When I was teenager, I dreamed of getting a foal from my riding horse. I pored over magazines trying to find the perfect mate for my sport horse mare Carla Candida (aka Karrie). I finally chose a handsome bay Thoroughbred named Coup de Des. Then the waiting began.
Although I was in college in Toronto by then, a three-hour drive from Port Elgin, I came home every weekend to be with Karrie as her pregnancy progressed.
On the morning of June 1, 1989, I was given an amazing gift, two actually – Feret, a lanky chestnut colt with three white socks and a white blaze, and Pevers, a dark bay colt with a white heel and a few white hairs on his forehead.
Feret weighed in around 60 pounds and Pevers a mere 30 pounds. Alarmingly, at one-day-old, they each developed a brain infection that sapped all their energy. They lay in their stall, covered with blankets, too weak to stand and their heads folded back along their withers. The situation looked bleak. But, with the help of many talented local vets, they started to come around. I took a week off from my summer job to hand-milk Karrie and bottle-feed the boys every few hours.
As their strength grew, so did their personalities. Feret was the bold, yet skittish one and Pevers was laid back and playful. The rarity of equine twins made them rather famous and they appeared in local newspapers and even on the national news. When one reporter asked what I was going to do with them, I replied, “Keep them forever!”
We played all through the summer. I taught them to lead and to get on the trailer. Feret was difficult and I required extra help. But when Pevers refused, I picked him up and carried him on. Problem solving was always so much easier with him. When fall came, I went back to college, but returned home every weekend and on holidays.
The boys never grew to be big horses, but what they lack in stature they’ve made up for in attitude. Feret stands 15 hands and has taken me over many cross-country and stadium courses. He loved to jump and would show his exuberance by giving me many wild rides. He was never very fond of the dressage ring. Feret always made sure I was paying attention. He is still the boss of his herd and ensures everyone around him, horse or human, knows that things are to be done his way.
Pevers has grown to 14.2 hands, but, due to crowding in the uterus, was born with less than ideal conformation. He has not been schooled to any degree, but learned to drive as a two-year-old and has gone on many hacks. Pevers has proven to be a patient teacher for a few young riders and has also provided paddock company to the injured and babysat my youngsters over the years. He is the jokester of the field. He is the first to play pull the fly mask or bite the cheek, mane, leg or any unprotected body part.
Sadly, due to complications with colic, their mom, Karrie, passed on April 27, 2000, at the age of 24.
Although their days are no longer full of riding and playing in the field, and they have become more sedate as they watch over their herd, the boys still occasionally get pulled into action. Feret recently helped fulfil a close eventing friend’s final wish to have her ashes spread off the back of a galloping horse. And Pevers, much to the delight of all involved, was the living canvas for a ninth birthday Pony Painting party.
Feret and Pevers are both fully retired now. They are greying in their faces, and arthritis seems to be taking hold of their joints. The winters seem long and the summers short. The boys turned 25 years old on June 1st, enjoying a party where they each had a good brushing, lots of hugs, treats and a slightly off-tune version of Happy Birthday sung to them many, many times.
I will keep my promise. They will be together, with me, forever, until they are ready to see Karrie again. I love my boys!