Monday, March 16, 2009

Done Typing & Still Don't Know What to Call This Post About the Lost Filly

Well, I am struggling what to call this post. I suppose by the time you read this, it will have a name.

I've posted a couple of times now, just in the last week about one of our mares that is pregnant... well, was pregnant. She had her foal this (Monday) AM. It was very foggy here, so even with the binoculars, it was hard to make out that the heap was a foal. It wasn't moving, but was so hard to tell with the fog. And momma wasn't super close... she wasn't far, but further that what I would expect. Called to the horses and I saw an ear flicker. Got our daughter dressed and headed out to the pasture with camera and cell phone.

LONGGG story short.................................................... too long to type and I'm too tired and don't want to cry............. the foal was.... it was a filly... euthanized. All in a matter of 8 hours, we had a birth, a death and a burial.

She was gorgeous. She was huge. First thing, when I saw that she couldn't get up, was to try to get her up. I'm 5'2" and this filly was big. I called a friend that is 1/2 mile away as a crow flies. She and I tried to get this filly up (my 2 1/2 year old was being so good standing where I told her to in the pasture). We couldn't get the filly up. I could only get her on her sternum and had to hold her there to keep her there, otherwise she flopped back down. THAT had me concerned.... if she had such long legs that she had contracted tendons, then we'll deal with that... but she wasn't even able to get herself on her sternum.

My husband came home from work and got there a bit before the vet. He's a big guy- 6'4" and with this foal struggling, it took quite a bit from him to hold her in a standing position. But, like he said, he was completely holding her. Her back legs were useless. Also, her tongue was recessed back more in her mouth than it should have been. Using a trick I learned in a breeding course we took years ago, I got milk from momma in a 60 ml (huge) syringe tube. Momma's milk was/is beautiful. The foal wanted it... couldn't swallow great, but she was trying. She tried all she could... she fought to stand, but her legs would remain prostrate.

When I first saw her, I thought there was something up with that.... and her head would loll back to the side- even with help. She was what is known in the horse world as a "Dummy Foal". Lack of oxygen to the brain during birth... basically makes them... retarded in a sense. A horse that doesn't have the neuro capability to stand... it's not like humans. Horses HAVE to stand- their gut/life depends on it. This filly lost brain function to help her know which way was up and how to stand. Her legs were prostrate stiff because the brain says do that while standing... but she was flat on her side. Could never get on her sternum even.


Not a fun decision. But...................

You know, you wait almost a year (a horse's gestation is over 11 months long)........ well, what is, is.

I had taken a picture of her when she was alive........ and stopped after one........ thought........ maybe I shouldn't have....... she was pretty ..............she was just so darn big. I can only guess it took a lot of work on momma's part. Incidentally, momma is fine. Like the vet said (when momma-mare was distant from us while we were assessing the foal) she knew something wasn't right. Normally, she would have been right up there causing a bit of a stink... none of that was going on. She was grazing some sixty feet from us... and this is a good momma mare. She has had four foals before.

I see I'm typing/spending too much time on this... I've got to get to bed so I can be good tomorrow for my daughter. She was so good today. Had the county come out to bury the foal. My husband and I tried to explain it as best we could... about death. She saw the foal before and after. It wasn't an all emotion-laden thing... she's too young for that. Kind of matter of fact. She didn't obsess on it before bed-time... just asked, "The baby horse couldn't stand?" (she saw her trying).... okay enough. Got to get to bed.

I had a poem to post when the foal arrived... a poem I wrote when I was in high school. But... I will have to post it another time... it is no longer fitting for this post.

She was beautiful. But it wasn't meant to be.

(that last line was for me)

Equus Caballus
I have run on middle fingernail through Eolithic morning
And I’ve thundered down the coach road with Revolution’s warning
I have carried countless errant knights who never found the grail
I have strained before the caissons, I’ve moved the nation’s mail
I’ve made knights of lowly tribesmen, kings from ranks of peons
I’ve given pride and arrogance to riding men for eons
I’ve grazed among the lodges, teepees and the yurts
Felt the sting of driving whips, lashes, spurs and quirts

I am roguish- I am flighty, inbred and lowly
I’m a nightmare gone wild- I am
Gallant and exalted, stately and noble
I’m awesome- I am grand- I am
The Horse

I have suffered gross indignities from users and from winners
I’ve felt the touch of kindness from losers and from sinners
I have given for the cruel hand and given for the kind
Heaved a sigh at Appomattox when surrender had been signed
I can be as tough as hardened steel or fragile as a flower
I know not my endurance, I know not my own power
I have died with heart exploded beneath the cheering stands
Calmly stood below the hanging noose of vigilante bands

I am roguish- I am flighty, inbred and lowly
I’m a nightmare gone wild- I am
Gallant and exalted, stately and noble
I’m awesome- I am grand- I am
The Horse

So I’ll run on middle fingernail until the curtain closes
I’ll win for you your Triple Crown, I’ll wear for you your roses
Toward you, who took my freedom, I’ve no malice or remorse
I’ll endure, I’ll last forever, I am The Horse

~Author Unknown


Neas Nuttiness said...

I am so, very very sorry.
For those of us "animal people"... losing one of God's creatures, hurts to the core. I will be thinking of you all today, and sending you my love and prayers.

Anonymous said...

I am typing through tears ... such a hard 'lesson' for your little someone ... I know your heart aches, you are in my prayers ... I love the poem you posted.

Anonymous said...

The Circle of Life ... that's what your post is about ... birth and death. It wasn't meant to be, she is not struggling any longer. I believe that animals go to Heaven, too ... they are God's finest creations. L, M/Gma

Tatersmama said...

Oh hun, I'm so very sorry.
It does sound like momma knew that nothing could be done and it's heartbreaking, that there wasn't a better outcome.
I'm crying here...

Please know that you'll be in my thoughts and prayers today.
{{{ Hugs}}}

Anonymous said...

BUMMER !!! Love, Mr.D

Robynn's Ravings said...

Oh BZ......I'm so sorry to just now be reading this and much sorrier still that you lost your beautiful, and much anticipated, foal. What a terribly hard thing to go through for all of you. I'm so glad you let us see her through the photo so we would know her, if just a tiny amount.

I know this is hard on many levels. You're in my heart and prayers.....