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Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015

Irreplaceable 'Baby': Family saves life of dying colt

Sunday, August 26, 2012

(Photo)
Chase Cozart gives "Baby" a hug when Baby was 2 months old.
(Submitted photo)
A fan of the T-G's reader-submitted photo pages shared a story last week fit for any person fond of a horse.

Teresa Cozart of Wheel had been thinking of submitting a particular photo for some time.

"I track the reader submitted photos on the T-G website all the time, and I thought, 'You know what, I am going to submit a photo,'" said Teresa. "People love this photo. Every time anyone walks by my desk at work they comment on it so I figured why not share it."

Attention-grabber

Teresa was referring to a photo of her son Chase hugging a colt affectionately called "Baby." The family accidentally, if you will, acquired Baby about four years ago. At the time, Baby was near death.

Baby's mama, a spotted saddle horse mare, stopped producing milk a few weeks after giving birth to the colt. This, Cozart explained, is highly unusual compared to normal circumstances where a mare is able to nurse her foal for about six months.

The owner of the mare had to separate the mother and colt, however, the separation led to more issues.

"Within a month, both were about to die," Teresa said. "The mare quit eating so she was starving to death, too. All they did was mourn for each other."

Going home

The owner had to find a place for the foal to live in order to restore the mare's health. He called upon the owner of the colt's father. Knowing it was a long shot, the transfer took place anyway. Days later, the owner of the stud, who coincidentally was a good friend of Teresa's, realized she too was helpless. She couldn't get the colt to take a bottle.

"We pulled up to her house by chance and we had our trailer with us," Cozart explained. "My friend said, 'What are we going to do?' She asked if we would take the colt and give it a try. Well, I'm a sucker for anything that needs nourishment and everyone knows this so we took him home."

At the time, Baby was so small Teresa's husband was able to pick him up like a calf. They put him in their dog pen outside their home and even the three-foot-tall walls around the pen's perimeter seemed to tower over the youngster.

Summer's work

Teresa, a teacher at Community School in Unionville, was off for the summer. Nursing the colt back to health would be her summer project, she thought.

"I thought to myself, 'what would a mom do to get her baby to eat?'"

She brushed her, over and over again. She touched him, over and over again. She loved him.

"I mean that is what moms do," she said. "We love on our children when they need us."

Love does the job

(Photo)
Baby turned out to be a great trail horse. Chase, right, enjoyed riding him until he outgrew the small horse.
(Submitted photo)
Much to Teresa's amazement, her solution worked. Baby soon began eating small amounts of feed containing a milk supplement. About a month later, the family breathed a sigh of relief, knowing they were out of the woods.

"He was so tiny when we got him that he could have would under a three-foot bar easily ... We worked really hard to keep him from dying," she said.

Eventually, Teresa's son Chase, 9 at the time, broke the fiesty young colt. He turned out to be an exceptional trail horse. Teresa praised her young son, who's been around horses his entire life, for being able to patiently and lovingly work with Baby.

Moving on

Unfortunately, about a year ago Baby was sold to another family in Columbia.

"The man who bought him has little grandchildren who ride him all the time," she said. "We hated to sell him but he was just too small."

Teresa said the Cozarts have not yet visited Baby at his new home, but hope to be able to do so in the future.

"If we went now, I'm afraid I'd want to take him home," she laughed.

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