Sometimes when you think that life is just being completely unfair, ultimately you find out things happen for a reason...
I was supposed to be at a New Mexico rodeo this weekend...
My rodeo days are over for a while, so I loaded up the last of my horses and came home.
I was supposed to be at a 3-day barrel race this weekend....
The EHV-1 concerns caused all of that to be cancelled.
Life was telling me I needed to be home for this...
Frenchy had her baby...THREE weeks early!
Life is not starting out all that great for little Flash. Had I not been home....I would have a dead baby.
As it was...I almost had a dead baby.
Frenchy was in the corner of her pasture on Friday morning...which is not unusual. She tends to hang in that particular spot. I fed horses at 8am, came back in the house to work out and was getting ready to head to town to run some errands and I hear someone honking their horn in my driveway.
I walk outside to see who it is and it is a friend of one of the neighbors and she is asking me if I knew my baby horse was in the irrigation return ditch. I was having a hard time grasping what she was saying because...I don't have a baby horse. She pointed over at Frenchy and asked me if that was my horse and I said, Yes, she is and she responds, 'Well, you have a baby now and it is stuck in the irrigation ditch.
At which point, I bolt for the pasture, screaming a 'Thank you' over my shoulder.
Sure enough...French laid down in her favorite hanging out spot and spit out her foal. When he tried to rise, he flopped around, as all newborns will and ended up laying in the (thankfully) shallow water return line at the end of the pasture.
I was struggling to get him picked up and out of the ditch, but when the lady's husband started to come through the fence to help me, French charged him. He wisely retreated.
I finally got the colt out of the depression and on flat land. He laid there for awhile, while I checked him all over, and then tried to rise. He could not get up. At first I thought it was just because he was tired, but then I got worried right away because his attempts to get up did not look right. He had no control over his hind end.
I immediately called my vet, who said he could be there within the hour and then called my husband. I was not quite panicked...but needless to say, I could see where this could all go wrong in a very short amount of time. Frenchy is NOT a docile 'pet'. She is a range mare and was not liking me messing with her baby. She refused to let the other people into the pasture. I wasn't having much luck getting her caught either and I didn't want to get her any more riled up. I did not want her stepping on that baby.
I shot out a couple of texts to neighbors and my husband called a couple of his friends. As luck would have it, one of them was just down the road...and he had his stock trailer on. He came over immediately and we slowly worked at getting the baby up and tried to help him nurse. The poor little guy just wasn't capable of getting to his feet and standing on his own.
The vet showed up and by this time, we knew we had to get these two into a smaller area. The vet stood over the baby and protected him, while I worked at finally getting French caught. Then the vet scooped little Flash up and headed for the trailer. French towed me along, screaming for her baby. I rode in the trailer with momma and baby back to the house and we set to work trying to see what the problem was with the baby.
He was alright, other than his legs just couldn't support him. Then the fun began. The vet and I milked out French...which was a little nerve-wracking. We weren't sure if she was going to go for that or not, but she was remarkably calm about it. Then we tubed the milk into the baby.
Of course, with a full tummy, all Flash wanted to do was go to sleep, which was the best thing for him. Everyone left and I let momma and baby rest for a little while.
Throughout the day it became progressively obvious that Flash was simply not capable of standing on his own. His front legs want to knuckle over and his hind legs had no strength. I was able to help him up every time, but then had to hold him up and tried to help him get in position to nurse. French was doing all she could to encourage him to get to the right spot and Flash does want to nurse...but so far, he has been unable to actually nurse from his momma. He just doesn't have the strength to stand there AND nurse, even with me hold him. His desire to suck is there...but he's not super persistent. By the time he finally figures it out, he's tired and wants to lay down again.
I have been milking French and bottle feeding Flash, every two hours...For the last 24 hours straight. I'm praying I got enough colostrum into him. By the end of the day, Flash was able to get up and stand on his own, but still doesn't have the strength to stand there long enough to nurse. I keep encouraging him to go to his momma first...but by this morning...he is less inclined to go to her and is seeking me out. Not good!!
It's also rather unfortunate that French, like all of the mares from that maternal line, milks like a Jersey cow. I have several cups of first milk left and a full container of regular milk stored in the refrigerator and at this point, I am simply milking French out onto the ground. I have to keep after it or her bag gets too tight and then she doesn't particularly like little Flash bunting around back there.
Jesus...What a mess this has turned into. But...
I do think Flash has a good chance of making it. He's bright-eyed and he keep trying. If I can just get and keep his strength up until he can nurse on his own, he should be alright. I suppose his legs are so weak because he is so early. I keep massaging and stretching his front legs, hoping I can get them limbered up, so it's easier for him to stand. He does have his hind legs sorted out now, but the lack of strength is in them still has him crouching on them.
I'll keep you all posted on his progress.