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Chapt. 9 Fuego

Posted by greygelding , 13 May 2016 · 866 views

The Bo Horse was a truly fantastic family gelding but I was still on the lookout for a Primero replacement. The search led me to the Santa Ynez valley where there were a lot of wonderful and famous horses on the ranches. One of my favorites was Raffon. At the ranch we were met by Paul Hemming, Raffons's owner who was just as delightful a person as you could hope to meet. After greeting us like old friends, although we had never met, he proudly showed us his pride and joy. Raffon was breathtaking in person and showed that truly intelligent look that I had come to love.

After that visit we went to one last ranch for the day. We looked at a lot of very nice horses but nothing clicked with me. While a bit exasperated with me, Pam was enjoying visiting all the ranches. As we were wrapping up our visit the barn manager said "We have one more in the back but he's a bit too studdy. As I came around the corner, there he was, a classic grey stallion. Standing at 14.2 hands with a classically shaped head he perked his ears and stared intently at us. Now this horse has possibilities. I never gave a thought as to why he was isolated from the other horses. I assumed it must be a stallion thing. I also payed no attention to the small lump on his chest. This would fall into the category of live and learn, as well as let the buyer beware. A deal was made, he would be gelded, and we would pick him up next week. Excitedly I picked up my new boy and we headed for the boarding ranch. I now had a new toy and after a couple of days to settle in I was in the saddle. A bright horse he learned quickly and seemed to be enjoying his new life and all the attention. He healed quickly from his gelding operation but it seemed to me that the small lump in his chest was a bit bigger. After about 3 weeks at the ranch he went off his feed and became lethargic, rapid heart rate, and shallow breathing. OH NO! Not again! We weren't about to call the same Vet that attended to Moriah so we called the Vet we used to use before coming to the Arab ranch. He came out immediately and the look on our faces must have told the whole tale. He did a thorough examination but nothing was obvious. The only comment was that he had good gut sounds, in fact they were too good. I have always liked this Vet as he never sugarcoated anything. "I don't know what's wrong but his gut sounds are louder than normal. I would like to try something. I want to tube him and see what happens". Trying to keep our emotions in check we watched anxiously as he put the tube in place. Immediately a very foul odor came forth from the gas which was exuding from the tube with a popping and crackling sound. Immediately Fuego looked much better and his heart rate returned to normal. The Vet stayed for over an hour more and tubed him a second time with less gas this time but it was present. He gave him something and departed saying he would return first thing in the morning. The next morning he appeared to be uncomfortable but improved. The Vet was out bright and early and repeated the treatment and he dropped in for a look see that evening. When we showed up the next morning I was greeted by a normal healthy horse. The Vet was unsure of the exact cause but theorized that something he ate caused the problem. This thought had crossed my mind as well and I felt I had pressed my luck.

I had found another place to board but there was a complication, Shady was caring our first foal. Not only was she carrying it but it was ready to make an appearance any day now. I was really enjoying having a pregnant mare around. In fact I'm sure I was enjoying it a lot more than the mare was. From the first time Pam had me feel the foal kicking I loved to play "bounce the baby". By gently pushing on her belly and making it bounce a little the foal would kick in response. I was delighted with the new toy but Shady wasn't. As her time approached the trainer was insistent that he be in charge of the foaling process. I had seen him in action. He would have a foaling party with lots of friends. The camper would be pulled into the barn next to the mare's stall so they could watch. When the mare looked like she was ready to get down to business, the camper would empty out and all would bustle around to watch. She would then halt the process and start snacking on some hay. This would go on for a couple of days until they could stay awake no more then while all was quiet she would have her baby. Back then there was no Internet so my research consisted of the library, magazines, and consultation. It turns out that in order for the species to survive the mare can halt labor at anytime until the water breaks. This allows her to flee from a predator. Discussing the problems of transporting her to a more relaxed environment with the vet, since it was a fairly short distance, he would rather the mare was wrapped around the foal instead of standing over it. We also discussed the other problem I was about to encounter. Fuego's chest was swelling larger with what he called a summer sore. In addition to this his eyes had started tearing and would require treatment as well. I received a gentle scolding about the benefits of a pre purchase exam.

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