This morning, at 6, I checked Omnia, and she was not weeping any fluids that were irregular. The herd was fine -- all quiet. At 9 she was still good. I called the vet and told them she was FINE...
Then, LD, who was haying across the road from my pasture, called again. "Hey, that white foal you couldn't find last night is in the stud pen. Did you put her in there? Did you know you have a brown one out with the herd?"
I thanked him profusely. LD is obviously ON THEIR SCHEDULE. I, however, am NOT. We are definitely putting the lie to the old myth about foaling late at night... These guys are not only doing it in daylight, but between known checking times...
While I had been frantically trying to find WHO had the baby yesterday, my prime candidate was Crem, who was puchy behind, a little swollen, and bulgy in the sides... I was SURE before I got to the pasture that she was the one with the brown blob running beside her this time, even though she'd hit every heat like clockwork. Her incubator was definitely cooking, however...
After L's call I dashed down the hill, leaving the gate open, into the stud pen and to the 50-50 chestnut tobiano filly, SURPRIZE!, blaze top and bottom... she still had a sucking mechanism, the instinct to stand, the movements down, but was too week to manage it. I estimated that she was probably about 20-22 hours old by then, without any nourishment.
LD, who had been baling hay and DROVE HOME to call me, came down the hill in his pick-up just as I was standing beside the filly, and drove on in when I motioned to him. He backed in with his pick-up and between the two of us, we barely managed to put her in the back end, and he drove her up the hill to the house.
Omnia was gone -- I'd run in such a hurry that I went through the double gates between the house yard and the area behind the barn where the automatic waterer is without stopping to shut and chain the gate. Omnia was behind the trailer, out of sight, but, as I would have realized had I been less focused on the baby in my thinking, not OUT OF HEARING. I know well and good they all respond to the banging of a bucket, the clank of a gate chain... these sounds universally mean FOOD IS COMING on my farm. But I ran through leaving not only that gate wide open, but also the (supposedly empty) stud pen by the creek's gate wide open. Omnia used the first one to run back out with the herd, as I had not gone over and closed the creek access gate, either. That meant that anything out in the front field (the entire herd except for the Pinto filly and the two stallions) had access to the house, and the driveway to the road. The road gate was closed at this point.
However, when I opened it to let LD drive through, I walked over to the filly without closing it, as she was again trying to stand and I was afraid she'd fall out. Carefully, again using both of us, we laid the filly on the ground. Grabbing a halter, I called to Omnia, who I still expected to be behind the trailer, for some strange reason, as if she had neither ears, legs, nor a mind of her own... When I did not see her, I popped back around, but she was not out front, either. LD said nothing came around the house. I woke up to all the open gates, and told him the bad news. He looked at the filly, lying in the full sun instead of the shade of the six board fence, which while not complete, had been a better place for her than where she was now. We were both thinking the same thing.
"What do you want to do with her?"
I knew he was afraid I'd want to put her back down in the barn, and I also knew that he had to get back to his haying.
"The coolest place would be in the house." I watched his eyebrows shoot up, and knew I'd just started yet another 'weird' rumor. Carefully planning how to do it, I opened the front door and the screen door, setting the tab so it would stay, then after two false attempts to lift her, we got her into the house, laying her just out of the arc of the door, on the living room carpet.
I could just hear him relating to his wife and the neighbors how I'd stashed the filly on the carpet by the door, even though everyone knew that was the coolest place where she'd be out of the sun.
I emptied out the entire top shelf of the freezer as I dug out the old colostrum from De Nada, then was afraid to put it in the microwave. I decided to set it on the counter to thaw while I called the same vet who had come out the night before and spent several hours on Omnia. He could only recommend getting both mares in and locating some FRESH colostrum. He didn't think there'd be much value left in five year old frozen colostrum.
Figuring something was better than nothing, I used a syringe to suck up the dab that had defrosted and tried to get her to swallow some, but by then, she'd deteriorated past having a sucking reflex. I left the package to thaw on the sink and went to see who else had done what.
Mocha, Louise and Serena all looked gigantic. Omnia, still wearing the blue tail wrap, was again with the geldings. Crem, however, was missing. The herd was looking toward the creek, right straight across from the exit to the area behind the barn. I'd been leaving that gate open so they could get water if the creek went dry or the acccess was too muddy. I think both Omnia's and Crem's fillies, instead of making the turn along the creek bed and the stud pen fence down to the crossing, went straight, right into the creek... But Crem brought hers up out, and Omnia lost hers to the herd. I think. (I do know that Crem's little filly was wearing quite a coating of mud, a good portion of which got transfered to my jersey and jeans before we got up to the house, but I'm getting ahead of myself here.)
I drove around the shed, seeing nothing. No Crem in view. Thinking maybe I missed her in the herd, I drove back out to them, part way up the hill toward M's. As I rounded the herd and again faced the creek, getting ready to collect Omnia and take her to the house before going on another "body trolling" expedition, Crem appeared about 25' past the building, coming up from the creek... with the foal. As the herd took off to greet her, I drove back down, through wild parsnip taller than my head, and talked her into letting me put the halter on her (erally missing the green lead rope that had been hanging with the two best halters on the gate, but were NOT THERE this morning), so I took a gate chain and snapped it in. I quickly discovered that I could NOT LEAD HER WITH IT.
However, she was sticking tightly to a black/bay filly with a wide blaze, Mocha's ears, good size, wet from the creek bed... I rubbed the creek mud from the filly as I guided her to the back of the truck. She was a walker -- good stride, but listed to the left. I turned her toward the truck. picked up her front legs, and, since she KEPT ON WALKING, when I elevated her rear end, in she climbed. I dumped her over and drove like a maniac to the gate, Crem running along behind with her head and neck over the back end where the tail gate went, but wasn't. The rest of the herd was strung out behind.
While I was opening the gate, Double Surprize tried to crawl to Crem, standing up, putting one crossed front foot over the side… I got back to her got her turned and back inside, but she beat me to the end of the truck and did a swan dive out the back end. Crem was right there to catch her.
Leche led everyone else outside, and Statuesque and Louise headed NORTH. Everyone followed except Crem – she stayed with Surprise. A car heading north tried to run through them, which resulted in the herd turning back home. I drove ahead, blocking LD's open driveway with the pick-up. as I did not care if they went into the field or up the drive. Bob Jackson came along pulling a piece of farm equipment behind his pickup. He watched from a dead stop as they turned into the upper drive on LD's side, reversed and continued down the road into my field. He pulled over, smiled, and said, "Just like when the buffalo get out."
No, I thought, not exactly. I've never shot one that wouldn't go back, and dressed it out and eaten it... Not QUITE like the buffalo.... I thought about his daughter Sunny being ashamed to say that the meat we cooked with in one Spanish recipe was buffalo, not beef. I suggested that since her classmates didn't notice the difference, she did not need to bring it up. The recipe tasted fine. I told her about using deer meat once, and she seemed satisfied.
He continued up the hill, pulling over at my gate and got out, wearing shorts, and stared at the waist high weeds and seeded out grasses. He did NOT want to go wading. Looking back at me, he asked, "Are you going to close the gate?"
I pulled my truck in behind his and said, "Not until I get the mare with the foal through." His eyebrows shot up. "That's how they got out in the first place."
"I'm sure you'll manage fine," decided and left me to it. Leaving the truck on the road, I go back to Crem and bring her and the filly out, with only Cortaj giving chase -- Canta and Statuesque took everyone else across the creek, deciding it was too hot to play.
While I was locking up the gate, I lost Crem and foal along the fence into colt head high, seeded out weeds...
I went quickly back up the driveway, praying I'd beat the herd, but they turned into the stud pen gate I'd left open when I went in for the Pinto filly. Since I didn't exit that way, I had everything open clear to the road.
I pulled the truck inside and shut the gate going down the driveway, I needed Omnia back in the yard. I went in for some water and the other halter and a chunk of twine so I could get Omnia if the opportunity came up, then drove the car back down the hill. I saw Crem in an area free of the weeds, but where the bank was a lot steeper. I got her and caught the colt, forcing her up the hill while Crem tried to herd her back to the others...
I was leery of taking her past Omyno's electric wire, afraid he'd cross it for her, but he was busy with someone in the creek area -- I didn't see who. I got her up the hill, but as i tried to open the gate, lost the foal, who went to the stud pen fence, then along it until she got to Omyno, and went right through the electric wire in with him. Momma was NOT pleased!... He became very respectful, so I sorted the herd, which had dashed up to greet her.
Leche took them right on up into the yard, and by working the gates just right, I was able to retain Omnia. I then opened the west field gate and ran everyone else in there, checking the bale pen to be sure it was shut from the hay field. I locked them in, then let Omnia into the yard, went down the hill and got Crem and Surprise into the stud pen, and again brought the filly up the hill. (They walk HARD at only a few hour's of age. She had NO INSTINCT to follow Crem. Crem followed her, called to her... but was not getting any cooperation or response from the filly.
I stared thinking about all the STUPID royalty in Europe who were inbred, and wondered... If it works on Kings, I was sure it would hold true for mere horses... She was not near as bright as Omnia's filly had been.
When I got them all in the yard, I called the vet again, to come help get the fillies sucking... But before LW, the on-call vet, could get there, the Pinto died. I cancelled the trip and tried to syringe colostrum down the filly outside. I couldn't get her to SWALLOW. She'd eventually lick, but most of it ran back out. She did get enough to poop, however. Every two hours, out I go, trying for force more milk into her, thinking she really needed to be put down. At 3, I notice that Omnia, who greeted me and my blue bowl with a friendly wicker, had a reddish fluid discharging... So another call to the vet. By 4:30, he got there, and she got infused again, antibiotics, etc. He tried to milk her, but she was pretty dry. Crem milked out two full ounces of beautiful colostrum, and he tubed it right into the filly. He agreed she was a dummy foal, but thought she might improve. She seemed a bit better for a while, but crawled under the fence into the west field, where the herd was, but nobody showed up to check her out... Of course, she went DOWN the hill to the corner, tangling herself repeatedly in both boards and wire before I got her up and back into the front yard. I took her up to the water tank and dumped her over. Crem drank with her nose clear buried, lowering it four inches at once.
Schneider's back order box came -- with ROPES! Omnia kept going down. I walked her until my calves ached, but she wasn't drinking, and couldn't stay on her feet. I began to think I was going to lose her, too...
At sunset, LW came back out, walked her all over, and discovered that the gate to the hayfield was OPEN, and the herd was out in the hay field. That's why nobody came to see the filly.... We got them back in. He sutured a catheter into her neck by flashlight after shaving and disinfecting an area, and walked her all over while putting two bottles of fluids into her. He took the Pinto's body out and laid it in the back end of my truck. It was really starting to mess with my head to step over the dead body every time I came or went. MS, the neighbor to the north who runs a construction business, was going to bury her with the back hoe, and I foolishly thought PROMPTLY... but by sunset, he still had not shown up.
I think Crem's filly will be dead by morning, but hopefully Omnia will pull through. As she got the second bottle of fluids into her, LW was hopeful that she'd turned the corner.
I had him check which ones he thought might yet foal, and he picked out Louise, Serena and Mocha, which I'd also thought looked likely. We did NOT palpate -- it was after 11. He left, and I called Serena over, put a lead rope around her neck coaxed her through the open gate, and cut off Cortaj. I called Mocha, opened the gate, and she obligingly came out. I blocked Statuesque, and called Louise. I got Lament, Statuesque, Cortaj, Adagio, this was NOT working, so I spooked them off. Canta came. I petted her a bit, then pushed her off. Louise, who was waiting, headed for the open gate while I blocked the others.
So, now there are five in the front yard, and we'll see just how fertile Omyno was in a two hour period...