This time of year reminds me of new beginnings, and all that we have to look forward to at Mid America Horse Rescue. As I've Said to our volunteers, 2012 is our year, baby!
As I look back, I think of the lives we've touched, including the lives of several special horses.
On Aug. 4, 2008, we saved three pregnant mares at a Fairmount Park paddock sale. Rapid Presence, aka "Rae Anne," was scheduled to deliver last. As her belly grew, so did our love for her.
Since I have yet to experience the birthing process, I was hoping to witness the arrival of each of our new babies. For three weeks, I slept in the tack room to ensure I was there for their births. Baby No. 1, aka "Pea," arrived the first night I wasn't on duty, January 31, 2009. Baby No. 2, aka "Belle," arrived while I was on a work trip in Phoenix, May 12, 2009.
Naturally, I stationed myself in the barn for Baby No. 3 as soon as I returned home. I had gone from beautiful accomodations at the Biltmore Hotel to sleeping on a 900-pound hay bale. But the miracle I was about to experience made it all worthwhile!
Thankfully, when Rae Anne's labor began, I was on duty! I immediately called the staff and our incredible veterinarian, Dr. Allen Mueller.
At first, Rae Anne paced, but finally, she laid down in the stall to give birth. My first sight of her foal began with a shiny black hoof, followed by two long, slender legs and a beautiful dark head. Positioned feet-first, this little fluff of life looked like a diver about to cut through the water.
Dr. Mueller stayed on the phone coaching us through the entire birth. The foal was big compared to his mama. With the front legs out and the head clear, the shoulders were next! We worked with the mare's contractions, but passing the shoulders was presenting a problem.
I had a soft, clean cloth and was removing the sack, clearing the nostrils and ears, massaging this little baby and waiting to see any signs of life. Dr. Mueller suggested slightly rocking the foal to help the shoulders clear and we did just as he said. As soon as the shoulders cleared, a baby BOY slid into our arms. But he wasn't breathing.
His little purple tongue hung limp from his mouth. With his eyes still shut, I cradled him, whispering to him, willing him to breathe. We reached beyond the foal’s lips and tickled his roof of the mouth to trigger the sucking reflex. In that moment, our baby boy gulped in his first huge breath, popped those beautiful brown eyes open and looked me straight in the eye.
To feel the rush of life flow into a living creature's body for the first time, to be the first living creature this little boy ever experienced made me cry like a baby! It moved me to my core. I will go through the rest of my life understanding how rare this occurrence is. My respect for God's creatures, and respect for the gift of life could not have been more deepened.
Now at the dawn of 2012, our baby boy, Troubadour, just turned 3 (according to Thoroughbred registry it was January 1st...but we know his REAL birthday is May 19th).
Troubadour is loved unconditionally and will never know a bad day in his life. He will never have to face the possibility of slaughter like other racehorses. Instead, he was given the gift of life by Mid America Horse Rescue. This year, he will flourish even more as he begins his training program.
2012 is our year baby! Happy Birthday Troubadour and our other babies at the farm!
Happy New Year and many blessings to all. Please come visit us and watch us grow!