Gracie and Her Foal Jess
Gracie’s foal – Jess – was born at the Sanctuary on Wednesday 21 May 2014 at about 2.30pm in the afternoon.
The name was pulled out of a hat out of the many names given to us over our Open Day weekend and also those generated by Dengi Horse Food. We liked it because it is the name of Claire’s daughter who works in the Remus Office, and is presently undergoing serious hospital tests and coincidently who’s middle name is Grace!
Unfortunately, Mum wasn’t generating any milk so the staff and volunteers at the Sanctuary have been bottle-feeding Jess every 2 hours around the clock! Despite this she still suckles from her mum. Although she doesn’t get any milk she gets the emotional comfort and Grace feels she is playing a natural part of bringing her up, all part of the bonding experience.
A mother’s milk contains something called Colostrum, which is really beneficial to Jess’ fit and healthy growth. Our local vets were able to get some from another mare and via a tube inserted it straight into the Jess’ tummy. Unfortunately, when the vet tested her blood two days later, it showed that the Colostrum had not given her the protection she needed, so we then needed to drip feed some special plasma as well. Poor thing, she went through a lot in her first few days but she’s now much healthier and stronger as you’ll have seen from the photos on our Facebook page.
The foal surprised us all when she was born she’s actually a mule which means her mum is a pony but her dad was a donkey! They say mules have more attitude!
Mum Grace arrived at the Sanctuary at the beginning of this year. She had been left to roam wild in a muddy field with a big pond in the middle. Grace is blind in both eyes so it was lucky that the Sanctuary went to her rescue, as she could have easily fallen into the pond and drowned! Worse still there was no fencing in the field and she had often been seen walking down the busy road. She could so easily have been killed and our brave new little foal may never have seen the world.
Grace was wild and terrified and it took 12 Sanctuary Staff and about 4 hours to catch her. And to avoid risk losing her foal we needed to try and keep her stress levels down. Thankfully, though we managed to catch her and bring her to the Sanctuary and, bit by bit, she has learnt where everything is and started to trust the staff. She’s stopped jumping now when we touch her so she’s learnt that we are helping her and not harming her.
Two weeks on and Jess is now getting stronger (and hungrier!) by the day and loves running around!