I’ve recounted the story of 20 mares and 5 weanlings arriving on the farm in November 2005 countless times and of having an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, anxiety, and a wish to go back and do it differently. However, from that day forward, I never questioned my ability to figure things out as they happened, even if I had to go above and beyond and put my own happiness and health on the back burner.
That’s where this story starts and ends. My first foaling season, with myself and 1 other employee, went surprisingly well. 36 foals, 24 colts, 12 fillies – all “healthy” and no deaths. In hindsight it seemed easy and reproducible. It definitely didn’t feel that way from May 11-14th when I did not get a minute of sleep. Those 4 days I experienced every emotion I have ever had up to that point and to this date; from joy, sadness, tears, hysterical laughter, bone chilling exhaustion, a high I have only felt three times since, surprise, trust, contempt and relief.
May 11th began just like all the other days of 2006. Up early, shower, breakfast, day of chores, maybe lunch if given a chance and more chores. However, I wasn’t prepared for the onslaught of foals, mares to be bred, sick foals and that rare moment when you realize you are doing exactly what you are destined to do.
From the first mare breaking her water just before 9am to my first maiden dystocia later that night, spending multiple hours covered in amniotic fluid and blood, nursing a sick foal to health, 3 more foalings, getting kicked twice by the same maiden mare (clearly my fault the second time), skipping meals, hallucinating, and finally falling asleep late on May 14th. Not what I expected when I woke up May 11th but definitely a period of time that remains vivid and ensconced in memory. It is a collection of highs and lows that permeate my being and a constant reminder of why I love the horses and this business. It secured my place here at Diamond Creek and continues to drive what we do within the borders of our farm and the industry.
From the desk of Adam Bowden
Diamond Creek President