From the Foaling Barn

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In Memory of BH Song and Dance

Four days after Jodie's death, her stablemate, BH Song And Dance gave birth to a beautiful Gunner colt, her sixteenth foal, at 10:15 PM. The labor was quick and the delivery easy. BH rested for a few minutes, then stood, dropping her placenta easily. Like an old pro, she coaxed her foal to stand and had him nursing vigorously within an hour. She looked wonderful and so did the foal. So after watching to make sure the colt was nursing consistently, around one we went back to the house and went to bed. At five that morning I got up and as I walked toward the kitchen, I glanced at the TV screen which was tuned to our foaling channel. The foal was asleep and all looked peaceful, until I saw BH's leg. She was down and something was obviously wrong. Still in my pajamas I raced down to the barn and found BH, standing now, but sopping wet, and trembling. I grabbed some Banamine, gave it to her, then began walking her, with foal following up and down the aisle of the barn, while I called the vet on call. Dr. Megan said she'd. be there as soon as possible. I also called our regular vet, Brian, who was due at the barn at seven to ultrasound another mare. When Megan arrived, she checked BH's vital signs, which were normal except for an elevated heartbeat. But when she palpated BH, she found a sizeable mass in her abdomen. Brian arrived and he, too, palpated BH, but was unable to determine the cause of the mass. He said it was impossible to know what the cause of her distress was without exploratory surgery. I thought a 23 year-old mare who had just given birth, and who had been in distress for an unknown amount of time, was a poor candidate for surgery. When I rejected surgery, Brian suggested we move her to the clinic for observation and supportive care. He said occasionally, after foaling internal organs can get displaced and with time and rest they can right themselves.

So once again, we made a sad pilgrimage to the vet clinic, to leave a beloved mare and foal in the hands of the vets. I was not hopeful, and within in hours BH began to decline precipitously. Finally, Brian called and said that she had crashed, her heartrate was skyrocketing. I wanted to come down to be with her, but he said there wasn't time, and they were worried about her falling on the foal. So, I said, yes, and I never saw my little mare again, to my great regret.

BH was a wonder--a small, little mare with great heart and grit. Her sire was Be Aech Enterprise and her dam was Melody Jac. Scott McCutcheon bought her from the late, great horseman Bill Horn when she was three. He claims she was so high-strung, he couldn't catch her in her stall til she was five. Nevertheless, Scott and BH had great success together, culminating in winning the Open Championship at the NRHA Derby. When BH retired from the showring, she was just as successful as a broodmare. Of her sixteen foals, all but one of perfomance age were money earners. Her offspring's earnings are over $110,000 and still counting. Her foals have gone on to be finalists at the NRHA Futurity, Derby and the NRBC.
I'm fortunate to still own four of her foals, a four year-old stallion by Gunner, a three year-old mare by Einstein, and yearling and weanling colts by Gunner.

At 23, BH looked her age. She was small, and fine-boned, and when she was pregnant, her belly was enormous. But she held her own in the pasture full of much bigger and mobile mares, and she was a tough disciplinarian with her foals, keeping close watch on them. In one sense, though I regret the pain she suffered in her last hours, her death was in keeping with her life. She died giving birth, and until the very end she nursed and watched over her foal.


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