Friday, July 9, 2021

Moving Toward the Bright Side

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. 


  1. I’m so happy that you followed my suggestion. It really is the way to go.

  2. Great suggestion from Theresa! It is so easy to put things off. Glad you got some quality horse time with your boy! He sure does look all grown up now.

  3. Good for you and Tumbleweed! I always ride first,even before breakfast. Everything else will get done. He does look like he’s all grown up now.

    1. I’m late to this philosophy! 😁 It sure works well.

      I think he has most of his height, and he’s a really nice size for me. Easy to get on and off. He had been turned out all night, which may account for his extreme calm. We will see tomorrow.

  4. So glad you & Tumbleweed enjoyed each others company, and you even rode!! He looks amazing. You sound relieved to have a plan of action for Epona. Did they say approximately how long they think she will need to stay at the vets? No doubt transition time varies.

    1. Well, that has changed today. I pushed my daughter toward that decision, and then had a hard time sleeping last night, I think because I knew I had inserted myself too much. When she was a little girl, she saved her money for a Colt, and I made a decision to put him out one day, and he slipped and fell, breaking his shoulder. It has always haunted me. Those feelings started coming back up, and I realized I can’t have anything to do with her decision, because each has pros and cons. As soon as I woke up I told her I wanted to be out of it. I’ll support whatever she decides.

      So, she was here all day observing Epona, and talking to horse people. She is worried that too much stress will set her back, and she could quickly deteriorate. I think she’s going to talk to the vet again and take it day by day, and see if the selenium helps, while introducing more milk replacer pellets. She also ordered a foal grazing mask, in hopes that she can find a way to keep them together.

      Epona is doing very well, strong and active, but I’d say the situation is very fluid.

      If she does take her in, the costs are very minimal, and they have the option to place a feeding tube and support her more than we can here, should she need it. They think it will take two days. I think it’s definitely the way to go, if we absolutely have to get her in replacer. It’s super stressful, but so is seeing your mama and not being able to drink. It’s a big vet clinic, with some really nice techs who already love Epona. I have no doubt they would do right by her. I’m not sure if we’d be able to go in and out, but I think we would.

      Last I talked to Shiloh, she said if she sees drastic improvement in leakage, she will hold off. If leakage continues, she will make the move. She’s had minimal leakage today, so …not sure.

      I’m sure that long explanation is as clear as mud! 😁😂

    2. I totally understand. It is a really tough decision, and as you mentioned there are pro's and con's. Sorry about the colt. That would haunt me too, even tho it wasn't your fault he fell.

      Two days? Wow, that sure seems fast. It is hard to not be involved in decisions, when you are not only Shiloh's mom but Epona's main caretaker. I too would be reaching out to my breeder friends.

      It sounds like Epona is staying strong. You guys are doing right by her. Your animals are so well cared for, and loved!

    3. I keep hoping another solution will present itself. My daughter wants to see if there’s improvement with the selenium. But we are keeping her under close eye. Currently, her breathing is clear, no temp, lots of energy, and regular nursing. The longer she can be on mom, safely, the better. The day we removed her from mom, she went downhill fast. If they could guarantee us she wouldn’t go downhill being separated in the hospital, we’d be there in a second. The grazing mask will arrive Thursday, and we are going to keep introducing replacer, in hopes to get her off mom, but still with mom. We need a breakthrough.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.