As many of you know by now, I am a multi-animal owner. I have a small ranch where I house many different species: dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, pigs, goats, and horses. While dogs are certainly one of my favorites, horses rank right up there with them. I have been blessed to have been around horses, in some capacity, the majority of my life, and stand in awe every time I see their majestic frame move so quickly and gracefully across the ground. The sound of thundering hooves, a well placed nicker, or a friendly little nudge, simply makes my heart smile. For that, I am truly thankful.
I recently acquired a nine-year-old Appaloosa mare and was told, after I had her home for a couple of months, that there was a possibility that she may be pregnant. I immediately had her checked and sure enough, she is pregnant. Yay! However, she is pregnant with twins and in horses, that can be a very bad thing. In fact, only 1 in 10,000 mares successfully carry and deliver two healthy twins to full term. Those, my friends, are not good odds. I listened to my vet, caution me about being too hopeful, as the odds really are against us, and I listened to my good horse friends do the same thing. I understand this is not about being “negative”, it is about being realistic, and so I appreciate them and take what they have to say, listen, consider, and hope anyway. I have hope and try to find the positive side in every situation, and that includes this. I then started doing what I do best; investigate.
Turns out, we, myself, Fancy, and her two babies, have a few things going for us: first of all, she is a very large mare. In the cases that I found where healthy twin births were successful, the horses were larger breed horses, like drafts. This is simply a case of available real estate, if you will. In most cases, there simply isn’t enough room for two babies to occupy the same space, so they can’t. This usually results in loosing both of the babies or even loosing one of the babies. Sometimes, both are even born but one, or both are still born. The second thing that we have in our favor is proper nutrition. Now, I do not claim to be a nutrition expert as far as horse feed goes, but I have some pretty smart people, very close to me, who are…so I called them. As with any other pregnancy, nutrition is very important to the development of a healthy baby, right? I mean, when we two-leggeds get pregnant, we start taking vitamins, start getting more rest, and hopefully, start eating better. It’s the same thing here. One of the other reasons that twins rarely make it in horses is simply that one of the babies takes all of the nutrients while the other goes without. It is very common for the stronger of the two to survive, while the weaker of the two doesn’t. What does this mean for Fancy? This means that she is getting top of the line nutrition right now, with amazing levels of everything that both babies need to grown big and strong. One of my really smart sources happens to be my cousin who is a sales representative for an organic feed company. They have a veterinarian there who formulated a few of their organic feeds with maximum nutrition in mind. I gave the labels, for a couple of those feeds, to my team of veterinarians and they told me exactly which one to feed and how much to feed. Fancy is gaining proper weight and is maintaining energy and vitality, which are all great things. The last thing that can really contribute to making this one-hundred-percent successful, is regulating her stress level. Again, like with any pregnancy, hormones can play a major role in how we react to different situations. Doctors everywhere tell pregnant women to, “keep their level of stress as low as possible”, during their pregnancy. Excessive stress can lead to some very bad outcomes. Because of this, Fancy is with her herd, as usual, is being fed on the same schedule as always, and is not being exposed to anything new. I am simply maintaining what she has always known at a level that it has always been.
At this point, Fancy is probably around eight months pregnant, horses carry for about eleven months, so we are well over the halfway point. Most of these pregnancies are lost between the sixth and eighth months, so she is looking good. I can see movement in her belly and I wonder if she comprehends what, exactly, is causing that movement. Especially when she looks at me with a questioning, “what did you poke me in the belly for, Mom”, look. I know that miracles happen as I have witnessed many; I hope to add this to those that I have seen.
In the meantime, I will keep you all posted on Fancy’s progress and I appreciate you letting me write about non-dog related topics.
Many blessings, to you and your four-legged-loves ~ Tammy