Birchwood UK fancy Colours ( Fallon) & Acer

Acer's story begins in November 2008 when we imported a tiny Silver Black mare, Brewers Feature Silver Satin from the USA. Satin had qualified for The AMHA World Show in Texas and it was so exciting watching her classes on the web-cam. We couldn't resist a beautiful Silver Black stallion, Encore Dublin Mudslide who was also for sale at the same farm, so after The World Show and quarantine, he accompanied Satin to the UK.

I have never enjoyed the breeding side of the business and as my partner Carina Lewis's farm was over 50 miles away in East Sussex, I never saw the downside and heartbreak of breeding, first hand. My intention was to geld Dublin on arrival but he was so well bred and handsome, I was tempted and covered two mares the following Spring. It was an absolute nightmare! After weeks of trying to stay awake all night, I missed the first mare foaling and the foal died in the bag. The second mare, who had had five previous foals with no difficulty, had a dystocia and had to be rushed up to The RVC London in the middle of the night. It was touch and go for the mare and sadly the we also lost the foal.

After a week in hospital for the mare and a huge vets bill, Dublin was gelded. We still can't work out how and when, but after several bouts of colic, our Bay Pinto mare Birchwood UK Fancy Colours was admitted to hospital for tests, where to our dismay, a scan revealed she was in foal.

Lazing on a sunny afternoon
I want a little cart for my birthday
Another original cartoon by Jane Hands (Rabbitsfizz)

Fast forward to April 2011 and more sleepless nights watching Fallon on the barn-cam. Then one morning, just as I was leaving the yard, I glanced back to the field and saw Fallon was starting to foal. Once again we had a major problem, the foal had a leg back and was stuck fast. Thankfully, Jim Barker, from the adjoining farm was on hand and after a frantic struggle he managed to get the leg correctly positioned and the foal safely delivered. Although the foal was very small in height he weighed nearly 10 kgs. which is heavier than a normal foal and which I now know to be indicative of dwarfism. Looking at his domed head and slight underbite we realised that he was a dwarf foal. Acer has a problem with his hind feet but it does not seem to affect his mobility and he can race around the field, tail flagging, just like the rest of the herd. Our vets Paton and Lee referred him to Richard J. Payne BSc, BVSc, CertES(Orth), DipECVS, MRCV at Rossdales in Newmarket and after x rays, resin hoof extensions were fitted. The improvement was immediate and he has to go back every month for new shoes to be fitted. Hopefully he will make a full recovery before we end up in 'the poor house'!

It's very unlikely, but in the future should we ever need a 'foal fix' we will borrow a mare and foal for the summer, from one of our friends!

February 2012 - Acer at 10 months is 21.5''
Best mates - Demon & Acer
Ironically,we chose the name Mainestar Aces High before Acer was born but with his cheeky nature and hair parted in the middle, we think he looks just like Bart Simpson.
September 2012 - Acer at 17 months is 22.5''
Acer with his friend Thomas
Flower Fairy Acer

Miniature horse foals are usually weaned at about 5 months of age but as Acer was so small we left him with his mum until he was 16 months old and ready to be gelded. Weaning him was not a problem and after a week he was back with mum and gelded a month later.

Acer has been the star of our Pony parties this year and loves being groomed and cuddled. In August Acer, accompanied by 'Unicorn' Summer Rain went up to London for his first engagement at the Home House Myths and Legends Party dressed as a little Flower Fairy. Amidst all the 'hustle and bustle' they behaved impeccable and we were so proud of them.

Louise, Thomas and Sophie were guests at a Christening in the church next door but popped through the hedge to say hello to Acer.
Acer goes up to Newmarket every month to see Martin for hoof extensions and the improvement in his back feet has been amazing.