A tale of Mac and Mirabelle

By Frank Lewis

December 1, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Miracles seem to occur around the holiday season, or maybe our senses are just a little more acute and we just believe miracles occur more around the holiday season. But don’t tell Janine Hansing that. She believes.

Our story begins with the love of a mother and her son. In this case, it is Janine, and her horse Mac (named for her dad). To say Janine loved Mac from the start is an understatement. It may be no one else’s business, but quite frankly, she had decided Mac, born June 3, 2007, would be her only child, though it’s kind of misleading because, as the operator of an animal rescue, she views all of the animals as her children. But there is no doubt, Mac was her son. Then tragedy of a proportion she could hardly overcome occurred.

In February of this year, Mac got very sick. So she took him to Hagyard Medical Center in Lexington, Ky. recommended by her veterinarian Tim Renn. Surgery was done on Mac to the tune of $20,000.

“He meant everything to me, so there was not a question in my mind that I was going to do that for him,” Hansing said. “But he never really recovered from surgery. He stayed there for 14 days and he was very sick the whole time.”

Finally they recommended Janine bring him home. For the last nine months, Janine has stayed at home taking care of Mac while still teaching riding lessons and training horses at Myhio Haven Horse Farm, 9010 Ohio 125 in West Portsmouth. Her beloved Mac passed away between 2 - 5 p.m. on Nov. 5.

“My world shattered. He was like my son,” Hansing said.

We may be getting a little ahead of the story. It actually began with another horse.

“I made a decision to breed my mare, Sadie, who is a Belgian Warm Blood, and she is just this outstanding horse I have taken to shows in Lexington, Ky., and I ridden had her with George Morris, coach of the U.S. Olympic Team for Show Jumping.”

The result of that coupling was Mac.

“Mac was just this beautiful boy with kind of a unique color out of a black horse - his mom is black,” Hansing said. “He’s a Dunne, a lighter blonde color. So it’s kind of an interesting color to get out of her. He was just the joy of my life.”

Here is where the miracle comes in.

Exactly a week later at 2:40 p.m., she went to put the horses out to pasture, and that is when it happened.

“I went to Sadie’s stall first. I usually put the others out, Sadie is older and kind of slow,” Hansing said. “I thought, ‘oh, she’s breathing really hard, and she’s walking really slow. I hope she’s not collicing. I hope she’s not sick, mourning the loss of her son.’”

So Janine put Sadie in the pasture.

“A birth sac and a hoof was coming out, and I totally panicked,” Hansing said. “I continued to let her out in the field. I ran in the house and called my vet and said, ‘Tim, Sadie is having a baby and she’s not supposed to even be pregnant.”

Hansing returned Sadie to her stall where she gave birth to a beautiful new filly, which Hansing said looks identical to her own Mac, born exactly a week after he had passed. She looks just like Mac. She has two white socks on the back instead of one, but she has that star and a snip just like he did. She even has two whirls on her forehead, just like Mac, and she acts just like he did.

“When a horse has two whirls, they say it’s good luck,” Hansing said. “I named her Mirabelle.”

Mirabelle means “wondrous” or “of wondrous beauty”, or, you guessed it, “miracle.” Janine said the entire week was beautiful. The sun was shining - the leaves were blowing - the wind was high - and it was a new beginning following a tragedy.

What makes the story amazing is that Sadie had been bred on June 1, 2012. Tim checked her after two weeks to confirm she was in foal. Now, while it is rare, horses can have twins, so you have to always check them.

“He said, ‘yes, she’s pregnant, and it’s not twins, so you’re good,’” Hansing said. “Bear in mind, when I bred her, Mac had not gotten sick yet.”

In August the vet broke the news to her. After he checked Sadie, he had to tell her that she had lost the baby.

“I said, I have Mac, he’s my baby, and she’s just too old, so we won’t try again,” Hansing said.

February, Mac got sick, he died on Nov. 5. Then, a week later, new life came to brighten a dark world. The birth came 17 1/2 months after she had been bred for the last time. The gestation period for the average horse is 11 1/2 months, and she said she had heard of one lasting 15 months, but 17 1/2?

“She has just been this new joy in my life that keeps me going,” Hansing said.

So Janine goes on, even planning a possible winter horse show at her horse farm. She’s still trying to get her 501(c)(3) status to hopefully find donations and funding from the community for a non-profit animal rescue, and she’s even offering Christmas riding lesson specials, but there is one that is never far from her mind.

“It can’t be OK that he is gone,” Hansing said. “On the other hand, how can I be upset when I have this miracle baby.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.