The holidays are here, and Equitopia caregivers want to share a heartwarming story of their miraculous orphan colt called Noël, who was born May 30, 2018, in Abcoude, The Netherlands, without an eye and a hanging ear, and just four weeks later lost his mom to a fatal intestinal rotation (colic). But his courage and tenacity have stood as tall as his famous 17.1 hand sire: Totilas.
“He had a rough start into life,” says his human mom, Esther Berger, who owns the equestrian instructional facility, Equi-Spirit, where Noël and his foster mom (and granddam), Esther’s beloved retired show mare, April, call home. “The attempts to save this brave little man brought a lot of stress and worries to those close to him.”
“Noël was alone with one eye in only his second month of life, and a lot of people worked very hard behind the scenes to make sure he stayed alive,” Esther said. “He went to a clinic in Belgium, where a foster mother was promised to him, but it didn’t work out.”
Another solution had to be found. Miraculously, it came from within the colt’s own ‘family.’ Esther still had April, the Dutch mare who foaled Noël’s late mom. Maybe she saw or smelled something that reminded her of her filly from long ago, or just innate broodmare compassion: April accepted the leggy colt with three white socks and a crooked blaze as her own.
“Esther is the absolute best possible caregiver a horse can wish for, especially when the horse is in need,” says Equitopia founder, Caroline Hegarty, in California, where the Fairfield and Thornton Equitopia Learning Centers are based. “She was arranging clinics and managing the Equitopia Learning Center in Holland, overseeing 20 horses on her farm, and keeping a ‘normal’ job, while never missing a beat pouring love and energy into saving that little one.”
Equitopia caretakers, who represent an international network of trainers, practitioners and veterans in equine rehabilitation, already see Noël as the best gift of the season, and the New Year’s undisputed champion against all odds.
“Noël still has more stories to tell,” Esther and Caroline believe. “He has a lot to teach children, and horse people, about how it’s okay to be different. He doesn’t know he’s ‘missing’ an eye, or doesn’t have a ‘pretty’ ear. He just wants to make friends and feel safe.”
In their eyes Noël is already a champion and others who agree have launched a GoFundMe page to offset the little colt’s big veterinary bills, https://www.gofundme.com/help-save-noells-life.