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As I was frantically trying to get the sack off his head and wipe out his nostrils, the mare pushed again. By then we were reasonably certain we were going to lose the mare and Katie, although holding it together like the trooper she is, was really upset. She said, “Mom, why is she pushing again?” Just as I told her that it was probably the afterbirth Katie yelled, “Mom, the afterbirth has legs!” and out shot another foal! He slipped out like a noodle and landed right on top of me and his brother! I told Katie that there was nothing she could do for the mare but the second baby was kicking to get free of the sack and needed help. She jumped right in and took care of the second colt. I hollered to the vet who was getting supplies from his

truck, “Eric, we’ve got another one!” “Another problem?” he yelled back. “No,” I said, “another baby and they’re both alive!” I looked up in time to see him literally fly the corral fence.

Below: Lefty’s front legs before and after. With corrective farrier work, the right front knee eventually straightened, not requiring surgery as anticipated. Bottom: Pancho’s windswept hind ankles also improved with corrective shoeing techniques.

Being the Willie Nelson fan that I am, I figured that if the first one was Pancho, his brother must be Lefty. Katie agreed because, as she said, “We almost leftied him behind!” Dr. DeVos saw we were tending to the foals and that

both were active and aware, so he tended to the mare. He kept Mollie as comfortable as possible throughout the ordeal and, just as sympathetically, he humanely euthanized her. Unfortunately, there was nothing else we could do. She was a gallant mare who successfully carried twins to full term, and valiantly delivered two healthy babies. We will always miss her but will also be forever grateful for the twins she left us.


Once Mollie was gone, Dr.De Vos directed his attention to the foals. He tubed them with the colostrum he milked from the mare and, although both were as active as jack rabbits, determined that both had some “issues.” Due to reduced room in utero, Pancho had contracted tendons in his front legs that would not allow him to straighten his feet out enough to stand. It didn’t keep him from trying though. Lefty, the smaller of the two, had immature joints that were not fully calcified, causing his lower legs to bend outward from the hocks under his weight. With his dark bay coat and funky hocks, he looked like a harbor seal. We loaded both foals up and transported them to

Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Hospital in Los Olivos, California, where Dr. Erin Byrne and her team of acute care providers met us. They jumped right in and wrapped the boys in blankets to keep them warm, took their vital signs, fed each a bottle, and initiated all the high-tech stuff it takes to manage orphan twins that had a really rocky start. As the sun was coming up, we left them in Dr. Erin’s capable hands and headed home. It had been a long night. Over the next few days,

there were many challenges to overcome. Rarely do both twins survive. Dr. Erin told us that even twins who appear very viable at first frequently slip into “dummy foal” which falls under the broad category of neonatal maladjustment syndrome. While the cause of this condition is not fully understood, what happens is that the tissues of the brain essentially hemorrhage and there is swelling around the nerve cells of the brain due to edema. While the foal initially seems normal, he becomes

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