A Mother’s Love

This post will be an uncharacteristic departure from mushrooms and field crops and GMO’s…. it has been inspired by a bittersweet tale about our daughter’s horses, which live at the farm, and I have chosen to share it with you all as we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend.

The last few weeks were filled with anticipation and excitement as we waited for Natalie’s mare, Kiarra, to have her first foal.

KiarraandDori

New mother, Kiarra, with her newborn, Dori

Natalie was first introduced to Kiarra eleven years ago, on our friends’ horse farm, and from the very beginning, it was love at first sight.  Kiarra eventually came to live at our farm, and grew to be a beautifully tempered, yet fiesty and sometimes bossy, leader of the pack.  She was usually the first of the horses to come over and greet Natalie.  She stood over Natalie many times, as a guardian, whether in the paddock or in the stalls.  It appeared our daughter had a surrogate mother…  And so, when Kiarra became pregnant, we watched her belly grow big and round and looked forward to the big day.

Last Monday, Natalie went down to the barn, to discover that Kiarra had foaled during the night, out in the paddock.  She was the mother of a beautifully fuzzy, charcoal grey filly.  However, it was obvious that there had been traumatic complications during the birthing process for Kiarra, and the vet was called immediately.  He did what he could, but could not promise more than two or three days.  The filly would have a short time to be with her mother.  Despite the grim prognosis, Natalie did everything she could think of, with the support of friends and family.  A former employer loaned her a Thermalaser, to try to increase the blood circulation and help with the healing.  I gave Reiki to both the mare and the filly.  Natalie stood guard the whole time, with a watchful eye and a heartful of prayers.  The first day, mother and foal spent their time together, with turnouts to a lush field, where Kiarra could graze and nurse her foal.  She was a natural, with her maternal instincts kicking in full throttle.  Even during the second morning, when she was in pain and her health was deteriorating, she did not abandon her little filly.

In the end, however, nothing could be done.  The vet was called again for another assessment, and a difficult decision was reached.  Kiarra’s life ended mercifully and quickly, and she was buried under Natalie’s favourite willow tree at the bottom of the field.  With hearts full of grief, our thoughts turned to the little orphaned filly, who needed to be fed.  She resisted being bottle fed, so Natalie and her friend took another course of action.  Within a few hours, a new surrogate mother was brought to the farm.  This mare had a 6 week-old colt, and her owner believed she would accept another young one to nurse.

Nursing two babies at once!

Nursing two babies at once!

As it turns out, we could not have hoped for a better match.  The mare accepted this little stranger and started looking after her.  When the older colt saw that he had “competition” and tried pushing away the little filly (now named Dori), his mother would nip him gently in the butt as a rebuke, and would make sure that the new foal could nurse properly.  By the second night or so, Natalie was so encouraged by the new bonds forming, that she allowed little Dori to stay overnight in the same stall as her new family, without fear of any harm coming to the little one.  She would not have to sleep alone in her stall.

In less than a week’s time,  we have seen a miraculous story unfold.  Natalie’s mare, who had cared for and “protected” our daughter for so many years, finally became a real mother.  A little foal, loved so dearly by her new mother, was then orphaned abruptly.  Within a short time, she was provided with a new family, that accepted her and now nourishes her.  This new mare loves and cares for her as if she is her own.  She nickers after the filly when she wanders, and keeps the peace in her new family.

Dori learned to stand by the mare's tale, which swished constantly at the flies

Dori learned to stand by the mare’s tale, which swished constantly at the flies

To see such love in the animal world has been humbling and inspiring.  The timing has been very appropriate as we celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend.  We have been shown how strong a mother’s love can be, how vitally important it is, and that it exists in all the creatures that inhabit our world.  I leave you with Natalie’s own farewell to her beloved Kiarra:

“Last night I was forced to make the toughest decision in the world, to part ways on our walk on Earth together. Kiarra was the most charismatic, beautiful, bundle of endless energy I have ever come across in a horse. We joined up when she was just a baby, and I had only 11 short years with my baby. She was my protector, so sensitive, always standing over me in her stall and paddock. As I write this now, her 3 day old filly Dori sleeps at my feet in her stall. Thank you to everyone who wished her well on her hopes to recovery, but it was just too much. Dori now has a new family, a mare and colt, to call her four legged family. All is going well with them. I will never be able to replace Kiarra, but now her filly will be the one I look after, just as Kiarra had done for me. Rest in peace my beautiful girl, not a day will go by that I won’t think of you or visit you.”

Hoping you all celebrate a beautiful Mother’s Day.

"New" family portrait

“New” family portrait

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Absolutely beautiful. What a wonderful story for Mother’s Day. My sincere sympathies for the loss of your beloved horse. Just remember, she is still looking down on you and you have a new Guardian angel.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Carol Kraft on May 12, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    Oh this story opens my heart so deeply in all its bitter sweet beauty and wonder of the power of Mother love in all beings,esp. mammals , a power that keeps us alive literally in nourishment and love. I add my condolences to this amazing being Kiaarra’s departure and also sense she will be close by as your angel ally. Thanks so much for sharing this on Mother’s day!

    Reply

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