Corolla Wild Horse Fund mourns the loss of newest foal, Elsa – OBX Today

Corolla Wild Horse Fund mourns the loss of newest foal, Elsa - OBX Today
Elsa. (Photo courtesy Corolla Wild Horse Fund)

Late this afternoon we made the sad but necessary decision to humanely euthanize the herd’s newest foal, a filly born Sunday morning named Elsa.

On Sunday when Elsa was first seen, besides being on the small side she seemed to be in decent health. She was observed nursing and was seen multiple times yesterday as well. However, this morning when one of our staff came across Elsa’s mother and two-year-old sister, she was not with them. After a quick search the foal was located out on the beach with a different harem about a half mile away. She was with a mare who was being very protective and even letting her try to nurse, but obviously Elsa was not getting any nourishment and could not be left with her.

After touching base with our vet, we decided to try and grab Elsa and take her back over to her mother to see if they could be successfully reunited. We were able to catch her and get her into the truck, but once we had our hands on her we could tell she was in very bad shape. After another conversation with the vet, and also after learning that her mother had been seen kicking at her on Sunday, we decided to forego trying to reunite them and brought Elsa directly to the farm so she could be seen by the vet.

Blood tests revealed that Elsa did not receive any colostrum, so either her mother was not producing it or Elsa was not successfully nursing. She also had pneumonia, was severely dehydrated, and while we don’t think she was truly premature she was definitely dysmature. She was very sick. It became clear why Elsa’s mother had rejected her – she most likely sensed that Elsa was not going to survive.

Elsa was already fading quickly by that point so we made the decision to help her pass quietly and with no further suffering. She has been buried at the farm next to the other foals we’ve lost over the years. They are just outside the mares’ pasture so they always have a big herd of their “aunts” watching over them.

We’d like to thank our staff and volunteers who helped get Elsa to safety today. It’s difficult any time there’s a medical emergency with one of the horses, but going through this kind of thing with a foal is exceedingly hard. Our staff and volunteers always rise to the occasion and always put the horse’s needs above their own emotions, and that is not something we take for granted. We are incredibly grateful for each and every one of you.

Rest easy, Elsa.