Written by Faith Antonioni,
Episode 1- The Foal’s Arrival
Joe the owner of the horse stable, called me on March twelve, nineteen ninety-four, which was a cold and rainy morning. He stated that my horse Lucy had given birth to a colt in the middle of a sleet storm and we received the two for one special, by buying Stormy from him. A field hand was looking for another horse and by chance found Stormy. Astonishment flowed throughout my body. I did not know that Lucy had been pregnant.
The air was filled with anticipation on the drive to the stable. When my parents, and I arrived, there was Lucy standing in a stall, and beside her was a wet furry mass. Immediately we named the colt Stormy.
Dad said, “He would not stand up, his back leg was bad, and his eye was closed. I thought he was either going to blind or lame.”
A couple of women, who were boarders and had a mare give birth, told dad that he was doing things all wrong. They noticed that Stormy had problems nursing from Lucy and said the colt should receive assistance. Both women volunteered to milk Lucy in order to feed the foal.
Episode II- The Foal’s Recuperation
When mom and I arrived at the stable, the veterinarian was examining the foal and made the confirmation that Stormy was a male. Lucy and Stormy were taken to a less drafty stall. The vet suggested that we buy a heat lamp, and a water bottle for Stormy. Both women continued to milk Lucy and feed the colt with mother’s milk. Nursing without assistance was a big challenge for Stormy. After a while, I milked Lucy and fed the foal. He was too weak to get up. The average time that a foal gets up to feed from its mother is 57 minutes from birth. It took him considerably longer to accomplish the task.
Before my dad arrived with the heat lamp, we put a blanket on the foal to provide warmth. Stormy was also supplied with his mother’s milk. The colt’s temperature was below normal. He would get up for a few fleeting moments and fall down. Four hours would pass before Stormy would be able to stand on his own. Even after standing on his own, the foal was guided to feed from his mother.
I observed that one of the colt’s legs were too unstable to walk on.We left the stable at six o’clock that night and returned at 5 o’clock in the morning. My state was of surprise when I saw Stormy nursing by himself.
Episode III- The Foal’s progress
After two weeks Stormy, and his mother were ready to make an excursion out to the outside ring. Happy to be free of the confinement, he jumped up and down. The colt galloped at a very fast pace in sporadic jolts.He also knocked down barrels and orange cones and started rolling them.
For the next couple weeks, we visited them at 5 a.m. The vet gave us eye drops to put in this bad eye. A decision was made to put both horses in a small yard because we thought Stormy, being an equine youngster, could not defend himself against other horses.
During the course of time, Stormy became a little biter. When another horse would peer over the fence, the colt would bite him or her. I guess this was his way of saying hello.
Stormy grew big enough to be released in the boarder’s field with his mother. The other horses were curious and ran with them. I was concerned, but things worked out.
As Stormy grew, so did his exuberant personality. The horse’s tendency to test me became quite evident. For example, he would toss his head and fling the feed bucket from out of my hands. Today Stormy is 27 years old. He continues to be a blessing. Never having any experience training a horse to ride, from a foal to an adult. I accomplished these tasks with Stormy. Life can surprise you.
Written by Faith Antonioni,