Lots has been happening lately! I guess it's that time of year again...lovely spring. School programs, sports, baby horses born....busy times!
Maggie had her second grade program a couple weeks ago--filled with cute songs and Maggie's smiling face! She did great on her part and loved being on stage (shocking). I can't believe she's going into 3rd grade next year! Even though I've seen this program 3 times now (I'm even starting to learn some songs) it is cute seeing each child's different personality. Tyler was new at school during his and was guessing on most of the words, Jake stood there unsmiling and barely pretending to mouth the words to the songs, but Maggie was on the top of the world--smiling the WHOLE time and singing her little heart out. I think she would have preferred a solo show--MAGGIE'S SECOND GRADE PROGRAM.
So I know that's a ton of pictures of the hike but it is only a fraction of what eric took! But it gives you a pretty good idea of what it was like.
A few nights ago we got a call from Jessica that our horses got out (of course it was the middle of the night--it couldn't have been during the day, that would have been too easy). She said the sheriff was there (and none too happy about it) and that they had corralled them into a large field about 3/4 mile from her house. She told us to "follow the lights" to find them (at that point we know it wasn't good). Luckily once we got there we were able to catch them without too much trouble (it's amazing what a little corn will do) but then we had to walk them the ways back to Jessica's house. We must have looked crazy walking horses in the middle of the night down the street. We got them back ok, it was odd that the gate was wide open. We do have a horse that knows how to shake the chain on the gate enough to get it to open so we figured that's what happened, even though we try to make sure the chain is in a place she can't get it. Well I found out the next morning that a friend's horses had gotten out around the same time in the same way--the gate was wide open! Although I can't imagine someone driving up Jessica's driveway to open the gate it is awfully coincidental that it happened on the same night as our friend's (and the other place was the field where we used to keep our horses!--even MORE coincidental). At least it was a bright full moon--we didn't even need flashlights to catch the horses.
So the biggest excitement/stress/surprise came early this morning. Well, I guess I need to go back a couple months. We have 2 horses we tried to breed--Dutch and Crazy Alice. Crazy Alice was due a month before Dutch, but we were positive Dutch did not get pregnant. Even the guy helping with the "breeding process" said that. But we knew for sure Alice was. So we waited. A couple months ago the boys called while Eric and I were out on a date saying there was a dead deer head in the middle of the driveway. ???? So Eric and I headed home and went and checked it out. It took us a minute to realize what we were looking at--it was definitely a head, but also what looked like a little leg, and it had no fur and the skin was pink and translucent. After a few seconds Eric said, "That's not a deer--that's a horse!" We looked at the back side of the horses and from what we deduced Dutch actually had gotten pregnant and this was her miscarried baby. We got flashlights and searched the field for more "parts" but didn't find much more than a leg and bloody spot in the snow....and lots of dog prints going off in all directions. Yuck.
So we let some time pass and kept getting ready for Crazy Alice to have her baby. We figured she'd have it around the middle of March. We waited but no baby; we looked at her belly and she didn't look pregnant; we felt it and didn't feel any movement. We then figured it must have been ALICE'S baby that was miscarried and we now have no pregnant horses. Ok. Oh well.
Then this morning we got a call from Jessica (where the horses are right now) saying we have a baby horse! WHAT?! So now we figure Alice didn't miscarry and just went into labor a little late. Eric wen't up briefly before work, mostly to check out the foal's legs (the front feet are wonky) but we've since found out they will be just fine and it is common. Then I went up a couple hours later and things were weird....Alice was taking no interest in the baby--in fact, no one was. Except for a couple of the horses coming over and biting her making her yelp. GRRR!!! Stupid horses. I called Eric and told him something was off--the baby was just laying down and not nursing and no other horses were paying attention to her except to bully her. Eric called Rex and he said that because the foal was brown it COULD NOT be Alice's and was, in fact, Dutch's baby! Holy Hannah! We went up and looked and lo and behold, Dutch was bloody-ish behind and full of squirting milk. So we figure out that since Alice lost her baby, and Alice is also leader of the pack, that she had bullied Dutch away from the baby and was trying to either claim it as her own or do away with it. It was a real emergency--this foal had been without any food at all since birth--and it essential they eat in the first hour of being born. This poor little foal was on the verge of dying!!!! It was a serious situation--Eric and I met up there on his lunch break. He separated mom and baby from the rest of the horses first thing. Mom and baby then started hanging around each other, but the baby was so weak she could barely stand up. We tried getting her to latch on but the damage was done by Alice and she couldn't figure it out. Poor thing was so hungry she would suck on anything from my hand, to her mom's knees but she just couldn't find the teat. So we hustled and milked the mom to get at least something in that foal and fed it to her through a syringe in her mouth. It was messy and tricky but we together managed to get about 8 oz in her. Eric had to go back to work so I stayed and working for another 2 hours got another 6-7 oz in her. But she kept laying down because she was so weak. And no matter how hard I tried I could not get her to find the nipple. At one point she basically fell down, closed her eyes and was breathing very rapidly and I thought I was watching her die. I have to say I broke down in some tears at that point. I kept feeding her as much as I could but then had to go.
Luckily Eric was able to get a hold of the horseman we bought Dutch from and he sent his daughter (who we have now dubbed The Horse Whisperer) down to help. I went back up and she had the foal on the nipple for a few seconds at a time! She showed me how to do it, then we milked and fed the baby 2 bottles worth of milk, and kept working with her to nurse. She finally started catching on! She is still very weak and needs support to eat so for the next few days we will be up there every 2-3 hours (fun for us--yes at night too) making sure she is getting all the nutrients she needs. The girl also showed us some tips with our other horses--she is seriously amazing. But by the time left at 8 pm the baby was nursing better on her own. We will still be checking on her but I think everything will turn out ok. It really was touch and go there for a while. But here is mom, and baby resting after a hard time working on feeding. Wish us luck with this duo!