Thursday, July 5, 2007

Story Time

By Julie Size

If you have ever had the notion that a well-bred weanling is priced to high, this story just might change your mind.

South of Dallas, TX, there is a very large farm aptly named Paradise. It is here where a beautiful young Saddlebred stallion, El Dorado’s Stonewall Jackson, has started his breeding career. The owner and trainer carefully hand picked several mares of varied bloodlines to breed with him, some being quite costly. As with any breeding operation, a few mares are more difficult to get into foal. One or two can be lost early in gestation and usually without enough time to rebreed during the same season. One mare they purchased consistently produced above average, talented foals. She was considered to be the farms foundation mare. Her name is RHR Fury’s Wild Flame and this is her story.

Fury was purchased and brought to the farm in 1999. She has produced 8 foals, 5 while at living at Paradise and 2 of those are by Stony, the farm stallion. Her last colt, Ticket to Paradise, was a farm favorite, which made everyone anxious about the upcoming birth. The days past and her due date came and went. It became obvious, even to the novice horse person that Fury was about to deliver. Her steps were slow and calculated and she was starting to produce milk.

Trent Capps, trainer and manager of Paradise Farms, moved Fury to a front paddock so that he was able to watch her meticulously throughout the day. During the night he and the grooms took turns checking her every few hours. It was during the earliest morning check on March 30th that Trent found Fury laying down in the pasture. He jumped the fence to assist in the long awaited birth. Hearing her loud groans he knew before he reached her, that the foal had not yet been born. Kneeling down to assist, he froze trying to digest what he was actually seeing. The mare was thrashing, kicking, groaning and the foal’s front legs were presenting themselves through the rectum! Trent jumped up and yelled at all the grooms and farm workers to immediately come and help. Only 1 month prior to this had they lost another valuable mare and her filly during its birth. This foal was to be the farms All American Cup baby and Trent could not bear to lose it as well.

All of the grooms and farm hands ran into the pasture to do what they could. Jack, the ranch hand, was on the phone with the vet and yelled out instructions to the others as the vet gave them. Unable to get the mare onto her feet, they had to manually push the foal back into the birth canal, reroute it, and rebirth it. Reaching deep inside the mare Trent and Arturo actually could feel each other’s hands and were able to push the unusually large colt back inside her. Arturo grabbed the front legs and began to pull him out, while Trent was holding his hands inside the mare over the tear. The mare was in anguishing pain, but lay still during this process. Trent continued to speak soft assuring words to Fury as she presented a huge bay stud colt. The colt, however, was born motionless, lifeless. With emotions of anger, fear, and tremendous grief welling up inside, the men were not ready to give up. Laying the colt out on its side, Trent started to massage his chest as one of the grooms blew air into his nose. What seemed like an eternity of time elapsed before the colts chest started to move. His heart pounded so fast and so hard it sounded like the rumble of thunder, almost as if it was catching up for the lost beats. Within seconds, he rose up his head and laid in a sitting up position. “What a miracle!” Trent thought to himself.

For the next 30 minutes the colt was lethargic acting. The mare and colt were given injections of antibiotics. Trent left to hook up the truck and trailer. While he was gone, the other men were able to get Fury to her feet and the colt came alive. Only moments after he took his first steps he was bouncing around the paddock as if he was 3 days old. They were loaded into the trailer and taken to the vet.

Driving away from the farm, Trent had time to reflect on what had happened and what he might have to face. Fury meant the world to him and to lose her would be unbearable. The vet administered Oxitosin and other medications to Fury. Able to stand for short periods, her colt nursed for the first time. Trent milked as much colostrum off of her as he could. He could see it in her eyes. She was bleeding and slowly dying. All attempts to save Fury were failing. The decision was made to humanly stop her suffering and she was euthanized. Trent buried his face into her soft fur. She was his best girl and he had to say good-bye, the single most difficult compassionate act known to horse lovers.
The veterinarian offered to contact Bill Moore who owns a farm in Oklahoma. Mr. Moore has in the past provided nurse mares for these types of situations. Within 7 hours, Miracle was at the Oklahoma farm and being introduced to his nurse mare and new mother, a Haflinger pony who was barely taller than her new adopted son! The mare was put into stocks and hobbled. Miracle nursed off of her and after 2 days she had accepted him as her very own. Both were brought back to reside in Paradise. They spend their days grazing the green pastures and nights getting the rest they need. May I introduce you to Fury’s last foal, a colt named Miracle in Paradise.


Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Oh what a sad, touching story!! I absolutely love horses and we have some in our backyard that belong to the neighbor. I feel like they are mine without the expense or work. I just love having them back there , they are so beautiful and I spend so much time looking at them and feeding them. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I almost started to cry.


Julie said...

Thank you Amy. I write for a magazine called Saddle and Bridle and this was one that was published. It touched me as well, especially since I knew both the horse and trainer.

Living the Life said...

Oh my...this story is so touching...It made me cry...sadly, I had just been going over some notes I kept on a dearly beloved puppy that we lost to a sad serious of circumstances (to much to detail)...I don't know if I was overly emotional since running across this information...but reading this story really touched my heart...I am a huge horse lover...we always had a horse growing up....we never had a mare to deliver...but I had many friends and neighbors that were willing to share in this delight...Miracle is a beauty...I am thankful all involved were able to revive him...his mother truly did give her life for him...I'm glad he is flourishing w/his new mama...goes to show you children of any kind....don't care who raises them as long as they are loved...touching story...thanks for sharing!

Amy at Bunny Rose Cottage said...

Wow Julie! How neat, I always wanted to be a writer. I can see why they would publish this, it is so beautifully written!


justabeachkat said...

Wow...what a story. I love a story with a happy ending too. I'm just saddened the mom didn't survive.



Sandie said...

Just read the story about Miracle. Great story. On May 27, 2008, we had to decide to put our 9 year old Jack Russell (Spur) down. It's a hard choice to make, but it's harder still to allow a loyal, loving. animal friend to suffer. We aren't yet ready for another dog, but maybe soon.