Monday, May 26, 2008

My Lucky 7

Today is Siete’s birthday. I will never forget the night that she was born.

I was the ultimate nervous mother as the time approached for Silk to have her baby. Silk was fourteen, which is old for a maiden mare, and she kept going into the early stages of labor and then, backing away from it. I hadn’t realized that horses can stop their labor if they feel there’s anything threatening.

For two weeks, my friend who was the owner of the barn where I kept Silk got up in the middle of the night every two hours to check on my horse. I slept fitfully, with my clothes piled next to my bed, expecting the phone to ring. Twice, Patricia called me thinking that the time had come, but my mare wasn’t quite ready.

Finally, one night, at nine pm , Silk’s water broke. It took me ten minutes to get to the barn from my house, and by the time I arrived, the baby was already out and lying next to her mother. What a thrilling sight! I immediately went into the foaling stall with Joe, Patricia’s husband, and helped him “imprint” the baby, introducing my scent and touching her gently all over her body so she would accept me along with her mother.

She was a chestnut filly with a white blaze in the shape of a seven on her face. We decided that it was a lucky sign. About twenty minutes after she was born, the baby stood up and boldly wobbled over to the fence to meet the three ranch dogs, who were lined up like an attentive audience watching one of the greatest shows on earth. Silk was exhausted, but she was also a very gentle and accepting mother. She was very glad to see me, and wasn’t over-protective of her little one.

I will always remember the beauty of that scene. The night was so dark, and there was a warm orange glow from the work-light. The foaling stall was tucked half under the barn and half open to the sky. Both horses were wet and there was some steam coming from them. And all of us, people and animals, were so happy and relieved. It wasn’t until the next day that I learned I had missed the dramatic part.

When the vet checked the baby, he told me that Joe had to reach into Silk and pull the filly out just before I got there. He said that I was so lucky that Joe was so experienced at delivering foals because I probably would have lost both Silk and the baby if he hadn’t been there. I was stunned. No one had said a word the night before. I hugged Joe and told him that he was my hero. Patricia said, “God did it. He just used Joe’s hands”.

I nicknamed the baby “Siete”, which is “Seven” in Spanish, for our good luck and her white blaze. A foal is the pefect physical incarnation of the word “joy”. Everyone in my family loved to watch Siete, especially my daughter. And Siete was thrilled to have a little person who was her own size. When I would come to the corral without my daughter, Siete would stand at the fence searching for her. As she saw the little girl running down the path towards the corral, the filly would dance around and whinny to greet her.

I wasn’t planning on keeping Siete. One horse was expensive enough, and I had a very good friend who told me that she wanted to buy Silk’s baby. Then, when she learned that it was a filly, not a colt, she changed her mind. The vet advised me not to breed Silk again, and I realized that this would be her only off-spring. I also felt responsible for putting this being on the earth because I was the one who decided Silk should have a baby and arranged for her to be implanted. I was Siete’s two-legged mother. I promised her that I would protect her and love her forever.

Now, six years later, she is still our sweetheart. Smart, good natured and ready for anything we have to offer. She’s my daughter’s horse, but Siete is also Daddy’s Girl. She lights up when my husband is near, and he is equally taken by her charming horsey ways. If she could follow us into the house, she would. Her official name is My Impulsive Hobby, but around here, we’re lucky that she comes running any time you just call, “Siete!”


Rising Rainbow said...

You're right about that. There is nothing more magical than a new foal. I guess that feeling is what keeps me in trouble. We so love those new foals around here.

billie said...

Happy birthday, Siete! I hope it's a wonderful day for all of you.

Grey Horse Matters said...

That is a beautiful, heartwarming story if Siete's birth. She is lovely and so is her mother. Happy Birthday to Siete! I'm sure she is having some special treats today to celebrate the occasion.

Theresa Komor said...

I have yet to see a newborn foal in real life. Lots of photos, but not in person. :( I envy you, Victoria!

But, I bought my horse as a weanling, and he was also the first weanling I ever saw. My heart went out to him when he came off the truck from ND, having survived 2 days of travel to get to NY. He was dirty, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, and though I was the first human to ever lay hands on him, he didn't mind a bit. I fell in love right then and there.

His birthday is June 6, and he will also be 7 this year!

Pony Girl said...

I hope that Siete had a very happy Birthday! I am sure she was spoiled. That was a special story of her birth. I am sure you took lots of photos of Siete as a foal....I have some of My Boy. I did not know him then, but it is so precious to be able to see pictures of him when he was that little! They are so darn cute, those babies!

Strawberry Lane said...

To Siete,
Happy Birthday, beautiful girl! Your mom was right ... you are her lucky seven.

the7msn said...

Happy birthday, Siete, from all your cyberbuddies at the 7MSN. Lyle is quite sure he'd be your boyfriend if you ever met in person. He's got a thing for blazes.

Callie said...

A Happy Birthday to Siete! Nice story of the coming of Siete! And it really is a seven. I guess I never really made the connection before. Silly me!

Heidi the Hick said...

Wonderful story!

In a whole lifetime with horses, I've never had a foal. We had a pregnant mare keeping us company for a winter but she went home in spring.

Now piglets and kittens... I would say I'm an expert but they all just sort of pop out. Foaling is amazing. So much can go wrong and yet we're blessed with baby horses.

Someday, maybe, if I got the right mare and the right stud, maybe I'll do a breeding.

Happy birthday Siete!

Shawn said...

Happy Birthday Siete!!

And a Blessed Birthing-Day to you, Silk!


Gecko said...

Happy Birthday Siete!! Another year of happiness passed! I love birth stories, they're all so individual. ;D

detroit dog said...

Feliz Cumpleanos, Siete! Que familia carinosa!

Mrs Mom said...

"God did it- He just used Joe's hands".... How FANTASTIC!

I hope that your beautiful mare had a wonderful birthday! She surely is a cutie!