Foxvangen's Aysha

Aysha at age 8

Aysha is our miracle mare. She really should not be
alive today. In1999 we bred Gambler’s Jasmine to our palomino stallion,Montana’s Blue Nugget P and were eagerly awaiting the arrival of what we hoped to be a palomino filly.

When Jasmine was about 8 months pregnant she got very depressed and had horrible edema. She was so sluggish she could hardly move. We had the vet come several times and each time they claimed we were just being overly protective owners. Even though I'd been a foaling midwife for 35 years by then, the vets all claimed I was being overly sensitive and that Jasmine was perfectly fine. She was not.

Finally we called a new vet to the area who claimed Jasmine’s urine was way too alkaline and the result was she grew massive crystals in her bladder which meant her urine was very gritty making it painful to eliminate. Because of the discomfort in urination, she was holding her urine excessively long trying not to eliminate due to the sand paper affect it had on her urinary tract. This was causing infection to the bladder and urinary tract as well as being hard on her kidneys.

Jasmine needed to be brought to a more acidic PH level. To do this we were to put her on high doses of vitamin C and add at least a cup of vinegar to her daily diet. We did all this and for a time she seemed to improve. She became happier and was not so swollen with edema.

Foxvangen's Aysha 1 hour old 4-6-2000

When she was ten months pregnant I awoke one morning to see Jasmine racing around her paddock thrashing her body into trees, fences, the wall to her barn…. She was frantic and sweating profusely. Calling the vet I raced down to capture her so she would not damage herself. She was shaking almost uncontrollably and dripping sweat. Her sides were bulging and banging around like a creature in a sci-fi movie.. I have never seen such action in a mare in my life. Her entire belly was quaking and thrashing at grotesque angles and bulges.

The vet arrived and gave her something to calm her then told me he feared early separation of the placenta. An external ultrasound proved this to be the case. Evidently Jasmine had placentitis. Even though she had repeatedly been tested for it with blood draws and exams. She had placentitis and early separation of the placenta which meant the foal within was being deprived of life giving nutrition and oxygen. It was virtually in there thrashing for it’s life. Jasmine was on the brink of aborting and the fetus was on the brink of suffocation. But it was too early for the foal to be viable even if we delivered it then.

Jasmine had bagged up fully and was dripping milk. Her body was telling her to be ready to bring forth and nurture a new life but the calendar was telling US that this was way too soon.

Newborn Aysha, April 6, 2000

Jasmine was placed on heavy antibiotics and Banamine daily. The goal was to get the foal far enough into term to survive ….if possible. I was instructed to monitor fetal movement and if it dwindled or stopped to call the vet immediately.

Each day the fetal movement got less and less frequent and weaker. Finally one day there was none at all. My heart just sank. Jasmine was feeling so tired and depressed she was reluctant to even move. I called the vet and he came right out. His examination showed no fetal movement. He could not make the foal move by palpation. The verdict was the foal was dead and had to be gotten out…NOW.

While two weeks prior Jasmine had been all bagged up and ready to deliver, since medication she had dried back up and her cervix had closed again. Her body was thinking she had already delivered. So now the process of inducing labor was complicated because it required the vet to get her to dilate again as well as induce actual labor. If she didn't dilate properly before having heavy contractions the outcome would surely be fatal to her.

Poor little Aysha was so weak she was way down on her pasterns and even her ears had a hard time staying up. But she was alive which is more than we had dared to hope for!

It took six grueling hours to do get that job done! But finally the cervix relaxed and Jasmine went into labor. She didn't want to lie down however and she kept going to her barn. But the vet wanted her to foal outside on the grass where there was lots of light and space. SHE had other ideas.

Finally it struck me that my mares always foal on clean straw. I raced away and grabbed a bale of clean wheat straw and broke the strings. Quickly I spread the entire bale out in a small area of the pasture. Instantly Jasmine came and dropped down upon the straw and began to push!

When she finally presented the placenta came was a red bag delivery! Now at this time any normal vet would just have delivered the entire thing since we felt the foal was dead anyway. But training and instinct made the vet tear open the placenta to reveal the golden nose of a tiny foal. Just what I”d hoped for. My heart broke to see such a tiny frail thing and think it was dead before it had even lived!

Sad to the bone but now worried to save Jasmine, I knelt at the vet’s knees as he began to pull the tiny mite from Jasmine’s exhausted body. While he worked and concentrated on Jasmine I was watching the delivery itself! As the head dropped down I could not believe my eyes. This limp, lifeless looking foal was trying to SUCK on the vet’s knee! I called that to his attention and with and exclamation he quickly finished delivering her.

Aysha, weak, thin and under developed but trying hard

While he worked on Jasmine I worked on the foal. I scrubbed her dry with a towel keeping her rolled up on her sternum and braced up against my legs. I wanted to get her head up so she would not aspirate the fluid puddle where she was laying!. She was so limp she could not lift her head on her own but after rubbing and rubbing she shook her little head and nickered for the first time. What a welcome sound!

When Jasmine was cleaned and able to rise we carried the foal into the stall that was clean and ready for her. By then Aysha could stand if she was helped but she was so weak her legs could barely hold her up. She was walking on the backs of her pasterns with her feet turned up like skis Her ears were limp and flopping which is not a good sign in a newborn.

Aysha in a sweat shirt, blanket and feeding tube. Day 4.

Since Jasmine had dried up after we put her on antibiotics she had no milk The vet had brought some bags of frozen colostrum so we tubed some into the filly by way of stomach tube. He had also brought enough frozen mare’s milk to get us through the rest of the day and night until milk replacer could be substituted.

I stayed with her all that night feeding her every hour and helping her get up. She even attempted to suckle from Jasmine but there was nothing in the udder yet even though the vet had given Jasmine some medicine to help bring her milk back in.

Wearing a sweat shirt and a foal blanket two sizes to large for her tiny body, and sporting a feeding tube taped into her nostril, Aysha was not daunted. She was determined to go out and stretch her legs and grow stronger.

The next morning the vet returned to do the IgG test on Aysha. She was by then able to rise and walk unassisted and was spunky trying to do little baby bucks and feeling good. Unfortunately the IgG came back under 400. We decided to give her a plasma transfusion for antibodies.

It took an hour to get the plasma into Aysha during which time she was anesthetized. When she began to wake up and could roll up sternum the vet left. At that point I took a minute to run to the house to use the facility. Just there and back, less than ten minutes.

When I reentered the stall my heart just stopped. There lay Aysha with her head flung way back and her tongue hanging out…obviously in shock! Instantly I called the vet. He was only minutes away. While I held her up and rubbed and rubbed her to keep her breathing and get her circulation going, he raced back to our farm.

Meantime some friends came by. I put them to work immediately rubbing Aysha's legs while I rubbed her neck and chest trying to keep her awake and breathing.

Finally the vet arrived. Shock was the diagnosis. He gave her anti-shock meds and she rallied. Now, however she was extremely weak. The stress to her tiny body was too much for her. She no longer could rise on her own, nor could she nurse from the bottle.

4 16 2000 Aysha was finally able to nurse from Jasmine

Besides being too weak to suckle or stand, she had so little body mass she couldn't maintain her body heat. Having never needed one before we didn't have a foal blanket so I put a sweat shirt on her to help keep her warm. When she was laying down I piled straw around her and sat with her head on my lap.

The vet installed a feeding tube through her nostril and down into her stomach so I could feed her. She was in quite guarded condition but she had a strong will to live. Meantime Carl scoured every tack shop in our area for a foal blanket. He finally found one which as luck would have it was extra small. We put that on over the sweat shirt for extra insulation.

The next day Jasmine’s milk came flooding back in. She is a very heavy milker and fortunately is very good to let me milk her. I did so hourly and tubed it into Aysha’s hungry stomach. It was as though Jasmine understood the need for me to do this. She was never more than a foot away from Aysha and watched every move I made but she was never a problem at all.

This went on for several days until one morning as I entered the stall to feed Aysha greeted me with a nicker and jumped to her feet! From then on her progress was extraordinary. Every hour she got stronger. By the time Aysha was ten days old she was finally able to nurse from Jasmine on her own. What a lovely day this was.

Aysha at two months was normal in every way. She was the darling of the farm and a pocket pet to anyone who had the time for her.

From the time Aysha began to nurse on her own she just began getting stronger and stronger. By time she was two months old she was a normal foal and after that grew as any other foal would. She tended to need more sleep for a month or so after her transfusion but by time she was three months old her energy level was perfectly normal.

We moved to Arkansas when Aysha was 3 months old. It is a very long trip for a baby and particularly for one with such a slow start but Aysha made the trip in tip top shape. It helped that the horses came straight through and were only on the trailer a couple days. The shipper had made the stalls large enough so the foals could lay down and rest or move around a little bit during the trip which helped. It was an awfully hard trip on the nursing mares so we were eternally grateful the trip was straight through for them.

At six months Aysha had adjusted to the new climate and surroundings. She was a very laid back filly with an interest in everything that went on around her.

To look at her no one would ever know she was the same little scrap that was born so limp and frail! She didn't like the extreme heat and humidity much in Arkansas and still doesn't. Luckily that part of the year is only a couple months long because Aysha is a bug magnet and also gets heat hives. She much prefers the cooler do I!

Aysha is a very uncomplicated mare and has no agenda to be alpha at all. She is not demanding, nor is she disrespectful. For all the cosseting she got as a foal that is surprising but she is a lady through and through.

Aysha at one year. She fits in with the herd without a problem and is never one to start a problem.

Aysha's color changed quite a bit from year to year in the beginning but after she was a yearling each year she seemed to get a little darker gold than the last. At times she is dappled and at other times she isn't.

From the time she was tiny Aysha has identified with me. Due to my lung disorder in Washington I always had a cough. I guess Aysha thought in some way that was my language because she started calling to me any time she heard me cough! We used to laugh about it but in a way it was rather touching. Since moving to Arkansas I no longer have that chronic cough but if I even just happen to cough in the barn she will nicker to me. She, like all our horses, comes when her name is called no matter how far away she may be.

Aysha at two years was beginning to look like a horse. She is a feminine mare with a sweet and quiet nature.

Aysha has had two foals so far. We bred her to Foxvangen's Braveheart Two and that mating produced Foxvangen's Finnegan. Knowing that Braveheart was soon to leave for Germany we bred Aysha back to Braveheart. That mating produced Foxvangen's Aries. We normally do not breed our mares so young but we had only a short opportunity to use Braveheart before he shipped so we bred her. Because she produced two foals by time she was 5 we gave her time off then. She is now 9 and has only had the two foals. We are hoping to find her a cooler forever home but she will remain here until we are dead certain the right home has been found. If we could air condition the barn for her in summer we would do it. But alas we cannot and the heat is really hard on her.

Since her rough start Aysha has been a delight to own and watch grow up. She is a true coin gold palomino and has a quiet and obedient nature. She is not perfect in conformation but she suits us and she is a natural foxtrotting horse. Her rhythm is very precise and even and her gait is absolutely natural.

Aysha has had about 6 months saddle training at various times. She is quiet on the trail and has developed her foxtrot to an amazing degree. She tends to have good energy but she isn't an unruly mare in any way.

Aysha and Rachel 2008

Aysha has a lovely head and a huge heart girth. She has good legs and feet. Her back takes after her Gifford Morgan blood in that she has a lot of curve to it. We forgive her for that but when we breed her we look for stallions that have extra strong backs. To date she has produced two colts, neither of which inherited her back but did get her other attributes. Aysha has a slightly dished face and a big soft eye that also traces back to her Morgan heritage.

Aysha is not a dominant mare. She gets along well in pasture and will come on the run when I call her. I guess all the hours I spent sitting under her makes her think I am family. She nickers and talks to me also. We thought she would be a part of our family for good but recently we have considered selling her because she does not do well with the terrible humidity and heat and bugs here in Arkansas.

Aysha's face compliments of her Morgan ancestry

Aysha and her pasture friends spend part of each day lazing around the spring fed pond in their pasture. Aysha likes to wade into the pond and splash around. I have not caught her actually swimming there but it would not surprise me if she did. Several of our horses like to swim in the pond.

Aysha reflected 2009

Here are Aysha's sons. Unfortunately Aries died from colic at his owner's home when he was coming two. Finnegan resides in Missouri with his adoring owner.

Aysha and Foxvangen's Finnegan romping when he was 3 months old.

Foxvangen's Finnegan following his first ride with his happy owner looking on.

Foxvangen's Aries nibbling on Aysha's nose at the age of four days.

Foxvangen's Aries at the age of 7 months.



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