From the Foaling Barn


The New Recipient Mares Arrive.

Our New Recipient Mares

Last week our two new recipient mares arrived from Royal Vista Southwest in Purcell, OK. We named them Michelle and Rosanne, after the owners of the stallions whose embryos each one is carrying. This way we keep it straight in our minds which mare is carrying which embryo--Michelle is carrying a Spooks Gotta Gun embryo and Rosanne is carrying a Smart Spook. We like to give them real names, because we treat them just like we treat our other mares. I hate it when recipients arrive with white plastic collars with their numbers emblazoned in black. I know this is a necessary evil at big farms, and most big time horse owners don't get so attached to their horses that they care about the anononymity of recipient mares. But we're small time and and relatively new to breeding horses. All our mares are well-loved and well-cared for, and we take care of them personally every day.

Both mares are big and handsome. I'm really interested to see the foals they produce, because our donor mare, Shin N In The Finals, is a short, stocky mare, and all of her foals so far have been small like her. I'm hoping these big mares will produce bigger foals. However, I've read many academic studies that all say there will be only minor difference in the ultimate size of the foals, no matter how big or small the recipient. Well, this should be an interesting experiment.

Michelle, a handsome, bay is pretty laid back. She leads well and is nice to be around. Rosanne, a sorrel who appears to be the dominant one, is head shy and we've been having a little trouble getting a lead rope on her. But both mares are in isolation for two weeks--in stalls at night and together in a small paddock during the day. We've been working with Rosanne everyday while we have her confined, and she's getting much better about letting us clip on the lead rope. She's fine once we have her and she leads quietly. She's very attached to Michelle, and wants to follow her, so she now comes to the gate immediately if I take her friend out. I'm sure she'll be just fine.

We isolate all new horses who come to the farm. When we send our own mares down to Texas to be bred, , they, too, spend two weeks in isolation when they come home, just to make sure they haven't brought back any diseases. I especially like this practice with recips, because it gives me a chance to get to know them and assess their personalities.

Arrivals and Departures: Recipient Mares



One of our wonderful recipient mares.

Tomorrow, our good friend Travis Hochstatter from The South Farm in Whitesboro, Texas, is bringing up our two recipient mares from Royal Vista Southwest. The new recipient mares are carrying two embryos from our mare Shin N In The Finals. Shiney foundered after treatment for a retained placenta. While she has recovered, she sustained some damage to one of her hooves which we will need to monitor carefully for the next year. We decided it would not be safe for her to carry her own foal this year. Because she is our most promising young mare, we also decided to try for two embryos. After some early difficulties we were successful with embryos from breedings to Smart Spook and Spooks Gotta Gun.

Both recipient mares have been checked for heartbeats and are now ready to come to their new home for the next year. While there are many great reproduction centers throughout the country, Dr. Brian likes to use Royal Vista Southwest in Purcell, OK. Royal Vista has one of the oldest and most respected ET programs in the country, and we have had an excellent relationship with them for the past eight years.This year we had two wonderful recips, who carried foals by Spooks Gotta Gun and Big Chex to Cash. They were both great mothers, easy to handle, and good with other mares and foals. The first to return to OK is a handsome black mare (the one in the rolling pictures at the top of the page). We have not weaned the foal off the other mare yet. She will probably be with us till October.

The new mares arrive tomorrow night. They will be in isolation for two weeks in stalls in the foaling barn. Once they are out of isolation they will join the other pregnant mares whose foals have already been weaned. While it is sad to see last year's mare leave, we are excited to have the new mares join us.

Our other 2012 recipient mare, the mother of Mrytle by Big Chex To Cash, out of our mare Dry Sugar Rose.

In Praise of Recipient Mares

I have a conflicted relationship with recipient mares.  I often need recipient mares, as I do this year.  My mare Shin N in the Finals (Shiney) experienced a calamitous health crisis as the result of a retained placenta.  Even though we were treating her aggressively, she spiked a high fever, developed severe colitis and then foundered.  She’s on the mend and doing well, but we are still worried about residual laminitis in her feet.  As a result, we think it unwise for her to carry her own foal this year.  We bred her last week, and will pull an embryo next week.  The embryo will be sent to Royal Vista Southwest to be implanted in a recipient mare if all goes as planned.

This year we have two recipient mares from Royal Vista Southwest.  Both now have now foaled and are excellent mothers.  I appreciate what these recipient mares do for my breeding program, and while they are with me,  I take the same care of them I do of the mares I own.  Over the year and a half I have them here at the farm, I become very fond of them.

But here is the hard part–I have to send them back to unknown futures.  Royal Vista probably bought them at auction for very little money.  The mares have value to Royal Vista as long as they are fertile and present no problems to the breeders who lease them.  But when they fail to perform their job as broodmares, then what happens to them? If they fail to get in foal, how many chances do they get before they are sent to auction yet again.  I’m sure a fair number of them were never riding horses, or have some sort of injury or deformity that would make them unridable now.   So who buys them and why. I can imagine all sorts of awful possibilities for these two mares that I have cared for this year  and who now are caring for my foals.

So, though while they are here I have the same kind of relationship with them I have with the mares I own, that is, I think about them everyday, I feed and medicate them, I groom them and have their hooves trimmed–after eighteen months I send them away and try very hard not to think about them again.


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