It’s been roughly six months since Earl’s accident, and miraculously he’s still with us! What’s more, he’s survived to see the birth of his daughter, LowCountry Acres Opal, who was born April 12, 2022. Amazingly, Opal was born the same day as Earl’s one and only other filly, Pearl!
Earl’s been slowly gaining his weight back – eating three big meals a day. He’s responding well to supportive supplements and a daily dose of Equioxx. He transitioned from limited stall rest, to paddock turn-out, to full time pasture. After some time, he was reintroduced to his old pasture pal, Sir Prize. He’s a happy camper. Having him back out in his old pasture is nice, but not without it’s pitfalls and perils.
From the time Earl came home from the hospital, Andy and I resolved ourselves to the inevitable fact that one morning we’d go out to the pasture and find him down. The doctors warned us that his fragile neck could give way at any time, so that’s our new reality. For a split second every morning, my heart stops until I know whether Earl is still alive or if today’s the day we say goodbye.
Earl’s mental health took a nose dive when he got home from the prolonged stall rest, so we began to slowly let him have a bigger space to roam. Eventually, we turned him out to his big pasture. When he seemed to be thriving, we introduced his old pal, Prize, once again. Whenever they play, I’m nervous he will take it too far. But then he’s there the next morning at the fence, waiting for his breakfast.
Under doctor’s guidance, I collected Earl in May. He was sore after, but got the job done. Showing some signs of fatigue and lack of endurance, I didn’t want to push him too hard and gave him a couple weeks off and some Bute. I consulted my vet, who suggested a daily dose of Equioxx (nsaid). Since building his strength day by day and receiving support medications, he’s managed to breed two mares this season. Tomorrow we’ll find out if Leah is pregnant by him. Fingers crossed.
I’ve wanted to collect and freeze his semen, but I haven’t yet. Again, I don’t want to push him too far, too fast. To freeze him, requires a haul to Aiken and a stay at the clinic. I’m sure that’s the last thing he needs right now.
When Andy and I walked out to the pasture this morning, Earl was down. My heart stopped for a moment, but I was at peace. I guess I’ve resigned myself to the fact this can, and some day will, happen. I kicked myself for not having taken him to Aiken. I swore inwardly for not hugging on him last night. But I had no fear or regrets if he was gone. We’ve been blessed he’s survived this long.
As I walked closer, I observed his ribs rising and falling. He was soundly asleep, oblivious to the world, happy and content. In the end, Earl’s a miracle and we’ll take every day we can have with this beautiful creature!
PS – Leah is confirmed PREGNANT by Earl and if all goes well, we’ll have another stellar foal in 2023!