Our Summer Surprise!

One July Sunday, when our equine director was checking the horses before she left for the day, she noticed something unusual. Rose, a relatively new horse to the barn, was displaying a few typical signs of pregnancy.

Could this be possible, Jinene thought, counting the months since Rose had arrived from Horses Deserve a Second Chance, an organization that finds homes for auction and slaughter-bound horses. She quickly called our vet and CEO telling them what she suspected. The next day, sure enough, the vet confirmed the news! The baby was kicking and Rose was going to deliver in the next three to four weeks!

“This was the farthest thing from our minds!” said Lynnette, CEO, explaining the shock she and everyone felt. The news reverberated throughout our Fieldstone family, and was greeted with dropped jaws and high-pitched screeches. It was as if everyone’s horse was having a baby!

Fortunately, Jinene had bred horses early in her career, as had other staff members. Quickly, they made a plan. Rose would foal at Fieldstone Farm, where she was comfortable and where we could provide her with a double-wide stall and personal pasture space. We assigned a watch team to check on her in the pasture at night – a time when most horses typically give birth.

You could feel the excitement in the barn. Students were full of questions and giddy anticipation. Staff and volunteers formed a “baby committee” to help prepare for the arrival. They scurried about decorating Rose’s stall with streamers and “congratulations” signs. And they also hung curtains on the stall doors and set up limited viewing hours to give Rose privacy after she foaled.

“We wanted everyone to share in the excitement and joy of having a baby,” said Jinene, “but also we did not want to interfere with the mom and baby bonding.”

Everyone was counting the days, jotting down their guesses as to the date of birth, weight and color, and they were even giving name suggestions. Then at 1 a.m. on August 5, when Lynnette was on “baby watch," she drove down to the pasture, and saw Rose lying down in the distance. Could it be? She jumped out of her car, blood pumping and ran across the pasture to get a better look. And there she saw Rose’s foal, an adorable little creature still wet and lying on her side next to her mama!

“It looked like she had been born very recently,” said Lynnette, who was so excited to be the first to see this new baby. “She was so cute and little, but big at the same time,” she said remarking how surprising it is that a foal with those long legs could be all scrunched up in Rose’s belly.

Watching the baby stand for the first time was thrilling. She would try to gather her lanky legs, and slowly push up, only to fall down again. This went on for nearly half an hour until, “Ta Da,” she was up. Soon after, she nursed for the first time. Once they were both settled at about 3 a.m., Jinene gathered up the baby in her arms, and the barn team led Rose to their stall to rest while the team started spreading the good news!

Since that day, baby and Rose have thrived. “She is such a good mom,” says Jinene explaining that clearly Rose had done this before. The staff and volunteers voted to aptly name the baby “Summer’s Surprise” at the suggestion of Winni, a longtime instructor at the farm. We call her "Summer" for short.

Summer is gentle and extremely social and curious. Students love to peek in on her and watch her in the pasture. And she nickers every morning when Jinene walks into the barn.

“It’s been so uplifting to everyone,” says Lynnette, explaining how chatter can be heard every day about how sweet Rose and Summer are.