February 15, 2021

Baby Aeres' Birth Story

I didn't remember I had these, but I found the pictures I took at Aeres' birth last night! So it seems fitting to share the wild story of that night to accompany them. This blog was around at the time, but I've never written about it before.

On Thursday, June 9, 2011 at almost 8pm, Nick and I had just finished dinner when my phone rang. It was Lisa, Connor's breeder, asking if I would come stay at her house that night because a maiden mare was close to foaling, and her dad was having a medical emergency several states away. She said she didn't think the mare was going to go that night, but my presence would make her feel better, especially since it was Athanasia's first time and that mare means so much to her.

(Side note: I had only known Lisa for a year at that point and it would be another half year after that before I would own one of her ponies, but I was tickled she trusted me enough to call!)

But mares being mares, of course she foaled that night, and that's the story of how I came to be at Aeres' birth.

Normally she doesn't foal on shavings but hopefully you understand the crazy circumstances around this birth, nothing was ideal

It was a hot night. She foaled close to midnight. I still remember giving Lisa the play-by-play over the phone (no video calls then!) and how excited she was that she was black, before we knew if it was a filly or a colt.

Welcome to the world, Baby Aeres!

I had attended one birth before, in high school, when the Thoroughbred people I worked for had a mare go at 6am on a school day. When my mom dropped me off at the office late for school that day, the office staff asked why I was tardy, and my mom said "We saw the birth of a baby horse this morning and they lost both the mom and baby" and the office ladies were like "Ohhh....ohhhh...just...go to class." It was...extremely traumatic.

So Aeres was my first (and to this day, only!) time attending a successful live birth. Despite my inexperience, I knew theoretically what was supposed to happen, and it still made Lisa feel good just to have a horse person there at all.

Athanasia gave her a look right after she was born like, "Oh hey, where did you come from?"

She stood fairly quickly, after a few attempts and falls.

First time on those legs that would carry me a decade later!

But unfortunately, she WOULD. NOT. NURSE. And mama, being new to this, wasn't helping. We had so many fits and starts. Baby Aeres would get close to the milk bar and Athanasia would walk away, or the baby would try to nurse in the wrong spot, or baby would get tired and just give up and lay down for a bit. After I let them try to figure it out on their own for a while, I started trying to gently guide her to the right place, but she still wouldn't latch.

"Feed me"

By this point, it was well past 2 in the morning, I was supposed to be at work at 8am, and oh yeah, I was leaving later that day for my wedding reception in my hometown (we had eloped in Italy six months prior and were throwing a big party that weekend at my family friend's winery). 

All that said, none of that mattered in the moment and I'd do it again in a heartbeat: I wasn't going to leave without knowing that baby nursed. I was in constant contact with Lisa, and mostly pulled an all-nighter, besides a quick half-hour power nap in an armchair at one point.

Starting to dry off and show that gorgeous color

At 6am, Lisa had a vet on the way, and since her non-horsey boys were home to meet the vet, she told me to go home. 

I went straight to my workplace and pulled up still in my shorts and t-shirt I wore all night, right as my (thankfully very cool) boss was walking in at 7:45am. "Heyyyyyyyyyy Jim," I said, "I just pulled an all-nighter birthing a baby pony, do you mind if I go home and shower real quick?" I still remember the bemused look on his face when he said, "You cannot make that up, go."

In the end, everything ended up fine. She did eventually nurse, and she developed into a healthy little foal that two months later would take me waterskiing across a parking lot when a Blackhawk helicopter flew low over a Welsh show. (Our main showgrounds is right next to a military base, they have to get used to that!)

Me and this punk, we have history

And then not quite a decade later she'd come back to Lisa at exactly the right time to be my temporary ride. She's taught me so much, and definitely shaped my idea of what I'd like out of my next riding horse. But more on that in a future post!


  1. Replies
    1. It really is. Everything worked out so well!

  2. What a cool story! I had no idea you had all those experiences with her as a baby :)

    1. Yeah! I can't say I forgot about it, but aside from a "I was there when she was born" flitting through my brain here and there, I haven't really thought about that birth in many years. But it was cool, and is even cooler that she came back into my life all these years later!

  3. Great photos! What a beautiful baby she was.

    1. She really was! Lisa was so excited. There are only two mares related to this stallion she used in the US, and you're looking at them in these pictures.

  4. I just love this mare. She is freaking adorable. I love that you were there for all of that! How cool.

  5. I think it's super cool to be riding a horse you met at birth!

  6. I mean... if that's not fate.... Connor really wants a sister. He told me.

    1. A daughter of Aeres would make a great sister for Connor too! :-)

  7. What an awesome history you have with Aeres! Thank you for sharing.

  8. Such a cool story, and she was an ADORABLE bebeh!