Catnip Herd - The Rescue of Scarlet
By Clare M.

This fall I went on vacation for two weeks and one of them I spent at a Wild Mustang Sanctuary in Lantry, South Dakota, with a good friend of mine. It was still so hot there it was difficult for Karen and I to do what we always do at the end of the summer. Our plan was to document mare/foal combinations to keep her records up to date. I do the photographs and she writes down personal information, such as four socks, star on forehead so when she looks at the photos she will know which foal belongs with this particular mom.

We were working on the Catnip Herd when we came across this new baby who did not have a mom in sight. We looked for her in the herd but could not find a mare that had milk and no foal.

Then we realized that the mare (without milk) was keeping close company with the very small and very hungry newborn foal.

Karen finally realized that this mare had stolen the newborn foal (as she had lost a foal earlier in the summer). She had no milk but that wasn't going to stop her from taking the foal away from its' real mom.


While I kept watch over this tiny little girl, Karen chased the other mare off and the two of us set about getting the foal into the truck  back to the ranch and get a good meal into her. Before it was too late.











I kept the other horses away while Karen put this little filly in the front seat of the truck. And, back to the ranch we went Karen with one hand on her, and me with both hands on her, except for when I was taking this picture.












Now, I don’t know about you; but we are talking new territory for me. I had never seen a newborn foal before, let alone have my hands on one riding in the back seat of the big diesel truck that was currently bouncing around in the rough terrain of the pasture to get her to the ranch as fast as possible.

When, we got back to the ranch, Terrance, the ranch hand, was waiting for us, (love cell phones in emergencies) and he got the foal out of the truck and put her in the small corral next to the house.Karen went inside and made up a bowl of Foal-Lac (something that I was going to be familiar with very soon) which I helped feed her while Terrance kept her on her feet.


She drank a good amount of the  milk and left the foal with me. So, here I am babysitting for a newborn foal, something I had never done before, while Karen drove to a nearby ranch to get some milk from a new mom cow (in place of her mom, which was absolutely critical for our little baby to survive). Something that is in the mother's milk that she can only get the first day. 








So I foal sat while she was gone and little foal fell asleep on the ground. This had been an extremely hot 3 day spell of weather and the foal also had a sunburned muzzle which was very tender.She would lay down for a bit and get up and have more milk and then lay down again. Karen got back with the special milk and Scarlet got her first drink of the lifesaving milk. We named her Scarlet, as she was going to need be a foal with attitude.







Now, it was time to move her into the house for the care that she was going to need for a while.

Terrance had brought up a huge tarp from the barn and put it down on the rug in the family room and while he went out to get the foal and bring her in, I threw towels down over the tarp.   After that, she lay down for a nap and Karen and I began the ritual required to keep this little baby alive until she could make it on her own.






Every hour she got a bowl of warm foal-lac and then she would lay down and sleep for a bit. Twenty four hours a day. Karen and I took 6 hour shifts, making up new milk, feeding Scarlet (all of the milk every hour) and then she would sleep. The little sweetie wasn't potty trained  so with the free time we had in each hour, we got to trade out towels, put new towels down and wash the other ones.

This routine would continue for three days to see if she was going to survive.  Even my Quaker bear took his turn watching her.




There were good sessions when she drank her milk with gusto and there were times that she just didn't want to finish it, so we cheered her on when she was doing well, and coaxed her to have just a little bit more, and a little bit more (sometimes she took most of an hour to drink her milk).

Karen and I did the first couple of hours together, and then she took the next 6 hours while I got some sleep. Then, I took over for Karen while she got some sleep.
As Karen has done this before, she said we needed lots of hands on time with her, talking to her, and in general trying to get her to think of us as her foster mom and aunt. Karen taking her turn with Scarlet this time.

My next time.


Karen takes a turn. She stands up better, looks less thin, eating pretty well, and accepting the medicines the vet prescribed.













And a very good nap after eating, er... drinking, her meal. 














You can see her sunburned muzzle in this picture.














Over the first three days, she did seem to be better, more alert, drinking better and wandering around checking out her surrounding.













We had to handle her a lot and talk to her while we were working with her so she would get used to having a human Mom and Aunt Clare. I had set the bowl down on the coffee table for a minute to do some hands on petting and talking to her and she walked over to her bowl and had a drink. Awesome moment. Karen and I would have applauded had we not been afraid it would scare her.







I, regretfully, had to leave on the third day of caring for Scarlet, told her to behave for her Mom and headed off towards home. That night I got a phone call from Karen saying that Scarlet was in a slump and would I talk to her. She put the phone on speaker and I talked to her and told her that Aunt Clare wanted her to grow big and strong and she should drink all of her milk her Mom fed her. Karen said, she was amazed that Scarlet perked up her ears and listen - guess I made an impression on her.

Karen called the next night to tell me that Scarlet had listened to me and she had turned the corner and was eating with gusto and sleeping like a good girl and she was going to make it. Although the feeding schedule remained about the same for a while, Karen managed to start taking her for  a walk every day and that was such good news for me to hear.

That was a hard decision to make; but Dick was not doing well once again and going home was something that I had to do. But, I will say, that work on the ranch is hard and sleep comes easy at night, if the phone rang right now and Karen needed me to help her - in a half hour I would be on my way. It is such rewarding work.

The End


First time walking in pasture grass First time walking in pasture snow.
   
A friend took this one when Karen and Scarlet were taking one of their daily walk You can see how she has changed in the last month. She is now all grown up (6 months now) and no longer needing the foal-lac supplement - but a great testament to how well it works. She is beautiful and I cannot wait until I see her this fall. I wonder if she will remember me.
-Clare
   





























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