My Partner is Delight

My Partner is Delight
Heading into the great unknown

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Heartsong Star

Star is out of Delight and by a stallion named Midnight Prince. She is a Morgan. Her registered name is Heartsong Star. She was born at high noon on April 18, 2006. She is supposed to be my replacement mount for when Delight grows old, but I have a feeling I will be competing with Tom for her!

Here is my journal entry for the day she was born:

The Story of Star’s birth

The morning of Star’s birth I tested Delight’s milk. It looked just like skim milk and it tested below 7 on the pH scale and the calcium level was higher than the cow’s milk in the ‘fridge. She was pacing in big circles around her pen and not really eating. She is a big eater so a small appetite was also a major sign that something was up with her. I knew she was really close so I called my boss to see if I could get work off and she said that she needed me for 2 hours at the Deli. Rats!
Luckily, that morning my oldest son had awakened with a very stiff neck and had decided to stay home from school. Before I left I gave him a crash course in equine midwifery. I pulled out all of the books that I have been pouring over these last months. I showed him pictures and stressed what signs to look for when she goes into labor. My husband had bought me a foaling kit for Christmas and it contained these really neat laminated cards that have lists of what happens during each stage of delivery as well as an erasable marker to write down the times the horse experiences them.

Looking back I think I was in denial that she would deliver during the day – after all 80% of mares deliver at night, right? I was nervous, but surprisingly peaceful.

I got to work at 11:00AM and asked to go home again, but I was needed, so I stayed. I just concentrated on keeping busy, keeping busy, keeping busy…

My son called at 11:30 and says, “She’s really sweating mom…” My boss had just left on a delivery so I couldn’t leave. I told him not to leave Delight's side. He calls back 15 min later, “Mom, she just broke her water… I think she is going to have it!!” Boss is still not back so I scribble a quick note and lock up the shop. I reason that if I lose this job, so what?

I drive home really pushing the speed limit when I am in town and driving about 70 mph once I get into the country. I am thinking of ways I can talk the officer who is going to pull me over into taking me lights and sirens to my house…. Thankfully, he never appears.

I am 5 min from home when son calls and says, “I see the bag Mom, it’s comin’ out! When do I take the bag off of it’s head??” I push the car to 75 (don’t tell my husband!) and tell my son I will be right there.

When I pull in home I jump out and run into the house to get the vet kit… It’s not there… “Son! Do you have the vet kit?” He says, “Yes” so I run back to Delights paddock. She is laying down, the foal is out but still partially covered in the birth sack. I gasped. “It’s a black!!” “And just look at that star!!”

Son grins, “Yeah, Mom.”

The foal was already up on it’s sternum breathing. It was wet and shining clean with floppy ears.

I tell him to get some towels and he has the presence of mind to take some pictures first. I love those pictures. I am grinning from ear to ear and look so happy in them.

Delight decided to give birth in the only spot in the pen where I hadn’t scattered straw so all four of us got plenty dirty in the process of toweling the foal off. Delight jumped up pretty quickly after she gave birth so the umbilical cord was broken before I would have liked it to break. I figured there wasn’t much I could do about it and decided to put that worry into the back of my mind. My son and I dipped the end of the umbilical stump in the iodine that was provided in the foaling kit. While I was under there I decided to try to peek at the gender of this little one. I saw two tiny teats! Yay, it’s a girl!!! I knew I would be happy with either sex, but in my heart of hearts I wanted a filly. And to think she was a black filly - beyond my wildest dreams!

The filly started struggling to get up right away, but I wanted to do a little imprinting. So, while mama talked to her and licked on one side, I toweled off the opposite side. I felt a little guilty about holding her down, but I really wanted to touch her all over before she got up. I didn’t do the whole 45 minute process imprinting that I learned about. I only took about 15 minutes or so – maybe it was less, I don’t know. Delight was happy and didn’t seem nervous at all about my being there.

The sun was out and it was a warm and glorious time. It is so wondrous to watch how the Creator made everything to work together. I thought about all of the sleepless nights and all of the upset that I had experienced. And here is this beautiful foal after this perfect delivery on this gorgeous day… I told Him I was sorry for not trusting.

I am sure He smiled at me and at the Gift He had just given me.

The foal stood up on her second attempt. I had seen a calf born once and he took around a ½ hour of struggling to stand, so I was amazed at her strength and balance. She was walking around in less than 30 minutes of her birth! Her personality was already making itself known too. She was curious and kept walking away from Delight. It was very interesting watching Delight teach her manners in those first hours.

Within an hour She had trotted and loped. Yes, LOPED! I was amazed again. At two hours she was literally loping in circles around her mama, shaking her head in happiness, but I get ahead of myself…

She was an hour and 10 minutes old when she nursed for the first time. It was amazing to watch Delight help her to find her udder. Every time the foal would walk near the right spot, Delight would nicker a really low sounding rumbling nicker. Then when the foal started looking underneath Delight’s belly she would nicker to her and guide her with her nose to the right spot.

It was evident right away that Delight loved her foal. She licked it and rubbed it with her nose in that scratchy horsy way, grooming her all over. She touched her all over her little body. I thought it looked like she was doing the same thing to the foal that I just had, imprinting her, only without the towel.

During the first couple of hours every fifteen minutes or so I went in and caught the baby and rubbed her all over and blew in her nose and picked up her feet. I brought a halter in and rubbed it all over her. I gave Delight scratches in all the right places and told her what a great job she had done and how beautiful her baby was. I really wanted Delight to get used to the idea that I was going to be a part of this threesome so that I wouldn’t have trouble later when I went out to handle her baby.

I waited until about 3 o’clock to call my boss. I have been talking to her about “my Baby” every day for weeks. Because of her friendship with me, she now knows waaaay more than she ever wanted to about equine parturition! I took off work for several days the week that Delight was due – remember Fort Marestare? So I don’t think she was totally surprised when she got back to the store and I was gone. When I called her everything was fine. I know that I spent some of my “friendship currency” by abandoning her, but she was totally understanding. She knows that I would do the same for her.

I actually think she is relieved not to have to listen to me ramble on about my pregnant horse every morning!

This is my Delight

This is my Delight. After twenty something years of waiting, she is the fulfillment of Hope. Delight is a 15 year old Morgan. Her Registered name is BPFM prophet's Delight.

She was a surprise birthday present from my Dear Husband Tom. He sent me out for a massage and when I came home she was in a pen out back. It was the best birthday that I have ever had in my life! I hope to be able to bless him with the desire of his heart someday too.

I have had Delight for nearly 3 wonderful years. She is teaching me how to ride again and that trail riding need not ever be boring! Last summer we joined a ladies trail riding club and we rode many miles together. I am really looking forward to getting out there again this summer. Trail riding is the thing I love to do best with Delight.

My dream for the future is to go on a camping trip with her.

I call Delight my "Little Red Sports Car". She is gaited at the walk and she can walk as fast as Ted can trot ( more about Ted later!). She loves to go go go. When I have ridden her at fun shows she gets pretty excited in the arena. I am sure she has been raced before! She snorts a lot and can do a wonderful "belly flop". I think it took me a whole year of riding to figure out that she doesn't bolt and run when she flops. It scared me to death when she would jump! But her feet never move and now I just pat her neck and laugh .

When Delight came to me she was already in foal with Star, more about her later, but caring for Delight and seeing her deliver was a childhood dream come true for me.

I love this mare. She is my Delight.