Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday 16 January 2009 - Wiggle - Part 1

-14F this morning, I think our low was -19F and our high about 5F but we are surviving. Sspent a lot of time outside today because all the latches to the stables were frozen, the buckets were blocks of ice and I needed to do a bit of cleaning up. Adam didn't give the horses water and fortunately I checked and they were all really thirsty. Makes me so mad, I have tried to instill in him time and again that they can go without hay and feed but never without water and especially if they are eating hay. Kooter started colicing nearly straight away but she came out of it quite quickly.

As promised here is Wiggle's story. As you know 11 January is my birthday and on that day in 2004 I was surprised to see the start of the birth of a baby horse, she was three weeks or so early so not expected at all. This first picture she has just stood up for the first time and is probably about an hour or so old, still squished up from being in the womb. She is what is called a Medicine Hat Paint horse, the Indians held great stock in horses with this pattern), which consists of color over the ears like a hat a shield like spot on the chest and patches on the sides. She had the right idea about the milk bar but couldnt get attached and I was worried because the mare didn't have much of a bag if any. My first concern was that the foal needed to get that all important colostrum from its mother's milk within the first 12 hours at least. We had no way to know if she had got anything from the mare or not.

I immediately got hold of the vet and he gave her Momma, Barbie, a hormone injection to try to get her milk to come in, if it did it was very little so by the second day I knew that it was too late for the colostrum which I will always make darn sure that I get for any future foals immediately even if I have to drive across the state.

Now the battle started to try to get this baby to take a milk supplement for horses. I tried a teat on a bottle and she just wasnt interested, she was a real fighter and refused to suck on that thing. Our neighbor helped me try to contain her while we got her to take the milk. No luck. I was in tears and so frustrated and just imagining the worst was going to happen when Larry told me to put it in a bowl or small bucket and dip her muzzle in it and see what happened. It worked like a charm, before we knew it the little darling was sucking that bowl of milk down in a matter of seconds LOL. It would have taken her a lot longer to get that amount from momma that is for sure. That is when I decided to call her Wiggle Monster because she was an impatient little thing right from the get go and swished her little tail with irritation when things werent going fast enough or her way or she was irritated with something you were doing.

When she was two days old about a day after Barbie had the hormone injection I was standing just inside the stable giving Wiggle her milk and the next think I knew Barbie was coming at me with her teeth bared and ears flattened with all of her 1100 lbs behind her. She bit me above the right breast really badly and hit me like a train pinning me up against the wall. If I hadn't had the wall behind me I hate to think what she would have done if I had fallen down. I was totally shocked because this mare had NEVER shown any signs of agression even with her other baby so can only put it down to the hormonal shot. I was in severe pain and black and blue over half of my chest for over 6 weeks, it hurt to breathe.

After that I made sure that I kept her tied up when I was in the stable as I now didnt trust her at all. I left her with her momma because I figured that if she was getting even something from her mother it was better than nothing, but it didnt appear that she was. The vet told me that by the time Wiggle was 6 weeks old we would know if she had received the valuable colostrum which forms the foundation for the foal's immune system for life. We just were unable to afford all the tests etc. needed to test her and know for sure.

In the above picture you can see her when she was about 5 weeks old, her fetlocks and legs are quite swollen and I had had to tailor make a blanket to fit her because we didnt have one her size, the one was too small and the other too big, so I did a few alterations LOL, it looked quite funny but it kept her warm and she didnt seem to mind. I took her mother away at about this time as it was clear that she wasnt helping her baby at all. This of course is when the little darling started getting spoiled rotten by me.

The swelling started worrying me and I took her for a walk out in the field every day when the weather allowed as it was very cold and could see when she was feeling good and when she wasnt, so we started fearing the worst and the vet told us it didn't look good. Larry suggested getting a plasma transfusion for her as a last effort to try to save this baby horse because he knew how heartbroken I was over her dilemma. I was a wreck by then with worry. Our vet wasn't convinced it would work so Larry went onto the internet and found a company who he told our sad story to and asked what it would cost and that our vet didn't think it would work.

Mg Biologics kicked into gear and not only supplied me with $300 of plasma but airfreighted it to me overnight free of charge because they were determined to show my vet that it does work!!! (He has since started doing this procedure quite often but would never admit it LOL). He wasnt too keen on giving her the transfusion and it was hard to get the needle in and keep it there because she didn't want anything to do with it and he was pretty impatient because he thought it was a waste of time. We eventually got the job done with Mg Biologics telling us that if we needed any more plasma they would be more than happy to supply it. What great people it restored my faith in human nature and I will forever be grateful to them.

She started improving almost immediately and the daily routine was me coming in to the barn to feed, opening her stable door and letting her have the run of the barn while I was feeding everyone. She went up and down the aisleway greeting all the horses one by one and it wasn't long before she decided that she had to sample each horse's bucket of grain before I gave it to them and would chase me down the aisleway with a mean little look on her face and her ears back if I tried to evade her. All this time she was still slurping her milk supplement with great gusto every four hours but was now getting grain and hay as well preparing her to be weaned off of the milk.

The whole time I was in the barn while I was cleaning stalls or feeding she had the run of the barn and would only go out for exercise if I went with her, then she would run flat out, suddenly drop to the ground and roll over back and forward about ten times, then bounce up go flying off and repeat the same thing. She loved to roll from day one and especially if there was a lot of mud. This was all cute when she was small and I could ellude being buzzed and play kicked at as she flew by, but started to get a bit worrisome as she got bigger LOL. She became an expert at climbing the sawdust pile and completely destroying a complete bale of hay and spreading it far and wide then rolling in it.

In the meantime she had learned that if she got stuck in her stall after rolling, when she was up against the wall and couldnt maneouver herself to a position to get back over so she could get up, that I would come and roll her over and up she would pop. Again all very amusing and easy while she was small but this became a game, she would lay on the ground when I came into her stable right up until she was a 2 year old and just lay there and look at me and I had to roll her over before she would get up even though she wasnt stuck. When she reached about 1000 lbs that became impossible so she eventually grew out of that but she would never panick if she got trapped, just waited patiently until I came in to feed and I would get her out of the pickle she had got herself into so I was grateful for that because the one morning I found her under the panels that I had dividing the stalls, half of her in one stable and the back half in her's!!! I had to dismantle the whole set up in order to get the panel moved so she could get up and she just lay there and waited for me to finish the demolition procedure on the stalls LOL.

It was clear though that she had an identity crisis, not knowing if she was the same as me or if I was the same as her and considered me to be her momma but the only thing was she couldnt rough house with me like she could have if she was still with her momma. At three months old I decided to wean her off of the milk .......... to be continued.

Before coming to Indiana 8 years ago my knowledge of horses had been at riding school level and I had made a great friendship with Marion when I started riding again. She owned the riding school that I started riding at and we became firm friends and that is where the photography and horses melded into one too because I was always taking pictures for the boarders at the barn, the riders who came for lessons and the small shows she had most weekend. I charged a small fee for the pictures and it helped sustain my income. I learned a little about feeding as she had 50 horses at the facility and often I would be in charge of giving the grooms the rations for charges (each groom looked exclusively after 3 or 4 horses in the yard) I will get into that more one day I hope. I had never been around a stallion and I had only ever been around one foal, so this was a huge learning curve for me when I arrived here to take care of 12 odd horses (four foals, two stallions and 6 brood mares) and NO experience other than at a riding school.

We survived the day, are hoping for opportunities to get horses out tomorrow and if we do I will have photo opportunities I hope, so may just have some new stuff to show you! Keep warm and safe everyone. ((((Hugs))))



SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a story Lori!! I am so glad that things turned out right for both of you and look forward to the next chapter.

MPRPRO said...

You are an amazing women. You take pictures too and great ones.
What a wonderful mom to these horses. You have my support and if you want to feel a little better it's only 3 here today.

Love you Lori keep up the great work.


CG said...

I loved the story and that last photo of baby Wiggle is adorable. I remember reading about that bite soon after I found your blog - OUCH, I wince every time I think of it.

Am looking forward to more Wiggle!


Rising Rainbow said...

Oh, Lori, You spoiled Wiggle rotten. That's the last thing you want to do with an orphan. I'm sure glad she grew out of this stuff, she could have ended up one dangerous horse.

I hope you're doing OK there. Things are crazy here, but then what's new! lol

I sure do miss our conversations. Do you think we'll ever get back to them?

Linda said...

I am just the biggest fan of coloured horses ever, ever since I was very young I always seemed to get partnered or own coloureds. Thats was quite a rare thing in England till about 20yrs ago when they became popular, Fantastic photos those foals are precious. Lindax

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