For about 2 years I have had baby fever. The kind that makes you think about it all the time and dream about what the future looks like - but for me this baby has 4 legs and is a horse.
Growing up in the country and being around rodeo since we could crawl, horses have always been a huge part of our lives. Therefore its no surprise, that my husband, Kodie and I have dreamed of raising and training our own horses to compete in rodeo for some time.
Our whirlwind experience of “motherhood” kicked off over 2 years ago. It all started when I decided to breed my good mare, Sister. Sister has been my rock over the years, becoming my main horse from the time I was 11 years old all the way until my junior year of college. She taught me how to win and how to love rodeo.
When I decided to breed Sister, I chose a “stud” to compliment both the abilities she possessed and those she lacked. For instance, Sister is a shorter mare so we selected a stud that was a bit taller, hoping the baby would pick up some of those traits.
However, just like human conception, challenges do exist and for us a bit of heartbreak followed. For the first year, which included many breeding attempts, we struggled get a viable life form. I was so excited to expand Sister’s lineage and have her become a mother, that the setbacks hit me hard. But as Sister and I had learned in competition over the years, challenges happen and you must maintain conviction and vision that things can improve.
In year 2 we finally got a viable life form, with a confirmed heartbeat at 45 days and 90 days after conception. But after all the checking and hoping, the baby was born 4 weeks early. Sadly the little one had the mother’s “bag” still over its head and didn't survive the birthing process.
Heartbreak is an understatement. I cried for 2 days, taking over 3 months to finally feel like myself.
In 2021 we chose a different stallion, figuring a change could do us good. I changed vets as well and managed to get my hopes back up. After 3 weeks of exercising Sister (being fit is a key in good breeding season) I took her to the vet for the first check up to see how she looked and what a timeline would look like to bred her. A short few weeks later she was bred and amazingly we had a heartbeat.
This time my superstitions, as well as worry went into overdrive. I had an ultrasound to confirm a heartbeat at 45, 90, and 120 days post conception. Everything looked good...now it was time to play the waiting game and stay positive.
Sister’s due date was February 10th, 2022. 30 days prior, I was checking on her every day to see how she was progressing to see if the baby was going to come early or even just to calm my nerves. Well, she didn’t come early, and she didn’t even come on time.
February 10th came and went, and then February 11th and finally on February 16th she finally looked like she was ready. After coming back to the house after a quick bite to eat, my husband and I found Sister in the middle of labor. After about 15 minutes, her new baby arrived. We stood there as Sister became a mother and cleaned off her newborn laying there in the grass. It was a moment of pure joy and glee for me; after years of failed attempts we finally had a descendant of my favorite horse in the world.
We named her Paluma, a word Aboriginal Australians use to refer to Thunder.
And like her name, she has develop quite the sassy and fearless personality, willing to run with reckless abandon around the ranch, worrying both her moms. But at this point, I'm not sure I would expect anything less.
The path to where I am today isn’t one I would have chosen if I could seen into the future, but then again it makes me appreciate Paluma that much more. She is precious and a true gift.