Valentino (2005)

Our first experience with foaling began when we purchased a gentle Azteca mare, Angelita, as a trail horse for my husband, who was already in foal to Kara Lingham’s Andalusian stallion, PK Regalo, of Bello Escasso Farms in BC Canada. We weren’t sure we were ready to be “parents”, but “Angel” seemed the right horse for us. 

We read many books and asked many questions of more experienced friends and veterinarians, and were very excited when our very first foal, Valentino ER, was born on February 20th, 2003. By setting up a video monitor and getting up every half an hour, we managed to time it correctly and view the entire birthing process. 

“Tino” was a beautiful and sweet horse from the day he was born, and as our very first foal, we just had to keep him! You could definitely see his Andalusian side – he had beautiful movement and an incredibly sweet temperament.

When David and I got married in 2004, we moved to a bigger house with more property in a neighborhood that has large amounts of ivy growing in the otherwise naturally forested areas. Although we had been meaning to tackle the ivy on our property, we had not gotten around to it yet. 

Tino had continued to grow into a handsome young horse and my husband was very much looking forward to training him to ride once he reached his 3rd birthday in February.

However, in November of 2005 we had a very heavy wind storm in Maple Valley, although many other surrounding areas seemed to have no wind at all. During this storm, we had the terrible misfortune to have a huge 100+ foot hemlock blow down onto our barn and paddock, and our beloved Tino. My husband cut the tree off of him and we called the vet, but Tino was so badly broken that we had to put him down.

This was a very hard day for us, and although Tino has left a hole in our hearts, we cherish his memory and he will always be with us that way. We soon realized that the culprit tree had been covered in mature ivy at the top and we had not appreciated to what extent, as it didn’t look like much down at the ground level. The ivy had weakened the tree and it had begun to rot. With this, as well as being top heavy from the ivy, the tree could not withstand the wind gusts. It broke off at about 2-3 feet from the ground and trapped our dear sweet horse underneath. We had not realized the danger that the ivy covered trees were causing. We have since been on the attack to get rid of the ivy on our property, but it is not an easy task. If you have ivy growing up the trees on your property, please be aware of the danger.

In loving memory of Valentino ER