After 386 days of gestation, Gina finally produced a very cute blaze-faced colt! He appears to be chestnut (but could certainly turn gray) with two hind socks in addition to that great big blaze.
My friend next door called me around 7:30 AM yesterday morning and squealed, “There’s a baby in your pasture!” Johnny and I abandoned breakfast and hurried outside. Gina was calmly standing over the foal, while Candy and Moe looked on. Candy was relaxed and making soft noises at the baby; Moe came over to the gate immediately, and was definitely more interested in where his breakfast was.
Baby had quite the welcoming committee. By 8:30 AM, he was surrounded by nine people plus Moe, Candy, and Gina. Gina stayed calm and relaxed, and didn’t mind the crowd of admirers or the other two horses. Baby appeared alert but unperturbed by the excitement.
Throughout the morning, baby made several game attempts to unfold his long, wobbly legs and stand. After an hour or so, I called my regular vet, who advised tickling him along the spine to stimulate and encourage him to stand up and steadying him a bit once he did get up. That worked pretty well, and he began to totter around unsteadily. Gina sniffed and licked him instead of letting him nurse, so I had a couple of barn rats halter her and help keep her still. He nursed a little, tripped over Gina’s leg, toppled over, and decided to nap.
My usual vet (who I’d spoken to on the phone several times throughout the morning) was totally booked, and the clinic sent another vet (who I’d never met) out to do a standard newborn foal exam. When he arrived, his first question was if this was the only foal I’d found. (He was.) The vet was concerned about how small and thin he looked. He milked Gina and tubed the baby some colostrum. He advised that I should come out every couple of hours to make sure the baby was nursing properly and told me I’d need to feed him myself if he wasn’t. The vet also told me the baby might need antibiotics. I asked if I should just take Gina and the foal to the vet clinic; he thought that was a good idea.
So, into the trailer went Gina and her foal, and I spent the ensuing 45 minutes driving to the clinic in a nervous sweat. I waited for them to clear a stall, and was finally able to unload Gina and foal after nearly half an hour. Baby seemed a bit dazed (and who could blame him), but got up with some encouragement and nursed well after a few minutes. Gina seemed completely unfazed by the trailer journey and made encouraging noises at him.
The clinic was a little chaotic, as all but one vet was out on call and the remaining vet was busy taking radiographs of a miniature horse. The vet techs asked me to elaborate on what was going on with baby and Gina. The vet who’d advised me to bring the horses in had called to let them know I was coming, but apparently hadn’t briefed them on why he’d referred me there. I repeated what he’d told me to the best of my ability. I also passed along the vial of the foal’s blood he’d drawn and sent with me and the remainder of the colostrum.
The latest news is that the foal is still weak and having trouble getting up on his own. Once someone has helped him up, he nurses well and does normal baby horse things like bucking and playing. (Well, as much as he can in a stall with Gina.) He’s being supplemented with fluids to keep him hydrated, and is being helped up to nurse every couple of hours. His IgG levels were excellent, as was his other bloodwork. The vet is optimistic that he will gain strength over the next few days and be able to get up and down on his own and come home soon.
His registered name will be Marrakesh, but I haven’t decided on a barn name yet. Friends have suggested Marco, Rocko, and and Monty. Johnny calls him Moe Moe Junior. I guess we’ll have to see what he seems like when he comes home!