TV Week
March 14th 1998

Join Harry and Janine Cooper and their 11-year-old daughter, Heidi, at their beautiful Tasmanian home.

If Dr Harry Cooper was hoping for a little peace and quiet when he moved from bustling Sydney to a beautiful farm in Tasmania, he got just the opposite!

In fact, Australia’s favourite vet has been up to his elbows since crossing Bass Strait nine years ago with his family and enough animals to fill the ark.

The Cooper family’s latest adventure involved an exhausting rescue against all the odds.

A stallion called Dresden Marquise (nicknamed George), is one of many horses Harry and his wife, Janine, have owned over the years.

“George seemed lonely,” Harry says. “And we had a little mare, Thumbelina, we thought could keep him company.

“We thought she was barren, so we put them together. George didn’t seem enthusiastic, and we thought nothing more of it.

“After a while, I thought she was looking more than just fat.

I gave her a look-over, but couldn’t see any signs of milk, so I concluded she was just a fat, barren mare.”

But in the middle of filming his animal show, Harry’s Practice, something happened.

“I was doing my usual checks on the paddocks when I saw Thumbelina with blood running down her side,” Harry says.

“I ran down a hill after her and there, through our fence and in the next-door property, tangled in a heap of wood, was this tiny colt foal.

“I was convinced it was dead, but I threw a small twig in its direction and it moved slightly. It was alive!” Harry climbed the fence, picked up the foal and carried it up the hill to the stables.

“I was totally exhausted by the time I got there,” Harry says. “I made a bed for him in the hay, but said to myself, This foal’s got one foot in the grave’.”

Harry and Janine administered antibiotics. “He seemed so jaundiced,” Harry says. “But with the help of the feeding tube, would you believe the foal started to come around?

“Now it is suckling and we’re getting to catch up on lots of lost sleep. I reckon he’s going to make it. We’re not sure what to call him yet, but his stable name is Ripper.”

Running a farm and making Harry’s Practice is hard work, but moments like this make it all worth it, Harry reckons. “To see a foal like that get up, and suckle and walk is a really fantastic feeling. It was dead and it came back to life,” he says.

“It was lying there in the freezing cold, with no mother and no milk. It was really touch and go. We’ll have to wait to find out if he’ll be a show horse, but we’ll see.” Harry’s next big project is to watch daughter Heidi, 11, develop with her gorgeous pony, Crickette. “She does jumping and dressage and just loves the life here,” he says.

By Simon Marks

Original content copyright TV Week.