All natural horse care in the west of Ireland

Baby's Story
Wednesday, 19 November 2008

In August I purchased Baby for 200 EURO. She is a twelve year old thoroughbred ex-brood mare and reminds me of a princess or a fairy inside a horses body. She is the sweetest, gentlest horse I have ever had the honour to meet.

The original owner purchased six thoroughbred mares in Sping 2006 with the intention of breeding them and making some money. Baby being one of them.


Six soon became four. Two of the mares were sold pretty soon after they were purchased.

All four were sent to stud. After examinations, by two vets, two of the mares were confirmed in foal.

These mares lived out on grass without rugs. It was getting into winter and I offered to feed them in the mornings on my way to work.

The man worked in Dublin and would only be about at the weekends although he did put hay out for them on a regular basis.

None of the mares faired very well and by early 2007 were in VERY POOR condition. Skinny and lame. They were using all the energy from what food they got to stay alive.

In early 2007 he decided that he would move the two mares confirmed in foal to a neighbour of mine who had stables and where they would be looked after until the foals were born.

Eventually, one mare did give birth but the foal died within a few days from a weak heart. The other mare never gave birth so it was assumed that at some point she aborted.

They two were put back out into the field and soon the owner decided that he would have to get all four of them shot and taken away. He couldn't catch them and they were of no use to him if they couldn't have foals.

During my time feeding them over the winter I had named the four girls after the Spice Girls: Scary (really nervous), Sporty (Alpha Mare), Posh (a real Lady) and Baby (very quiet and polite). This is how Baby got her name.

I couldnt see the horses I had come to know over the winter being shot for no apparent reason other than they didnt do well wintering out on very wet land and failing to get in foal.

I started sending out emails to anyone I could find to help me rescue these horses. The ISPCA came to my rescue and offered to take the horses.

The person who was looking after the two mares while they were in foal said he would take one of them (Baby) as a broodmare but the others were to go. I caught them and brought them to my place where the three remaining Spice girls were collected and brought to the NAC in Keenagh.

Unfortunately, Sporty, who had given birth to the foal that died, was in such poor a condition and covered in sarcoids, that she had to be humanly put too sleep shortly after getting to the centre. It was felt that she was suffering too much and her quality of life could not be improved.

Posh and Dream (aka Scary ) are still at the NAC. They are doing very well, looking fantastic and just waiting to be rehomed.

All was going well and there was still talk about Baby being put into foal. Baby spent six months with her new owners when out of the blue the new owner decided she was of no use to him either and as he hadn't yet paid for her told the original owner that he could have her back!!

We were talking to this guy (the original owner) in the pub one evening when he told me that he was getting Baby back and that he had called an abbatoir and he would get 400 EURO for her for meat. I offered him 200 EURO for her and he accepted. At least he wouldn't have the hassle of trailering her and driving her all the way to the abbatoir.

I gave him a cheque and baby was dropped in with my little herd when I was at work. That was back in August.

Baby was in reasonably good condition when she came but she was very lame on the front and her feet were in poor condtion. They were trimmed but they did not look good.

Dermout McCourt from the north a remedial farrier had a look at her in August this year, shortly after she came to me and agreed that her feet were not good and she would need a lot of care.

My intention was to keep her until we found her a suitable home as a companion horse. I already have three horses and only three stables.

On 31st October I had to bring the horses off the land that I use for the winter. During all this time Baby's lameness did not improve and I couldn't see any obvious reason for the lameness.

leftfront111108.jpgLast Sunday evening I emailed Dermot to see if he could shed any light on Baby's lameness. He asked if I could email him some pictures of her feet so he could check them over.

I took some pictures and emailed the over to Dermot. I couldn't get any pictures of her right foot as she wouldn't lift the right leg for me at all. He replied and said thought he could see a lump near the back of the left foot.

It wasn't obvious to me but he said he could definately see something going on in that area.

It all came to head last Tuesday. In the morning when I went out to feed them Baby could not put any weight on her front left hoof. She was walking on her toe. My gut was telling me she had an abcess in her hoof although I couldn't see any obvious signs.

On Tuesday evening I brought her into a stable. She looked absolutely exhausted! I asked her to lie down and to my surprise she did. I lay down in front of her and she just put her nose on my chest. We lay like that together for a couple of hours.

About 2am I went indoors to bed. When I went out to her in the morning I knew there was something seriously wrong with her. She was sweating and didn't appear at all well although she was still eating. She wasn't drinking! I called the vet and he said he would get to her by 1pm that day (last Wednesday).

I went to work for a couple hours and came back to meet the Vet at 1 o'clock. When we went into the stable I noticed her leg was now swollen up to her elbow.

We got her out of the stable and the vet lifted her left foot and there was puss coming out of the bulb. She did have an abcess and it had broken through the bulb area.

Vet game her Moxycillan and a pain killer and we put her back in the stable. I put a dressing on her foot covered by an old sock to stop any of the bedding getting into the open wound and making it worse.

I had to go back to work for anoher couple of hours.

When I got home Baby seemed even worse that she was earlier and was showing signs of colic. She was eating but still hadn't touched her water.

I called the vet immediatley. He didn't seem overly concerned and said it was probably as a result of the drugs.

He gave instructions to get as much oil into her as possible. Parrafin Oil or vegetable oil if that was all I had in the house, that would do the job.

Have you ever tried to get oil down a horse's throat?

We (hubby and I) went out armed with a large cup of vegetable oil and a large syringe. After a lot of struggling and persuasion I managed to get three syringe fulls of oil into her. Then my, non-horsey, husband suggested we mixed the oil with a very small amount of food.

Baby loves her food but I didn't know how much! We mixed the remaing oil with a VERY SMALL amount of food and she scoffed it!

During the evening I kept popping out to Baby and she seemed to be Okay. She was struggling to have a poo though. She was only passing very small amounts after a lot of straining.

Thursday morning came and Baby was still alive!! And still making small piles of poo.

During the last couple of days Dermot and I have been exchanging emails. He was brilliant! He replied to ever email I sent him, almost immediately, explaining what Baby was going through. It was such a relief to have someone who understood and could give advise. He answered every email and gave me some hints on soaking her foot in Apple Cider vinegar and dressing the foot and covering with a boot.

I went shopping on Thursday evening and got some Tesco Value 'Ladies Sanitary Towels' (Dermot's idea) for 30c for a pack of ten. These do the same job as Animalintex at a much lower cost.

Every morning Baby's foot was soaked in a hot water: apple cider vinegar solution of 3:1. Then I put on her Old Mac boot which was lined with two Sanitary towels to keep the area clean.

Since Tuesday I have been giving her Hepar Sulf, a homeopathic remedy, daily. I was determined to hit this from all angles.

Today (Wednesday) Baby is reasonably sound and there wasn't any puss on the dressing. I didn't use the Apple Cider solution this morning but just soaked her foot in Salt water and let her go out today Barefoot. The area around the bulb was getting very soft from all the soaking and lack of air.

Baby seems a lot stronger and even objected this morning when I tried to put on her high neck rug. Baby has never objected to anything so I listened to her objection and put on a lighter rug and she was. okay with that

This evening I changed that over for her heavier high neck rug on and she did not object. It has been quite mild and dry the last couple of days so maybe she was just letting me know she needed something lighter on for today.

This is Baby's story so far!!

PS. Her real name is Thalancer but she will always be Baby to me

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