Monday, June 7, 2021


You might remember from the last post, we were battling with 95 degree days. They were awful. However, this week, the temps have dipped into the upper 30's at night, equally awful.

Well, let me backtrack.

Equine hives, Mare hives

After my last, Yay, it's the week birthday post, Cowgirl broke out in hives. From what? I don't know. I suspected her antibiotics, but I had also just reintroduced Haystack pellets to her diet. In any case, the vet had us continue the antibiotics for the 10 days prescribed, and add in 10 x 10mg pills of Aller-Tec. I  discontinued the new feed.

She seems to be better.

Then, last night, we found Epona outside shivering. It had a been a cold, windy day, so we just assumed it was due to that. We locked them in the barn again, and her shivering stopped. Yay.

Woke up this morning, and had a text from Shiloh, who was watching them from the barn cam, and said Epona was trying to nurse, but Cowgirl was pinning her ears and kicking out. NOOOO!

So, I started watching the cam, and saw that Epona was trying to nurse, but Cowgirl would move away.

I sent an email off to Shirley, and put a call into our vet. Shirley got back to me about the time I went out and found that Cowgirl was streaming milk out of both teats, and Epona had milk on her head and coming out her nostrils. She was coughing a little bit, too. 

The vet called back and wanted me to bring her in, because they don't have a clue what's going on, but then things started to smooth out a bit, and I could see that Epona was drinking, but just couldn't drink fast enough.  She got enough to be satisfied and fall back to sleep. Shirley suspects that when the milk came in, it came in too fast for Epona to drink. And, she has seen it come out of their noses before.

We'll continue to watch her and see how it progresses. Right now, she seems satisfied (finally!) with milk, and able to sleep near mama.

More and more, I have come to realize how much a bargain a foal purchase really is, and the way to go. Someone has done all the work for you, and you can just go out and shop for the perfect, healthy, cute, flashy (fill in the blank) horse of your dreams. The price of foals has increased, but I understand why. Just the extra feed, alone, drives up costs, but add in the breeding fees, vet care, the nights of lost sleep, the days filled with worry--it's a lot of work. Breeders who do this a lot already have the knowledge, and I am thankful I can draw on it during this (thanks Shirley), but for novices, it's not as easy as one would think. Mother nature doesn't always kick in and make everything go smoothly.

Maybe, someday I'll look back with parent amnesia, and think it was all worth it, but for now, I'm emotionally exhausted and a bit discouraged.


  1. I forgot to add, Cowgirl also went into heat again, and is just going crazy for our older gelding over the fence. Very dramatic! And always itching her backside. She doesn’t pay much attention to Epona when she gets like that, so I locked up the gelding to give the baby a break.

  2. Awww don't be discouraged. Raising foals is not for the faint of heart, to be sure, as there is always something that can go awry, but being prepared and having people to rely on for info definitely helps. I had a couple of good mentors when I was beginning.
    Hopefully things will level out now and you can just enjoy that precious filly!

  3. These crazy weather swings don't help anything. All four of our horses tails have been itchy off/off for a couple weeks. It is so hot/dry/windy here, with different biting bugs showing up every other day. However, sounds like Cowgirls hormones are the cause. No doubt it is challenging having a young puppy and a foal at the same time, to keep a watchful eye on around the clock. Are you getting any sleep? Maybe your daughter could give you a foal watch break (on weekends?). Things will calm down & your beautiful Epona will bring your family nothing but joy!

  4. Glad to hear things are calming down and getting better. I've never considered breeding as I don't really know enough about it. I would rather leave it to experienced professional breeders and buy a horse from them. It seems like a lot of worry is involved and so many things can go wrong. On the other hand you have one of Cowgirls babies to bring up and love. Epona is a beautiful girl. Hope things get easier as time goes by. Good luck and get some rest.

  5. An update. I kept a close eye on Epona yesterday, and she just didn’t look right. Her temp was in the normal range, but high side. Her respiration was fast. I told my daughter to call her vet again, and they had them take Epona in. Well, they ran every test: xrays, endoscopy, ultrasound, blood tests, and came to the conclusion she has an underdeveloped swallowing—pharynx. She can’t keep up with the copious amounts of milk, and some goes down the wrong way. They put her on antibiotics, for pneumonia, and the hope is that she will learn to swallow better. In the meantime, they wanted all solid food out of her reach, so we’ve locked them into a small paddock, and are hanging Cowgirl’s food up high, away from her reach. She has a bunch of teeth which have already erupted, too. Three in front and some molars. She looks good this morning, but we’re going to have a heck of a time administering her antibiotic orally.

    1. Sorry to hear, but at least it sounds like something temporary. Good thing you noticed Epona was off. I didn't realize foals get teeth so soon. May this pass sooner than later, so everyone can relax and enjoy summer.

  6. This is not for the faint of heart. I’m with you on the breeding thing!


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