'Miracle' at Machmer Hall

 

The following heartwarming story was sent to me by Carrie Brogden at Machmer Hall Farm in Kentucky. I am relaying just as she wrote it because it’s a must for all horse lovers:

I want to share a heart touching story with all of you.  One that makes my eyes well up with tears over just the thought of me typing it.  

As all the partners know, Beal Street Blues' septic colt died on Sunday.  She was put out into the field with the maiden/barren mares as she no longer had a foal.  On early Tuesday morning, a new colt was born to a 3-year-old mare named Tibetan.  The colt was born without problems other than the fact that the mare was not keen on him (we had to hold her for him to nurse much to her chagrin) and she had a very, very small bag of milk. He was bouncing around the stall and I delivered the happy news to the owners that they had a healthy colt. We put the mare on milk producing products and monitored the foal.  

On Tuesday evening, the healthy colt started to show neurologic signs of distress. He suddenly could not move his hind end and became stiff legged.  We had the vet out to treat him. Put a tube in his nose for milk, fluids, etc.  By Wednesday morning he continued to go downhill severely. Even with all the intensive care, by 2 p.m. he was non-responsive with swelling on his forehead, mild seizures and laying limp under blankets. I made the follow-up call to all the owners telling them that their sick foal had just taken a much much turn for the worse.  I had just received the bloodwork for the colt and it was an unreal 1,100 white count.  We (the owners and myself) decided after speaking to euthanize him humanely. Craig went up to meet the vet after her next two stops.  

About an hour later, Craig called me to tell me that there might be a glimmer of improvement in this foal.  He had stood him up and instead of being a limp rag he was trying to garner the strength to stand on his own. Well, a good friend and vet of mine once told me, ‘you can always kill them, but you can't bring them back,’ so Craig and I called an audible and waved off the vet for the meantime.  We decided to give supportive care to see where he went. At this point, I had not notified the owners that their colt was in actuality alive and showing small steps of improvement; I did not want to give them false hope. The afternoon wore on and slowly and this strong willed baby improved.  I finally made the call to the much surprised owners that their boy was not only alive but improving. The next morning came around and the colt continued on his way up the ladder of health. The only problem was that he had a mother that had no milk and no interest in being a mother.  She would still fuss if he tried to drink and was not keen on this mother thing at ALL!  She was a very young 3-year-old so she probably had the maturity to reflect that. Her milk was not coming in and she was still showing no interest in this brave little guy. So Craig and I were brainstorming over what to do and I said.. what about Beal Street?  She had the milk of a dairy cow and was a great mother. Craig told me that I was brilliant!! I asked him why it took him so long to realize this fact :) LOL.

I took Samuel down to get Beal Street Blues out of her new field.  I know that they say that humans sometimes attribute their own emotions on horses but this is about as close to depression as I have seen.  Beal Street was standing at the far end of the field, away from the other bitchy young mares that were busy swirling around these two visitors that came into their field.  We walked down to Beal Street and she looked at me with big long tear stained eyes (literally tear stained all the way down her face). Samuel snapped a shank on her and we slowly walked through the field with me having to fend her off from the young maiden mares trying to assert their rank order upon this grand old G1 placed race girl. Samuel walked her from the field on the other side of the farm to the main barn. I drove up in front of him. I got to the barn ahead of the sad older mare and we took the young disinterested mare out of the foal's stall.  We put her on the other side of the barn just in case Beal Street would not take this foal.... keep in mind that Beal Street's foal had died FOUR days prior... The young mare taken out of the stall did not even whinny for her boy once.  She went into her new stall and began eating some leftover grain that was in it.  This proved to me that this mare had the materal instinct of Joan Crawford.

So, Sam gets there with Beal Street.  We get the foal up and decide to give the mare a little tranquilizer just in case she reacted badly. We put a little Vicks in her nostrils, so when she smelled the foal she would not realize that the scent was different.  We walked her into the stall with this little guy and she threw her head up and started whinnying happily at him.  Even through her tranq, she was thrilled to see him and when I say immediately accepted him …it was as immediate as I have ever seen.  We let him take some good slurps and then let her go in the stall.  She went over and happily started eating her fresh dinner without a care in the world.  The tranq was starting to wear off and I was watching carefully.  She turned around to sniff him a couple of times and make sure that he was there. Within 20 minutes she was making piss pot faces at me trying to come in the stall to look at HER boy!!   The colt seemed very responsive to a mother that wanted him.  

At that point, Craig and I decided to take the former mother down to the field to turn her back out with the other mares. When we got back, I wish I had my camera ... Beal Street and HER boy were lying side by side in the stall resting. She had just had a nice dinner and we had found her baby for her so all was well. So, this story of incredible heartbreak on the death of one life that could not be saved despite all of our intensive care efforts has become a story of strength and a mother's love...that of joy and happiness.  As I write this, tears are streaming down my face for the appreciation of the beauty of the horse and the ultimate maternal instinct and drive to love that makes this world a better place.  

The owners are going to race this “miracle baby” and I of course have already fantasized about all the great interviews I could give when he wins the Kentucky Derby. I hope that they come up with a witty name for this colt; something to remind us to never give up; that life is precious and dear and that a mother's love is wide and deep with lots of room to grow.

Kindest regards,
Carrie Brogden
Machmer Hall

Miracle Boy 

The "Miracle Boy"
Photo: Courtesy Carrie Brogden

55 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Majella from Ireland

Thats really nice! It almost made me cry too, these animals are beautiful! Thanks for this Steve, I don't really understand the economic downturn, I'm 15, and I know this is a cliché but that heartlifting story is just what people need right now.

07 Mar 2009 10:01 AM
KimT

REally wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it. According to a book on dog behavior by a well respected behaviorist, dogs can and do experience a range of emotions similar in many ways to humans. So why not horses?

07 Mar 2009 10:14 AM
Wanda

I read this with tears in my eyes. What a nice feel good story, thank you!

07 Mar 2009 10:23 AM
Angelia

Such a heart warming story. I have been in the horse industry for 38 years and only twice have I had such a mare as Beal Street. One mare would not only nurse her foal and that of another mares but also a calf and a goat. The other mare who was as remarkable would even try to mother hen not only us but our children. She was a wonderful "babysitter" until the day she passed. Thank you for the story and reminding me that horses are compassionate people too.

07 Mar 2009 10:42 AM
pg303

oh my.  just beautiful.

07 Mar 2009 10:49 AM
tom kurguz

you've named him already..."miracle boy"

07 Mar 2009 10:52 AM
MRO

Beautiful story. I remember Beal Street Blues from her racing days. Best wishes for mother & son.

07 Mar 2009 10:55 AM
lobieb

Great story that makes you feel good.  It shows that not only humans but animals can love someone who is not theirs with the same love they would give there own.

07 Mar 2009 11:12 AM
Laura

What a beautiful story Steve~thanks so much for posting!

07 Mar 2009 11:34 AM
Speedball

What a heart warming story of a mother's love! Thank you so much for sharing it with us.  This "Miracle Boy" reminds me of Afleet Alex whose mother couldn't feed him, and consequently was bottle fed by the breeder's kids with a beer bottle.  Look where he ended up- a champion who won two classic races!  Maybe this is a sign from above!!  

07 Mar 2009 11:35 AM
Mary Wilia, Honolulu

Tom:  You are absolutely right...the name was given naturally....a variation could easily be "He's A Miracle" or even, "I'm A Miracle".....but I think "Miracle Boy" is just right.

07 Mar 2009 11:44 AM
Karen in Texas

A sweet story. One only has to consider the way horses live in the wild to know they have a sense of family. Thank you for this special post, Steve.

07 Mar 2009 12:03 PM
Cleone

What a lovely story!  That is one lucky colt.  I looked on the Jockey Club's interactive registration online names book and "Miracle Boy" is already in use.  Looks like "Beal's Miracle" is available, though!  I'm sure that's what she thinks he is.  

07 Mar 2009 12:29 PM
horsenut23

Wonderful, heartwarming story! How about"Miracle On Beal Street"?

Good luck to all the connections!

07 Mar 2009 12:49 PM
Ann Taylor

To Carrie -- God bless the brood mares and those who love them. Many thanks for sharing your experience - so well done!

To Steve -- I'm forever your fan, for tons of reasons, but especially for the reasons that connect your soul to horses. Thank you.

07 Mar 2009 1:01 PM
Terri Berwanger

What a great story. And even nicer knowing I got on Beal Street Blues what was ages ago now.

Thanks Steve

Terri

07 Mar 2009 1:01 PM
Cassidy

Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story w/ us.  I like the suggested name from horsenut23!  Sounds like a Derby winner to me....

07 Mar 2009 1:01 PM
TerriV

Wherever there is a horse there is likely to be a miracle.  What a wonderful story!!  I think his name should be Beal's Baby Boy because that's who he is.

07 Mar 2009 1:11 PM
Dona

Thanks Steve for passing this story along. Racing needs more of these stories, not only about the wonderful mare but the caring compassionate people as well. I hope he turns out to be a nice race horse, these connections deserve it.

07 Mar 2009 1:38 PM
Driftin Sage

Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn!  What a great story.  I still have chill bumps.  May God Bless you all!

07 Mar 2009 2:00 PM
KM

great story !

07 Mar 2009 2:23 PM
Jenny C

Wonderful story! Animals always seem to love and accept each other without hesitation.

07 Mar 2009 3:52 PM
Mimi

If only fools and horses carry envy to the present, Beal Street is an angel with hooves.  Good Luck Mother Nature's Son!

07 Mar 2009 4:23 PM
Mary Wilia, Honolulu

Horsenut:

Although your suggested name, "Miracle on Beal Street" is a very fetching name, there are  too many letters...check it out.

Tom:

Sadly, "Miracle Boy" has already been taken (used).....Bummers!!!!

07 Mar 2009 4:28 PM
Susie

How about "Baby Blues" for a name?

07 Mar 2009 5:03 PM
horsenut23

Mary Willia,Honolulu:

Beal Street Miracle?

07 Mar 2009 5:42 PM
gammyp6

Love the name Miracle On Beal Street!! Clever!!! What can I say about Steve that hasn't already been said? Absolutely nothing.

07 Mar 2009 6:40 PM
Paula Higgins

What a great story!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It made my day and I am sick with the flu, despite getting the flu shot (just not for this strain I guess). Animals are GOD's gift to mankind, horses and dogs especially.

07 Mar 2009 7:36 PM
Kate

Such a beautiful story.  A couple names that came to mind right off were:

Saved by Dixie, Miracle in Dixie, (Fairy Godson isn't necessarily something I'd go for generally but she's very much a fairy godmother for this lil guy so I was trying to hint at that.

I'll think of some more.  It's hard working in the many different things you want to celebrate all in one name.  They saved each other, there was a miracle, he came back from near death, he was virtually abandoned in a way but found love in his own fairy godmother.  Hope, new life, ahh it's so hard to honor everything!

07 Mar 2009 8:40 PM
Kate

Ok one more suggestion for now:

Capraesque. (Pronounced Capra-esque obviously)  A little Frank Capra, feel-good, 2nd chance like in It's a Wonderful Life and scrappy David vs. Goliath like in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, that kind of deal.  And it's not taken. :) Feels more like a celebration.

07 Mar 2009 8:57 PM
Karen in Indiana

How about Beal Streets Boy? That story brought tears to my eyes. How wonderful for everyone! Even the mother who didn't care for him got what she wanted.

07 Mar 2009 9:02 PM
ca

I wanted to reply to this earlier but I was working at the equine veterinary clinic where I am employed. This very day a year ago, I was facing a similar situation when one of my mares got into trouble delivering her foal - a dystocia.  I have encountered this scenario many times as part of my job but it is very different when it is your own mare. When I arrived at the clinic, all my workmates were there at the ready which made my tears flow even faster.  That trailer ride was one of the longest I have ever endured but I could see the foal kicking so I knew at that point it was still alive. My mare was put under anesthesia and the foal manipulated into a position where it could be pulled out.  The neonatal crew swung into action and minutes later I heard them all yelling "It's a filly" followed by the filly squealing at the top of her lungs.  Once stable, we took her up to the stall and put her on a mat.  Mom recovered well and joined her about an hour later.  She was the most windswept foal I had seen in a long time but she was bound and determined to stand.  It was touch and go for several days but she never gave me a reason to give up on her.  After a week I was able to take her home and she continued on antibiotics for six weeks as her blood work took forever to come right.  Her hind end strengthened with every day that passed and talk about personality!  Now, a year later, she is a very well built young lady who thinks the world should know who she is.  She looks a lot like her father, Mass Media, and I can only hope that she can emulate him at the track.  Fingers-crossed she doesn't get into any more trouble as I think she has overcome enough to last a lifetime.  Good luck with the colt!!!!!

07 Mar 2009 9:38 PM
dgrayone

I think this was a great story, what a life on the farm !!!! His name has to be : BEAL'S BOY

08 Mar 2009 12:37 AM
merrywriter

Always, always trust your instinct with interspecies communication.  That is what we are here on earth for - to interact and understand one another.

Carrie knew Beal Street Blues needed a colt and Beal Street told her that the cold was HERS with "piss pot" eyes.  Can't get communication any more clear than that.

I vote to name the colt  Miracle on Beal St or MircleonBealStreet. How many characters are allowed?  18?  These fit.

08 Mar 2009 1:19 AM
MonicaV

That was such a wonderfully moving story!  I'm so glad that Beal Street has the new baby and that the new baby has her!  It's these kinds of stories that really make one feel better about everything.  Thanks, Steve.

08 Mar 2009 3:07 AM
MRO

I looked up Tibetan on "pedigreequery". She is a Vindication filly. Hopefully, she will mature with age. She is just a baby herself.

08 Mar 2009 11:14 AM
da3hoss

I am so happy for this mare..I had a mare that would adopt anything at any time...my dog, our barn cat...she would clean them and flip them over to make sure they were clean around the eqars, LOL.

I've bred dogs for 25 yrs and had great mmoms that would take anybody's pups...

I feel bad for the barely 3 year old that was bred obviously at 2....

I feel bad for an old mare that was put in a pasture right after the loss of a foal in a group of nasty, dominant mares that sensed her weakness and vulnerability...

08 Mar 2009 5:12 PM
Lori

Who wouldn't love a beautiful story like this one.  I read somewhere this week that with animals, the capacity to love is greatest in the horse.  This story would go a long way in proving that theory.  

No Blues for Beal gets my vote:)  Thanks for the story!

08 Mar 2009 5:31 PM
Karen2

Thanks for sharing. Animals are amazing creatures and they seem to forever surprise us. I have heard all the "scientific" evidence over the years that horses/dogs don't experience emotions. I don't believe it for a minute. Steve, You are a fabulous on-line friend. I know I can come here and get just what I need everytime. Thank you.

08 Mar 2009 6:29 PM
Audra

Sounds like you saved 2 horses with this story...Beal St. and the colt.  Have to find a way to combine their names....great story...nice to see something positive.

08 Mar 2009 7:49 PM
Gary Peacock

AutoMaBeal....For Whom The Beal Foals....Beal Or No Beal....Mo Beal Ala Mama....Mach Speeder Feeder....

09 Mar 2009 2:02 AM
donna

What a magnificent story of  Thoroughbred love and courage.

09 Mar 2009 8:15 AM
horsenut23

Steve;

Was this the filly that they found out was pg at the race track while in training last year?

09 Mar 2009 9:15 AM
zarvona

 Hi again Steve, great interest story. But, I liked your "The Total Package" article even more, as keeping with the Derby theme. But, your 'sack of potatoes' seems to keep expanding instead of shrinking this time of year. Although, after this coming weekend, I suppose that we'll all be able to shrink our 'sacks' a bit. And, yet, you gave no mention of "Sal the Barbers"’s hot lil turf debut over  1  1/8  in 1:47.59 !!! (as he too is also an early Derby Nominee).

  Nor have I heard any mention yet of a fillies list or article??? , --where, as a fillies tracker also, I was personally impressed with Michael Matz’s trained lil “Magical Affair”’s mdn. run over 1  1/16 in 1:41.30 on the turf!!!--    

09 Mar 2009 12:35 PM
Shirley

Such a beautiful sweet story!

09 Mar 2009 3:00 PM
Jamie

This was a beautiful story, Steve. Thank you for sharing this with us.

09 Mar 2009 3:21 PM
Clearwater Charlie

What a wonderful beginning for the Young Colt & his new mother. Great Story & thanks for sharing. I wish them both a long & Healthy life & may the Young Colt win many races.

11 Mar 2009 12:05 PM
Pamela Sue

Name him MAMA'S BOY!

11 Mar 2009 1:14 PM
Vickie

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. When is the rest of the world going to realize that animals express emotions and that the term "dumb animal" fits more the human animal. As for the name for this grand little guy--why not Miracle Boy? To remind us that miracles still happen.

11 Mar 2009 4:26 PM
Nancy

Thanks for sharing such a great horse story.  Please let us know what his name will be--he'll be my Derby pick for 2012!  

12 Mar 2009 4:27 PM
Tennessee Girl

A beautiful story.  I'd love to name this little fellow:  Life is Beautiful.

12 Mar 2009 8:58 PM
Ragsy

Thanks for such a wonderful love story......

13 Mar 2009 10:56 AM
Zoe

Beal's Baby Blue

15 Mar 2009 12:48 AM
Henry Butler

Beautiful story.  Makes one think animals are more human than humans!

16 Mar 2009 8:52 PM
Candace Jones

What an awesome story!!! Thanks for sharing :)

17 Mar 2009 10:43 AM

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