Either you love ’em or you don’t… but there is no question who you want in the trenches with you. The lead mare. She’s the one who gets it done. She’s the one who keeps things in order. She’s the one who makes sure everyone is safe. She fixes every situation.
I’m not saying that you have to like lead mares — or any mare, for that matter. I’m just saying that there is a lot to respect about them. And today, I want to speak about two mares in particular. I wanted to tell you about them not because they need help (they don’t), but because of the help they received. These two extraordinary mares were fatefully matched with extraordinary women. Perfect.
OLIVIA’S LIVE BIRTH
I have to say that I don’t really know that much about Olivia.
I know she was rescued and adopted from the Umadilla auction. She is boarded at Ponytales Rescue. I’ve read that she is a quarter horse. And, I knew she was pregnant and about to deliver. And, I knew about her from a thread posted on an equine forum I visit. This impending birth notice was posted on the forum July 10th. So, all of us interested strangers (thus being the way of the Internet these days…) were glued to the Mare Stare camera in her stall.
For those of you who wonder about the “Mare Stare” camera, it is a video camera service, for pregnant mare
owners, that sends a signal out to a receiver which has a link. So, anyone, anywhere can watch the stall. The idea is to allow the owners to leave the barn and watch in the comfort of their computer area.
But, now it has become a community thing to watch if you want to witness a live birth of a mare you’ve come to care about, but maybe never met.
Since we all know how long it takes for any pot to boil, the camera company named it Mare Stare because that’s what you end up doing. Bleary-eyed staring…
OK, so over the days since July 10th, many of the community strangers have been chatting on the forum as they wait to watch her foal. They comment on the personality of the mare or how uncomfortable she must be or they take bets on what night she will foal. It is a fun group of people who mostly only know each other through writing styles and signature fonts.
Anyway, as we have been staring at the mare for days now, people started to drift off. I, for one, decided that most mares foal at night so I’d check the forum before I went to bed to see if there was any activity. And, I’d check it in the morning to see if I missed anything. Today, 10 days after the first post about a baby on the way, I missed the whole thing.
I had checked this morning. Nothing. So, I went riding. Lo and behold, at around 9am PST, the baby was delivered. I missed the entire thing! When I saw that the thread had many more posts than normal, I knew something was up. As soon as I logged in, I saw all these cheering, happy posts celebrating the delivery. Whew! All went well.
But then I read more deeply and realized that it hadn’t gone smoothly at all… Luckily, there were several Aunties in Cyber Space huddled around their computers this Sunday morning, staring at Mare Stare. You can read through the posts that a few start to think something significant is happening. Then, it is clearly happening so one of them makes sure the owners/caretakers know that the birth was ON!
This is where it gets exciting! The mare is in delivery and all of the Aunties are tittering on the forum. All eyes are glued and hopeful, fingers flying across the keyboards with every move she makes. But… the mare looked to be having trouble. One leg was out but the process had stalled. The mare was up and down and up and down. The Aunties were getting nervous.
Now, I’ve been at most of my mare’s deliveries and having been there, it is always tough to know when to step in. And, reviewing the tape, you can see the ladies there on site, struggling with the decision. Do we help her? Does she need us? If you watch closely, you can see when they make that split decision to get in there and assist. In fact, you can see one of the ladies yell, “PUSH” to the mare. (I laughed out loud when I saw that… , of course, I knew it turned out OK so I could smile.) Then you see the one woman get on her knees in the stall and pull the leg in rhythm with the mare’s contractions. The woman looks like she is pulling against the mare with all of her power! And, in a whoosh, the baby is out.
But the ladies are quiet. One is quickly working to tear open the sack while the other is frozen in the moment. Her hands cover her mouth. All the Aunties are holding their breath. And then, THE VERY BEST PART OF ALL, simultaneously, as the ladies realize the baby is alive, they whoop and raise their hands! It was incredible. I cried at that moment. (You can view the video link here. The “whoop” is at around 5:32)
This poor maiden mare was trying to deliver a whale, we now have learned. The baby taped out at 106lbs! As one Auntie declared while musing over his spoon shaped blaze, “It’s shaped like a spoon because he was cooking for so long!” Ha! Probably!
So, three cheers for an unknown, pregnant Quarterhorse mare who was saved from a meat auction, named Olivia and embraced by hundreds of benevolent Aunties, while she braved giving birth to a very big and healthy boy.
And, three cheers to the Ponytales Rescue owner and Board Member who got down and did the job they had to do in the moment they had to do it. They fixed it for Olivia. Bravo.
However, the mare doesn’t seem to mind so we shouldn’t mind either…
Trolley was rescued from an auction. I won’t say which because injured horses aren’t supposed to be at an auction. But, if that particular auction house hadn’t bought this injured mare, she would not have been placed with this rescuer who was notified of this mare by the auction owner. And, if the auction owner hadn’t alerted the woman to come save this mare, the mare would have probably gone back to where she came from. We all know where that got her…
OK, I’m not saying that this horse shouldn’t have received medical care from her previous owners. What I’m saying is that if you aren’t going to give the mare medical care, “put a sock in it” may have been a fairly good, temporary solution. Of course, putting a sock in it and then running the mare through an auction — sucks.
Now, this wonderful woman named Anouk, who I don’t know at all, rescued this mare and named her Trolley. (The mare has a FB page linked here with tons of pics.) Anouk is from another country and “Trolley” means something back there… Anyway, this woman either runs a rescue or assists in rescue efforts. I’m not sure. But, to me, to take in a mare immediately with such a devastating injury and then get the mare the attention she needs, this woman is a saint.
OK, now back to the graphic images – (there are many more on her page). Once I got over the initial shock of the photos, I read through several of the posts regarding Trolley. From what I can gather, the vet DOES NOT think it was human inflicted. The vet thinks that the mare ran into an uncovered metal post or Tpost. Luckily, she survived. The amount of damage isn’t known until she undergoes surgery. And, that cannot happen until her quarantine is up. So, while we wait, the vet has done an excellent job of cleaning the wound. And, St. AnoukMareSaver has done the daily work of keeping Trolley comfortable and tended.
And, from the photos, she’s comfortable indeed! She should be called Princess Trolley! The fashion on this mare is beyond your average mare care… Look at the fly deterrent get-up! She looks like Paris Hilton! Of course, the poor girl has to have those flies away from her wound, but this foster Mom has outdone herself! Whoohoo! From rags to riches!
Everyone is holding their breath until after the surgery, but if Trolley continues to improve, her future looks good. Trolley’s aftercare will be
determined and then she will be placed in her forever home. Evidently, there are several parties lining up to care care of this very brave and strong mare.
So again, a very brave and tough mare needed help and a very strong woman braved the auction to rescue her. Together, they are fighting through the pain to heal and move forward. St. AnoukMareSave stepped in and fixed the situation for poor Trolley.
Mares. Gotta love ’em! (The equine kind and the human kind.)
HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!
July’s Bucket Fund will benefit the charity THE GOLDEN CARROT SANCTUARY. To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate $5, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)