It has been a very busy year here at Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang. Collins was adopted out in October, just in time to make space for Baby Blue to spend some time here. Ikey & Mikey were just starting to get on their feet and getting their weight closer to where it should be when we got Precious. Thanksgiving was a time filled with so many thanks that Precious had not only survived the trailer ride home, but that she was still with us the next day. We truly did not think we would be able to keep her alive long enough to even get her home. She is definitely another "miracle mustang" and was truly blessed as God sent angels to help us. Her core temperature was way too low, although we couldn't get an accurate temperature as she was suffering from complications caused by her body shutting down. Her condition was very similar to Honey Bandit's as she literally couldn't even move her head when she was laying in the trailer. Every time we stopped our hearts were filled with dread. Would we find a dead baby in the back, or would she still be with us?
In the wild, when foals are left behind, it is often because their moms instinctively know that something is wrong. Those babies are left alone to die, they give up the fight and nature takes its course. I truly believe, and it has been proven scientifically many times with numerous types of animals, that any baby that is left alone without nurturing has much less chance of survival. We have seen it many times, when someone takes a foal off of the range and feeds it and leaves it in the barn over night. These babies often die, and not only do they need to be fed as much as every hour, depending on their condition, (not all need to be fed that often) but they are easily depressed and lose the will to live or to fight that hard fight to survive. Also, a compromised foal can crash in minutes. So they must be monitored continuously.
The first few weeks with Precious were filled with those "will she make it" moments. She would get so cold and lethargic, and then she would have better times. We would pick her up and once she was standing, we would go for short walks down the driveway. She really seemed to enjoy her walks, and although it was extremely cold out, the fresh air and exercise were critical to her road to survival. Without the daily exercise and physical therapy, she would have no chance of ever getting enough muscle strength back so she could stand up on her own.
We rigged up a device where we could use an electric hoist to help lift her up, as she was too heavy for us to lift without it. She was simply dead weight and did not even try to help get up. Her back end was so emaciated that she had no muscle strength what soever, and we had to be consistent with her physical therapy so she would get strong once again.
It is dangerous for a baby, or even a full grown horse to lay too long on one side, as they will end up squishing their own organs. Their blood pools and it can be a deadly situation. So every couple of hours I would wake up Matt to help lift her up. Once she was on her feet she was able to stand for longer and longer periods. I would come to her stall and ask her if she wanted to get up an she would start "swimming". Her little legs were moving and she was squealing and she was trying to lift her head. She had heart and she wanted to live. That is one of the most crucial things in these rescues. Their will to live is the deciding factor every time.
Until she was brought in on the ranch she was wild, and the only hands on she had experienced was when they lifted her up with the tractor. So we still had to deal with that factor also. There were times after we helped her up when she would turn with her mouth open, as if to take a bite out of us, or she would whimper, showing her discomfort. She never did actually try to take a bite, but was just letting us know that she was in pain and pretty much sore all over. My heart would break when I heard her whimper like a child. I have to say that this is the first baby that has ever vocalized her discomfort in such a way. It is funny, because when they are so compromised and nearly comatose, they do not seem to remember much of the stuff you did "to" them. Honey Bandit is such a good example of that. We spent the first 3-4 months with electric blankets, leg warmers, and all sorts of other "unnatural" things (for a horse) on him, and if you brought out a big blanket today he would definitely tell you that he has never seen one of those. They simply don't remember what they experienced during those times. Precious is definitely showing more signs that she is still wild in many ways. But slowly and surely, she is beginning to trust us and realize that she is safe, and the fact that she is not so sore to the touch is also a huge plus.
Today, (December 27, 2013) she is free from her "lifting straps", and although we are celebrating this monumental progress, we are getting ready to have a sling made for the future foals that might be a little bit easier to use and more comfortable for the babies. If anyone would like to help us with this endeavor, please call us at 530 474 5197 or email us at Palomino.firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for good ideas to ensure the greatest comfort for these babies.
Precious is still seriously under weight, and continues to gain the much needed pounds slowly and steadily. You cannot let them gain too much weight too quickly, or that will cause additional issues for them. So our little Precious is well on her way to recovery. Thank you to everyone who has been part of this, again whether it be prayers, financially or just getting the word out. As always, y'all are the ones that make these miracles happen.
Mikey and Ikey are both doing very well. Ikey is recovering from his surgery and Mikey is ready for his forever home. God bless you all and please be safe in the New Year!