Saturday, May 22, 2010

Lessons Learned

The first week was full of lessons for both Danny and for us. Mouse was terribly protective of him at first at least with strangers. Neither Steve nor I realized that the afterbirth should have been expelled within the first three hours. Mid-afternoon, on the day Danny was born, I called Huston and asked him. He told me to call a vet immediately. As I said before, my vet was out of town so, once again, Brandy McDonnell came to the rescue. I called her and she said that her vet, Gretchen Laws, had just left her farm following a Coggins clinic. She called her for me and sent her over to our farm. When she and her assistant arrived, Mouse was not letting them near her baby. Mouse had to be sedated but the afterbirth was quickly dispelled and found to be whole and clean. Still she put Mouse on three days of antibiotic and said that she'd return at 6:30 the next morning to check on Mouse and test Danny's blood for antibodies.

While the vets were there, our farrier (who'd predicted Danny's birthday the day before), Dale Collis dropped by with his two sweet kids and a little friend to meet the new baby. Mouse was fine since she was still sedated and Danny had no fear of the little strangers and seemed to truly enjoy the attention. The vet commented on how imprinted he was and I said, "That's what two hours of intensive handling right after birth will do but it wasn't intentional (just done out of our ignorance and fear actually, lol)." We hadn't left his and his mama's side for most of the day. I will always have the memory of sitting in the barn with Steve while Mouse, he and I watched the baby sleep with a gentle rain falling outside. And also, there was the time the baby was awake and kept darting out into the rain with Mouse chasing him and guiding him back in, grumbling the entire time.

It was obvious that this little guy had as much to teach us as we did him. The first week, we watched him seem to grow and fill out right before our eyes. It was magical. He was so full of life and already exerting his independence which Mouse wasn't ready to relinquish for at least another week. We made one mistake right from the start, we let him lean into us because we thought it was offering him security. It actually might have been but we were told by both Huston and Fran and an anonymous internet source never to do that because it makes them think that you are a horse as well. It is an on going process but we are finally learning to be firm with him and establish respect and trust.

I joked the first week that I needed to get Danny an appointment book because so many people wanted to come by and meet him. My friend, Paula Grimes-Price, dropped by the next Saturday when he was a week old. Danny warmed up to her quickly and we had a great visit. I told her that my idea of the perfect guest is one who actually enjoys hanging out at the barn.

One thing is for certain, that sweet little guy who seems to be all legs and ears, has changed our lives forever....and life is so sweet!

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