Bonnie-Jean Bathgate bottle feeds her colt Cassy moments after she arrives at the Stampede Grounds from the vet.

Bonnie-Jean Bathgate bottle feeds her colt Cassy moments after she arrives at the Stampede Grounds from the vet.

Young colt given a fighting chance

A young colt at the Stampede Grounds is getting stronger every day after a rough beginning.

A young colt at the Stampede Grounds is getting stronger every day after a rough beginning.

When Cassy, a thoroughbred Percheron was born on Aug. 3, she had an iron deficiency and was unable to walk, her owner Bonnie-Jean Bathgate said.

“We were able to keep her alive with colostrum we had from another mare. And she was strong enough for us to bring her to Dr. Doug Magnowski.”

Cassy was born at Silverbirch Farm on the West Fraser Road. Her mother is Bathgate’s 13-year-old Percheron named Daring.

Bathgate works at the Ramada Inn and said her boss has been very supportive in letting her run down to see the horses.

Last month Bathgate brought Cassy from the vet to be with her mom.

She bottle fed her the first few days and on Friday was happy to discover Cassy was nursing from her mom.

“A lady told me she was drinking off her mom and I was finally able to see it,” Bathgate said. “Now mom’s on another diet to increase her milk.”

Cassy’s also been wearing a splint on and off to help strengthen her leg.

Bathgate, 54,  has called Williams Lake home for 25 years, and loved horses for as long as she can remember.

“My great grandmother Irene Hunter, aka Ma Hunter, owned the first racetrack in Richmond in conjunction with Jack Diamond. It was called Brighouse. Then the city of Richmond bought the land land for the Landsdowne race track,” Bathgate said.

As for herself, she didn’t want to be a horse jockey like her uncle Jim Hunter was.

She wanted to be a cowboy and eventually own draft horses.

“They tried to convince me to be a jockey because I was small enough, but I said no,” she chuckled.

The first draft horse she ever owned was in 1987 and then Pete and Kim Thumand at Silver Birch Farms sold Bathgate           her first Percheron in 1994.

“I’d been around draft horses all my life. My uncle George Schmidt out of Vanderhoof  logged with draft horses.”

Bathgate keeps horses at the Stampede grounds all the time.

She also has a 17-year-old Clysdale named Todd that came out of Lynden, Washington from a farmer named Fred Polinder.

“When I was four years old I remember going across the line and seeing those horses,” she said. “I only dreamt back then of ever owning one of them, so then last year he was offered to me and I couldn’t say no.”

Todd stays at the Stampede Grounds too.

Bathgate said he doesn’t do well on pasture and doesn’t do well without people around.

“He was shown all over North America,” she added.  “I really encourage people to come and visit my horses to help get them more exposed to people. It’s good for the mom and baby both.”

Other people have been great in helping her with the horses especially while she’s at work.

“There are a  lot more hands here in town to help me, plus my vet is in town.”

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