The Foaling of Painted Sun's Painted Jewel

May 2008



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Waiting and wondering about this last foal has been excruciating for us. We were confused by the milk test strips inaccuracy and concerned that something was wrong. Something was wrong! But, we had no idea what we were in for! April 16, 2008 was the first day that Jewel's calcium levels predicted that she was ready to foal. From that day until May 4, we did not sleep at night or take her out of our sight during the day. Fortunately, Jewel was co-owned by Pam, so she and her daughter, Kailey, have slept out our house nightly to take shifts watching. A church family blessed us for 2 nights and allowing us to sleep.

May 3 arrived. Pam and Kailey have an AMHR show on Sunday so they let us know we are on our own for night patrol. Out of the blue, a friend of mine from my circle of 'parrot friends' calls and offers to watch through the night. Overwhelmed by Melody's generosity, we say "please, come help us."

5-7 PM Lisa and I take Don Juan and Noah at for a delightful evening drive through our neighborhood. Hubby, Bill, is welding in the barn and my younger two are riding big horses.

8 PM Melody arrives, and meets all of the herd and flock.

11 PM - 2 AM We all settle into bed for the night with Melody parked in front of the cameras and computer. I toss about and Melody keeps me informed of Jewel's discomfort. She is timing Jewel's bouts of laying down and getting up.

2 - 2:30 AM I sit up with Melody and watch also, for Jewel is very distressed. I have seen this other nights though and I go back to sleep.

3:10 AM Melody is hitting my feet with an excited, "she is pushing." She says I was hard to wake up, but I know I came to while yelling at Lisa to call Pam and to get everyone to the barn. I take off running. The barn is freezing and I run down with no jackets. When this picture was taken, I was very unaware of the agony to come.

3:12 AM Lisa calls Pam as she runs down our long hall towards the backdoor. As she approaches the barn, I am already yelling that the presentation is wrong and we need to call the trusted Resa (my wonderful friend that is seen in Dolly's and Magic's foaling videos). I had seen a white bubble and a nose..... no legs. I knew that the second most common dystocia is this presentation exactly. By 3:15 AM, Lisa has her hand washed in chlorhexiderm and is entering Jewel's birth canal. She can feel down the neck of the baby, but goes no farther. We are very scared. Jewel's fluids squirt all over Lisa. We begin 'walking' Jewel to keep her from contracting. She is fighting us terribly, but we use a crop and lots of noise. We are all now sweating....who needs a jacket?

3:17 AM Pam arrives with Kailey and 2 of Kailey's young friends. These young girls end up in tears while waiting on the outskirts of our struggle. I can't tell them enough "to not give up....pray.... and don't give up."

3:20 AM Resa arrives, washes, lubes and goes in. 'Chicken' me is spouting off everything I have read while brave Resa is having her arm crushed by contractions. We tried to only go in when there were no contractions, but there is no time between contractions. We try to keep Jewel standing, but it is terribly difficult. The foal's head has been sticking out and will continue to do so for the next 45 minutes.

I am praying out loud. Others are saying their own prayers. Click here to see the first video in this series.  This video only shows the initial struggle we have with keeping her up.

She kicks and throws herself down. Finally Melody comes up with putting blankets below her belly to keep her up. What an aid! I keep begging to get her on the hill, pointing her downhill with the hopes of gravity helping us, but no one thinks she can walk. We are sure the foal is dead and are intent at saving Jewel at this point.  Resa succeeds in getting one leg and foot out. The baby gasps and we all joyfully cringe as we realize we have to fight for both of them.

Resa is trying everything! We try pushing baby back in, we try using baling twine, we try each procedure standing up and laying down. All the while, Resa continues to be soaked in Jewel's fluids. The weight of Jewel is wearing on all of us. Each has a corner of the blanket and we try raising the hind end higher than the front end.

Look at Resa's backside....all the straw is sticking because Jewel has soaked her.

Click here to see the second movie in this series. This video shows the blanket going under her and you can hear the determination in our voices.


3:20 - 3:40 AM Resa keeps trying to get that second leg out. She can hook her fingers under the knee. We know to pull up towards center and then out, but it is not coming. She keeps trying. As Jewel thrashes around, Resa's tiny body is thrown around.  Kailey runs to the house to fetch Bill (hubby) to help us keep Jewel standing. We are all tiring.  We have called the vet who is giving us ideas. We have also called long-time breeders (Wayne and Muff of Merrie Ribbons) here in Phoenix, who attempt to talk Resa through the ordeal. The vet is on his way, but tells us to try the downhill idea and to walk her if this fails. We start walking out the stall and into our driveway.  I am at the head and then there are 2 followers on each side of Jewel holding up the blanket that goes underneath her belly. That blanket is how we keep her up. As we walk and walk, the foal's head is still sticking out. I can't believe it is alive.

Click here for the third movie in this series. After all of this we start walking and walking.....

3:50 AM Due to the vet on call being a big man with big hands, we are not hopeful for his success. Thus, we call a neighbor (my big horse farrier = Superman!) who runs next door to his equine vet neighbor in attempts to rouse her. She does not answer his knocks. My farrier, Tony, drives over anyway without the petite lady vet. Tony stands off to the side watching all of us. Let me clarify that I did not ask Tony to go knocking on this lady vet's door. We were desperate for help. Jewel's co-owner asked him to. Also, I am not faulting the vet at all. She is not on call all the time and this was not responsibility. She is a wonderful vet and most skilled with minis. She did come to my barn a week later and infuse Jewel with antibiotics. I greatly respect this vet.

Tony, our new Superman, is a quieter type of guy, but has some incredible gifts. I didn't know mid-wifery was one of them.

3:59 AM  We are still walking Jewel when we ask Tony if he wants to try and reach in. Resa's arm muscles have got to be cramping and she is spent! Jewel is stopped from her walk purposely on a downhill slope, Tony reaches in and is able to unlock that other foot. We all could hear an obvious pop as the pressure gives and baby slides out. I had read that when a baby is stuck, you will know the moment you get it unstuck, for there is a big release. That release is audible!

4:05 AM The vet calls and gives us instructions to give SMZs for 10 days.

4:10 AM I use Dental floss to tie off umbilical cord in order to cut it. It is my 3rd to cut this season.
We are celebrating and laughing at how dirty Resa is! What a dedicated friend, helper, neighbor and animal lover she is!! And, I don't even think she reads our website! Resa jokingly commits to lifting weights before next year's foaling season.

4:15 AM We milk out a bit of colostrum for baby and baby starts nursing soon after. The placenta is delivered all in one piece.

4:20 AM Jewel gets Banamine to help settle her and all is well! Resa gets back home and can't even lift a water glass to her lips without shaking like she has Parkinson's. Her arm muscles are so tired!!


4:30 AM Baby is nursing fine. An enema helped his bowels to move along. We all hold hands and thank our Lord for this new baby boy!
5 AM The phone alarms go off for Pam and her crew to wake up and get ready for their AMHR show!

Click here to see our celebration of this baby's birth.....well, it really is 'his' celebration of life, too!!!

In retrospect, I think the milk strips were accurate, in a sense, in that this baby was ready to come and should have come back in mid-April. Because the presentation was wrong, the cervical star was not receiving the usual pressure, was not being broke and the water was not breaking to start Stage 2 of labor.  Many bystanders were telling us we were out of our minds to lose all of this sleep and keep such careful watch on her for so many days. I believe when we breed these miniature mares, we owe it to them to be there no matter what! What would have happened if we hadn't been there?

Click here to see him become a wool factory!

This mare did need to be flushed and infused to clean up the contamination in her uterus.




I AM Ranch Miniature Horses is sharing with you what we do to maintain the health of our horses. This is not intended to direct you on how to care for your horse. The intent of this is only to share what we do. We advise you to consult your veterinarian before making any changes in your horse's health care. The information found on our website is not to supersede the advise of your veterinarian. Painted Sun Miniature Horses cannot be held liable for the care of your horse(s).


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