From the Foaling Barn


Finally, Breeding Season Is Over

Windy (Whiz Chill Factor) is in foal to Gunner for 2013

Finally, we're finished breeding for the year. It was a tough year. Of course, the worst came in May when we lost two of our mares within five days shortly after they foaled. But even before this catastrophe, we were really struggling with our breedings. We had a lot of early foals--six by the end of Feb., but we just couldn't seem to get the majority of our mares back in foal. By April 1, I had only two confirmed pregnancies, Smart Sugar Pop to Einstein and The Bun Is Dun to Gunner. Two mares were in foal at fourteen days, but had lost the embryos by thirty days. We pulled a grade one embryo from Shiney, but it failed to live in the recipient. Ozzie, who was open, didn't come into heat until late May. We bred Jewel four times to Wimpy with no success and we finally gave up. After Dry Sugar Rose lost her first embryo, we bred her again, got her in foal, but when we checked her at 30 days, there was a vesicle but no embryo.

I felt like a black cloud was hanging over the farm, but, finally, as the spring progressed we finally and slowly began to make progress. The late foaling mares all got in foal easily, and we just kept after the other mares, succeeding in some cases, failing in others.

The final results for the year--we'll have nine foals for 2013, two down from our all-time high this year. We were successful in pulling two embryos from Shiney, one to Spooks Gotta Gun and one to Smart Spook. All the young mares are in foal. My Fertile Myrtle continues to be seventeen year-old Poppy (Smart Sugar Pop) who got in foal to Einstein on the first try on shipped semen. My oldest mare, twenty year-old Marilyn (Dunnits Shadow), is in foal after a false start. But the bad news is that three of my old girls, Dry Sugar Rose, Smart Little Jewel, and Whizard of Ozwald did not get in foal and each one seems to be exhibiting signs of significant breeding problems. I'm particularly worried about Ozzie because this is the second year in a row she has been open.

In September, Dr. Brian will do a work up on all the open mares, taking a uterine biopsy and a small volume lavage, to try to determine what problems we will need to deal with next year. I'll put the open mares under lights in November so that we can begin breeding them in February. Brian says that these older mares with reproductive issues are not necessarily hopeless cases--they just may take longer to get in foal.

But this year's problems tell me it's time to start adding young mares to my band. I'm planning on breeding two of my show girls and pulling embryos next year. And I'll start looking to buy a couple of more young mares.

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