Many blog posts ago, I shared a book I'd read along my musical journey, The Perfect Wrong Note. In it, the author explained that everything we call "mistakes" are really information from which to learn. I can apply the same concept to yesterday. Instead of focusing on what didn't work, I can choose to look at what I learned.
1. It is hard to introduce milk replacer when a foal sees their mama, and mother nature tells it to drink mama's milk.
2. It is hard to milk a mare for 18 quarts of milk a day, but if you can, your foal will like it better than replacer.
3. Mixing replacer with mama's milk, though a great idea, didn't work for us.
4. You can lead a horse to replacer, but you can't make them drink. Syringes. Bottles. Fingers dipped in replacer. Muzzle placed in replacer. Nope.
5. It was worth the effort to try and make the transition while also keeping her with mama. We really want to minimize the stress on Epona, and being with mama is the best thing for her. Not always possible, but if you can, it is definitely best.
Conclusion: I did my absolute best to get Epona on replacer, but was not willing to starve and dehydrate her and cause her more stress. Therefore, I presented two options to her owner--my daughter:
1. Leave her on mama, introduce replacer pellets in her feed, continue antibiotics and regular vet appointments for ultrasound, and practice small separations each day. Or,
2. Take her to the vet clinic, away from mama, and have them support her while she transitions to replacer. Bring her back when she is fully transitioned.
I successfully de-transitioned her back to mama's milk, and she is strong and happy today.
Therefore, I turned my sights to my own horse, Tumbleweed.
I felt myself drowning in chores and surviving this unrelenting heat wave, but Teresa pointed out, on her blog, that she rides first, and does chores later, because she will always do the chores. It reminded me about a book I read about habits--you need to do the developing habit before you look at your phone or check emails, because you'll always find time to look at your phone and check emails, but putting off the habit will kill the habit formation.
I threw chores to the wind and grabbed my boy! And he was happy I did.
He was so amazing. He stood well. Saddled well. Performed 4 point turns and all his leads on the line, with zero silliness or bucking.
There wasn't a moment that he didn't give me his full attention and effort, so I jumped on and rode. And it was as if we didn't miss a beat.
It was good for my soul to be back with him.