Farm Horizons, February 2009

Sugar and Spice - not only nice, but very rare

Jennifer Bakken
Staff Writer

As the saying goes, “Sugar and spice and everything nice,” but in this situation, they are not only nice, but rare.

Healthy twin foals, whose barn names are Sugar and Spice, were recently born in Delano. While the mare and twin foals are doing well, they are defying odds estimated at one in 10,000 by animal scientists.


Submitted photo
When Arlene Berzins and Donna Cole of Delano realized this mare gave birth to healthy twin foals (Sugar and Spice), they were more than surprised, because it is very rare.

“We don’t tend to see live twin foals very often. It’s rare that they both make it,” said Dr. David Schwinghamer of Anoka Equine Veterinary Services, who visited the foals shortly after birth. “When carried to term, there is usually something wrong with one of them, or both are not mature enough for survival. In general, most twins carried abort before birth, or die shortly after.”

As long time friends and horse enthusiasts, Arlene Berzins and Donna Cole of Delano, couldn’t believe what happened. The mare belongs to Berzins, but was staying at the Coles’. They had intended the birth to take place at Berzins, but one morning Cole looked out her window and saw a foal. She called her friend to let her know.

“The day before Memorial Day, she (Donna) called me at about 6 in the morning,” remembered Arlene Berzins. “I thought, ‘well, she could have waited a while to tell me’ and went back to sleep.”

Then a few minutes later, Cole called her friend again with startling news.

“I said, ah, Arlene I think we have two foals out there,” laughed Donna Cole. “And all she said was, ‘oh my God!’”

Even more surprising was the fact that both foals were up and running around. One of them had attached to another mare as though it were her mother. Berzins’ husband, Charles Berzins, picked up each foal and put them in a trailer with the mare to be transported to their home. Eventually, the mare took care of both foals, and that is unusual, too. Once, many years ago, Berzins had a horse give birth to twins, however they arrived three months early and were stillborn.

The mother mare, “It’s Showtime, Girl,” could never really be trained, ridden, or shown because of a leg injury that happened when she was young, but otherwise was bred to be a show horse. As a Morgan, the mare has the typical upheaded, short backed artistic look of the breed.

The twins foals do not look alike. Sugar has two white spots on her face, and Spice is much darker in color. Currently, the mare is at Coles,’ while the foals are living at Berzins,’ and there are plans to show them in the future.

Berzins has been in Delano since 1964 with her husband, Charles, who works as a bindery supervisor for a printing company in Minneapolis. The couple, which owns Summit Morgans, offering breeding and stock for sale, has two sons, Ron and Stephen.

Cole, has lived in Delano more than 14 years, owns and operates the personalized gift shop Equine Impressions, and owned the saddle shop Equestrian Outfitters for nearly eight years.

Both Berzins and Cole agree the twin birth of Sugar and Spice, not only nice but rare, has been a fun experience.

For more information about Summit Morgans, visit their web site at www.summitmorgans.com or call them at (763) 972-2102.

For more information regarding Equine Impressions, visit the store located at the Country Mall in Delano, or call (763) 972-6650.

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