Quarter Horse twins delight Izee owners

Amanda Gibson shows off Quarter Horse twin foals Ross (left) and Rachel, a colt and filly born to mare, April (behind). The Eagle/DAVID CARKHUFF

IZEE - The situation comedy "Friends" has a couple of long-legged fans in southern Grant County.

Amanda Gibson, a partner in the T.G. Cattle Co. near Izee, named her twin Quarter Horse foals "Rachel" and "Ross," after two characters on the popular NBC sitcom.

On April 11, Gibson kept her eye on the 3-day-old filly and colt, and for good reason. Successful twin births for horses are rare. Hans Magden, co-owner of Gambler Veterinary Clinic in John Day, said he has witnessed only one other successful live birth of foals in his experience as a veterinarian in Grant County since 1980 (the other success story marked the survival of twin foals owned by Sue Jankunis of Kimberly).

Gibson said the big event for her family happened in the early morning hours of April 9. The twin birthing was a surprise.

"I had no idea," she said. "I just walked out on the field, and there were two."

Ross is the smaller of the siblings, and he may end up feeding on goat's milk while sister, Rachel, continues nursing on her mother. The mare, April, is a Quarter Horse cross, while the father, Rifle, is a registered Quarter Horse.

"They seem to be doing all right," said Gibson of the precocious twins.

The family has consulted with Gambler Veterinary Clinic, where Magden said horses typically yield few twins because bacteria often penetrate the mother's cervix and cause infections in preborn foals. Roughly one in 10,000 twin births for mares are successful, he estimated.

Gibson plans to nurse Ross and Rachel along so they can prove to be an exception to the rule. Gibson, who is the daughter of ranch owners T.G. and Sandy Brown, said she may bottle feed the colt, depending on the mother's attitude about weaning. Meanwhile, the family will enjoy the personalities of these young additions.

Already the siblings are exerting their personalities. Rachel, just like on the sitcom, seems to sparkle with attitude.

"She seems to be more ornery than him," Gibson said.

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