Do you ever get that anxious feeling like something is going to happen? Well, I had it on Saturday, and sure enough, I spotted a notice for another orphaned foal. After several phone calls to NV and to our awesome "crew" who is taking care of the home front, along with lots of scrambling, we loaded up Lil Bit and Lil Orphan Annie and headed out into the night. We arrived at Shirley's in Dayton around 1 a .m. and the next morning headed out to pick up a foal. Now first and foremost, you simply cannot go out and pick up a foal without the proper authorization and steps being followed. However, since all that was in place, we went out to pick up the motherless orphan. After about 4 hours in some rough terrain and pretty warm weather, we were able to approach the little one and bring her to safety. We had an amazing crew, and Willis was astride his awesome mustang Corazon. What an amazing horse. The final blessing was a local photographer, who was in exactly the right place at the right time. Together, working quietly as a team, we were able to approach and rescue the failing foal.
Mikel Hettrick, who was responsible for her having a chance to survive in this often times cruel world, (PTL!!) gently held the baby while I put on her very first halter. She was scared, exhausted and was clearly not going to survive in the wild. As I led her gently down the hill, we had almost made it to the vehicles when I had to stop and give her some electrolytes. She was in rough shape and could barely stand in the back of the jeep on the way to the trailer.
While we were out picking up "Baby Boo McClellan", Shirley was trying desperately to rehydrate and pull back another little foal from the brink of death. Luna, who was picked up and brought in by Thomas & Dianne. We always want to send out our most heartfelt thanks to the folks that begin these journeys by saving the babies in the first place. Without these folks taking the time and effort to watch over and help these little ones, there would be no story.
For now, we are waiting in NV for the appropriate paperwork and getting the critter kids feeling a bit more ready to travel and we will head back home. Doc was here today to do the blood work. We will once again have the "Fabulous Four", only with a couple of different foals. :) :(
This foal season has been a bit insane, and it is not over yet. Once again we are asking for everyone's love, prayers and support for these tiny little babies. Rehabbing orphans like this is not an easy or inexpensive process, yet it brings so much love an joy to everyone involved. We need funds for fuel, milk money, meds and all the other things we use to help these little ones fight the good fight.
For folks who want to help a baby, but are unable to do the hands on, which unless you can devote 24 hours a day every single day for months at a time, there are other options. We understand that so many folks would love to to it, but don't have the time t commit or the ability to stay up for days on end or cannot devote months out of their life strictly to the critical foals. However, there is another fun and exciting way. Another way that you can help is to consider fostering a grown horse. There are many mustangs that are in need of fostering. While Shirley & Bruce's "Lucky Horse Rehab" is for orphan, critical and neo-natal foal care, along with the subsequent training these bottle babies need to be adoptable, they are also caring for horses that could be in foster homes.
Believe me, I speak from experience when I say that doing critical orphan foal care is literally 24/7 full time work. When other horses also have to be cared for, it takes away time that in a perfect world, (or even a sane world) should be for either a few minute nap or more baby time. So by fostering a mustang, you could also be helping the babies get the best care possible, and for all of us who do this to hopefully be able to stay healthy so we can continue to provide this type of care for years to come. If we get sick, we can't take care of the babies.
I think that unless you do the hands on care, it would be impossible to understand how much work goes into this. Often times when you get a baby you don't even climb into bed for the first 3-7 days or nights. Even after you spend the first week or two up literally 24 hours a day to make sure you do everything to help pull these little ones back to life, the work is still there. (Most of our babies are in very poor condition when we get them. We are not talking about raising a healthy baby, - that is a whole different and much easier situation :) .) When you finally reach the point that you don't have to jump up and check them every time they breathe or cough or move, maybe at that point - maybe 4 or 5 weeks after you get them, and with some babies not until months later - or like with Honey Bandit, about a year later, then maybe then you can rest for a couple of hours at a time.
Then the "real" (haha) work begins; to train this little one to not only be safe for folks to handle, but to be the best that they can be so their future will be the best it can be.
Many vets say the same thing about what they have experienced. Bottle babies are ONE of TWO THINGS - either the worst and most dangerous horses, or the very best, most calm and safe horses ever. There are two choices - spend the time with them and teach them respect and manners, or don't, and create a monster. Because with out proper TIME SPENT TRAINING THEM EVERY SINGLE DAY, they can grow up to be disrespectful and dangerous, even accidentally causing deadly injuries. What is cute when they are 100 lbs turns out to be not so cute when they are 1000 pounds. As the babies grow, they continue to test all the time. In the wild, their mamas or the stallions or their aunties will set them straight. They know their boundaries. (We have often heard folks say they would take a wild 2 year old over a baby anytime and that is because it is much easier to deal with a horse that knows its boundaries and has respect).
So think about helping the babies by helping foster a mustang. Arrangements can be made for an account at the feed store and you simply pick up the hay. You have the joy of knowing that you are helping to save part of our Nation's Heritage - the Wild Mustangs. You can help a critically ill, orphaned and/or injured baby by giving the folks that specialize in that work the time to do what they do best, and to not spend their time feeding and cleaning up after the horses who need "babysitting" when they really need that time for the babies.
It's funny how even though not one of us can do everything, together, all of us can "git 'er done", each one of us doing our own little part for America's Wild Horses, (and the domestics also). God bless and thank you for all you do, no matter what part of the process it is. You need the world to save a foal, and you guys Rock at it! Thank you for helping us with these babies and to find some much needed foster homes.
THANK YOU FROM ALL OF US!
Matt, Palomino & The Gang
Chilly Pepper - Miracle Mustang
Equine Rescue & More -
Rescue/Rehab Project LRTC