Friday, February 25, 2011

And This is How It's Done

Breeding horses is not for the faint of heart - have I said that already? First there's the whole process of getting a mare in foal, then surviving eleven or so months until the foal is actually born. Twine, mother of Gracie and Leo, was our first mare due this year. She is a bit of a challenge reproductively - she has aborted two foals in four years, so every year we're holding our breath. Last year she went to Kentucky to be bred to first-year sire Einstein, which for me upped the stakes again - it is always heartbreaking when a mare loses a foal before term, and this time the owners had spent a lot of money in transport and Kentucky board, which would make me feel even worse if Twine didn't get there. Once she got near the point where she had aborted previously, I'm pretty sure every day I said to her, "Hang onto that baby, Twiney, we need a genius around here!"

Usually Twine foals at around 338 days, so my stress increased every day past that. She has always been textbook, telegraphing when she would foal, but of course with all I'd convinced myself was resting on this foal, I was sure this was the year everything would go wrong! Despite that, I'd even given him a name - and I didn't even know if it was a colt or filly. Silly human!

Well, last night, at 355 days, after following her usual lead-up, Twine foaled a dark bay colt. It was her usual easy foaling - though a little bit tougher because this boy was bigger than either Gracie or Leo at birth. From there he was very methodical - up in 45 minutes, and once he got his bearings, he zeroed right in on finding that first meal. I think we have our genius. ;-)

As with Twine's other two foals, he's showing all the signs of having that same gregarious personality. I'm hoping Hummer (a maiden who was bred five days after Twine) was watching carefully and taking notes from the stall next door, because, dear Hummy, that is how it's done!


Studio at the Farm said...

Congradulations!! He's a beauty! What are you calling him?

Carrie L. Lewis said...

Yes, indeed! A beauty. I can almost smell him, too. Wonderful!

Elizabeth McCrindle said...

Just gorgeous has look of Leo in that last picture :)

Kpeters said...

So cute and always a miracle. I love foals!!New!

Sheona Hamilton Grant said...

Hurray what a beautiful wee chap! Glasses raised at this end :D

Miccosukee said...

Having gone through the heartache of my mare aborting for two years straight, I understand your frustration. That is one of the reasons I switched over to geldings.

Congratulations on the big baby and what is his name? Curious minds want to know.


Linda Shantz said...

Thanks everyone! He is quite the cutie, and just as personable as his two siblings, Gracie and Leo.

As for a name, I don't own him so I don't get that honour, officially. I was calling him "Sheldon" before he was born, after the character on Big Bang Theory - but maybe seeing as that character, while a genius, is more than a little socially backward, not sure it suits anymore!

Trisha - it's so hard when they abort. Heartbreaking. My own mare would lose hers before 150days which was bad enough. I did get one foal out of her, but gave up when she lost the one after that. This mare has such sweet, gregarious babies I'm on eggshells until they arrive. They are always extra-special!