Part two of Celise and Ceasar’s story.
On 5.28.20 Celise gave birth to Ceasar,
2,5 months before her second birthday.
The gestation period for a horse is an average of 11 months, so she became pregnant when she was just 9.5 months old.
This is the youngest we’ve ever recorded and most mares who give birth before they are 2 are not succesful; they often die during the birthing process. We have seen several heartbreaking cases, where the foal got stuck and both mare and foal perished.
Even when they birth successfully, the foals are often too small to make it. We’ve found several premature foals who didn’t make it, and also we rescued one in 2018 who was abandoned and only 33 pounds. His name was Gideon, and if you follow us, you already know we nursed him to become a happy healthy horse.
The sad cases we’ve seen over the many years are completely natural and part of being wild. It happens in all herds and they happened before we started our pzp program. (Just in case any anti pzp people start the usual…)
Another risk with the mares that give birth too young is that even if all those risk factors go right, these maiden mares who are still babies themselves, do not know how to nurse the foal, so it could die from lack of colostrum, which is the important first milk they have to have within 6 hours of birth.
But no worries, this story is not a sad one. Luckily for both Celise and Ceasar, grandma Celeste immediately took charge and was teaching Celise how to nurse Ceasar, while in the mean time letting him nurse from her! Grandma Celeste still had Celise’s younger sister Cezanne with her, who she immediately quit nursing, so that she could nurse Ceasar. She knew Cezanne would be fine without the milk, but Ceasar wouldn’t.
This picture shows the formation they were always in, grandma in front, Ceasar with her, Celise on the other side of Ceasar and Cezanne in the middle but last. Ceasar was always sandwiched within. They all doted on him and worried about him all the time. Even in all of our years of watching wild horses, this was very special. We have a most adorable video to show you next. (Not sure why we cannot post a video and picture at the same time)
People were often confused about who’s foal he was, because Ceasar would nurse from both mares. But we saw him born out of Celise, so this is a real life story of how big wild horse hearts are.
Picture by SRWHMG Photographer Rick Blandford.