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137-lb. bundle of joy born at Palos Park stable

 

 

 

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Lazarus, a five-day-old colt, moves in for a smooch with owner Dena Georgakis of Willow Springs at Fitzjoy Farm Riding Academy in Palos Park. Lazarus was outdoors for the first time since birth.

 

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Dena Georgakis has her hands full as she walks her frisky new colt, Lazarus, into daylight for the first time. “He’s a strong little boy,” she said. Accompanying Georgakis from the stable is John Doyle of Fitzjoy Farm and Lazarus’ mother, Khalessi.

Photos by Anthony Caciopo

 

By Anthony Caciopo

Regional News Editor

Horse owner Dena Georgakis was hardly dressed for such a blessed event.

But Mother Nature couldn’t be put on hold, so even though Georgakis was expecting a very special call, she wasn’t exactly ready for it.

“We were at Home Depot and I was in flip-flops,” she said, recalling how she and her husband, Louie, learned of the birth of her 137-lb. black colt on July 13.

“We got a call from the office (at Fitzjoy Farm). ‘Khalessi had her baby!’ I said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ and then we got stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic.”

Sha laughs about it now, but the drive along LaGrange Road was more than a bit stressful.

“I called Michelle back,” said Georgakis. “I need to know. Is the baby OK? Are the legs straight, is the head straight? She told me everything was fine.”

Upon arrival, Georgakis said, “We went running up to the stall. There was the little baby trying to get up. It was like Bambi on ice—no stability.”

Khalessi had given birth, alone, at about 5 p.m. following a pregnancy of 11-12 months.

Georgakis didn’t even know her horse was expecting until about five weeks before birth. Mares who are pregnant for the first time don’t necessarily show until near the end of the term.

Georgakis brought Khalessi to Fitzjoy, 12211 S. LaGrange Road in Palos Park, last October, said owner Pat Doyle.

“Everything was moving along really smooth,” said Doyle of new resident Khalessi and the horse’s first 7-8 months at the farm.

“And then, all of a sudden,” said Doyle, “it’s like ‘Hey, we think…?’”

A veterinarian was called. Blood work was performed, and Dena Georgakis was on a fast track to become the owner of not just one horse, but two.

Georgakis had purchased Khalessi from its previous owner in Crystal Lake, who disclosed nothing about the horse’s pregnancy.

The previous owner later told Georgakis that the Khalessi had been with a stallion, but the owner didn’t think a potential mating had been successful.

Funny how that works sometimes.

Last Thursday, only five days after birth, Lazarus walked into daylight for the first time with his mother, Khalessi, and Georgakis in tow. Literally, in tow.

“I was trying to hold him,” she said of the walk from the stall to a meadow behind Fitzjoy Farm. “He’s a strong little boy.”

Upon arrival in the fenced meadow, Lazarus romped and tumbled and stood and romped and tumbled some more. Mama horse kept a close watch, as did at least one other horse in a nearby pen.

Pat Doyle, the owner/operator of Fitzjoy Farm Riding Academy, pointed out the behavior of the neighboring horse.

She’s going in circles, keeping everybody away,” said Doyle, pointing out a couple more horses who had moved close by.

“Any other horse gets near, and she chases them away,” she said of Khalessi’s and Lazarus’ protector.

Georgakis bubbled with enthusiasm as she watched Lazarus ramble around the meadow, never straying far from mother.

“He’ll stay with mommy for 4-6 months, nursing off her, and then there will be the start of a little bit of separation,” she said.

Georgakis, of Willow Springs, said she has been involved with horses almost her entire life, but had been without one in recent years until acquiring Khalessi.

And she’s been a near constant companion to Khalessi since learning of the horse’s pregnancy.

And after the birth, Georgakis couldn’t be pried away from the barn, sleeping in the stall, sitting up in a chair and stringing up a hammock between wooden beams.

“I slept a week in your barn.” She said to Fitzjoy owner Doyle. “It sounds funny to sleep there, but it’s a nice experience.”

Georgakis has shared her love of horses with husband Louie, who owns and runs the Country Cup restaurant inside the Rolling Lanes Bowling and Entertainment Complex, 6301 Joliet Road in Countryside.

“He works 70 hours a week and he’s only been around horses for about a year. He’s new to riding and he fell in love.”

“We come here to Fitzjoy to decompress for two or three hours, to ride and relax. Then, we found out mama’s having a baby. Game changer!

She said she chose the name Lazarus from the Bible.

“I love all animals, but horses are my passion,” she said. “It was so amazing to get back into horses after 15 years.”

After more than an hour getting acclimated to the outdoors in the early morning before the heat soared for the day, it was time for Lazarus to head back to the stall.

A handler walked Khaleesi while Georgakis took control of Lazarus.

Her right hand up front and her left hand with a firm grip on the colt’s tail, Georgakis walked partially beside and partially behind the young horse, holding tight and not letting the rambunctious youngster win control. The pace back to the barn was quick.

And because of the flurry of morning activity and the high-energy experience of all that is new in life, Lazarus was soon sound asleep in the straw in his stall.

“We didn’t plan on this, but we’ve been blessed.” said Georgakis.

 

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