(Gone Gold X Avondale Sweet Rosie)
lost at 9 months gestation, February 26, 2013

painting (in progress) of Rosie and the hoped-for full term Vigil

February 26, 2013 was a horribly sad day here. I did not tell many people, but I bred my beautiful black Morgan mare Rosie (Avondale Sweet Rosie) to "my" stallion Roadie (Gone Gold) in 2012. My dream mare to my heart horse; Rosie is the mare I searched for 6 years to find, the "perfect" cross for Roadie. Roadie's then-owner Harvey Seidel traded me the breeding in return for a complete re design of his existing website. I did not say anything publicly because Rosie had lost her 2012 foal early in the pregnancy, we assume due to low progesterone (she was in Indiana on lease, so it was not my vet), so we kept her on ReguMate throughout this pregnancy. I was worried she'd lose this foal too and I wasn't sure how I would feel or if I'd want to have to explain that to anyone. Late in January 2013 (8 months along) she started developing edema and I had my vet out. We ultrasounded her and the placenta was well within normal thickness (I believe a 3.2 when anything under 7 for a mare 8 mos along is normal; she was due May 5). I thought we were ok until a few weeks later when her udder filled and her milk came in. My vet came back out and we started her on SMZs. I was trying to feel optimistic, but I was so worn out from so little sleep the previous four days due to worry, that I laid down that afternoon for a nap. And while I slept, Rosie lost the foal.

It was a black or smoky black colt, no white on the legs or  face. His darling little head was definitely that of a Roadie foal, with that pretty little dish. He was beautifully put together and so fully formed it looked like he should have survived, but realistically, I knew it was too early. My vet came back out that night and he said the colt's loss was due to an ascending placentitis, meaning infection got in through the cervix. He showed us the compromised areas in the placenta.

We left Rosie with her little one overnight, so she could come to accept that he was not alive. I once heard it said that one of the saddest sights in the world is a mare trying to talk to her dead foal and now I know how awful that is to witness.

I buried the foal the next day, amidst many tears, with many more to come. Jim had dug a hole the night before, beside the grave of my sweet old mare Marie. Marie loved foals, and I am sure she will mother him in Rosie's stead. 

My heart is broken.  Roadie was gelded shortly after Rosie was confirmed in foal (I SO wish I had never sold him! Stupidest thing I ever did in horses) so there are no do-overs. Rosie is too old now and not likely to conceive/carry again.

Though it is admittedly a bit strange, I had been thinking I should name the foal and when my friend Joanna McClanahan suggested it as well I was glad I was not alone in my thought. I chose "Vigil" because I kept watch over Rosie during her pregnancy, and then Rosie kept vigil over her little one for the only night they had together.

The last 6 years I have tried to breed 4 different mares, several multiple times, to 4 different stallions, in different states, with different vets, some mares leased at great expense- and have had just one foal to show for it. I don't breed multiple mares each year or own my own stallion, and it is so very difficult to have poured so much emotion, time, money and love into something only to come up with nothing in the end.  Some of you have lost foals, maybe the only foal you had coming in a given year, and you will understand. I had always said that I knew my day was coming to finally lose a foal. You can only be lucky for so long. I am just so sorry my luck had to run out on this one. 

Gone Gold

Adiel's Casino Gold

Sweet's Dexter

Eden Rose

Kennebec Topaz

Medomak Cavalier

Kennebec Opal

Avondale Sweet Rosie

Darkhawk of Hideaway

Sunup Mike

Hylees Firefly

Avondale Berne's Hope

Blackwood Correll

Cotton's Susie Kay

I painted this watercolor of Rosie and my anticipated foal the summer of 2012, shortly after Rosie was confirmed in foal. You can see what color of foal I was hoping for- and that is exactly what I would have gotten. It hangs at the base of the stairs, a reminder of the beautiful colt who will remain a dream that was, sadly, not meant to be.

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Learn more about the very rare silver dapple gene at the Silver Dapple Morgans Project.

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Jim and Laura Behning
75 Glass Spring Rd.
Covington, GA 30014
(770) 385-1240
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