Heart breaking decisions, devastating consequence, happy endings....

Olympic, Tanica, Quayle
Last year 2010 was hard.  The recession knocked us off the comfy ladder we were climbing, then the 2010 world cup soccer kicked us in the shins and the worst drought in living history of our area shriveled up every blade of grass and drop of water.  I cant even say that we were keeping our heads above water, there wasn't any - just a sticky black mud to sink into.  So to keep my working team together, I had to make the heartbreaking decision to cut back and sell some horses.  A nearby local breeder was looking for brood mares - perfect - they had lots of space, lots of horses, and it all seemed like a good idea at the time.......my girls would have a good home, be looked after and the deal was made that I would keep the foals that 3 of the 5 mares were carrying.
Brood mares 
A month before the mares were due to foal I delivered Dancing Quayle (not in foal) Olympic Dream (in foal) Torstone Tanica (in foal), Diamond (in foal) & Romance (not in foal) - with great expectation of the first crop of "Bobby" foals were to be born there and would stay with their dams until it was time to wean, in the mean time the mares could be serviced by their Friesien Stallion. Win win , everyone gets what they want........

11 October 2010 Diamond & Trinket
13 Oct 2010 Tanica & Trevor

After a month, I dropped in to check to see how the girls were looking, I was a little concerned that they had lost condition.  I did voice my concern to the person who was suppose to be looking after the horses.  But it was the end of a very dry winter..............I also asked where Quayle was, they said she must be around.........Diamond was the first to foal, she was looking thin but ok, and she had a lovely filly whom we called Trinket, shortly after Tanica foaled, a lovely colt we called Trevor she was also thin.  I kept asking after the other 3 mares, no one had seen them?  Warning bells started to ring in the back of mind head......  I went to visit again  - I am horrified at how the horses had dropped even more - the two mares with foals are very thin.  Olympic was now due to foal, and I want to see her and get told no, she is dead!!  I ask what happened, and get told they dont know but it might have been while she was foaling.....Romance is looking awful.   On further enquiry I am told that Quayle is also dead - fell and broke her neck??  I am beginning to think more like my girls had starved to death!!

I am guilt ridden - my beautiful girls are riddled with rain scald, full of ticks, skin and bones - Oh my God - what have I done?  I cant forgive myself for having to sell them. I dont have the money to buy them back.  So I make a decision to go and get the two foals and hand raise them.  At least that would help the mares and the foals would be OK - so the Saturday I go around and tell the person who was suppose to be looking after the horses that I will come and get the foals on Monday.  The two foals are looking very poor, thin and full of ticks, I give them a shot of vitB (and the mares) and told them to hold on, I will come back for you............................

Monday morning, I get to the farm, Tanica is looking terrible - an old injury is abscessing and very painful, she is horrifically thin.  Little Trevor is weak and wobbly - you can see his hips and ribs sticking out.  Romance and Diamond are eventually found and brought to the sable yard.  Diamonds foal is missing .....and never found.....I was too late.......

Once home, we got Trevor onto a milk/water/tissue salts mix and fed him every two hours.  Darling Tilly without any hesitation took him under her maternal hoof and become his step mom.  Within days, he had stabilized and pickup weight.  Now I knew my worst nightmare was true, Tanica, Diamond & Romance were going to starve to death by neglect....Oh dear God forgive me....please help me.

The following photos were taken on the day we brought the mares back to Sunray Farm. 
23 November 2010

Tanica's abscess on leg
Romance & Diamond
on the road to  recovery
And He did, He sent an angel Roz, a volunteer at the time, who had help me rescue Trevor, who was there as I sat crying, "If only I had the money to buy them back"   - she raised the money through generous donations from her friends, rallied around and got enough to not only buy the mares back but have a little left over to buy the extra feed and medication they would need.  I could not have done it with her.  Thank You Roz.

So began a week long negotiation to buy the 3 remaining mares back, all the time the girls were getting thinner and weaker.  But we did it, got them home and began nursing them back to health.  We also managed to get Trevor suckling again from Tanica as with food and good grazing she began to produce milk again.

Tanica & Trevor
reunited and getting stronger
I have to give a special mention to Janine in Mthatha who took Romance for a couple of months and got her back to full condition and health - Thank you Janine, I could not have done it without you.

and last but not least to dear Roz & Ana and friends.  Thank you.

Its a happy ending to a painful lesson.
Here are recent photos of the three mares - Tanica will remain a brood mare, as the damage to her leg has made her unsound.  Diamond is loving working at the Game Reserve and has made a full recovery!  Romance  is back from her rehab with Janine, as fat as butter and is used here at the farm as she is a school master and wonderful ride. And Trevor, well he is cute and fat and growing up with the rest of the herd!
Tanica January 2011

Romance 4 June 2011
Diamond enjoys being a safari horse! June 2011