by Mary Jean Wall
The little guy must have felt like a foundling.
He was alone. He was confused. He’d been taken from his birth mother in late February after she kicked at him every time he tried to nurse.
Then, a most wonderful love story began unfolding. A Thoroughbred mare, Maizelle, who had lost her foal at birth two days previously was shown to the little guy’s stall at Machmer Hall Farm near Paris.
To the amazement of many, the two bonded instantly.
“She walked in and she was like, ‘Oh, you found him. Great,’” said Carrie Brogden, recounting how the substitute mother appeared to think the new foal was her own — a baby she never really saw because it died during its birth.
Her foal had died after Maizelle’s blood pressure dropped during foaling. Deprived of oxygen, the foal was undergoing seizures and not breathing when it emerged.
She’d been looking for her foal since then, nickering and wondering where it went. When she was shown the new baby she fell instantly in love.
So did the baby, who wears his love on his forehead for all to see. His white facial marking looks nearly like a heart with a bite taken out of the upper left corner: perhaps a reminder of the bite his birth mother took out of his own heart when she rejected him.
Mother and adopted son, who are both of the same chestnut (reddish) color, have been doing great since they were paired. The colt’s real mother is also doing fine but without a foal by her side — which seems to be the way she wants it.
“In 17 years she’s the only mare we’ve dealt with that has flat out rejected her foal to where we had to remove the foal for its safety,” said Brogden. She and her husband, Craig Brogden, are part-owners of Machmer Hall, where about 90 mares will give birth this year. The principal farm owner is Carrie’s mother, Sandra Fubini.
The foal is a son of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom. His birth mother is A Taste of Red, a 5-year-old daughter of Street Boss bred in Canada who did not race.
His adoptive mother is 15-year-old Maizelle, a stakes-winner sired by Seeking the Gold and once trained by Todd Pletcher.
Machmer Hall bought Maizelle in a partnership at Keeneland, following her track career. The foal that Maizelle lost at birth was sired by Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and Eclipse champion Runhappy.
If this mélange of family names seems like a complicated maze it wasn’t to Maizelle. She only wanted something to mother. Maizelle had been moping like a lost soul after giving birth on a Saturday evening.
This is an excerpt of an article from the Lexington Herald-Leader, re-printed with permission. Click to Read the full article.
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