- The story of Oz is also the story of friends and family. Duessa was to be at 320 days on June 11th. However, with Poly foaling on May 31st, we were expecting her to foal any time. Duessa, Poly and Oshoga were all cycled with P&E last year and bred on the same days. My dearest hometown friend, Sharon Pratt, came down for a visit on the 31st. I had planned to pick her up in Austin form her convention and have a leisurely lunch and drive back home. Best laid plans changed when Poly retained her placenta on Wednesday. Art, the perennial good sport when I need real help, drove to Austin and picked up Sharon.
- So Sharon and I had been sleeping on the sleeping porch and Carson had been sleeping on a cot right outside the mare's stalls (the sleeping porch was too far away at around 25 feet for Carson). Well,.Sharon had also planned the trip around a breed show at Proud Meadows Farm.We had acted as a sponsor because we were really glad to have the support given to Texas breeders. So on Friday night, we were to attend a gathering hosted by the owners of Proud Meadows for the sponsors. We drove over and had a great time. The facility was beautiful and the hosts were gracious and the party gave us an opportunity to see some old friends and meet a few people we had only known through email and their web sites! We left that party and went to the Cowtown Coliseum in Ft. Worth to watch the Texas High School Rodeo finals. Our friend, Natalie Dennis, was running poles. SO after a long day, we got home and settled in for foal watch. Sharon and I were up all night, as was Carson. Every time a mare peed, we checked. It got to be pretty funny. Well.....I know you know what's next. At just before 6am, I wake to hear this "eek" small squealing sound from Duessa'a stall. Low and behold, there was a foal standing up beside her. It had a huge white blaze, almost a bold face type blaze and three socks...all kind of tall and of course, it was a bay. And the cutest ears in the barn, tipped in just like Chu's ears and huge almond shaped soft eyes. But this foal was tiny by comparison to the others. Duessa was a maiden mare, like Corina. Charisma started out small, but after six to eight weeks, caught up in size.
- The foal wasn't nursing and Duessa was not helping much. I gave Duessa 10cc of Banamine to help her relax a little (remembering those first cramps as the uterus starts contracting) and Duessa seems to start to relax a little. After about 30 minutes, she lets me clean her udder and express some milk. She had plenty, but the foal wasn't nursing. By 7:30, I call my friend, Dr. Shana Thoms (because I know she is awake by then). She told me to milk Duessa and get the milk into the foal by syringe. She by this time, the foal had laid down. I had been cleaning the umbilical cord while the foal stood and this time I lifted the leg to clean and peeked under to see two small protrusions and dubbed the foal a FILLY...and promptly named it Dolce Diva.
- I expressed and the foal drank over 110ccs. In the interim, I called and found out my vet was on vacation. He did suggest that I give Duessa Ace, so I do and I up her Banamine by 6 more ccs to match her tank-like weight dosage. I had a feeling I might be in a plasma situation, so I called Shana back. She couldn't get any in Gatesville. Then I called Kendra Ellis Menzies, a fellow breeder I had seen just the night before, and she suggested Dr. Hendricks. I called him and he agreed that if I needed it, we would coordinate getting it later in the day. He also told me to stop using the syringe and to use a baby bottle.I knew that...had gone through that with Louisa and Frisbee, but I hadn't stopped long enough to think about going to the story and didn't have a bottle in my foaling kit. Guess what? I do now! So, Sharon and Carson had been helping me all this time. Art has been up and down the hill to the barn several times. Carson has to start grooming the three horses for the show later in the day, so while she keeps an eye out on Duessa and Dolce, Sharon and I got to Bransom's and get bottles and Nuk nipples. so every 30 - 45 minutes I express had get the little kid back there at Duessa's teats to nurse. by 2pm, she figures out how to nurse and we feel some success and go to the house for sandwiches. I think I had turkey salami and in retrospect, what I really wanted was fried bologna!
- So, around 2:30, Shana arrives. She agreed with me that we will need plasma, so I get her on the phone with Dr. Hendricks, vet to vet. He says he can have it for us on the way to the show at Proud Meadows. Our plan was to pick it up on the way and store it in the barn refrig and administer it when we came home. Funny thing...Shana looks at the Dolce and asks me if I get an enema...of course I did...then she said, "You do know this is a filly, don't you?" I asked some stupid question and she replied, "The absence of a vulva was my first clue." And we all cracked up...I had been operating in state of emergency and the two small folds you see at the colt's penis in a quick glance looked like nipples! Oh well.
- So at that point, I thought we'd call the colt Dolce. Art and Carson didn't like the name for the colt. I was worried and just put that back to think about later. We went to the show. We only took Liberty. Carson had spent days grooming Ladimir, but it was just too much to take a young horse who had never left the farm. We didn't want to deal with loading in the dark issues later in the night since we had to give plasma.
- We had almost all the family gathered to go to Proud Meadows. Art, Carson and I of course...and Lauryn and her friend Dustin, came down. Sharon and Shana were there, so we split into two vehicles and Sharon, Shana, Liberty and I go get the plasma. The dinner and Liberty Bell class were so much fun and a nice break in the tension of the day. But when we got home, my mood was a lot more somber. Everyone went to the barn and Lauryn said that she thought Dolce was already much stronger. She looked me right in the eyes and gave me a lot of hope. I know we were all thinking about Opus, but nobody was saying it. While we had a late snack of Brie and C2, Dr. Pepper, etc., I thawed the plasma. Lauryn and Dustin left. Carson, Shana and I went to the barn. Art started downloading photos for Sharon from her new camera. Sharon didn’t show up and the barn and I kept wondering where she was. She was cleaning the kitchen from stem to stern, right down to the microwave, toaster oven and places I didn’t’ know about until after she left. Everyone was busy DOING something...everyone was worried.
- The plasma was easy to accomplish and after that was done, what else could we do? Dolce was nursing, Duessa was fine...we all were tired. Shana took the guest room. Sharon and I took the sleeping porch (Lisvilje had yet to foal). During the night, I got up several times and Dolce was nursing well. By morning, he was much stronger.
- So Art and Carson and I had a talk on Sunday night and I was over-ruled. His name was going to be Oz. That was what we had picked for Duessa's colt in the beginning. And it fits him to a tee. There has to be a little wizardry about him.