Blogs

Expected 2022 foals

The never-ending summer. On August 15th the breeding season came to an end at the farm. It had been 16 weeks of work to get there. 112 days of thinking about breeding, wondering and pondering, checking mares, ordering semen, and counting days. With two mares open (not pregnant): Zigami and Rascalina, the idea was to start early and to breed Kreation after she had foaled later in the season. Or so the plan was… We had two custom foals planned for clients for those two mares. The stallions were carefully selected, the contracts were signed and we were ready to go in mid-May when the mares started to...

Halter training for the new foal-Part1

How do I halter train the new foal?   Foals start out well: feral. They are leggy bundles of instinct that know nothing of the cushy captivity they are born into. The instincts that have served them well for millions of years of evolution will be constantly clashing with the world they will live in and the demand that will be put on them for most of their lives. For that reason, it is important that we ease them into our world as sensibly and as compassionately as we can. Just like young children and dogs, the first period of their lives is the most formatives. Brain plasticity...

Halter training for the new foal- part 2

Part 2- the catch and release phase Once mom and foal are settled, are healthy and comfortable in their environment there is no reason to wait any longer. Every time we feed the mare her supplement (2 -3 times a day) we take the opportunity to catch the foal. We work in a fenced-off area or in a shelter so that there is some limit to how far the foal can go. With her nose in the bucket, the mare is generally a nice passive helper. The young little horse is usually afraid of us tall bi-pedal creatures and being afraid of new weird things is the default...

Halter training for the new foal-part 3

Part 3-Introduction to the halter You might have noticed that until now no halter has been involved. Why is that? The main reason is you are only human: the moment you have a handle on something you will want to use it. Why is that a bad thing? Our tendency when handling any horses is to grab the halter and tell the horse where to go. It might sound redundant or pedantic but babies are not born halter broke. They are not even born with an understanding of giving to pressure. Fun fact: it’s actually the opposite: you cannot push (or pull) a foal’s first reaction,  because its...

Halter training for the new foal- part 4

Part 4- Leading in hand. For a few weeks now, the foals have been haltered regularly. They can be caught anywhere (in the paddock, by their dam, away from their dam, or even in the middle of the field) and have zero issues with the halter, the leadshank, or being touched anywhere including the ears the nose, and the legs. At this stage, I prefer to continue to loop a soft leadshank around their butt, and over the back, when I lead them around,  but now I often just let it draped there or across their back and rely more and more on the halter to control the...

Halter training for the new foal -Part 5

Part 5: The final touches A foal that stands to be haltered, that leads well, that accepts grooming, and picking up his feet has a good solid base for further education down the road. For many, that will be enough and they will be left alone until it is time for some more formal education. For others, it will be the bare minimum as they will also need to learn how to be bathed, sprayed, clipped, loaded into a trailer, trot in hand and stand on the line for shows. We go beyond in our handling of foals but not for any particular utilitarian reasons (we do not...

Timing of frozen insemination.

The popularity of frozen semen appears to be on the rise as technology becomes more commonplace and knowledge, and availability increase. Breeders are always on the lookout to have access to the best and most marketable sires available and a lot of them are only offered with frozen semen. As we saw in our previous blog on frozen semen (The agony and ecstasy of frozen semen.) there are definite advantages and disadvantages to using frozen semen. One of the main challenges is this sensitivity to timing. It always made me curious: Why is frozen semen was so sensitive to timing in regard to ovulation? Back to basics. The...

Tick Tock The Breeding Clock

When it comes to horse breeding timing can be everything. During the breeding season, horse breeders are not only frazzled and irritated by the lack of sleep and perpetual worry and anxiety but also because we have to keep track of many key milestones and numbers. Why is this so complicated you ask? Because the vast majority of sport horse breeders use artificial insemination, hours of the breeding season are spent calculating the timing of everything from ultrasound evaluation to the injections of hormones,  insemination, and pregnancy checks. There is also the timing of the FedEx pick up and delivery, the meeting of veterinarian and the regular activities...

Potomac Horse Fever and the breeder.

This winter, at almost exactly 8 months of gestation, Zigami aborted her Rotspon pregnancy without any warnings. It was understandably a gutting experience to lose a foal from any mare at any time but this was a cross I was really looking forward to. It was to be Zigami’s first full warmblood foal. It raised many questions of course. Why? Why now? Was it infectious? Is my other pregnant mare at risk? Could have I done anything to prevent this? What went through my mind? Of all the causes for abortions in mares, the number one culprit is placentitis: it’s a very general term that means that the...

The Agony and The Ecstasy of … Frozen Semen.

I really struggle every few years when it is time to re-stock the semen tank with frozen semen. Owning horses is risky, breeding them even more so. But breeding them with frozen semen can be both extremely convenient AND extremely risky financially speaking in this case…. The ecstasy: The choices Frozen semen can truly be the candy store of the Sporthorse world. The selection and variety are just incredible. You can breed to old favorite stallions as well as the up-and-comers. Olympic caliber stallion, or their sire. You can breed to stallion stationed in Europe or in Australia. Rare breed or rare colors not available anywhere near you....