believe she put that baby through all that torment, I hope that you told your normal veterinarian about it so he could put her right and educate her. Poor baby.

    I have to say that I hadnt often come across horses with spots, a lot of white or blue eyes before I came here to the USA and wasnt too crazy about them especially the blue eyes until I ended up with paint horses where it is common. I have three with both blue eyes and two with one blue and one brown and lots with big white faces and I love it!!!

    I am curious as to why in the Arabians it isnt sought after? I know a lot of people dont like it but is it an undesireable breed trait?

    Sunny here today Yaaaaay, going to put the horses out, it is still in 20sF but pretty outside with the snow. Take it easy and I hope you are feeling better today.



  5. Also meant to say, Will you Look at those Legs!!!! Man no wonder he didnt want to get up, just learning how to use those must have beena daunting task for him LOL. What a little cutie pie.


  6. Phhht... Give me a person who has been delivering foals for years over any vet. Being vets they almost always treat something aggressively when sometimes a little time (and patience) would be just as effective... or even (as you noted) a 'low tech' solution would be just as good if not better!

    My favorite vet (who is a good friend) used to laugh and say that she hated getting a call from me. By the time I called her I had already done all of the 'easy' things and I actually had something that needed a treatment only a vet could supply. She also said, on the other hand, that she -never- considered a call from me as an annoyance. If I called, I needed her and I needed her now! LOL!

  7. We have lost more than one calf due to tubing into the lungs. It's a very sad and frustrating situation. The over sized syringe is an excellent idea and something I will definitely invest in before calving and foaling season hit us.

    If you get a chance sometime, I would love to get the mash recipe that you give your mares after foaling.

  8. Now these are the stories I like!
    I also love the goofy expression on the little guy in the photo. :)

  9. You've got me - it seems like such a simple procedure!

    I love how all the babies come out with major attitude from the start!

  10. I love the white on that baby's face. It seems he already has a mischevious expression.

    Years ago I had an Arabian baby born that behaved like yours. I called the vet and he used the tube.

    The baby didn't get up and nurse the way yours did though. The vet said he needed to take him and later called to say he didn't make it.

    It was such a pretty baby, too. I had been sleeping out in the barn for over a week in the winter in anticipation. But, my being there didn't help although there didn't seem to be a problem with the baby being born and the mucus over the nose was removed right away.

    I never had enough courage to try again.

  11. molly, yes Chance has turned out to be a beautiful horse and he is huge as well.

    asthmagirl, thanks for visiting my blog. Hope to see you again.

    eqinespirit, yes it was very frustrating and it really seems unfair that they can get away with such things!

    lori, Lady Anne Blunt imported Arabian horses with excessive white, body spots and blue eyes but the breeders in the USA have been against such things from the start. However, in this day and age there are breeders who are focusing on those traits and breeding for purebred pintos. It is a rapidly growing marktet.

    But my problem with this marking was how hard it is to photograph this horse. The white exaggeratest his nose making it look much bigger than it actually is. Doing video is next to impossible. The horse ends up looking like his head is a mile long and it's really a short typey head.

    astaryth, I'm with you. But I think they treat us all like we know nothing, that might be part of the problem. I just know I'll never do that again. It was so awful. and that poor, poor foal.

    kathy c, yes it works really great. I get the syringes with the really large tip that are designed for flushing feeding tubes.

    I will see about putting that mash recipe up for Christmas.

    arthist99, thanks for letting me know these are the stories you like. I'm never sure which direction to go.....

    Yes, Chance does look a bit goofy in this pic. He is such a love.

    l, ya, it makes no sense to me either, oh well.... I breed for that darn attitude. It's part of what I think Arabians should be. lol

    jolynna, I'm sorry that you lost a foal. I know how hard that can be. Did the vet tube him incorrectly, and that's why you lost him?

    I know it's hard to try again. but if you don't you'll never get to experience the great joy of new babies. They are so amazing. I hope sometime you can experience it.

  12. Wow, I love his white marking! And here I was thinking my Yalla! had a most unusual "f" marking on her forehead. Shucks!

    I would have been very unhappy with that vet! To pay that much money for such incompetence and even put the life of the foal at risk from it.

  13. Fantastyk Voyager, Ya, that is some marking. And Scarlet has an unusual "tail" on the top of her star too. This guy did grow into that marking and turned into a beautiful horse. Unfortunately he got into the hands of a couple of trainers who didn't do him justice. Some day I will post that story.

    In hind sight, I'm really mad at myself for paying that vet bill. They didn't get the job done and I should have stood up for myself. I guess hind sight's always 20/20 but even today when I think of that near $500 vet bill for absolutely nothing, I get mad.