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!”