LET’S TALK ABOUT LOTKA
Two and a half years ago a new mare came into my life. I received a phone call from a woman in PA who explained she had been left with a mare who needed to leave her farm. She explained Lotka's accomplishments and said,"She is 25 and I can't get her in foal. I can't support her another winter. If you can't find placement for her within two weeks, I'll euthanize her."
The woman did promise Lotka (or any other horse she had) would never see the slaughter house but stated more than once she couldn't keep the mare.
OMRH could not support another horse. It wasn't possible. I owed it to my other mares and our supporters NOT to over extend the Haven's resources. I tried desperately to find a home for this old mare. I had never met her but somehow felt a deep connection. I even called Calumet Farm, who owned Lotka through her race years and much of her broodmare career. I was politely told they didn't have room but they'd help me if I needed it.
I gave up finding a home, asked my boss if I could work just a few more hours a week, and Lotka became MY horse. My OWN horse. She resided with the ladies of the Haven but under my sponsorship.
Oh, the first few weeks were something! Lotka was a handful! Her powerful hind legs would kick out at a moments displeasure. She ran like the wind around the pasture and celebrated each day with regal command. She'd rant and rave like a spoiled diva then come seeking friendship.
I fell so in love I gave her my heart…very dangerous, as loving a diva is probably the downfall of most horse lovers.
Lotka settled in and we came to an understanding. I would be prompt and plentiful with meals and she would come into the barn without a fight. I'd heap praises on how well she tolerated my human bumbling and she wouldn't kick me. Oh, she'd kick out, but she wouldn't connect. She expressed friendship with quick caresses of her soft muzzle and I melted into a blubbering fool. It was a working relationship.
Eventually, Calumet made room for her and offered to take her back. "Too late," I told them, "I'm in love. She will be with me forever."
For over a year I did not let my glorious volunteers handle her. No one groomed her but me. I fed her and danced at the end of her shank when she was unhappy at bath time.
Now, with the exception of grooming her back legs or buckling the leg straps on her blanket, anyone can handle her.
Still, she is a force to be reckoned with.
And I found a co-sponsor! Producer Feeds takes care of much of Lotka's needs supplying anything she desires from their store.
Lotka is an amazing lady. She is 27 (almost 28) yet looks and behaves like an 8 year old.
She is often sweet and endearing. The rest of the time she is a rocket ready to launch. She reminds everyone it isn't safe to be at the back end of a horse and puts me in my proper place on a regular basis. After which, she puts her lovely head against me to show how much she truely loves me.
Lotka gave her all the the race industry. She raced 20 times with 10 wins, 4 places and 1 show. She won the Acorn, the Black Helen, the Columbiana, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (in front of the Queen herself) the La PreVoyante, the Magnolia, the Sabin, and the Regal Quillo.
She was second in the Fantasy, the Rare Perfume and the Hialeah Breeder's cup and third in the Coaching Club.
TOTAL RACETRACK EARNINGS: $721,804
Then she had 14 foals! 11 of them raced and all who raced were winners. One of her babies, Mambo Twist, won $2,478,851.
This is a remarkable mare. Just last week I was telling a turf writer that the way Lotka was going, I expected to be her humble servant another 8+ years. Three days later a very subdued Lotka didn't want to eat. She didn't kick at me while I buckled the leg straps on her blanket and was just a little warm to touch.
Naturally, I took her temperature. She never even fussed at me during the process. EXTREMELY UNUSUAL for this individual spit fire. I refrained from dialing the vet's number until I had a temp reading. 102.5 degrees.
Ok, I told myself, not awful, but still warrants a call to the vet.
We decided to monitor her manure production overnight and planned to "oil" her the next day to help clean out her system.
Her temp did not improve over night; manure production almost non existent. The vet came, drew blood and prepared to pump mineral oil into her system.
He looked at Lotka, who then stood with her head up, eyes bright (but not the blazing, arrogant stare she typically displays) and asked, "What ever prompted you to take this mare's temp? She looks good."
I replied, "She wasn't the first in for dinner, then didn't lash out once as I manipulated the straps on her blanket. That was enough. Now, she is standing in a stall, away from her friends, allowing us to remain unharmed."
Turns out Lotka is very ill. Her blood work shows that she has an infection somewhere. Her lungs are clear so it doesn't seem to be pnuemonia.
She is on heavy antibiotics and we have hope that we will clear what ever ails her. I am reminded that no matter how she looks and acts, she is no spring chicken. The next week or so will give us more information.
At present time, she is more like herself. A threat to kick about the insults of temperature taking, a better appetite and some pinned ears as my wonderful husband attempted to adjust her blanket.
She romped in the pasture with the other ladies yesterday, running just for fun, but could not keep up. Se usually wins their non official races.So we aren't out of the woods but we are encouraged.
I did not want this event in Lotka's life to go unnoticed by the horse loving world. It is just as significent as all those stakes races she won and all those beautiful foals she brought into the world.
Lotka is in another race right now. It's a race in which the purse has the ultimate earnings. One in which she needs people standing on their feet cheering her on. Or on their knees, praying that no matter what happens, she doesn't suffer. Its a race for her life.
Thank you for the prayers.