Teri Johnson thought she knew what she was getting into when the pregnant Gypsy Cob mare she imported from Liphook, United Kingdom finally arrived at her High Horse Gypsies farm outside of Gratiot on May 17. But once June 6 rolled around and the mare delivered in the early morning, Johnson was surprised to see two foals instead of just one.
“I was shaking with adrenaline and excitement at the same time. I didn’t know what to do. But she has been fabulous. They have been thriving. The babies do everything together,” Johnson said.
Johnson was looking for a stallion to mate with some of her other mares she has, but couldn’t find the right one here in the U.S. so she found Peter Ash in the U.K. and bought a stallion from him. The stallion is set to arrive in the fall.
“He sent me a mare that was already bred to my stallion so I would have his baby already. He picked the mare for me. The vet that did the ultrasound over there missed the twins,” Johnson explained.
The mare named Crystal arrived in the U.S. on April 26 at JFK airport after being in the air for six hours. She was then transported in a sealed truck to Ohio where she was in quarantine for three weeks. After her quarantine was up, a friend brought them up to Johnson’s farm. During that whole stressful ordeal, Crystal was able to keep both babies.
The possibility of a horse having twins is 1 in 10,000 and it is a 1 in 15,000 that the foals live after the birth. A horse’s uterus has a hard time handling more than one foal. It is common for the second embryo to abort within the first six weeks of pregnancy. Mares, which produce twins once, are likely to produce twins again.
“I am so blessed to have them. I work a full time job and come home and do this. But this alone is a full time job but it doesn’t get much better than this when you are living your dream,” Johnson stated.
The foals, a girl and a boy, are named Pearl and George after Johnson’s parents. Johnson felt this was a way to honor them because “if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have my farm.” Her parents believed in her and that she could have the farm of her dreams.
Johnson mentioned that she has always wanted the Gypsy Cob breed. She had done research for years before she decided to finally start obtaining them.
“We moved here about 10 years ago with my horses. I knew I wanted to have Gypsies. In 2011, our house burned down in a fire. My son and I could have easily perished. I thought I should start to get what I want because we never know how much time we have left,” Johnson remembered.
Johnson has loved working with the Gypsy Cob breed. The breed has been imported in the U.S. for the past 20 years. She comments that they are a fun breed but take a lot of work and lots of brushing.
“I did a lot of research because I wanted to go back to the original lineage from the ones that were first imported here. I am enjoying it. This is a friendly breed. They are like a dog with long hair and fluffy feet. You can open the front door and they will come in the house with you,” Johnson joked.
Johnson plans on keeping the colt and filly.
“I can’t sell them. It is a miracle they are together and a miracle they were born. They will always be a part of this farm.”