Mark has cerebral palsey and is usually confined to a wheelchair, but for this picture, he got to sit on his new "personal" pony, MAGGIE. We think this story is extra special because it is also a story about a little mare that was saved from certain death because of the skill and generosity of PPL Volunteer, Gail Schumann (see MAGGIE's story below). Thanks to Gail, and MAGGIE's stamina and courage, Mark, MAGGIE and her companion goats, BUTTONS and BOWS, are all best friends.
Mark first saw MAGGIE one day when he was visiting at Greystone Farm. It was love at first sight, but he had to wait for arrangements to be made before he could bring her home. And when the day finally came to take MAGGIE home, Mark cried and cried because he was afraid she might not want to go.
But MAGGIE had other ideas! As everyone waited for the van to be made ready, MAGGIE laid her head in Mark's lap as he sat in his wheelchair . She seemed to be saying, "This is where I belong --with Mark." And after Mark's Dad settled Mark into the van, MAGGIE climbed right in beside him, ready to go to her new home. She had lost her baby, but she had a new loving family and a boy named Mark who needed her.
Since her arrival, Mark's Dad has built MAGGIE a new shed and coral--but not without some help from the mischievous pony. "She would grab a bucket of nails with her teeth and fling them in the air," said Dad, Leonard. "She grabbed my tools and once even tried to climb up the ladder." But for Mark, MAGGIE stands quietly by his chair so he can brush and hug her, and happily eats out of the bucket he holds for her.
Thank you, Gail Schumann, for caring so much for this little Shetland pony mare. Thank you for paying all the expenses of MAGGIE's surgery and recovery, for nursing her back to health, and for sending her to be Mark's pony for always.
SCHUMANN'S MAGGIE MAE - a little mare survives a breach foal
(as told by Volunteer Breeder, Gail Schumann)
MAGGIE was born in April, 1992, the first foal of a little appaloosa mare named RUTHIE. She was a sassy little foal and kept me laughing at her antics. When she was five I bred her and happily waited for her foal.
I have foaled a lot of mares and have been trained to do a lot of advanced vetting procedures, but when Maggie went it to labor, it was clear to me immediately that she was having too hard a time and that probably this foal was not in a good position and could not be birthed without help. I scrubbed up and tried to get the foal into the right position, but I could not do it. I knew she would need a C-section and rushed to call my vet, pulled the back seat down in my Blazer, loaded MAGGIE in the back, and frantically made the forty minute drive to the clinic where there were facilities for emergency surgery.
MAGGIE seemed to know I was trying to help and never made a sound, but by the time we arrived at the clinic she was in very poor condition.
Two vets were waiting for me and we rushed her under anesthesia to deliver her foal. Sadly, the foal did not survive, but I was determined to save this special little mare.
As soon as she was recovered a bit from the surgery, I brought MAGGIE back home and began to nurse her around the clock, even sleeping in the stall with her. She had to have six shots a day, and She was so weak that I had to syringe electrolytes and grain mashes into her mouth to give her the nourishment she so desperately needed.
On the seventh day, Maggie's temperature spiked to 104 and as I wiped her down with cool water and syringed fluids into her mouth, I was sure she was rapidly failing and would not survive. Finally, as a last resort, I gave her a large dose of penicillin and completely exhausted, we both dozed off.
Then the miracles happened! A few hours later I was awakened by my MAGGIE who inexplicably had jumped up from her death bed and was excitedly running around the stall in circles. I broke into tears, but Maggie just stopped and looked at me, then calmly urinated. As I hugged my dear pony, it was clear her fever had broken and that she was (at last!) HUNGRY!
Right then I promised MAGGIE that she would never be bred again and that I would find her a most special child to love her...and now she has Mark.