Kylie Whiteside

A Broodmare Takes on Two

Doug and Sherry Webster

Misty, Gracie and Dolly ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Doug and Sherry Webster of Quesnel, BC run a cow/calf operation on Sunnyside Ranch, a 1400 acre family owned operation established in 1891.  As far back as Doug can remember the Webster’s have raised horses that carry the original heart brand.  A good hand, Doug trains horses for use on the ranch and outside sales, as well as a few that daughter Racheal barrel races.  The Webster stock bloodlines include Two Eyed Jack, Wright a Chex and Peppy San Badger.

Doug was born and raised on the ranch and after living in town for the first eight years of their marriage, the Webster’s returned to the ranch in 1989 when Doug’s father was diagnosed with cancer.

“This is where Doug’s heart is” Sherry says.

Doug and Sherry Webster ~ Gordon Perry photo

Doug and Sherry Webster ~ Gordon Perry photo

This unusual story began on May 25th when Sherry walked up to the top field to check on their band of broodmares and saw what she at first thought was a set of twins nursing on their mother.

Sherry posted a picture on her facebook page showing a grey mare with a sorrel foal nursing on one side and a dark colored foal nursing on the other side. Curious after seeing the pictures of Misty and the two foals, I asked Sherry to tell me their story.

“It’s a hard story to tell, because we are not too sure what happened. Misty has always been the mother hen of the broodmares. Whenever a mare foals, she is usually hanging around, checking things out and acting protective. I walked up on the evening of May 25th to check on the mares and I saw two new babies suckling on Misty. At first I did think they were twins, but something didn’t seem right. On further examination, I realized a younger mare Katy (first time mama) had foaled, but she was showing no interest in either of the two foals.

Doug and I brought them down and separated them, hoping Katy would take hers. We tried for three days and she fought the whole three days! Katy had lost an eye as a yearling, and every time that filly came up on her blind side, she would kick it. We spent three days twitching her and trying other methods to get Katy to accept her filly, but with no success. Katy wanted nothing to with her foal. Doug decided to see if Misty would take the foal back and she was warmly accepted. The two fillies also seem to share a special bond, as they are inseparable.”

Gracie and Dolly . ~ Photo by Sherry Webster

Following mom’s example, Gracie and Dolly check out the feed trough. ~ Photo by Sherry Webster

“The fillies really love their grain! They have separation anxiety when they are apart from each other. You know when a foal becomes separated from their mama, how they whinny? It’s the same way with these two girls. One day the two of them got separated from each other in the barn, was it ever funny! I think we will have our hands full with these two!”

Sometimes a maiden mare will reject a foal, especially if a more dominant mare attempts to “steal” the newborn. Katy may have been confused by the foaling process and didn’t have time to develop her maternal instincts before Misty took over. No matter what caused the situation, the combined family of three seem healthy and happy, an outcome the Webster’s are grateful for.

Daughter Racheal poses with the extended family ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Daughter Racheal poses with the extended family ~ Robyn Louise Photography

“Smiles” for the camera ~ Robyn Louise Photography

“Smiles” for the camera ~ Robyn Louise Photography

Comments

  1. Lisa Robinson says

    Nice article and pictures!

  2. Iris Lorenz says

    Beautiful story and most beautiful pictures of the horses and your daughter.!

  3. What a beautiful story! It’s always great to have a mother hen in the herd. We have an older mare that come weaning time, if she is one of the last ones to be weaned, she’ll nurse whichever foals don’t have their mama there. lol. Also neat to see this story is close to home as well, we are from 150 Mile House. Usually the stories you hear are from far away. :)

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