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The Gift of Life

Filed under: Current Articles,Featured |     

Eloise – Winning A Latte (name pending) – was rejected by her mother at birth.

An unlikely pairing of a 31-year-old mare and a rejected newborn foal breathed new life into 4K Farm and Ranch.

By Delores Kuhlwein

“The two most important days in life are the day you born and the day you discover the reason why.” – Mark Twain.

31-year-old ApHC mare Te’s Carmel Kiss had held some very important jobs in her long life. She was Trainer Kristine Bowker’s first breed show horse back in the day: a beautiful 1993 Palomino Appaloosa by Cross Your Te and out of Fly Vandy Joelette.

Then when Kristine’s daughter, Kyrah Bowker, was ready to start riding and showing at the age of four, “Paris” helped to show her the ropes and keep her safe.

Later Paris had two foals, but the babies were very large, so Kristine stopped breeding her since she didn’t want to lose her.  The cherished mare therefore spent her days roaming at will at the 4K Farm and Ranch in Moriarty, New Mexico.

“She’s our wandering matriarch,” explains Kristine.  “I let her have free roam of the farm, and she doesn’t have any teeth left, but she tries to eat grass and tries to be a normal horse – she lives on Triple Crown Senior.”

Then on April 2, 2024, Paris’ path began to change.

The day was also Kyrah’s 16th birthday, and their much-anticipated baby by FM Cottonwood out of Hava Iced Java (SG Frozen Enterprise x Java Light) arrived – a beautiful, red dun filly named “Eloise.” The birth process had gone fabulously, and everyone was healthy.

But the Bowker’s joy was short lived, as they watched the recipient mare reject the baby.

“She did not like having a baby around, so we tried about seven hours of constant care to keep the baby alive,” explains Kyrah.

They attempted everything under the sun, including chemically inducing labor again to get mom to like her baby, to no avail.  “We decided we were done holding down the mare so Eloise could nurse,” Kyrah says.  “So we sent Mom home, and we took over the care of Eloise, and we eventually got her on a bottle.”

At three days old, Eloise’s only buddy was a stuffed horse to cuddle with, so the Bowkers also decided she really needed a companion.

Enter the barn matriarch Paris, who was immediately happy to have a baby.  “I’m pretty sure it’s the reason she’s alive; she knew she was needed,” says Kristine.

Not only was the senior mare content and happy to be a mom, but she began to let the baby nurse.  The excitement of the unlikely pairing of the elderly mare with the orphan foal was tangible throughout 4K Farm and Ranch. “Everyone in the barn is just so excited!” says Kristine.

However, Kristine and Kyrah knew the senior mare likely would not produce enough milk, and the round-the-clock feeding continued.

The physical burden of getting up every hour to feed her with the bottle for six straight days began to take its toll, however. Though friends suggested giving her a bucket, Eloise refused that method entirely.  “She was very particular,” Kristine says.  “She wanted to drink from a nipple and that was it.”

An igloo cooler with a nipple on it and milk replacement replenished every 12 hours was the answer, and Eloise began to fill out and blossom.  “She loves it and she’s growing like crazy,” says Kyrah.  Even though orphans can get very sassy, says Kristine, Eloise is kind and sweet, with a very fun character – and her red dun color, adds Kyrah, gives her “just a little sass.”

Today, the sight of the graying mare, full of life and in her element, with a bald-faced, healthy baby at her side, is a spectacle to behold. Everyone, including the horses nearby, stop to watch the beautiful sight of the two horses as they gallop by – both given a second chance to enjoy life at its fullest.

Paris and Eloise are a sight to behold for humans and horses alike at 4K Farm and Ranch.

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