Christmas is the time of giving, so there is no bigger gift one can give than that of saving a life.
Sue came home from work early on Christmas eve and said she had seen a foal standing over its sleeping mother – but she was concerned and could we go see. Unfortunately the mother was lying dead in a storm water drain. The baby horse was out in the blistering sun at about 42C, no water or shade and trying to suckle off its dead mother.
Oh how this was to change our Christmas plans.
As the horse was not ours and stock theft here is severely punished we couldn’t just take the baby so we headed to the police. We had to convince them that we just wanted to save the foal and would look after it until the owner was found.
We were told that first they had to go to the animal, get the branding mark, phone the State Vet, who would check the records and contact the owner. But as it was Christmas eve the state vets office was closed, so we would have to wait until the 27th. We were getting desperate.
A sympathetic Police women came to our aid and said she would come with us to the scene and help get it to our house and then do all necessary paper work later. With a policeman she climbed into our car and passed a comment “I know this car, I searched it at our road block on the mine road a few days ago”. Sue had been stopped and searched on her way to work.
Neither the mother or baby had been branded or ear notched in anyway, this made the police happier for us to take it.
The plan was simple (as always) – get a rope around its neck and walk it home as we weren’t far.
Pity the foal didn’t know the plan or have any intention of having a rope put around its neck or going anywhere, it wanted to stay with its mother. After battling we secured a rope around its neck but it stood fast. So plan b was to load it onto the back of the “bakkie” (pick-up).
3 passing drunks were recruited, they were basically of no help, as was the policeman who was trying to keep his shiny shoes and neatly ironed uniform clean. So I picked up the struggling foal and loaded it. Jumped on the back, to hold down this drained and frightened little horse.
I left Sue to calm the horse down and take the cops back to the station and do the necessary paper work.
The police were now into this horse saving thing and took me around town to shops they knew of that could help with milk, teats etc. But only one store was open and they didn’t have anything for horses except the teat. They recommended using normal full cream milk.
Returning home the foal was much calmer and had taken to Sue. It even looked happy to see me. I untied the rope from its neck and then I was its mother. Where ever I went it followed. By this stage I needed a beer and went inside to get one – it just followed me straight in.
It was full of energy a ran circles around our house.
Sue was now on her phone to a friend of ours just outside Francistown who does horse rescue and plans were made to get this baby to her that evening. But of course there is always a problem. There is a vet fence between us and Francistown, so we needed permission to get the horse through it.
Whilst I tried to keep the horse away from my nice plants and to the weed patch at the back of the garden, which he was not interested in, and battling to get him to drink from a bottle Sue went to the Police for permission to move the horse. She was told that she would have to talk to somebody from the stock theft unit and he would only be in tomorrow.
So we had to keep this baby alive for a night, our secure veggie garden covered with shade cloth was our best option.
Back at the Police Station Sue was told that we could not move the horse yet and we had to keep it in our garden until Saturday at which time we will be told if 1. an owner had been found, 2. the police would take it to a center for abandoned animals, or 3. we could keep it.
We need for the horse to eat, and as it was keen to eat my plants we thought we could get it to eat lucerne – but to find anything like that here, especially on Christmas day is impossible. We headed into the bush to look for grass we could pick – only to be reminded that we live in a desert.
Something we did have is Weetbix – a cereal. Mixed with milk we soon had the foal feeding. Not with manners of a well brought kid, both the horse and I were covered in cereal. But it was eating and we could relax.
The sun began to set whilst we enjoyed a beer – so that’s how we spent Christmas. Saved a life and didn’t stuff ourselves full with turkey. The highlight of the day was seeing the foal doing a poo.
See more pics https://ourbots.wordpress.com/photos-2/natalia/