Delilah Has Had a Bad Day

Delilah, despite her rampant wickedness, is kind of my favorite of the foals this year. She is just so gleefully bad that she makes me laugh. But last night when she came in from the arena, she seemed a little subdued. I figured maybe she was just tired from a long day of rampaging. But this morning she was even quieter going out.

She went out in the pasture for the first time with her mom, Bernice. Now Bernice has a bit of a “history” with her kids. She loves them to the point of craziness. Her first was William. We saw her kick him in the head in one of her protective mother frenzies. The second was Albert. She kicked him in the shoulder, and that time I actually caught it on video.

When we put Dora out, Bernice got totally panicked and ran around the field a few times, then went to the far back corner of the pasture. Which was good. It’s a big pasture, and there’s plenty of room for the mares to stake out their own territory until they get relaxed with each other. We watched Dora and her foal Diva for a while (and I took a whole lot of photos of Diva).

Then a train came along. The tracks go along the back of the pasture. The horses are all very used to it. But of course Delilah had never seen it before and she got a little startled. Which got Bernice going again. And she came galloping up to the front. Somehow the two mares and the two foals got a bit tangled up. And Bernice, the big rotten cow, ran right over her own foal. Poor Delilah was cartwheeling under the mare as she spun around and around, and kicked at Dora. Dora, unsurprisingly, was having none of that and kicked back which worked Bernice up even more. Delilah eventually got herself out of the mess and back on her feet. And then Bernice… of course… ran her over AGAIN. And did the same thing all over again. That poor baby was trampled and tumbled repeatedly.

We managed to catch Bernice eventually and checked Delilah over. She seemed essentially unhurt, though she looked very shell-shocked and shaky. So we took them both back to the barn.

I initially thought it was just all the running around and the shock of the incident that made Delilah look so subdued. But I watched her carefully for a while. Eventually I started to feel a bit concerned. She really didn’t look right. Called the boss at work and told him. He said he’d get there as quick as he could. I finally realized that although she was going to her mother to nurse, she wasn’t actually nursing. She was grinding her teeth. Then she drank some water from the bucket. Then she lay down. Got up. Lay down. Called the boss again. Got the stethoscope out and listened to her heart rate. It was 136. Yikes. Called one of our other people down at the track and told her to shove the boss out the door NOW. And have him call a vet too.

That got the boss there in a hurry. Vet arrived shortly thereafter. He checked her temperature. It was 104. The vet thinks she has some sort of GI tract thing going on. Bacterial overgrowth maybe. And likely some ulceration, given the teeth grinding. So she got banamine, antibiotics, and omeprazole. Within about 20 minutes she was up nursing, and last I saw she was finally lying down and sleeping comfortably.

She’s not out of the woods yet, but she looks a whole lot better anyway.

Here are a couple of photos of Bernice and Delilah before the incident…

One Reply to “Delilah Has Had a Bad Day”

  1. We had a mare who was like that with her babies. Worse, she was my first solo foaling. She would get so protective of the baby that she would herd it into a corner and not let it move out of her sight. She would get panicky when they went back behind her shoulder because she ‘couldn’t see them’. That made nursing… interesting. We basically had to wrestle her still to give the baby a chance. Totally terrifying. She ran HER baby over too. Ugh.

Comments are closed.