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The Story of Penny Lane
Penny Lane at 4 Weeks Old
In 2009, a tiny, four-day-old, orphaned foal was brought to my home in a Jeep Cherokee. She was carried across the paddock looking more like a medium-sized dog than a foal. Her body was so swollen that she had tiny slits for eyes and her limbs looked like tree trunks. She had spent nearly her entire life at the vet's office getting stabilized enough to find her forever home.
Days earlier, this little filly was found in an arroyo shortly after birth. Her dam had left her behind and a hiker came upon her awaiting the mare's return. Fearing coyotes and imminent death, this hiker gathered his neighbors to rescue the foal. While their attempts saved her life, she became deathly ill the following day. She was taken to the emergency veterinary hospital for colostrum and plasma transfusions, and IV antibiotics.
Three days later, she had become well enough to be released. But who would want to take on an orphan foal who needed feedings every couple of hours and intramuscular injections twice daily for nearly two weeks?
I received the call to see if I wanted to take in this little filly. My wonderful neighbors agreed to help feed her milk replacement four times a day while I was at work. They helped hold her while I gave her intramuscular antibiotics over ten mornings and evenings. I slept on the couch, setting the oven timer every two hours, for months to give her feedings through the night.
We were not out of the woods when it came to her health. For three weeks, she went without a name because I was so scared she wouldn't make it. I decided to take another leap of faith and named this little filly Penny Lane.
At six weeks old, Penny Lane got pneumonia but recovered in a matter of days. After that, she had bouts of colic and ulcers. By that time, I was on a first-name basis with my vet. She was a challenge to wean and would barely touch her hay or drink water from her bucket. She needed a friend to help guide her to start eating a little hay and drink from the bucket.
At eight weeks, she got her partner, Jude, a 30 pound Boer goat that soon grew to 250 pounds. Strange enough, he also made his way to my home in the back of a passenger vehicle. He was her best buddy who taught her to nibble hay between her milk replacement feedings.
Over time, Penny Lane continued to build strength and weight with the help of her Judy Jude. It took an enormous amount of faith, caring neighbors, and a very large goat to raise her to the heights of an 800-pound horse.
So... here we go with our next adventure of taking in foals who need our help. This time, I'm inviting youth to become part of this awesome experience. Through the Horse Leader Program, youth will learn natural horsemanship skills to train horses from the ground and socialize our little foals. Together, we will give these foals a second chance at having a wonderful life and finding their forever homes.
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