WelcomeAbout UsFarm PhotosStallionsWinston LegacyWinston's PedigreeWinston's StoryCurrent Sales ListSignature HeadOur MaresR'surene KantamosThe Miracle KidsStarlet's StoryThe TrainerThe UHCA RaceOur Breeding ShowsSioux Death ChantContact UsOther Links

                                                    On March 9, 2018, R'surene Xena died while trying to deliver her stillborn foal.

                                                She leaves us with a legacy and a memory. She is buried in the mare pasture.



Alyssa Whitehead with the foals


The Whitehead-Nerland families
LTR: Alyssa, Shawna, Todd Whitehead; Chris and Sue Nerland

The foals were weaned on October 1, Bambam's four month old birthday. On October 13, Bambam made the journey home to Maryville, TN where he was born. Our thanks to Todd, Shawna, and Alyssa Whitehead for allowing us to care for Bambam during a most difficult time.


Kassie now makes her home in Marathon, New York with her favorite person Ms. Marcy Lilley. Bambam is with the Whitehead family being trained as a barrel racing horse. A tragedy turned into a triumph. God speed little ones...God speed.

R'surene Morgans at the Tarr Plantation CELEBRATING 62 YEARS OF BREEDING MORGAN HORSES
The Miracle Kids

Our 15 year old Morgan mare R’surene Xena was given a 50% chance of carrying a foal to term. The last foal Xena had successfully carried was the Caduceus Denver son R’surene Dante in 2007. We wanted to get a final foal from her so we crossed her to our stallion Ken-Mar Winston. After an unsettling pregnancy, Xena delivered a black filly ten days after her due date. R’surene Kassandra was born very large and lively but did not know how to nurse or suck. I had seen this phenomenon before; we old timers call it a “dummy” foal. “Dummy” foals generally die after a few days. Lucky for us we lived only 35 miles from the new Neo-Natal unit at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Equine Center.

       A staff of three doctors and eight veterinary students began in earnest to save the black filly. They informed me that although the filly had been born at term she was actually two weeks premature. I was told Kassie had only a 20% chance to live; the cost to try to save her was in the upper $3000 range. As in life, there are no guarantees. Looking at the dying filly and Xena’s anxious glances at me wanting me to do SOMETHING, I felt I had no choice and agreed to let UT try to save the foal.

      Through the noise of machines and seeing her baby on a gurney, Xena remained uncharacteristically calm and steadfast with her eyes never leaving the foal. After working two hours injecting plasma, antibiotics, and glucose intravenously into her neck and placing a feeding tube down her esophagus Kassie was allowed to be with her mother. I showed the students how to milk Xena so Kassie could have her mother’s milk. We had done all we could to give this filly a chance at life. The rest was up to Kassie and the doctors.

       Xena and Kassie were in the ICU for nine days. During that time the students taught Kassie how to nurse so all I had to do when we took her home was get her to take antibiotic pills. I managed that by crushing the pills in Karo syrup, placing it in a syringe and letting the mixture slowly dribble into her mouth. After three days Kassie came to the stall door when I asked if she wanted her “medicine”. Chris took a video of Kassie happily slurping her medicine; it is posted on my facebook page.

      Kassie was two weeks old and doing well when I delivered another pregnant mare to UT. R’surene Carasu had broken her knee three years before and we were afraid that she would have problems foaling. While Carasu was being placed in the ICU so she would be monitored at all times, Chris noticed a cute black quarter horse foal and its mother. He was told that the mother had inoperable colic and was about to be euthanized thereby leaving the four day old foal an orphan. I was asked if I had experience in nurse mares. Fortunately I had experience transferring orphan foals to other mares and thought I could give it a try. Despite the concerns we still had with Kassie and her future, it seemed fated that Xena was the exact mare needed most at that time.

      High Flying Firewater aka BamBam was delivered to our farm late on a Saturday night. Scared and hungry, BamBam stumbled over to the large bay mare in the darkened stall and immediately thrust his nose into her flank, trusting she would accept him. We all held our breath. Despite her alarm at the people and the strange foal in her stall Xena seemed to know that the baby was in trouble and would die without her help.  Miraculously Xena accepted the orphan with only one slight lift of a hoof issued more in puzzlement than as a threat. There was more than one tear shed in that stall as the sounds of a contentedly nursing foal were heard.  This was the last mare we would ever expect to calmly accept a new situation. Xena had been rarely handled in her life due to her untamable nature. We conditioned Xena and the foals to each other by putting up small pens in the large stall to hold the babies. They were first allowed to nurse alternatively; Xena was content to have any foal relieve the milk pressure and the fact that both foals were black may have been a factor; BUT maybe a bit of a miracle was there as well. It took several days to cement the bond but Xena now had two foals and she accepted little BamBam as her own.

       BamBam was a month old on July 1; Kassie was six weeks old on July 3. They are truly brother and sister. They play together, they eat together and they nurse from Xena at the same time. This past month the “family” has become celebrities on facebook. There is talk about them having their own facebook page. It is enough to know that they are healthy and happy running in the pasture.

BamBam on left; Kassie on right


September 8, 2014



Believe in the Impossible