A Lil’ Bit of Good News

How one special orphan foal at Backes Ranch has an entire horse community pulling together.

If you follow our PleasureHorse.com and Show Horse Today pages on social media, you have seen George.  But the story behind this orphan foal is as special as his gorgeous face.

Backes Ranch Orphan Foal

George was conceived using the most advanced technology of embryo harvesting from an incredible mare that passed last year and ICSI using frozen semen from a stallion that passed away in 2011. 

Zippodorable (George’s biological dam) was an Open Superior Western Pleasure earning daughter of Zippo Pine Bar out of the great mare Ms Strawberry Walker. She produced many champions for Backes before her passing last year at 23. 

The cross of Zippodorable and the incomparable, late,  A Good Machine was proven in AQHA Champion Play On. Jane decided to harvest Dori’s ovaries after her loss and gamble on one last “once in a lifetime” foal from this cross. 

Backes Ranch Orphan Foal
Welcome to the world King George.

Beating all the odds, an oocyte was found in Dori’s harvested ovaries and the frozen semen from A Good Machine was able to be used for the ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) procedure. The resulting embryo was placed in a big paint recipient mare who made her way home to Backes Ranch.

Fast forward nearly a year. That paint mare became a barn favorite for Jane and on Sunday night she delivered the dream foal. 

“Sunday night she had an easy birth and with our Country Western theme the colt was named George (Strait).  Tuesday the mare started acting colicky and the vet was called out.  No colic but after palpating her the uterus was as hard as a brick.  We gave her fluids and pain killers but within an hour she literally dropped dead.” Shared Backes accounting the traumatic loss of the mare. 

Backes Ranch Orphan Foal
George with Abby Pine Bar, nursing from a bottle

Tuesday, Jane took to social media in hopes of finding a nurse mare to match with the foal. Over 1K people instantly shared PleasureHorse.com post and 178 shared Jane’s as the equine community worked together to save this colt. 

In a matter of hours Jane found a mare 30 minutes from her ranch. They picked her up but unfortunately she did not like George.  

At this time Jane decided to bring in an “Aunt” for George, a  25 year old half sister to Dori, his mom. 

Jane shared that they “had some goats milk and put him in a stall with Abby Pine Bar. We fed him from a bottle held by her udder so he thought he was nursing to not loose the instinct.” 

One of the posts that helped find Lil’ Bit for George

Meanwhile, as the horse community scurried to help over 30 people instantly tagged, commented, shared and messaged a post to PleasureHorse.com and an additional 20 forwarded a post to Jane of a pretty grey mare that lost her foal on Monday.   

“I got in contact with Lori and made arrangements to get “Lil Bit”.  I have a two year old gelding that has a pinched nerve and is off on his front left until he grows and the spine gets more room to relive the pinch. Lori only has Lil Bit and since I was taking her for four months I gave Harley to her   She loves to rehab animals.  He now has his forever person for her generous offer to use Lil Bit. “ 

If you know Jane, you know that is is her heart. She couldn’t take the gift of this mare’s help for her colt without paying it forward with an exquisite Good Machinery gelding. 

Backes Ranch Orphan Foal
Jane and George heading to meet Lil’ Bit

“We took Lil Bit to the BEST in the world on bonding mare with foal – Jackie Jackson.   I rode with George in the trailer and he was so calm like he knew we were helping him ( we even took a selfie during our ride:) Lil Bit is a maiden so not real sure of him yet but they are in the “masters” hands and I feel comfortable they will bond 100%  “

This colt is so very lucky, he has had a biological mom, birth mom, auntie and now step mom combined with the love and prayers from an entire industry. 

We know George will do great things, because it took a lot of greatness to get him here. What a story it will be, when he lopes into the winner’s circle. 

“I want to THANK the horse community for all the texts and sharing of my post asking for help” shared Backes. “The horse community is a strong loving group. Thank you again”

Backes Ranch Orphan Foal
The image we all hoped to see

Thank you as well from us at PleasureHorse.com and Show Horse Today. This is what we love to see our platform do, unite a community that shares a passion and a love for the horse. 

We promise to keep you up to date as King George grows up with his new “step mom.” We know he has hundreds of thousands of followers cheering him on. 

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