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Sleep Deprivation and A Super Vet


A New Foal

It’s that time of year again, you know the one, where I have to buy night and day contact lenses that I can cat nap in and still see the second I open my eyes to check the CCTV.

That time of year where I get evicted to the sofa (yes OH has finally chucked his toys at having the CCTV on in the bedroom), that time of year when the phone alarm erupts every half hour, all night. That time of year when the neighbours get used to ‘a vision’ in night wear and wellies wearing a path between the house and the yard.

The first mare due this year was Irish Light, a really special lady expecting her fourth foal. Now Irish does not follow the normal pattern of delivery in the dead of night...usually. This civilised lady has the good manners to foal early evening, or so I thought. This year, however, she led me a merry dance. She threatened to start on the Thursday night of Easter weekend about 9pm. I then checked every 30 minutes, nothing, she slept, ate and slept some more.

Good Friday morning I checked her at 6.30am, made myself a cuppa, resigned to another day of foal watch. I must have dozed off for 20 minutes 7am and I woke with a start as Harriet my neighbour was banging on the door. She had just checked Irish as she was up and about and in the 20 minutes since my last check the flipping mare had started, waters broken a muzzle and two feet presented. It immediately became clear that this was no small foal - time to dig OH out of bed to help pull...


The end result was a super bay colt but crazily big. Due to his size he had been folded up like origami inside the mare. As a result his tendons were very contracted and he was knuckled right over on his off fore, walking on the wall of his hoof. So Easter weekend I physio’d the foal six times a day to work and stretch the tendons. Progress was slow and by Monday it was clear we were not where we needed to be – cue Super Vet Paul Jarvis!

The foal was treated with oxytetracycline – this is an antibiotic administered intravenously at an adult horse dose rate - the effect is a relaxation of the tendons for 12 hours plus. Now of course this could be counterproductive as the foal was already knuckled over the wrong way – so this treatment was combined with splinting the leg for 18 hours to manipulate the foot into the correct position and the foal was hugely improved. Unlike my temper!

“Take the splint off before work Tuesday morning” Paul said. I primed OH for the fact this was a two person procedure as help to hold a large and wriggly foal is required. Well guess who was a no show and it became a one person procedure, at speed doing laps of the stable! 

The first show entries have been done – with an eye watering effect on my finances. We actually ventured out in March with the stallion – wanting to give him a quiet run out somewhere after all the hype of HOYS – his last outing back in October. He did not disappoint and took the Championship and the NPS Silver Medal, qualifying him for the finals at Malvern in August. However the weather was Baltic and I have definitely decided its back into hibernation until everything warms up.



Source Details

Cathy Wood

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