Vee's tumor came back and required a second surgery, this one had to be done in the hospital. A mass a little larger than a walnut was removed from the area near her left nostril. There were 2 different types of tissue present, both were biopsied and gratefully both were benign. However, the one can be stubborn to get rid of which would explain why it came back after the first surgery. It looks like we finally got it this time. While she has a small deformity on her nose, it's sure not as bad as any of us expected.
Poor mom, she's been such a trooper through all of this and the twins, well, they've been the twins. Wish I had pictures of the mare in the examination shute at the hospital having her surgery with the twins nursing underneath her. We had bets on how long and who would be the first to seek out the lunch wagon. It didn't take Trouble long to decided he needed a little swig of milk to wet his whistle and he was over there figuring out how to get to Vee to nurse. The vet was worried he'd get trapped, but he doesn't know Trouble and his food! Trouble slunk down under the bars and snuggled right up next to mom and began to slurp. Surprise heard that familiar sound and came running looking for her way in. Didn't take her long to join her brother underneath the mare with all three of them in that exam shute all the while the vet is removing the tumor from her nose. What a site! My camera was at home. Who'd a thunk that surgery would include a Kodak moment. They actually nursed a few times while Vee was under the influence.
Right before Region V, Vee coliced and things were tense for a while but she came through it ok and the twin's milk supply didn't seem to get affected by too much. But that night while the vet was there was certainly another twin's moment. I warned Dr Gillette that if I was holding the mare there would be no one to "handle" the twins, silly man, he thought it wouldn't be an issue. So he's putting that tube up the mare's nose and down to her stomach and Surprise is untying his shoes while Trouble is behind him pulling his shirt out. Jack was swatting at them like they were flies to no avail. Another Kodak moment missed!
The twins are officially two months old now. While they're finally about the height of newborns, they look more like older foals. Surprise weighs 141 lbs and Trouble weighs 157. They are shedding out their newborn coat but the replacement coat is still a baby kind of fuzz. Surprise is indeed a true black and Trouble is more the color of his mom, which is a black bay like GS Khochise.
Currently, the twins have been moved to a luxury suite ;-) They were in a pretty small stall 10 x 12 and now they are in a 12 x 24 with it's own paddock (also 12 x 24) . We had to do some juggling to get this accomplished but with the extended stall rest and these hot days more room was a must. The stall has a creep feeder so mom can't commandeer their food not that she doesn't supply the freshest milk bar in town but the kids need to be have their own free choice hay and foal-lac pellets. I didn't think Trouble was ever going to get past being strictly a milk-feed boy but he finally is thanks to that creep feeder.
Not long after the stall rest began, Trouble developed a fungus infection which has spread to all three of them. That small stall, the hot days and unusual humidity has just made it a nightmare to get under control. Hopefully, the move to the larger, airier stall will help with some of this. In the meantime we have been leery to put a temporary brace on Surprise's leg because there are enough concerns about the brace and pressure sores without the complications of fungus growing under the brace so we're holding off.
On the weekend all three horses got a shampoo in the sun to deal with the fungus. It was NOT a pretty sight. We were trying so hard to have the twins not jump around and put any unusual pressure on those soft bones of theirs (which is why we have them on stall rest in the first place) but the fungus things had just gotten to the point a bath was the only way. Well, they did NOT appreciate water. Not water from the hose, water from a sponge, water in any way. And Trouble, being the boy that crawled into the water tub in the paddock the first day they were turned out, you would have thought this would be his thing - but no - it was not his idea and he was having NO PART OF IT! It took 5 of us, would have taken more but we didn't have more and the mare was not the problem. She was a saint! Trouble and Surprise were, well, Trouble and Surprise!! She stood on her hind legs - she's taller than we all thought! And Trouble kicked out with both back legs simultaneously and got Dave on his right and Collen on his left. Both sport pretty fancy bruises. Trouble got a cut on one leg. All 8 of us got a fungus shampoo BUT the fungus is looking better! We're doing another shampoo today - don't know what that will hold- but think we'll not try to keep them quiet. My guess is they'll be a lot less excited than they were for the first one. Here's hoping anyway.
Both twins are getting weekly trims by the vet to help straighten their legs. The combination of the windsweptness in their limbs with the soft bones has not provided the support necessary for them to straighten on their own and so we're starting with this intervention first. Currently, Surprise's legs are responding better than Trouble's. In the beginning there was just so much going on with Surprise that we overlooked some things he needed. From what I understand with his bones still being soft, we have a longer window to be able to fix things so we should be able to get a handle on this. Both foals will be x-rayed all four legs again next week to see how we are progressing and what direction we go next. There is a possibility that Trouble will require braces as well as Surprise.
In the meantime, it looks like Surprise is sound! Even though the bone in her hock is crushed and misshapen. She is currently sound when it was expected that she would never been sound again. What this means for her long term use is still an unknown but it just makes us all the more driven to try and get her the best treatment available to see that she has the best life she possibly can.
So I think that brings us up to date except for maybe a zillion more Trouble and Surprise stories. Hopefully, we will be able to get the MareStare webcam up and running and then you'll be able to watch their antics for yourself. We're waiting on a booster but watch the twins page on our website for the link to appear when their webcam is up and working. It'll be worth the watch. Twin foals are just like other twins, they do some pretty un-horse-like things that are just hilarious!
Also, would like to thank those who have donated to Trouble and Surprise's donation fund. Your help is greatly appreciated!
Both Trouble and Surprise are growing like little weeds. And while they are still smaller than my other foals they are definitely gaining ground. I taped both of them yesterday and they are each 266 pounds. This is the first time that Surprise has weighed the same as her brother. She has always been just a little bit under him in weight although they've gone back and forth on who's the tallest. Currently they are the same height and both are butt high.
They are FINALLY off stall rest. Their first day of freedom was the day of our open house. After we had presented all of the other horses, we brought the twins out to the presentation ring and let them play while we had our picnic.
Getting them to the presentation ring proved to be worthy of a Funniest Home Video clip but, of course, the camera wasn't going then. I had a handler on each horse not knowing what to expect since they had been cooped up so long. Lindsay led Vee and Dave had Trouble. I took Surprise because I knew she would be the naughtiest. She certainly didn't disappoint. All of them were pretty excited to be getting out and seeing all of the people added to the pitch. About half way up to the ring Surprise figured out where we were going and tried to drag me faster and faster to get there anxious to be free She might be little but she’s built like a tank and restraining her was a challenge complicated by the spectators (which translates to I really wanted to knock her on her you know what but couldn’t with an audience!). I put my arm around her neck to help contain her and the little stinker wheeled around and kicked, shaking her head, stomping her feet, clearly voicing her opinion about the applied restraint. She wiggled free but I managed to grab her and she responded by kicking poor Dave with both back feet. All the while, the onlookers laughed and cheered egging her on, a point that was not lost on Sweet Surprise. She nodded her head in recognition of the encouragement and let fly again. Knowing how her little wheels turn, I managed to catch her in mid flight and yanked her naughty little body back where it belonged. Dave took Trouble to the other side of his mother for protection (Dave’s protection not Trouble’s). Surprise pranced the rest of the way acknowledging her fans with a nod here and a snort there. She was quite the little spoiled princess. One of the guests later posted on an MSN forum that the filly should be the one named Trouble. The colt had been quite the little gentleman while she was so very very naughty. All I can say, is she didn't see the first half of the trip and she doesn't live with him, Trouble is definitely his game but Trouble Too would definitely be appropriate for her.
Once loose in the ring they put on quite a show. Poor Vee didn't know which way to run to keep up with them, they were just buzzing around everywhere and the dust was flying. We brought Vee some hay and she immediately forgot about her wild children and went to eating. Those who watch on the webcam know that that is pretty much what Vee does. She eats and eats and eats. The twins ran circles around her, sometimes both going the same direction and sometimes going opposite directions. The trips the opposite direction looked like a game of chicken with a number of close calls. Both proved they are quite adept at roll backs, lead changes and sliding stops. They also proved that all that time on stall rest didn't really have a lot of resting!! They spent nearly 20 minutes running around entertaining the crowd. They are definitely quite the hams. Even after they did quiet down if someone came up with a camera, they were promptly greeted with both twins in their face followed by another exhibition of the exuberance for life. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ll include one from the open house (above).
All of the exertion at the open house should have rendered Surprise lame but that was not the case. With her crushed hock, the vets have predicted that she would never be sound again but Surprise doesn’t believe in doing the predictable. She was the day of the open house and is still today sound. While you can feel the abnormality in the shape of that bone, she doesn’t let it stop her from doing anything. Only time will tell how it turns out but I’m pretty darn sure she’s going to live life on her terms.
Very soon now, the twins will be six months old. It’s hard to imagine that much time has gone by but it has. I’d guess that they are about two-thirds the size of normal foals their age and that means they’ve gained some serious ground. They started off half the size of normal foals.
They still have some issues with their legs and we’re working on them with regular corrective trimming. The angular limb deformities are much better but not totally corrected. It’s a slow process and must be done every two to three weeks. All I can say is they’ll be pretty darn broke when we’re done with all of this stuff. Trouble is insecure about having his feet rasped and prefers to be pushed up next to the wall for support. There he stands quietly. If we try to do him in the middle of the stall, it’s a wrestling match. Surprise is the opposite. She feels trapped next to the wall and fights like a banshee but is perfectly content to stand quietly in the middle of the stall. It amazes me sometimes how alike they are and yet how different they are.
As much as they have grown, I can still go sit with them in the stall or in the field and have them come up and lay down next to me, only it’s a little difficult to have their heads in my lap. One at a time, it works but they fight over which one. The loser will normally get back up and untie my shoes or steal my hat. Anything for attention. They miss all the company they used to get and run to greet any visitors. Trouble has buried his head into the chests of a couple of visitors. I think he’s working on finding someone who’ll give him more attention than I have. They even run to greet the cars driving by on the road, the mail lady, etc. Anyone passing by our farm, they think wants to see them.
Since they’ve had so many issues along the way that indicate their immune systems have been taxed, we’ve decided to let Vee begin the weaning process for us. That way they won’t get quite so stressed. I think the hardest part will be weaning them from each over. They will continue to be on the webcam through this process.
The story behind the second photo was Trouble wouldn't leave my hat alone, so I put it on his head. He played with it for quiet a while shaking his head adjusting the position and quit when it settled over one ear like this. Then he went back to bugging me and messing with my rake. And, of course, Surprise isn't one to be left out of the action. So there you have it! Typical Trouble and Suprise.