May 1, 2020

‘Making lemonade’ S

On April 10, sour moments for a mare and foal turned into something sweet

ANTA ROSA—You’ve heard the saying, “when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade.” Well, a pair of

misfortunes 130 miles apart in early April led to a refreshing feel-good story about an unlikely match. It began with the joy of two new foals

about to enter the world. One was a long- hoped-for colt out of the 18.1-hand black Clydesdale mare, Nakita, and the other a filly out of a 14.1-hand Quarter Horse rein- ing mare, Whiz Ms Dolly. Tragedy struck both foalings. Nakita, aſter

delivering a healthy colt, died soon aſter from complications. Meanwhile, at a ranch in Santa Rosa, Brita Jacobson’s mare, Whiz Ms Dolly, gave birth to a stillborn filly. There are invisible boundaries between

breeds and disciplines in the horse world, and the bridge uniting Clydesdales and reiners is a rare one. This one was crossed, in large part because of the willingness of strangers to help each other. Carl and Kirsten Absher, proud owners of

Nakita and her newborn baby Clydesdale, were at home in Shingle Springs when the first phone call came from the veteri- nary clinic. Their new colt was up and had already nursed once, and the clinic staff invited them to come see their pair that night, making an exception to normal visit- ing hours. Carl and Kirsten wasted no time in making the 40-mile trip to the clinic to meet the new arrival.

The second phone call came early the

next morning. The mare was down with complications, but because she had been under observation per the clinic protocol, the clinic caught it immediately. Then, a subsequent phone call stunned the Abshers; at 4:19 a.m. on April 10, their mare had died. Not wanting to raise a foal without a mother,

the owners reached out to a friend, Shamarie Tong, for help in locating a nurse mare. Meanwhile, that same morning about a

two-hour drive away in Santa Rosa, Brita’s Whiz Ms Dolly gave birth to a stillborn filly. Having bred and raised her own competi- tion horses for many years and having experi- enced raising an orphaned foal herself years earlier, Brita knew that her loss could bene-

Continued on page 25

Kiskasen, a Clydesdale colt born April 9, and his adopted Quarter Horse mother, Whiz Ms Dolly, who lost her stillborn filly the same day.


After a few tense minutes, the mare relaxed and allowed Kiskasen to nurse.

Bennett Valley Ranch, owned by long time reining horse breeder and NRHA Non Pro Britta Jacobson and her husband Ted, is not where a pure-bred Clydesdale colt could be expected.

John O’Hara photo

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