I am absolutely OVERWHELMED by the amount of people who joined us from ALL OVER the world watching and waiting for Stormy’s to give birth to this special little filly. When I originally set up this surveillance camera situation, I did it so that Erynn (my daughter and owner of Stormy) and I would not miss the birth. I decided to go ahead and host with MareStare and open it up for anyone to watch. I had no idea that we would get thousands and thousands of people joining us.
I’m so happy that we were able to share this special time with all of you. I’m working on getting some of the video footage, but if you were watching at around 2 a.m. this morning, you realized that 1,000 pound Stormy, dropped to the ground and birthed this foal so quickly, there was nothing we could do about the camera angle.
Here’s the birth story in still photographs….
Erynn (age 15 tomorrow! Yes, this little one was born one day before Erynn’s birthday! and I had had some false alarms with Stormy. She had so many signs of impending birth, but it just never happened. We spent 6 nights – overnights – at the barn. We were finally a bit frustrated. Monday night, I went up to the barn as usual and checked on Stormy. Erynn had reported her milk was opaque white and I checked her udders and WOW – they were huge – bigger than the “huge” they were already. I knew that within the next 48 hours, she would deliver, but I assumed that night would be a good time to watch.
We came home, and I was getting ready to take a shower and was relaxing with the laptop, when I saw Stormy lay down. It was only 9 p.m., Stormy doesn’t lay down at 9 p.m. “That’s it, Stormy’s down, let’s go….” and off to the barn we went. We stayed up in the camp room, watching Stormy from the laptop. Erynn fell asleep and I started the awful setting my alarm for every 30-45 minutes so I could assess the situation, and then sleep another 30-45 minutes. I had been doing this for weeks.
Around 11 p.m., Stormy was munching on some hay and then stood still. I thought – NOOOOO!!!! Not again! This must be a false alarm! I knew I was going to be miserable for work the next day and was just overall upset…. I kept drifting in and out of sleep, and around 1:30 a.m., I realized that Stormy was very much in labor. She was kicking at her belly, yawning big, stretching her neck, and pacing. At almost 2 a.m., Stormy laid down again. I woke Erynn up. We sat and watched the screen and I figured Stormy would get back up, pace, do her thing, and lay down again. We knew her water hadn’t broken yet, so this was still a process, right?
Something told me to go down to the barn and check on her. We stumbled our way through the darkness, and started calling “Stormy! It’s us…. ” so as to not startle her. She stayed laying down. Ooo… this is promising.
We peeked in. Yeah, I better get my camera. I went back out the door to grab the camera, and Erynn says, “Her water broke. I see feet!” Sure enough – yes… yes… there were perfect little white feet with… ummm… black spots? What???? Could it be? Could we actually have a dark foal? This was our hope as we think Stormy is beautiful, but do you know what it takes to keep a white and champagne horse clean???? But we just knew this baby would be light. We knew the genetics. We knew we could have a black, amber champagne, classic champagne, or bay base out of this… but with the sabino gene factoring in as well, there should be a lot of white.
I didn’t even have time to assess whether or not the feet were front or hind or whether or not things were going as they should be, because Erynn said quietly. “It’s DARK!”
There… that was when you could see this little dark nose emerge. WHAT? We have a dark baby???!!!
Within MINUTES… the baby just quickly slid right out….
When the baby slid out, you can see, her little head was under Stormy’s hind leg, under the joint, so when Stormy would sit up a little – to a sternal position – I felt like the baby’s head would have been hit. Maybe it wouldn’t, but my gut said – we waited over a year for this baby! (infertility issues then the entire 340-some days!) I’m not letting anything happen! So I snuck in the stall, grabbed baby’s head, and pulled her just out of Stormy’s leg reach, and while I was at it, I tore the sack open with my fingers and brought it over her head, and quickly exited.
The second Stormy saw her baby, she let out this low whinny….. She was in love…..
at this point, barn owner, Dolores, came in, and she was also shocked that we had – what we thought was, a black and white baby! We then watched the interaction between mom and baby. Dolores had witnessed this so many times in her life, it was wonderful to have her there to tell us what is normal. She said that Stormy was a wonderful mother and that the baby was nice and strong.
My favorite moment………..
As we watched the little one get up and walk for the first time…. we realized something. This was NOT a black and white foal. We were making notes of the pink skin around the muzzle, around the eyes, and on the “girlie parts”. This was a champagne. Stormy’s champagne genetics came through on this one. However, this is not a classic champagne. She’s darker…. with a bit of a surprise……
We went home and went to bed…. much needed sleep at LAST! We would come up later and assess this strange champagne color again later….
Later on, we returned…. We took Stormy and newly named Pixie outside. Pixie is such a sweetheart…. but she hasn’t quite grasped the fact that Stormy is demanding she stay right by her side….
Back to the colors……. so we are looking at this little one and seeing Taser’s lack of white markings on the face, Taser’s white across the shoulders…. and then the sabino tall white socks that we have seen plenty in this line…. but Stormy’s pink skin – that champagne gene…. which place that champagne gene over black, and you get this…….. a chocolate brown. We are not sure where this classification is in the champagne registry – is it sable? Is it some sort of dark classic champagne? We are not sure…. but she’s gorgeous!… And her little surprise? She has blue eyes! (Stormy has one blue eye and one amber eye).
and Erynn Otte – my beautiful daughter…. is in love as well!!! This was the perfect one-day-early birthday gift!
A disclaimer: Not all horses will allow you to handle their foals. Stormy was handled by Trisha, her previous owner, from the time she was a day old. That is why Stormy trusts us completely. We plan to raise little Pixie the exact same way. Erynn is already working on the imprinting and training of this little one.