This is a story of a filly I named Mystic. I can tell you that with love, determination and dedication you can save a life if it is meant to be! I hope this inspires someone to try a little harder and not give up when obstacles are put in our way!
I acquired an AQHA stallion as an almost two year old a few years ago. I gave him the name “Classic” but his registered name is DS Always Dressed. He was born with contracted tendons into a family who shows halter horses. Therefore he was basically never going to be any good to them because he could not be shown. He was thrown out to pasture to fend for himself; if he got better he did, if not “oh well.” Classic is HYPP positive on one side, as a good bit of halter horses are. And with proper management he does just fine.
In 2007, after much turmoil of knowing that Classic would never be ridden, I decided that even though he was HYPP positive I wanted to carry his legacy on in a foal. He was just too beautiful and such a wonderful horse. I bred him to my grade mare Magic, a black and white Tobiano mare. Because I loved them both and thought that with each of their good qualities I would no doubt end up with a great foal. After breeding her and several palpations, and still no baby! And we assumed that with Classics HYPP, he may be sterile. They had been together for now going on a year with no success. So I decided to geld him and assumed it just was not meant to be.
Around mid 2008, I decided to sell off some of my stock to go back to school. Magic was one of them. I found what I thought was a good home and someone who would keep her forever. I told her that she had been exposed to my stallion but up until this point no baby. She still decided to take her. After about 7 months of not hearing from her, a man we know in our area for “horse trading” pulled up in my driveway. He had his horse trailer attached, and I could see as I was walking up that there was a horse in the trailer. He then said he wanted to know who my mare was bred to. That’s when I realized it was MAGIC! She was big as a house! I must say the woman fed her because she was not lacking in the grocery department. I then told him the only horse she could be was my stallion, as she looked to be more than half way through her pregnancy. He then told me the woman said she was not doing anything with her and didn’t want her anymore. I had no money to “spare” but could not let her leave. I asked him what he had planned for her, and of course he said sell her. I could not let her leave in that trailer! I asked him what it would take to get her. He said $200. I really did not have the money, but I did not hesitate to write him a check and get her out of that trailer!
Now the wait was on. I had no idea at this point when she took, just that she was definitely pregnant. This was the wait of the century I can assure you that! It seemed like forever. But four months later, and a horse who looked like she was delivering either an Elephant or two babies, delivered a beautiful sorel filly at 6:30 PM on August 18, 2009. But on September 19, 2009, almost one month to the day after she was born, tragedy struck.
I walked down to the barn at 8:00 am like always to feed. When I walked in I noticed Magic was lying down, but nickering at me as usual. So I called her name, told her get up and I will bring her breakfast. I walked in the feed room, grabbed my stack of buckets and headed to start feeding. By the time I got back to her she was still laying down, and I knew something was wrong. I ran down and finished dumping feed to the other horses, so they would calm down. I went back to her stall, which I had left her door open, and she had drug herself out into the arena following me. I panicked, called every vet in town with no one being able to come right away; it would be hours. So I quickly calmed her, put her feed, hay and water in front of her and started my grueling wait for the vet. I cried and cried and cried…Poor Mystic was trying to nurse on her, it was obvious she was hungry..but Magic just could not stand up. She had an appetite, drank water, ate hay, passed stool and urine..but her back legs were just not strong enough to stand.
We tried everything, and rolled her over to see if she could get up on her other side. She would try over and over again but just could not get all the way up. I laid there in the dirt with Mystic's head in my lap and waited for four hours on my vet, just for him to get there and be as bewildered as I was. He said he did not think it was West Nile, or Encephalitis because she was alert, and otherwise nothing visibly wrong. She had been vaccinated for both soon as she came back to me. I asked him what should I do…I can’t give up on her with a baby by her side. He said the only thing he knows is to treat her for Calcium deficiency and wait. He started examining her while her calcium drip was going in. He came to the conclusion that by watching her trying to get up, that she had either broken, fractured a vertebra, or pinched a nerve. He said that most likely there was no amount of money or time that would fix her. I was devastated! Now I had to make a decision for an alert, happy mare that just could not stand, and the fate of her baby would now be in my hands. I made the decision to end her suffering and euthanize my beautiful mare. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do!
Now I have a grieving filly who does not want anything more than to find her mamma. I put her in a stall and had to watch as she thrashed and fought to get out. There was nothing I could do to console her at this point. I just stayed with her to make sure she did not get hurt. After we moved her dam from sight I decided to turn her out with our other pony mare and foal born one week after Mystic. They had been turned out all along and I figured that was the only constant she had known other than Magic and I since she was born. She calmed down, even though constantly nickering for an answer elsewhere. Every time she did it I fell apart a little more inside. What was I going to do? How would I get her to eat?!
Inside I was hoping that our pony mare would foster her, but every time Mystic came near her or her colt, she pinned ears and ran her off. She would let her stay near but not close. I went and bought a bottle, a bucket, powdered milk and milk pellets..trying everything to keep her going. At this point she was eating a little grass and a small amount of grain. At a month old, I knew she needed some more milk intake; that hay, grass and grain were just not enough at a month old. Days went by with no success. She would not bottle feed, pan feed..would not eat milk pellets even mixed in her grain. All she did was graze a little and pick at hay and grain. By the third day I was exhausted and out of ideas. All this time I kept her in the pasture with the pony and her colt during the day and in a stall next to them at night. I decided to give the nursing one last try on the pony. I gave her grain and tied her next to it, so she could eat but not go after Mystic as easily. To my astonishment, she let her nurse!! Very awkwardly because Mystic was so tall and our pony not so much.
But she was nursing, and Ethel did not seem to care one bit. My guess is that while they were in the pasture during the day, she gave into Mystic's persistent tries to nurse. I could not have been happier. I knew now she would be just fine! I could rest. For the next five months, I allowed Mystic in during the day but took her away at night, as I wanted to make sure her baby got enough also. But I can tell you they had different ideas. Their stall was separated by a three bar metal panel. One morning when I came out, I saw a sight! Ethel had turned sideways against the panel, and Mystic was nursing through the bars. All I could think was what a wonderful mamma and a smart baby! I still separated them at night, because now knowing they were doing this, it would still allow her some time alone with her own colt.
Today Mystic is one year and two months old, and she is a huge, healthy girl. She looks just like her daddy with her mamma's personality! She has become such a loving and wonderful filly, and I cannot imagine life without her in it! Just remember that if things are meant to be they will be, and all things are possible with time and dedication!
Here is a Facebook link to Mystic's Album!