Miracle of Twins
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True Story about one twins will to survive!!

Hope Without Measure

The True Story of Rocky and Mike McCoun



And so his life began on a cool crisp March night, in the foothills of the North Carolina Mountains. The second born of the twin colts drew his first breath and wiggled his nose to shake the moisture away.   While he lay by his brother and his dam Kiss Me Quick BWA, Rocky struggled to find his legs.  At only 22 inches tall at birth and a mere 25 pounds, the size and will of Rocky’s heart would soon prove to be immeasurable.


Rocky, whose registered name is Count Me In BWA was born at Brandywine Arabians owned by Stephanie and Wendell White. The White’s called Mike and Dale McCoun, around 10:30 p.m. to inform them that Kissme Quick had just given birth to a colt. They talked for a few minutes then hung up, only to call back several minutes later.  The veterinarian was called out on this emergency.  While Mr. White tried to follow the vet’s advice, much to his surprise out came little Rocky.  Stephanie stood by in awe and total surprise as well.   Before Mike and Dale could make it to the farm, they received a call from Stephanie, stating the mare was not in trouble, but in fact gave birth to a twin colt. The first of the two boys, Count Twice BWA was much larger and able to stand on his own and nurse, where little Rocky was not able to stand and nurse without help.

  Mike, the owner of the colt’s sire, Mon Amir BWA, is your regular cowboy, raised by tradition, and a true blue horseman who has been breeding, training and raising Arabians for nearly 20 years. He and Dale have been a family for 13 years now, and have two sons, Kendall and Tristan.   Dale’s love for horses is the reason they decided to expand even further and breed Straight Egyptian horses. She had rescued a half Arabian pinto mare, now Heirloom Arabian’s nurse mare from near starvation.  After two years of getting the mare back into a healthy condition decided she wanted to breed her to a black Arabian stallion. This is how the McCoun’s came to meet Stephanie and Wendall White at Brandywine Arabians. They soon purchased a wonderful, Straight Egyptian, Heirloom stallion named Mon Amir BWA.  Mon Amir became the cornerstone to their horse-breeding endeavor and soon this remarkable stallion inspired them to do more. Shortly after, this farm became known as Heirloom Arabian Stud.


 There is not many times that Mike felt an Arabian horse could be more than he could handle or train, but looking at the small colt, Mike knew this colt could test beyond his capabilities. Little Rocky struggled along the first 24 hours, needing assistance to get up to his feet and nurse.  But this was only the beginning.


The owner of these twin foals, Brandywine Arabians knew that even if this precious foal were to survive, it would be a long and troubled road. Stephanie White was willing to do what it took to save him. Knowing that she couldn’t help this colt nurse without help, she decided it might be best to give him to someone who could take on the hourly task of feeding and caring for a weak foal. Just outside the barn doors, Mike and Dale talked in great length about bringing the colt home and trying to save him instead of letting him go somewhere else or seeing the little fellow put to sleep. A decision was made and discussed with the owner for them to take him. It was also decided to try and put him on their nurse mare that also had an orphan foal on her at the same time. They brought him home that very day!  Rocky sat on Mike’s lap in the front seat of the truck for the ride home. 


Upon arrival the task of introducing Rocky on the nurse mare began, the mare didn’t know what to think of this tiny thing that was smaller than any foal that she had nursed. Within only a few hours the nurse mare did accept Rocky.  Because Rocky couldn’t stand alone, he had to be picked up to his feet and held steady, in order to nurse. Mike got a fold out lawn chair and stayed in the birthing stall, helping Rocky to nurse every time he tried to get up and showed an interest in nursing.   During these first few days he also tricked Rocky into suckling a bottle by holding the bottle up under the mare so the colt would naturally find it and suckle.


A few days it was discovered that the colt had a RH factor problem caused by his own mama’s milk. Rocky needed to be separated again. Rocky was taken away from his nurse mare. Rocky seemed to struggle those first few nights and had a hard time with the cold.  Although Mike stayed in the barn and at Rocky’s side, to hold his bottle, the barn no longer seemed the best place for Rocky. Rocky needed a lot of attention, love, and warmth.  The decision was made to fix a place in the house and bring Rocky into the home where the warmth of the fireplace and the love and attention of the McCoun family could surround him.




  Mike and Dale bottle-fed little Rocky in the house.  Rocky soon began to be able to stand on wobbly legs and walk, so the decision was made to put carpet on all the tile floors so he wouldn’t slip.  Rocky’s new family was of people and not of horses.  He soon learned to come to the couch, where Mike slept to be near him, and bump and whinny when it was time for a bottle.


Over the next few days when Rocky would follow Mike along on his daily chores around the barn, Mike had noticed Rocky’s front legs would come out of joint whenever this little colt jumped when playing in the yard.


 Soon other problems with Rocky’s health began to develop.  Rocky was not able to void on his own.  It seemed as if Rocky would take one step forward and three steps back.  His legs grew worse where Rocky needed splints; he suffered from dislocations and was also developing scars from all the splints.  Upon veterinarian examination it was discovered Rocky had protein in his urine, which could prove fatal. The little colt gradually became weaker and weaker.  He was then diagnosed with possible liver shunt problems, ulcers, and a lung infection. The strong possibility of surgery lay in Rocky’s future. The veterinarian’s worried if this little twin would be strong enough to undergo surgery.


His sire, Mon Amir BWA was his proud Papa who doted upon his little son.  Amir spoke to him by standing tall showing Rocky how big he will be some day, where all the world will look up to you.   As Amir nuzzled closer and touching his jibbah to his, the bounty of the world was now passed to his son. Amir then reached down even further, and ever so gently breathed warm air into Rocky’s nostrils, reassuring him that the breath of the Arabian spirit is now within you. Mon Amir taught Rocky to eat grass on his own due to the fact that none of the other horses in the barn would tolerate the little guy. His daddy was the only horse who would show love and attention to this little miracle and nuzzle him and show him he was important and loved dearly. (Other than his human family)

Soon the whole world knew of Rocky from the Foothills of North Carolina and Heirloom Arabian Stud. The story of Rocky unfolded before the world’s eyes.  Mike shared pictures of Rocky and wrote what his daily life was like. Word spread across many Arabian horse forums. His full story was posted on the El Masri Arabian forum for the world to read. It was brought forth on a day-to-day basis, where updates were given, well wishes were made, and all who read the story shared in the vision of hope and unity between all Arabian horse folks. There was not a one whose heart wasn’t touched in a special way by the plight of Rocky.  He received many well wishes from Arabian horse owners, breeders and enthusiasts across the world. Rocky was the ambassador to the hope that exists in all of us. 


With a possibility of a liver shunt problem, all expectations of this foal surviving seemed a long lost hope. The increasing demand for constant attention to this twin foal, as well as the need for veterinarian assistance and constant evaluation painted a bleak picture.   All the love and prayers that could be mustered were now needed.


Mike emotionally remembers the days when the veterinarians explained what a liver shunt operation would entail. He would have to travel thousands of miles to get the operation, which could cost thousands of dollars, something that was out of the reach of the McCoun family. The word of Rocky’s fate went out all over the world; people from everywhere began to offer help. Donations, breedings to Straight Egyptian stallions to raise funds, and even people who never met Mike and Dale or Rocky but had read the day by day story offered prayers, emotional support, and financial help. Some had contacted the best veterinary surgeons in the country to explain the situation of Rocky and ask for their expert emergency assistance. An innocent picture of Rocky was posted  on the El Masri Arabian Forum.  With the owners heartfelt permission to post a picture of this little foal struggling for a chance at life, when Rocky was the sickest he had ever been, knowing it could be his last picture the world would ever see of him, the world reached out to him with prayers and tears of hope.


The entire Arabian world held it’s breath and with one glance at Rocky, those who came to know him by reading the day to day updates on this colt posted their prayers and well wishes to see him survive. Some sent their condolences feeling, the possibility of survival was no longer there, some said, ‘our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time’, while others continued the same message from the beginning, “do not lose hope and stay strong. Rocky will make it.”



How could he even be alive at this point?  Rocky’s prognosis was poor. Yet here he was still fighting, and proving the strength of his giant heart and a will of the Arabian only heard of in ancient text and myth.  During this most emotionally trying time, Mike kept busy to fight back the feelings of hopelessness. Mike had built Rocky a special stall. A home in hopes that someday he will stand proudly next to his sire Mon Amir. A petition was built between Rocky’s stall and his daddy, Mon Amir. Mike included heat lamps, lowered the feeding manger and water buckets to where Rocky and Mon Amir could face each other to eat and drink.  Each board was laid with hope that someday soon, Rocky could have a companion in his sire Mon Amir, and that Mon Amir could teach his son how to be a proud Arabian horse someday.


Word came back from the veterinarians that there was nothing else they could do at this time while Rocky became weaker and sicker. Mike took Rocky to the new stall thinking that life was nearly over for him.  Mike sat for hours upon hours with Rocky who continued to grow weaker and weaker.  While Rocky was lying in the floor, and hardly able to breathe, Mike began crying to himself knowing that he might be saying good-bye to this colt in a very short time.  This brave little colt that Mike and Dale had bonded with and come to admire for his courage, strength, and strong will to fight back and survive against the odds was now leaving this world. Through his tears of sadness and frustration, Mike prayed for help.


After all his prayers, Mike felt that it was time to walk away from Rocky.  In total despair, Mike stood up to leave the stall.  Then it happened!  Rocky sensed that Mike was leaving and with all his strength and will, Rocky struggled to get up to follow.  With tears streaming down his face, Mike turned to go back to him.  In that brief moment in time, all things suddenly became clear.


This colt is not quitting, and while fighting for his last breath of air; the colt still raised his head to follow.  Mike knew then that if Rocky wasn’t giving up, he wasn’t giving up.  They quickly called the veterinarian again, and asked for more tests and strongly demanded that something be done immediately.  It was decided to try some new treatments.  With extreme patience and understanding the vet did more tests. But poor Rocky who was so skinny and very sick had to have two injections per day.  His body so weak and his frail was already deteriorating.  This posed more problems to the simple procedure of administering injections.  There was hardly anywhere to keep sticking a needle in him.

A few days had passed with no change. Then early one morning, Mike who was expecting the loss of Rocky had only a faint hope that this colt would survive. Knowing he had completely exhausted every possible means to assist this colt in surviving, all this man had was his hope.  To his surprise, as he opened the stall door, he found little Rocky standing up and looking to him with glistening eyes. Rocky snickered at Mike. It was an incredible sign of great improvement for Rocky. Still, no word on the results of Rocky’s tests but there was that glimmer of hope that Mike and Rocky had, it returned to them with great joy and exuberance.


Another day passed and Saturday morning came.  Mike was feeling emotionally wrought, wondering how many times they would have to face all the ups and downs in the future with each other. Then around 11:00 a.m. while Mike was sitting at Rocky’s side, his wife, Dale, came screaming down to the barn aisle to her husband and Rocky. The vet had called;” Rocky didn’t have a liver shunt problem. His blood work was nearly perfect.  The antibiotics were fixing the infection and the problem that had almost killed him a few days before was disappearing!”

There are no words in the English language to describe the emotions, the relief, the heartfelt thanks; and the joy they experienced that Saturday morning. It was at that moment they realized that Rocky might just make it! All the hopes, all the prayers, all the emails from around world were paying off.  Their dream to save this colt was a reality. Rocky was finally on his road to recovery!


During all the ups and downs with Rocky, his first owner, Stephanie White came to the farm daily.  Stephanie called every few hours from the beginning to offer encouragement and support. She bought Rocky milk, vitamins, and special wraps for his legs, she even helped with his vet bills.  She would graciously volunteer to haul sawdust, feed the other horses at Heirloom Stud, just so Mike could devote his time to Rocky.  Stephanie never said anything negative, and always spoke positively toward Rocky and Mike, doing things, which gave Mike and Dale the strength to keep going, She stood in the stall and cried with them when they thought they were going to lose Rocky.   She shared in the laughter and the joy.


Somewhere in the middle of things Stephanie also began to realize that Rocky was physically and emotionally taking a toll on the McCoun family.  Thinking they were in need of some time away, she had made plans to take Rocky to another farm to give Mike and Dale some relief and to help with all the vet bills and the around the clock care.  But then she had also seen the special bond between Mike and Rocky.  Seeing Mike lay him on the ground and touch Rocky’s neck where he would simply lay there while some of these procedures caused Rocky pain, yet Rocky never flinched or tried to get away.  Rocky would look into Mike’s eyes to find his strength.  The colt had a special trust that developed with Mike.  Stephanie knew there was only one right decision.  In a very tearful discussion the decision was made for Mike & Dale to either keep Rocky or give him up to the new home to relieve the burden and financial as well as emotional stress they were experiencing.  They decided that Mike and Dale would keep him and to courageously fight the battle and face whatever may come their way.  It was then that Stephanie decided to just give Rocky to Mike and Dale as a reward for all they had been through and knowing that Rocky’s future would be better because of the special bond that he had developed with Mike.


Mike McCoun was no stranger to hard times.  Recently diagnosed with cancer himself, Mike was also a fighter and a survivor.  Mike beat his cancer into remission only to have it return again.  Mike has had over five surgeries to remove the cancer from his face, nose, sinus, and behind the eye and cheekbone.  Because of the cancer and what his face looks like from numerous surgeries, Mike decided to stop showing horses for a while. Mike always maintained his training, breeding, and foaling of horses on his farm in North Carolina during his battle with cancer. Mike’s personal love and devotion to the Arabian horse, along with his special interest of Rocky led him to his goal of training his favorite stallion Mon Amir and helping his neighboring farms to handle young stallions or assist with foaling mares. He and his wife Dale, always welcome guests to come see their Arabian horses.   Mike is doing great now, and has no fear that his cancer will return.


Truly, little Rocky served as more than an inspiration to others.  He was the great hope that exists in all of us.  If Rocky could make it, if Mike could make it, surely we all could find some new found hope in our hearts. While Mike and Dale cared for Rocky they suddenly realized the whole world was counting on them to see Rocky through this.  The love and support given to this family and Rocky was the best medicine.  Not only did several offer to raise money for the special care that Rocky required, but many offered the best they could in words, support and continual encouragement. Just as Rocky was never alone because of Mike and Dale, this husband and wife were never alone among many Arabian horse breeders and all those who share a special bond with their horses. Whenever Mike and Dale felt they had run out of hope, the world was there to support them.  Rocky was given his nickname after the American movie Rocky, which was a story about the fighter in all of us.


Mike continued to give the world updates almost daily.  He graciously posted pictures of this foal for the world to see.  Choking back the tears at times, while trying to feed everyone’s desire to know the details of Rocky’s health, he bared his true feelings of how hope and love was keeping Rocky alive.


Rocky’s sire, Mon Amir, is a Straight Egyptian, Heirloom stallion who truly has the disposition of the Bedouin tent horses. Mike and Mon Amir have a very special bond too, and seem to communicate silently to each other. This modern day horse whisperer, found that through his triumphs and struggles, is able to understand horse behavior and understand how a horse communicates with people.  Mike actually has pictures of this stallion running barrels with him simply pointing his finger at him! Mon Amir seems to understand the difference between an inexperienced child rider and an adult. Not only does he show this understanding to his son Rocky, but also all of his other foals as well. Yet this great stallion has the heart and stamina and pride of an old warhorse. He and Mike have made a positive change toward many people’s opinion and attitude about the Arabian horse. Due to Mike’s health, Amir may not have been seen winning a blue ribbon at a show, but this stallion is a grand champion in his own right because he represents the true Arabian horse for all he is in heart, will, and determination.

  Today Rocky is celebrating five months of life. He is approximately thirty-seven inches tall and continuing to grow. While he is still smaller than Heirloom’s newest born foal he is growing at a steady pace. He weighs approximately 63 pounds. Rocky roams the Heirloom farm and likes to follow Mike during the day while busy with his farm chores. Rocky has free access to the grain bin and unlimited supply of hay.  He loves to run and play and will chase after the family trying to persuade them into a game of tag. One of Rocky’s most favorite activities is to go on short trail rides with his sire, Mon Amir. He prances through streams, and up and down the hills. It is the belief of Mike and Dale, that Rocky thinks he is part of their human family.  He still tries today to get into Mikes lap while he is sitting at the barn, and will come in the house if the opportunity arises.

Rocky is physically doing great.  He has no more problems except his rear pasterns, which are continuing to get better and stronger each day. He still visits his daddy Amir for daily playtime, and Amir has also taught him many things. He learned how to eat, show off, and mark and defend his territory.  He is slowly learning to play with the other foals at the Heirloom stud.  If the other foals get to rough, Rocky will quickly dash under the bar and into the barn to hide behind Mike. The other foals are too big to fit under the barn gate, and therefore cannot follow him.  The veterinarians who worked on Rocky since his birth are truly amazed at Rocky progress as they initially felt he wouldn’t survive. When the vet comes out to Heirloom now, she makes sure to check in on Rocky for a little loving before she leaves. Rocky usually follows her back to her vehicle, and likes nosing in her equipment looking for a treat.

Even today Rocky brings tears to visitors eyes and is an inspiration to all who visit.Somehow, the fate of little Rocky seems predestined.  Is it possible that a few hundred years ago, somewhere in the desert, another colt like Rocky was born?  Maybe he too was a twin; maybe small, couldn’t keep up, sometimes even left behind, but had the heart and will only found in the Arabian horse.  A giant will to survive only found in the Arabian horse. Man’s loving companion, who has not only tender beauty, but also a great heart and strong will given to him to survive in a harsh environment.  It is true that this giant heart and will, along with the determination to be his master’s companion has influenced the history of the Arabian horse for hundreds of years. Is it only a myth or a legend or something only found in Arabic poetry?  The little twin colt, known as Rocky, is alive and well, and a part of all of us.  Was it one man’s determination to keep him alive? Was it medicine? Was it science? Was it that this colt understood that the tears that flowed over his limp body were tears of love from someone that wasn’t even his own kind? We may never know the answers, as it is one of the mysteries of the Arabian horse. What we do know is Rocky will always be an Arabian horse. This is a true story of an Arabian horse who found himself in the care of a man who was a fighter of cancer, and believed in hope. Rocky may be small in stature but his heart, stamina, will, and determination is immeasurable.

Rocky is a glimpse at the very soul of our breed. He is now known, the world over, as our own, beloved Rocky.




A poem and a message from Mike McCoun....


From The Loins Of Mother Nature

And The Sands Of The Desert,

GOD, Created The Arabian Horse.

Thru The Hourglass Of Time

This Beautiful, Noble, Dedicated Creature,

Has Withstood The Short Comings Of Man.

May All Of Us Who Are So Blessed,

Dedicate Our Lives To Keeping This Creature As God Intended Them To Be.
Author: Michael McCoun



“ Rocky came into my life when I probably needed him as much as he would need me, struggling with my own fears, and future, I could tell Rocky secrets I could not share with anyone. I could cry and he didn’t think it unmanly of me.  He didn’t care what my face looked like, he loved and needed me anyway. He would show me his feelings with just a simple snicker when I came into his stall no matter how sick he was, or in the swish of his tail because I had to stick him with yet another needle! Rocky taught me things when I thought I knew it all. He humbled me when I was full of arrogance and pride. He taught me laughter at the simplest of things.  In return, I picked him up when he couldn’t get up himself.  I rubbed his legs when he was cold and shivering. 

Man and beast? I think not!! Friend and Friend, I like to think so! This is the story of Rocky, he is your horse, he is my horse, and he is our horse.  He is The Arabian horse!!”...Mike McCoun



This heart touching story was written by Kelly, from Echo Hill Arabian Preservation!