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Banjo's story

14 years ago

OK I'll tell the Banjo story as asked for by Jodi. I will need to cry to tell it though.

Banjo was a surprise foal even though we knew the possibility his mother was bred. We were told that she should be due in March and when no sign of a foal belly showed up over the winter, we knew she was not pregnant. Plus she had gone into heat, which we know now doesn't mean much.

April came. I had ridden his mom in an arena with a friend of mine on her horse. Cheyanne stretched out and looked funny and my friend said "Are you SURE she is not pregnant".

Took her home and barn owner didn't agree, but finally on May 14th she said that Cheyanne looked in foal. We both checked all the signs and it looked like we had 3 weeks. She had had at least 4 other foals so this was nothing new to her so I was not too concerned.

I called the former owners to be sure and they said yes they might have missed writing down a later breeding. Gasp!!

But I had plenty of time.

The very next morning I had an early phone call that said "We have a baby here and the other horses are bothering it" I flew back that road to see a wonderful black foal. I could hardly function for all the awwwwwssss.

Cheyanne was protective, but I talked to her and she let me put the halter on her and take her to a separate pasture. I was glad she and I knew each other well. It took a while to bond with her, but now she was a pet.

Banjo grew fast and I was suprised that he ate grain alongside his mother and he tasted everything - even the wheelbarrow. He was a little charmer and had lots of company.

5 weeks later, I went to a birthday party and did a drive by to check the horses. All was well. We were gone about 3 hours and when I returned we drove by again and I saw Cheyanne rolling in the field. You could see her sides were sweaty and I knew she was colicking. It was my worst nightmare.

Horses intestines are long and can get twisted around. There are many reasons colic starts, but once they start rolling that is when the problems begin. If only I had seen the early stages things might have ended differently.

I called the vet and four of us tried to keep her walking, but she kept going down in pain. She would wicker to Banjo and he would cry back.

The vet came and examined her and said I had two options.

I could take her to Leesburg VA for surgery (I live close to S. Central PA) but he said the odds are very good she would die there. The surgery costs a minimum of $8,000. That is just the fee to get them to the table. Followup is more. I had a friend haul her mare there and the mare was put down when she got to the hospital.

So I told him do what he had to do and asked what was I going to do with him (pointing to Banjo)? Vet said milk replacer.

She was buried on the farm.

For four long days, I tried to get that foal to take milk replacer. I tried goats milk and the remainder of his mother's milk that was taken by the vet. Nothing worked. He was eating grass and mare/foal feed but there was not enough nutrition in them to keep him going. All I wanted to do was go home go to bed and mourn and there was this tiny foal to worry about. I thought he was going to die too. Prayers were being sent by a lot of people - even a kids church camp!

Finally, I found a product online called Buckeye milk replacer pellets and tube foal vitamins. Miracle of miracles there was a local dealer. I thought Banjo would eat the food just like that, but he turned up his nose again. I made a sad call to a friend who is a wise horsewoman. She came bearing molasses.

A little molasses on her palm with pellets and he started eating small amounts at first. I about wore the wheels off the car.

I don't remember the exact day I drove to the farm not expecting to find him dead, but one day I realized the feeling was gone.

Banjo was "adopted" by a nutty horse at the farm named Lucky. Lucky has one "redeeming" quality, he gets mentally attached to other horses very fast. That was the best possible thing for little Banjo and I never had to worry that a dog or other horse would hurt him because Lucky was always near. Lucky was the one who was bothering Cheyanne as he tried to look at the little guy when he was born. By the time she died they were buddies.

Banjo was raised to be a horse. It's really easy to baby foals and then they get pushy when they get older. I treated him just like a big horse (well with a tad more love). All that he needs now is another year and he is going to be a driving horse. He will need to be 3 before he is ridden.

So that's his story, but it's not over. I am so glad he lived and still heartbroken that his mother is gone.

I have a new mare now and she has found her way in my heart too. First thing I asked when I called about her was if there was any chance she could be in foal. No more horse babies for me!

Here is Banjo and his mom on the first day. That is a fly mask on Cheyanne.


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