Thursday, 12 June 2008
Bitter sweet day
Today was long, challenging and harrowing. Kath called this morning to tell me the exciting news that Fizz had foaled a week early and that the new arrival was well and on his feet. Then she sent me a text half an hour later which simply said "Just lost her. She's gone." Fizz had prolapsed and died.
Apart from the grief for poor Kath in loosing a mare who she had reared from a foal, there was now also a very hungry little orphan to look after. I whizzed off to the vet for replacement milk. Luckily Fizz, bless her, had struggled to her feet four times to feed the foal with the essential colostrum that he needed. The last time she got up and nuzzled him as he took his last feed from her. Kath said that she could see it in Fizz's eyes that she knew and was saying goodbye.
Oliver, as he soon became known, was not a natural at taking to a bottle. After hand-feeding a good variety of little orphans over the years however, I knew that he needed to be in a natural position in order to stimulate him to feed. One of the girls from the next yard was a brilliant help in advising that we press against the top of his nose as he would put his head under his mother. This didn't work very well but sowed the seed for what did. The hallelujah moment came when Oliver put his nose under my arm pit; Carol quickly slipped the teat of the bottle into his mouth and after a moment or two we heard the welcome sound of enthusiastic suckling and saw the level of the bottle dropping dramatically.
Stage one complete but a hell of a long way to go. While Carol and I wrestled with Olly, Kath was on the phone calling the Foal Bank and every breeder in the area in an attempt to find a foster mum. The next 24 hours would be critical.