Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Raising babies

Phew!  Tonight I just finished trimming the last (7th) horse in my herd in need of a hoof trim!  They were all due.  I've been working on them for the last couple weeks.  I can't do them all in one day...my hand strength is not there!  Tonight I finished Charlie.

Sunday it was Denny and Cody.

Denny was a very good boy.  He didn't appreciate being separated from his mama though.  But he was very well behaved.  He is going to be such a cool horse.  I love his conformation.  He doesn't have the huge quarter horse hip, but it's a nice hip.  And he is much leaner built than Charlie...he is not as wide in the hip or chest, but he is just as long.  He seems stouter.  His legs are much bigger in comparison to his body than Charlie's are.  I can't wait to see how this boy shapes up!

I love his ringlets in his tail.  He gets this from his mom.

The babies are still with their mommas.  They will be weaned in the spring when the grass starts to grow in.  I subscribe to the thought that they need the extra protein from mom's milk over the winter when on dry hay with a little grain and mineral, rather than being weaned just after the grass dries up and while they are still growing at an incredible rate.  Being loaded up on grain to keep them growing isn't good for them.  There is research showing an association between high starch feeds and developmental orthopedic diseases in youngsters.

I think my babies are in phenomenal condition.  I can say this since I've seen several other babies to compare them to.  Just this week, I was called out to pull blood for Coggin's tests on two babies just a month younger than my two.  When I first saw them, I thought for sure they were pony foals, and was absolutely shocked when I was told they were quarter horses.  The poor babies were very very thin and had long scraggly hair coats.  You could not see their ribs because their haircoats were so long, but they were very distinctively felt.  They were being fed a couple pounds of a 13% sweet feed, and hay that felt like sticks (it was grass hay just riddled with weeds, specifically long super tough goldenrod shafts).  No salt, no extra minerals.  The beef cows they were with looked fleshy and in good health, but that is no diet for baby horses.  I gave the owner lots of recommendations for them (deworm, shots, change grain, mineral, and try to get them on better hay).  I had to tell her I was worried that they were already stunted because of their poor diet.  She'd only had them a month, so they were like this before she every picked them up.  And perhaps she's never had babies before, so my goal was to politely educate and see if we couldn't get these babies in better condition before she calls me out to geld them.

I was sent a picture a few weeks ago...my neighbor was going through their trail cam pictures from the summer and came across this:

I just love this picture!

I will breed my mares again in the next year or two, but not this year.  This fall I am planning a trip to Wyoming with my horses to ride in the mountains with my good friend.  I definitely have the baby horse bug though and I cannot WAIT to do it again!  I love the combination of my beloved mares and a really nice stallion, and I love being a part of shaping who my young horses become.  It is so refreshing to have horses that are just about broke just from regular handling.

And while I am not having any more baby horses this year, I have two clients/friends who have decided to breed their beloved mares...and they are breeding to Rawhides Slvr Bullet!  I am so excited for them, and excited that I get to be a part of it (I'll be doing all the ultrasounding and artificial insemination), and extra excited that my babies will have some half siblings locally!  I'll live vicariously through these horses for now, as my babies grow up.


Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

What a great picture from your neighbor's trail cam!

I like Denny a lot too. He's a handsome little guy.

Shirley said...

I miss having foals around. I plan to breed Clancy this year, the foal will be for sale eventually but it will be fun to have a youngster around next year. Yours are sure looking good. I hope that lady heeds your advice.