Sadly, Antelope Baby 3/2 NOT viable - But LRTC gets VIABLE orphan foal TODAY FROM BLM and foal with stress fracture turned over by BLM for care.
Wow, we saw such sad news the other day. I saw the video of the foal at Antelope, and I have some serious concerns. I understand there are people who will not want to hear this, but I feel if we are not completely truthful we will go nowhere. From 8 years of living pretty much WITH WILD MUSTANGS, and having seen hundreds of newborn babies; from the video, this WAS NOT A VIABLE BABY.
I was lucky enough to work with, around and in the middle of wild mustangs for the past 8 years. We actually lived in the middle of them and would wake in the morning to see the foals running and playing when we were at camp. (from the end of April until the middle of October) It was a setting extremely close to living in the wild for the horses in some ways, and in others it was completely un-natural. But for these horses living on 5000 acres, free to roam with their families, it is the next best thing to being out on the range. There some drawbacks to this situation however, predators are higher in number due to their being an above normal abundance of foals close together. You provide more food, you attract more predators. They are also fed in very close quarters compared to the way they feed in nature. In nature, they would travel up to 12 miles a day, grazing as they went. However, due to the high intelligence of these mustangs, they adapt very well to sharing the closer spaces while eating, and then they go their separate ways.
However, when the mares are "foaling", they will go off alone, and bring back their healthy baby when it is safe to do so. I think one of the things that we forget when we are all caught up in these
"save the horses" issues, is that NOT EVERY FOAL IS VIABLE AND GOING TO SURVIVE.
During the 8 years I spent with the mustangs, and I don't mean standing outside a fence watching them, or watching them from a car in the distance. I mean WITH the mustangs. We rode through the areas where the stallions and their bands were. We were often warned away by the stallions, and very respectfully (I might add), kept our distance. We stayed in cabins surrounded by bands of mustangs, and there were actually times we had to climb on a picnic table to not be trampled by competing stallions or a stallion "snaking a mare". (We had a stallion running after a mare that preferred his son to him, and he had his head just inches off the ground as he chased her right through the area we were in. People hid in outhouses, under picnic tables, on top of picnic tables.) That is something you don't often see in a lifetime.
When I heard the news that night, I was angry that BLM didn't spend more time trying to see what was wrong with the foal. However, after I watched the video, IT BECAME CLEAR THAT THE FOAL HAD SOME SERIOUS ISSUES. I have seen so many newborns, tried to save numerous babies that were not viable, and have cried enough tears to fill the oceans. But we cannot save them all. When our baby got attacked by the mountain lion and was so badly torn up, his mama simply stood watch over him. She would nuzzle him, similar to that baby's mama, and then she would stand quietly by him. She knew he was going to die and that she could do nothing about it.
I have cared for so many foals that were not viable. We had a beautiful and perfectly healthy filly get caught in some rocks and break her leg. Her mama knew she was healthy and didn't understand why she wasn't "coming". That mare came back time and time again to nudge her baby to get her up. I sat with the foal for more than an hour while someone went to get what was needed to end her suffering. When the stallion came over, I hid behind a big tree. I was sitting by a big rock about 10 feet from the baby. I knew her mom could smell me on her, and when the mare came over to me, I was truly scared wondering if she was going to attack. Instead she reached over and sniffed my arm. The she kind of nuzzled my arm and walked away from her foal for the last time. I truly believe she knew I was trying to help her baby. The intelligence of these animals is incredible.
If you look closely at that video, the foal's back end is not working properly. This is usually a sign of some sort of significant injury. It is definitely not normal "new born" behavior. I have seen newborns in 8 to 10 inches of mud, and the mares will keep encouraging the babies to get up. It seems almost like this mare is simply offering love and comfort. She certainly does not appear to be pushing him and nudging him over and over to get up. You will note that this baby is still in the general population. He could have been stepped on, or he could have neo-natal-tetanus. There have been several cases of this in the holding pens and it is pretty much one of the worst ways for a foal to die. It is a certain death sentence and if a foal has this there will be nerve damage, resulting in loss of function.
BLM has been working steadily to place the orphan, and/or critical foals with rescues in Nevada. Only that day a foal was turned over to LRTC by BLM. (Am waiting to hear which one, but it was a healthy and viable foal). I know we are all frustrated and angry, but any foal that is considered not viable should be put down immediately. There is also a foal that was walking on three legs that was recently placed in a rescue. The diagnosis was presumed to be a hairline fracture. It is sad that we don't spend any time telling people about the ones that are saved. I know my "mentor" has at least 3 orphan foals in her house right this second. The other critical care foal rescue is full up and they both have already re-habbed and adopted out babies. I have issues with stuff that has been done by BLM also, but we have to actually do something besides yell and scream.
We need to be completely honest, and tell the reality of what is actually happening. The following is an accurate account of what really happened.
The normal process with foals is to wait until the foal is completely paired up with its mare, then move the pair to the nursery corral. This is tricky and isn't done right away because these are wild horses and they will react fearfully when being sorted. The foal has to be able to recognize and keep up with its dam. This isn't just a BLM issue, but is a problem experienced by any agency, group, nonprofit, etc. that is holding mares during foaling season. LRTC went through the same thing with the Dann Sisters mares. It's a hassle at best.
The foal couldn't get up and had some neurological deficiency. Nobody could say if it was a birth defect, dismature syndrome, brain or spinal cord injury during foaling or what, but the foal had no appropriate hind end coordination long after foaling and long after it should have been able to stand. This is not the kind of presentation that is suggestive of any kind of successful recovery, and a couple of photo views also suggest that the foal may even have been deformed. In the wild, mom would have hung around until the foal went unconscious, then the coyotes would have finished the job. In this case the crew at PVC humanely euthanized the foal. For the record, while the BLM crew was being accused of not caring about the foals, they managed to send a couple of viable foals to focused care. One is at our Lucky Horse Corrals in Dayton with Shirley Allen and one went to Wild Horse Organized Assistance with Dawn Lappin. If BLM wasn't interested in saving foals, they wouldn't have done it. But leaving a defective foal to suffer and eventually die, is completely inhumane. We need to stay focused, honest and work together to save these horses.
HOWEVER, Honey Bandit's goal is still to STOP THE ROUND UPS, as they are a factor in many birthing complications, which could have led to this latest incident.
Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang
30027 State Hwy 44 East
Shingletown, CA 96088