Friday, May 18, 2007


Two weeks go on Saturday night, Jen became very restless. She was belly-kicking, wringing her tail, biting her sides and feet. I put her in the roundpen I had set up for a foaling pen, but she was extremely agitated at being away from the other horses.

The next morning, I decided to put her back in her pen in the paddock near the others. I had to restring all my Christmas lights that I use for low-light lighting to watch her at night on the cam, and dismantle and reconnect the lovely orange snow fencing that I used to keep foal feet out of fencing.

Then she stalled.... Jen made almost no progress for almost two weeks. She very slowly filled her udder, very slowly got the "v" shape to her belly then it disappeared and looked like a little basketball.

During all this time, I had been sleeping on the couch, setting my cell phone alarm to get up every 2 hours to check on her .

On Wednesday, we had some torrential rains, and severe wind storms complete with tornado warnings. We have a few downed trees, lots of downed branches, and lots of wet mud now.

Then "it" happened. WAX! Jen had very, very tiny little bits of wax on her teats on Thursday night. It would have been easy to miss if I hadn't checked her contueously for months. She had no other signs all evening, aside from a very loose backend. She wasn't sweating, pacing, biting, tail-wringing, nothing. So I wasn't convinced that tonight would be the night.

Thursday night, I went to bed in my own bed for the first time in 2 weeks. I finally received a second receiver to put in the bedroom so I could sleep in my own bed still getting up for my every 2-hour checks. (That is a whole 'nuter story, about ordering a receiver, receiving it with no power cord, and multiple phone calls to get the company to actually send the missing power cord).

Anway, I went to bed around 10 pm, woke up at midnight to check on Jen. I couldn't see her on the am, which meant she was standing at the one little corner it doesn't reach, which is the corner she likes to doze standing up near the other horses. But I couldn't get back to sleep. I was restless, tossed and turned, and kept looking at the pale blue glow in my bedroom. Around 1:00 I saw her come down to her bedroom area. She laid down sternally. within 5 minutes she got up, then moved to another spot and laid down again. This was VERY uncharacteristic of her.

I watched for a minute, even getting up and staring intently into the TV from directly in front of it (and trying to get it to come in clearer). I saw her look back at her belly twice. That was enough for me, I headed outside. When the other knuckleheads heard me coming, they all 4 came thundering down the hill in hopes of a morsel, I suppose. This upset Jen, she got up, but then immediately lay back down again. I was convinced it was time.

I sat on a rock across the paddock with my flashlight and just waited and watched. I could barely see contrctions, but she kept looking back, and her tail was held up. Then I saw the hoof. So I headed down for a better view, and much to my relief, all was as it should be. Two hooves, one in front of the other, and a nose . After a couple of more pushes, progress slowed. So I opened the sack, grabbed some legs, and and pulled down and out with the next couple of contractions. I felt a "pop", and the left shoulder popped out. Then it was smooth sailing, and with 2 to 3 more pushes she was out. A very curly, very bay little filly, with just a little star identical to mom's, and that is it. No hip sprinkles, no stripey hooves, no mottling. But very curly, and VERY sweet and active!

Mom got up right away and the cord broke, and starting licking her baby. I tied up the sack so she didn't step on it. In 5 minutes, mom laid down again to pass the placenta. Baby and I worked on getting dried off, navel dipped, and getting up. I learned a lot with the last one. I'm there, I may as well help! So I did, we got up on shaky legs, fell a couple of times, but then she got her legs under her, and that was it. She was off and running!

It took a little bit to find the milk bar. Mom was quite crampy, and wasn't too keen on a little parasite sucking from her. So I gave her some banamine, and within 20 minutes she standing like a champ, while I helped the little imp find the milk bar. It was hard figuring out that your head has to go down and twist up. But she got it figured out in less than an hour. When I saw milk dribbling out of her mouth, I knew we had it and I could go to bed.

Once she had a drink of milk, baby was up and running. She was trotting all around her mom, visiting the other horses at the fence (to her mothers horror), and just causing quite a ruckus. April the mini was running up and down the fenceline screaming. Lakota was standing watching very intently and interested (she has had 2 foals of her own). Whinney was eating (as per usual), and Joe was flat out sleeping (typical male, sleeps while the poor female toils in labor).

All was going well, I hayed the other horses to keep them quiet, and went to bed. It was 4 am by now. And of course the kids woke me up at 5:30 am. Then my husband calls me cell phone to tell me that the horses tore the fences down. He left for work , and it was now raining (and has been ever since), so I had to drag the kids out with me, toss the horses in the upper paddock, and temorarily jury-rig the electric so that nobody got tangled up in it. I put Jen and her filly in the stall and settled them in. Then had to get kids ready for school, they had half day so I had a bizarre every 2 hour bus schedule, including missing the pmK bus and having to drive my son to school, then go running for wheat bran for a bran mash for Jen (I had everything I needed EXCEPT the mash, geez).

Came back, did more fence repairs, cleaned the stall, got kids off the bus, tried to take a nap but my son wouldn't allow it, then I had the BEST sleep ever last night!!! Wow did I sleep well. And I plan to tonight, as well ;-)

Here are some preliminary pictures. Of course its been raining since shortly after the delivery, so good pics will need to wait for a sunshiny day. Remember, Jen is a rescue, was 300 pounds underweight when she arrived here 2 months ago. She is about 200 pounds under now.

Here is some video I took after it finally finished raining and I could let them out. She is two days old here, and we are still working out a name.


Tom & Denise Conroy - Owners said...

How CUTE, Michelle!! Look at her negotiate those hills and rocks..! She sure uses those legs well and looks she may help mama to gain a little muscle too with all that exercise! lol.

Brie said...

wow Michelle! How exciting!!!

Its so amazing to me that Jen went through such a hard time, and was so incredibly underweight...and still managed to have a normal delivery. What a miracle. Sounds like you were very well-prepared for her labor.

And its doubly wonderful to see her foal happy and healthy, with loads of energy, running around and giving her mama hell just like any other foal would. They are both lucky to be in such good hands...