Newborn twin foals with mom Sophie at the Tucker farm in Bastrop County. CONTRIBUTED
Austin Community Newspapers Staff
When Jenny Tucker went to feed her quarter horse Sophie last week, she could tell the fur around her tail had gotten softer. Though her belly was still small, she had a feeling the 12-year-old mare would give birth that night. She was showing all the signs.
Tucker went to sleep before midnight. Her husband Landry stayed up and checked out the window periodically to see how Sophie was holding up. Somewhere around 11 p.m., he spotted a small newborn foal lying beside his mother by a fence post in the yard. He screamed to Jenny, “She had it!”
Before his wife was able to throw on her clothes and run to the lawn, he yelled back, “She had two!”
Bonnie and Clyde, twin quarter horses, were born before midnight on May 11 on the Tucker’s farm in Bastrop County — a rare occurrence since only about 1 in 10,000 twin foals survive to term.
“Horses just don’t have twins,” Jenny said by phone on Thursday. “They are little miracles for sure.”
The Tuckers have been breeding horses on their 20-acre farm in Paige since they married in 2008. Most days, they let the mares and geldings run free on an adjoining 80 acres. When the babies are born, they feed and train them until they are weaning age — about 6 months — when they sell them to rodeo prospects.
They don’t do ultrasounds on pregnant horses, just watch their bellies grow ever so slightly over 11 months.
Jenny said when vets do notice twin foals in an ultrasound, they usually pop one of the eggs or abort both, since it’s simply too dangerous to try to bring a pair to term.
“There aren’t a lot of statistics on twins,” she said. “It just doesn’t happen.”
The unlikeliness of it all has endeared the duo, with their soft red fur and white diamond blazes, to the Tuckers. They named the pair for Jenny’s grandfather’s roping horse, Clyde, a way to honor his legacy as a cowboy and a county commissioner in West Texas.
Bonnie, who is slightly bigger and more robust, was born first. Her disposition is a bit more rambunctious, Jenny said. She calls her “a pistol.”
Clyde looks most like his mother, with freckles and white fur wrapped from his belly to his mouth. He has a sweeter temperament, Jenny said, so calm he’ll come sit in her lap.
Head on, it’s hard to tell the difference between the two. Both were born so small, the Tuckers could carry them in their arms to the doctor. Since last week, they’ve been treated at the Elgin Veterinary Hospital, getting bags of fluid and plasma to increase their once-small odds of survival. Clyde struggled considerably in the first days, but he grows stronger every day, Jenny said.
A friend of the Tuckers set up a GoFundMe page to help with the medical bills, which are expected to climb to about $5,000. As of Thursday afternoon, it had raised a little more than $400.
“We obviously love them because they are ours,” Jenny said. “But it’s great to see other people love them as much as we do. We are so thankful.”
The twin foals are expected to come home to the Tuckers’ farm in mid-June, where the couple will raise them.
In addition to the GoFundMe page, donations for medical care can be made directly to Elgin Veterinary Hospital.