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Kona's Story

(Page 2 of 2)

Yes, Kona was indeed pregnant! The mare that was sold to a slaughter dealer for being barren had one more surprise for all of us.

The vet calls her foal a miracle baby. She said for her to have gotten pregnant in the first place, and then not lost that baby through the stress of the lot, foster, and being shipped across country in a debilitated condition is indeed a miracle.

It was a fairy tale foal, out of a fairy tale mare.

Calling Kona's former owner was, as you can imagine, quite an interesting phone call. Oh my was his response, and that was followed up with yes, some regret, but the bottom line was, he was very happy for me and for Kona. There was a record of her being bred and to whom, so the baby would be registered. The ultimate irony was that the year she became pregnant was the year the barn manager forgot to ultrasound her.

Welcome Little One and God's Speed Precious Kona

At dawn on April 21, Kona's lagniappe jumped into the world.

She was a big strong long-legged filly with a touch of white on her forehead and an attitude of "I know I am special."

Kona was a very proud mom and the fairy tale continued, until one fateful day in late May when Kona was stricken with large colon displacement colic. Despite a valiant effort by a top equine emergency facility in Lexington Kentucky, after 8 days there, Kona died, leaving behind her five week old filly, Lucy.

Where there is a Lucy, there Must be A Desi

The transition to life without mom got the best of Lucy. Each day she was slipping further and further away and eating less and less. She nibbled on alfalfa, licked a bit of milk replacer out of a bucket, refused all attempts to be fed by bottle, and munched on handfuls of foal pellets. She would stand for hours nose to the corner of her stall, with little interest in interacting with other horses or with the people who came to visit.

While I frantically searched for viable solutions to reverse Lucy's downhill slide, Victoria Goss from the nursemare foal rescue, Last Chance Corral called to say she had a compatible nurse mare foal for Lucy. I took that call to mean I should get ready for a second orphaned foal! Off we went to Athens, Ohio to bring home Lucy's soon to be constant companion.

He was pasture born the first part of April, which made him a couple weeks older than Lucy. He was taken away from his mom at around 5 weeks of age. Last Chance Corral had rescued him and taught him how to drink milk replacer out of a bucket and how to live without mom.

I decided to call him Desi. (Yes, we all needed some laughs!). Afterall, how can you have a Lucy without a Desi?

Victoria explained that Desi had not had much handling because he came to LCC very healthy and a bit older. The less healthy and younger orphaned foals demanded the staff time first.

He had to be herded down the lane into the trailer. Hmm I thought. What was I in for?

Once home, we pulled the trailer into the large indoor arena. I climbed in back and slipped a halter on Desi's head. . . the first time he had ever had a halter on. We opened the door and out he came. Up close, he wasn't what anyone would describe as handsome. But step back and oh my. . .was he a looker - with big big confident strides of walk, running walk, trot, canter and gallop!

When we brought Lucy out to meet him she hid behind me like a frightened child looking at this new arrival. She wanted nothing to do with him. Lucy saw no purpose to this alien creature. All he did was freak out at people and try to steal her hay. And then on top of that he stuck his mouth in this frothy white stuff and came away with the stuff all over his whiskers. And worse of all, he had this very odd appendage where the milk machine was supposed to be and no amount of nosing or sucking was producing any milk! By the next day though the bonding had begun and she too had a bit of froth covered chin and he had Lucy's hay hanging out of his mouth. Lucy was still bound and determined to figure out how to get milk from him though.

January 2007: Yearlings Now

Lucy and Desi are quite the pair. She is all girl and he is all boy. She is a princess and he is her knight is shining armor. They care for each other in the most tender ways.

Their lives are simple and safe. They play all day in the field and snuggle down deep in a comfy stall whenever a nap is in order. It is not unusual to find them curled up touching each other, leg over leg, or nose over neck. She is a true beauty and stands 14 hands at 8 months. He remains a jaw dropping mover and the safe keeper of my Lucy. He resembles a horse in a Crusader painting: thick, proud, arched neck, and full faced. She is all her breeding designed: ready to run.

Turning 2

Lucy and Desi are heading into their second year. They are happy, healthy, confident youngsters. We will begin some formal ground training this winter when they move back to the nearby barn where Lucy was born. Lucy is pushing 16 hands at 19 months and Desi is not too far behind.

Speak Up For Horses is very blessed to have Kona as our guiding light. She exemplifies all we are about. For her to have gone to slaughter would have been such a tragedy. She taught us a lot. She brought us together. She gave us Lucy and then she entrusted us with the gallant safe keeper Desi.

3 Years Old!

I am amazed . . . three years have raced by since Lucy and Desi entered the world and climbed into my life. I simply wanted a horse to ride. Enter Kona. I never dreamed I'd be forced to say goodbye to the horse of my dreams and instead, find myself the surrogate mom to two orphaned babies. My friends at the boarding barn that summer of 2006 never dreamed they'd be helping prepare milk replacement with large helpings of vanilla yogurt twice a day and then helping me clean up baby butts. Along the way, instead of studying the finer points of riding, I've studied videos and books about raising baby horses. On many occasions I've called upon my years of dog training to think through how to pattern my orphans' behaviors. These past three years, though not what I planned on, are three I would not trade for anything.

Lucy and Desi are continuing their ground work. They look so grown up under saddle. I am in no hurry to get on them until later this year. In the meantime, their education and mine continues.

Lucy is as sweet as can be with both equines and humans. Desi continues to be the class clown, full of mischief. She is the adventurous one, he is the cautious one. She effortlessly covers ground at the canter; he floats at the trot. When they kick it up a notch or two, she teases him, letting him run next to her for awhile before she shifts into still a faster gear.

We are so blessed. Kona's magic continues.

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