Thursday, April 8, 2010

Holy Moly, my baby's 13 today!!!!!!!!

As a yearling...this is the time in his life we referred to him as, "Harley 10 Hairs". His tail, mane and forelock did eventually grow back...just different. :)

He's always been my sweet boy.

He's always been such a loving little guy. We still call him our "little Harley". This is most likely because he and Ladde grew up pretty much like brothers, and Ladde has always been a "big boy". Everywhere we went, everyone without exception commented on how very big Ladde was. It's true...he's a true 17 hands, and weighs 1500-1600 pounds. Harley, by comparison at 15.3 and only 1300 pounds is small. It's all about perspective.

Harley giving brother-in-law, Steve a ride. He's very calm with rookies aboard.

Me and Harley riding in a Ray Hunt clinic several years ago.

Posing with Ray. Sheesh, notice how my flirty sister snuggles up to Ray? She's not a horse person, nor had she ever heard of Ray Hunt before today...some people!! :)

Our two beautiful baby boys all grown up. Harley and Ladde with my hubby in-between.

Harley and me at another clinic. This one was with Brad Cameron, the mule trainer. Awesome clinician!

This was taken summer before last while on vacation in LaPine, Oregon.

Whoowee!!! I can't believe that another birthday for my boy is here again. April 8, 1997 was the day my beautiful Harley horse was born. What a day...I remember it like it was yesterday...

Scooter's due date was in early March and we had just about given up on having a foal, or at least a healthy one. You see, Scooter was our beautiful mare that had chronic laminitis. We had struggled for years to keep her sound and had spent countless amounts of money and effort to keep her comfortable. I can count on one hand the number of times that I was fortunate enough to get to ride her, and she was a dreamboat to ride. She'd colicked on us one of those times while camping at Timothy Lake, and we were pretty sure we were gonna lose her. But, thank God we had Banamine in our med kit and preferred walking for endless hours instead of sleeping like all the other campers in the campground. Around and around we walked, most of the night...when the sun was beginning to rise through the trees, we finally felt like enough time had passed without Scoot having severe pain spasms that we could chance a few blessed hours of sleep. Thankfully, by morning Scooter seemed comfortable enough to travel and we headed for home. Crisis over.

Another time a few years later, Scoot was having another episode of laminitis and our vet tried a newer technique to increase the blood circulation in her feet. The procedure was called a venogram, and consisted of applying a tourniquet around the fetlock and using a butterfly valve, we injected dye and saline solution into the blood vessels of her front feet. Everything went smoothly and Scooter was a willing and agreeable patient. But, for whatever reason, that evening Scooter colicked again. Dr. Rick came out and this time we nearly did lose her. It was a very severe case of colic. Scoot was very painful and for some reason she started having muscle fascillitations (spelling?) and her potassium and other electrolyte numbers dropped off the chart. My vet was scared, and that scared me. We gave her several different pain meds and fluids for hours and stayed with her for most of the night. With many prayers and the constant work of my boss, we once again, pulled her through. Another crisis over. We were starting to think that our beautiful girl was cursed. Without getting very lengthy here, let's just suffice it to say that we started believing that our uphill battle with Scooter's soundness and health might be a losing proposition. She had foaled twice before we had gotten her. Our other horse Ladde, is sired by one of Scooter's foals. A beautiful stallion by the name of Sir Ladigo. Anyway, we wanted to breed her, in fact that is the main reason we had got her in the first place. So, once she had been doing well for a while, we found a stallion and had Scooter bred. I guess what I'm trying to relay is just how much we were dealing with where Scooter was concerned, and now her pregnancy was a full 31 days past due. Our nerves were like steel guitar strings.

My wonderfully creative hubby had devised a very clever way for us to "spy" on Scoot during her pregnancy. He had run telephone coax cable from our house out to the barn enabling us to pick up the tv remote and hit the "Scooter channel". At anytime of the day or night, we could gaze upon our beloved mare and see how she was doing. Without that, I seriously think we would have snapped.

So, one morning...April 8 to be exact...I wandered out of my bed all sleepy-eyed and hit the scooter channel. There she was, still pregnant. *yawn* I headed towards the shower. Whoa!! Wait a minute!! Something; I'm still not sure just what it was that caught my eye, but something made me snap awake and do a 360 and have another look. Yep, this was it - she was going down!!! I grabbed a jacket and jumped into my muck boots and flew like the wind out to the barn! I arrived just in time to see a tiny muzzle and two very tiny little hooves poking out from Scooter's vulva!! Thank you God, the presentation was normal!! I dropped to my knees, tears of joy streaming down my cheeks to witness the miracle of birth. Up until this time, I had never witnessed a birth of an animal of any kind; no kitten, no puppy, and certainly never a foal. To say I felt like a novice was quite the understatement. But, I whispered a quick prayer of gratitude and help on Scooty's behalf, and prepared to take it all in.

Within minutes there was the front half of the most gorgeous foal I'd ever seen exposed. I grabbed my knife and cut open the sack to expose his nose and carefully cleaned the mucus from his nostrils. I remember how his little eyes looked up at me and he blinked twice as if clearing his vision. He was absolutely precious!! Of course he was all wet, but his color was the most exquisite deep red, almost like a rich, liver signs of any white, and I couldn't have possibly cared less! He appreared fine and I was so filled with thankfulness. About this time is when you'd expect the mare to push the foal out completely and finish up. But, no...Scooter decided to take a little break and review her handiwork. She started this beautiful little maternal nickering that just brought me to tears all over again. She was cooing to her sweet baby and he answered her!! Just a tiny little nicker, barely audible but it was there all the same. It was still to this day, one of the most beautiful sounds I've ever heard. Just lovely, and I felt blessed to be there with them, and I felt so honored that Scooty was so relaxed and comfortable with me being there at such a special time. Since little Harley was still half inside, there was no way for Scoot to do anything but look at and talk to, her foal. I kept waiting for Scooter to complete her job, but she and the foal seemed totally content to just lie there, momma softly talking to her baby and the foal looking around at his new surroundings. I kept smothering his precious little face with kisses and making sure there was no mucus in his mouth, nose or ears. Everything seemed perfectly normal, except for the fact that he wasn't completely out yet. What was going on??? About this time, I began to worry, thinking that this wasn't completely normal and maybe I should do something to help. This was in the pre-cell phone era and I wanted to call the vet and ask him if there was a need for concern, but I wasn't about to leave and miss a moment of this event. So, I just sat there with Scooter, now addressing my attentions on her. She appeared to be relaxed and totally content...wish I could say the same. After about 15 minutes of "time-out", Scooter gave one great big push and Harley was expelled. Whew! What a relief! Now what? I forgot to mention that Scooter had hardly stood on her feet for any length of time in the last 30-45 days of her pregnancy. The extra weight was a bit much for her laminitic feet and she layed down a lot. So, I cleaned up the foal for her, dipped his naval several times, dried him with a towel...and waited. Why wasn't he getting up? This was about the time I decided to make a mad dash for the house and call the vet. I wanted him there - now! I felt like something just wasn't quite right, and I was getting scared again! I made the call, vet's on his way, then called my hubby and gave him the good news. And, back out to the barn I went. Still no change there.

After the vet checked everyone out and reassured me that everything appeared fine, I waited almost 4 hours before Harley decided to stand up. He just made up his mind and stood up...a little wobbly at first, but no big deal. Sheesh!! Scooter was still lying down, but nickered to her foal to come over and he did. He obeyed like a little soldier, and for the first time they sniffed noses and got acquainted with one another. Reassured by everything, I went inside for a quick shower and a much-needed cup of coffee. Later, feeling much better I headed back out just in time to catch Harley nursing with gusto. Another relief. Scoot was lying down holding one hind leg back so the little guy could nurse, which he was with much vigor!! Camera now in-hand, I began shooting pictures for all I was worth. I will try to post some of these very soon so you can all see how very adorable he was. For the next several months, most of the time Harley nursed with momma lying down, and when she was feeling better and he had to re-learn how to nurse while standing, he used to stamp his feet and switch his little tail at the discomfort and inconvenience of it all at having to crick his little neck to get his meals. It was so funny!!

Scooter's registered name was "Mis Star of David", and we decided that given our foal's relaxed, laidback attitude towards life, coupled with the fact that he was so very slow to get started in life, the name "Harley" suited him just fine. So...Scooter had a Harley. We almost named him "Harley David's Son", but I was in a very Nez Perce Indian frame of mind and went with "Ahkunkenekoo" ahh-koon-kee-nee-koo...quite the mouthful huh?? It means, the land above...heaven. And, he was our little gift from heaven. But, he's always been Harley to us.

So, that's the story of the beginning of our wonderful relationship with our beautiful Harley horse...trail pony extraordinaire!!

Happy, happy Birthday sweet little spunky!!!!

You're a teenager now!!

Blessings all...cingspots


fernvalley01 said...

Happy Birthday Scooter! typing through tears! What a wonderful little mare! Funny how the babies seem to get it when momma is not quite right .Badger was the most obedient foal ever as his momma Sunshine was stone blind when he was born ,she would cal softly to him and whatever he was doing he dashed right to her for her to nuzzle him

fernvalley01 said...

Oops Happy Birthday Harley! is what I meant

Kate said...

Wonderful story, and a happy birthday to your beautiful boy!

Carolynn said...

Happy Birthday, Harley! I love your beautiful colouring - so handsome.

Pony Girl said...

What a great story! Harley's coat color has changed so much. His spots are so awesome. He's one of the coolest marked Appy's I've seen! He's obviously your baby. Thirteen is a great age, he's in the prime of his life! Happy bday big boy! Enjoy!

Maria said...

Happy Birthday to Harley. My App turned 15 April 3. They almost shared a birthday.

Gail said...

What a wonderfully touching tale. Happy Birthday, Harley.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

That's very cool that you got to witness Harley's birth. It's a miracle, isn't it? I saw Yalla being born too. I feel like her other Mama.

Happy Birthday, Harley!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

What a sweet story. Brought tears to my eyes. Watched my Ditto have all three of her babies be born. It was so special. Happy Birthday Harley. You have a wonderful story and a wonderful "mom"

Lisa said...

Happy birthday Harley - you are one handsome dude but I think you already know that! ;) What a great story!

Rising Rainbow said...

Happy Birthday, Harley!

Wow, with that story of Scooter, you know exactly what I've been going through with my mare, Solidare. Her medical complications aren't the same but I didn't know if I'd ever get another foal from her. I was content with that but she wasn't. She cried and cried over the other foals wanting one of her own. My vets said it was safe to breed so I did but the difficulty of the pregnancy complete with all the lying down are like your story. It's been a stressful pregnancy and I'm pretty much scared to death.

Glad to hear your story worked out well. Hopefully, I'll get to relax soon.

Leah Fry said...

He's so gorgeous. Don't you love how they just keep changing colors?

prashant said...

a happy birthday to your beautiful boy!
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