Happy Valentine's Day! February 14, 2011: We hope that your Valentine's Day has been special for you. Here at the farm, out of necessity, today is much like any other day. In the mornings we put the horses outside, put out hay bales, clean the stalls, fill water buckets and put hay in the stalls. In the evening we bring the horses , feed them their concentrate and tuck them in for the night.
I don't suppose Epona and Mahogany are feeling at all romantic today, as each one's belly is getting larger and dropping lower. In the last week Epona, who from birth has loved to have her bum scratched, does not want to be touched or looked at from the middle of her belly back to her tail. If I even take a peak to check on udder development, I get grumpy looks from her. Mahognay is on the other end of the scale. Mahogany has never really enjoyed having her bum scratched. In the past week, she has frequently walked up to me placing her bum squarely in front of me demanding a bum scratch. If there are other horses arinound she runs them off and then returns to me to resume the scratching session. Funny girls!
Yesterday, Delaney came out to play with the horses. All did amazingly well. Sully, particularly, did quite well. His attitude was one of willingness without any of the extroverted play time to work through first. I think this is a first for him. He will be three years old in May so we are hopeful this is a trend starting towards mental maturity. Yesterday, we measured all of the young horses. Sully's physical maturity continues as he measured 16.3 1/2 hands at the withers and 17.0 hands at the hip!
Today the winds are blustery, to say the least! The winds should finish drying out the turnout area which will be nice. I did notice over the weekend that there are daffodils and crocus pushing up through the soil. This is a welcome sign!
Milder weather equals mud! February 6, 2011: The Fall/Winter of 2009/2010 was very wet with higher than average rainfall and snowfall, which equaled months of muddy ground. Until this last snowfall, we were doing quite well with having minimal amounts of mud to deal with this winter and we were hopeful to make it to spring without having to deal with much mud. Well, the snow has melted and left in its' wake lots of mud. In order to preserve our pastures, we utilize a sacrifice area for winter turnout. Even if we do not have wet weather the horses, through their hoofmarks and grazing, quickly leave this area barren. Just add moisture to equal a mess. Fortunately, a windy day seems to follow shortly afterwards to help dry out the ground.
This morning when I turned the horses out, after having been kept inside for the last day due to the weather, Kisses promptly laid down and rolled. This grey mare quickly became red in color as our soil contains red clay. She did not seem to mind as she rolled from side to side making particularly sure that she coated every inch of her body. Getting up and shaking herself off, she strolled over to the round bale to join the other horses. A friend once asked us if we had gotten some new horses which were chestnut in color. No, no new horses. Just grey mares who roll in the mud.
Snow, Snow, Go Away! January 29, 2011: This past week we have received more snow with the storm which moved up the east coast. We did not get as much snow as those north of us. Our 6 inches was certainly more than we wanted. More than an inch or two of snow always increases the time needed to take care of the horses. Often the horses are in their stalls a bit longer than usual, especially if there is ice involved, which equates to increased time needed to clean stalls. Water buckets are frozen and increased care is needed when walking over the frozen, white terrain. Time is needed to use the tractor to clear paths for humans, horses, and motor vehicles. Although, we know that snow is important in contributing to ground water levels (important when your water is supplied by a well), how we hope for the arrival of Spring and milder weather.
Leon. January 23, 2011: Leon has had surgery to repair his fracture with internal fixation (placement of a metal pin in his bone) and his recovery is going well. Recovery involves being confined to a crate which is in the warmest room by the wood stove (pretty uptown for a barn cat). Twice a day he gets to come out of the crate and rest/sleep on Mike's lap, which is certainly another hardship for a barn cat. Leon is Mike's cat. Today for the first time, Leon wanted to wander around the house rather than stay on Mike's lap. He is allowed, under supervision, a few minutes to walk around (for physical therapy purposes). We anticipate that Leon will recover fully and return to his barn cat duties sometime in the spring, when the weather has warmed and his hair has grown back in where he was shaved for the surgery.
January Happenings at Epiphany Bay Farm. January 16, 2011: For the past two weeks, I have been making the daily effort to school/play/train with at least two horses. Overall, I have had good success with this New Year's resolution. Lady Leone, Sully, and Abigail have been my primary focus. I set up a little jump with cross rails to see what Leone thought about jumping while working her on the long line. She took the jump in stride, perfectly timed and kept on going. Conclusion: Leone likes to jump.
It has been a month since Sully's brother Hamilton, left to go to his new home. We were not sure how Sully would handle the change as the two were one day apart in age and had been lifelong constant companions and playmates. Sully is quite a playful, energetic soul and he has commandeered the three yearling fillies to be his playmates now that his brother is gone. The fillies, however, do not always go along with his plans. It is amusing to watch. He is so much larger than they are, yet, if they have had enough of his games they let him know in no uncertain terms that playtime is over.
Leon and Maggie are our two young barn cats. Well, barn cats is what they are supposed to be. Every evening, Maggie and Leon come into the house for a few hours. We know when they are ready to come indoors as Maggie has mastered the art of jumping up and hanging on the door handle to open the back door. This started when the weather began to get colder. They lay on our laps or in front of the wood stove for a bit, then they go back outside for the night. They don't seem to object too strenuously to being put out. Anyway, this is what we thought. It may be that Leon had a master plan to become an indoor kitty. We live fairly close to the road, yet, had never seen the cats go near the road for which we were grateful. Friday morning, we could not find Leon. He and Maggie are always together and always meet us at the back door to go to the barn in the morning. We did not find Leon until Friday afternoon. We had searched the entire farm, feared the worst and headed back to the house. Leon was laying in the side yard by the back walk so we don't know where he had been hiding when we had searched for him around the house. He had played dodge with a motor vehicle and lost. He was pretty banged up and his back leg was broken. He is scheduled for surgery to repair the fracture, although, over the weekend he has shown signs that he may have some nerve damage to a front leg. For now, anyway, Leon is a house cat.
Happy New Year!
January 2, 2011: Thank you to our volunteers, customers, friends and fellow Cleveland Bay enthusiasts, whom we greatly appreciate, for being a part of Epiphany Bay Farm in 2010.
History of Epiphany Bay Farm 2011
2011 A Lapse, Updates and Summary. December 31, 2011: In August of this year, we were unable to update our website due to repairs/improvements which were being done to the ISP's tower. This continued well into September. About the same time, our computer was ill and required a new hard drive and operating system. Fortunately, our son-in-law, works with computers and was able to assist us with this process. Although due to his schedule and our schedule, along with the glitches which arise with such significant updates, the process took quite some time. Our sincere apologies to our readers for such a long lapse in updating our website.
During the intervening months, Princess, transitioned well to her new home at Brookhill Retirement Center. Currently, she has found a new home with a Hippo Therapy Program. Hippo Therapy is a type of rehabilitation program for people in which the horses are used on the ground and not ridden. A perfect fit for Princess!
Sully continued his training with Bobby Meyerhoff through October. He was introduced to fox hunting, going out with two different hunts. We were told he did as well as any young horse could do on their first hunts. During the second hunt, he was ridden through a river and apparently showed little to no concern over this new experience.
Sera has continued to grow and we often refer to her as a "chunky monkey" as she will likely mature into a big girl. She stands to be groomed on the cross ties, stands for the farrier and is unconcerned about vaccines. A pleasure to be around and quite smart. In the latter part of November we began to find her in the parts of the fields which had been sectioned off with temporary electric fencing in order to keep the horses off these areas and allow the pasture a rest. Sera would be inside the fenced off area and the rest of the herd maintained their distance from the electric fence. After many days of watching, we determined that Sera was ducking under the temporary fencing to get to the greener grass. On a few occasions, we saw her go over the temporary fence. This went on for weeks. Finally, we determined that our fence charger was not performing as expected and Sera had determined that she would likely not get shocked going after the green grass. We replaced the fence charger and it took about two days until Sera decided to stay with the rest of the herd rather than getting zapped by the fence.
Constance, Penny and Abigail all had their first trailer ride and the experience of exploring a new facility.
This year I began taking riding lessons in Hunt Seat at Fox Whisper Farm. The owners of the farm have graciously allowed us to bring the young horses with us when I have a lesson. Mike walks the youngsters around while I ride. All three have taken to the new experiences quite well.
In November, we took Lady Leone to a Natural Horsemanship Clinic with James Anderson and sponsored by Warrenton Horse Works. It was Leone's first time off the farm in two years and first time in an indoor arena. She did great with the trailer ride, the new environment and all of the obstacles. She was most concerned about the mattress which was on the ground, yet with a bit of encouragement she walked right over it. She went through a "car wash", walked over a rocking bridge and a tarp along with various other obstacles. We were so incredibly proud of her! She is such a sweet and willing girl.
Olddominion Epona and Belladonna Mahogany were presented in November for an Inspection by the Cleveland Bay Horse Society as part of their applications for Premium Mare Status. Two United States based Cleveland Bay Horse Society Inspectors performed the Inspections. Premium Mares must be five years of age having produced a live foal, under go a veterinary examination and are evaluated for how well they conform to the Cleveland Bay Breed Standards. We are waiting for a decision on their applications from the Cleveland Bay Horse Society.
2011 has been a year of several lows for us along with some good aspects. The lows are the loss of Mahogany's filly to septicemia at two days of age and being unsuccessful in getting Mahogany bred again. As a result, we do not have any foals due in 2012. A month after we lost Mahogany's foal, we lost our oldest TB mare, Kisses to an acute, severe colic. As well, we decided to take a year off from showing our horses. On the flip side, our Bushhogging Services grew, along with our Equine Burial Service. Sully spent five months at Meyerfhoff's Show Horses, being started under saddle and introduced to fox hunting. Princess found a new career as Hippo Therapy horse. Sera is doing great! We thank our volunteers for all of their time and commitment to our horses and farm. We look forward to next year.
Road Trip. August 7, 2011: Today, we made a trip to Suffolk, Virginia to visit Hamilton and Rachel. Hamilton has matured handsomely since we last saw him in December 2010 when Rachel purchased him. He now stands just shy of 17 hands at the wither, having filled out with muscle and bone. We were impressed with how great he looks. It is quite apparent that Rachel loves Hamilton and that Hamilton loves Rachel! Rachel shared with us how much everyone at her barn loves Hamilton. Small children love to feed him treats. For one small girl, Rachel said that Hamilton held his head down so the girl could hug his head which was just about bigger than she was! Hamilton will be moving to California this fall as Rachel and her soon to be husband are relocating out there. We have been promised photos of Hamilton and will look forward to seeing these.
Princess goes to a new home. August 4, 2011: Today, we took Princess to Brookhill Retirement Center for Horses located in Forest, Virginia. Princess traveled well and settled in quickly. She will be in a paddock where she can meet the other horses over the fence for several days until she is turned out with the herd.
Photogenic Girl. July 23, 2011: Sera, now 4 1/2 months old, is quite willing to be photographed. Sera takes new experiences in stride. For her photography session, she was quite willing to be groomed, have a new halter fitted and then stand quietly to be photographed. So often with Sera, she just seems to behave as if she has seen it all before. We feel that she must be an old soul in a young body.
A Summer's Day. June 26, 2011: In keeping with my plans to photograph Sera, I took a few photos this afternoon. She is now three and one-half months old.
Last week she did great when she had her feet trimmed. Today, she was curious about an empty feed bag. Bravely, she sniffed at the bag. She quickly lost her bravery when the bag tickled her nose. She did go back a second time to check out the bag only to have it tickle her nose again. Funny girl!
The Best Fly Deterrent. June 17, 2011: This evening I took photos of Sera, who is now 3 months old. We have been preoccupied with other endeavors and have not taken the requisite number of filly photos. I intend to catch up with my photography of Sera.
Sera is finally, visibly shedding out her baby coat, which was and is quite thick. I've felt bad for her on the 90+ degree days as the girl just sweats, even under a fan. She loves to be scratched anywhere on her body. The better the scratchy spot is to her the higher her head goes and the further her upper lip juts out! Quite funny to watch. Sera is turned out with her mum (of course) and her sister, Constance. Being the smart filly that she is, Sera has found the best fly deterrent out in the pasture is to stand between her mum and Constance, letting them whisk the flies off of her!
Many Events. June 13, 2011: There has been much going on in our lives, which has resulted in the lack of recent posts to our website. First and foremost, we have an addition to our family. Our second grandchild (of the two-legged variety) was born. We have been busy supporting the new parents and spending time with our grandchild.
When we haven't been busy being grandparents, we have been spending a lot of time working with the two mares, Princess and Rose. Princess has now been ridden a half a dozen times and is doing quite well. Rose is coming along nicely, though not a quickly as Princess.
We attended the Cleveland Bay Show at Upperville on Saturday, June 11. We did not take any horses. We were too busy being grandparents to prepare the horses for the show. There was a good turn out of horses, along with some new horses and new faces in the ring. Congratulations to all of the winners. The weather turned out to be quite lovely and many of the Cleveland Bay enthusiasts gathered for a tailgate following the classes.
Success! May 23, 2011: This weekend, Delaney was out to work with the horses. She spent time with Princess, Leone and Rose. The work which has been done so far with Princess has paid off. Delaney was able to sit on Princess' back with Princess being totally unconcerned about having a rider up. Leone was ridden and is making good progress in moving forward and making turns, all at the walk. Rose had her first session in which she wore the bareback pad. Overall, the day was a success.
Give it a Go. May16, 2011: Our project for the next couple of weeks is to determine if Rose and Princess have ever been ridden. If we can determine this in the affirmative, we have the possibility of having them accepted into a retirement home. They are both such nice mares who each deserve to live out their retirement comfortably. So we will "give it a go" and see what we come up with.
What a difference a year makes! May 9, 2011: Sully will be 3 years old this month. The boy is growing up! He stands at 16.3 1/2 hands.
If you do what you have always done you will get what you have always got. May 7, 2011: Insanity is expecting different results when you keep doing the same thing again and again. Well, we need new results! We are in the process of changing things up. Although, we are not quite ready to divulge the changes. Yet, will do so as appropriate.
Congratulations are in order! April 30, 2011: April has continued to present us with challenges, loss and a reason for congratulations. All of this plays a huge part in why I did not make posts to our website during April.
Sera, who is now doing great, had an upper respiratory infection which had her feeling puny for several days. After Sera was better, we started the process of transitioning the horses to spring pasture from their winter turn out area. We begin by putting the horses out on the grass for short periods of time. Each day we gradually increase the amount of time they are on the grass to give their digestive systems an opportunity to adjust to the grass. Moving the horses from one area to the other is a time consuming process.
During April, we were dealt another loss. Kisses our oldest TB broodmare developed colic which was severe enough that we had to put her down. We do not know why this happened as Kisses had never had any intestinal issues and was transitioning well to the spring pasture. Kisses will be deeply missed. Her spirit was one of kindness and gentleness. As a broodmare, she was worth her weight in gold.
The congratulations go to Delaney. Delaney is a member of the Orange County Bit N' Bridle 4-H Club. Delaney created a Power Point presentation about the Cleveland Bay horse. She gave an oral presentation using her Power Point on the Cleveland Bay. Her first presentation was at the Northern District 4-H Presentation Contest where she earned the Blue Danish Ribbon with 97 out of 100 points. Her next presentation was at the Virginia State 4-H Horse Presentation Contest where she earned 7th place.
Sera's First Day in Spring Pasture. April 3, 2011: With all that has happened at our farm the past several weeks, we have not had much time to spend with Sera and her mom, Epona. Today's weather was sunny, mildly breezy with temperatures in the mid 50's. Delaney was at the farm working with some of the other horses and she stayed to help with moving Epona and Sera from their paddock to the pasture. Mike put the halter on Sera with little objection from her. I placed a lead rope around Sera's bum to help guide her and Delaney led Epona just in front of Sera. Sera did well with her first experience being haltered and having a person directing where she would go.
Once in the pasture, Epona was not overly concerned about Sera, she simply put her head down and started grazing. Sera, however, quickly discovered that she had considerably more room to run. Which she did. Eventually, she started checking out the grass which had captured her mother's attention. First she would sniff the grass, blow a bit and shake her head as the grass tickled her nose. Finally she joined mom in grazing. When it was time to return to the paddock, Sera easily accepted the halter and walked back to the paddock, behind her mom, again with the rope around her bum. She did a few bucks and hops along the way, yet, otherwise did well.
Delicate Balance between Life and Death. March 27, 2011: Seldom do we consider this delicate balance. Carlene and I had planned the breeding with Belladonna Mahogany and Borderfame Prince Charming for over two years. We took a chance when Mahogany was a three year old and bred her by artificial insemination (AI) as a maiden mare. The breeding did not take. We had been successful breeding Olddominion Epona as a three year old with the thought that both mares would be four when they delivered. Epona conceived twice at three, carried and delivered Epiphanybay Constance and our TB mare Princess (a high risk mare having slipped a foal the previous year), an embryo transfer recipient, carried and delivered Epiphanybay Independence. We have been so passionate about breeding the Cleveland Bays that we have been willing to take some chances and breed in unconventional ways and timelines without sacrificing the wellbeing of the mares.
Last year we repeated the breeding with Borderfame Prince Charming and were delighted that Mahogany was in foal. After 11 months of prenatal care and anticipation, Mahogany gave birth to a filly foal on the 23rd of March, one day prior to her calculated due date. The foaling went well. Being a maiden mare, Mahogany did a great job! The foal was a little large but presentation was correct. During the foaling I was gently holding the front legs of the foal so that progress was not lost and when the head was present I got to see the foal’s eye blink for the first time outside of the womb. The shoulders followed and then the rest of the body followed. Once I cleared the amniotic sack from the foal’s nose I saw the first breath of life. Mare and foal rested for some time before we were able to see that the foal was a filly. We were thrilled as we had so hoped for a filly!
The next twelve hours turned into quite a trial. Mahogany wanted nothing to do with her filly. This little girl was very quick to get on her feet and a strong suck reflex was evident very early on. Mahogany would not let her nurse, did not want to clean her up and even kicked her once before I could intervene. For those that know Mahogany, she is a very sweet and loving mare that does not show aggressive behavior. We of course knew that we would have to “make” Mahogany nurse the filly or we would have to bottle feed her. After 4 hours we were able to get the filly to nurse and spent the next 8 hours making sure that the filly was not neglected or harmed. It was during that time that Carlene and I bonded with the filly. I even had the chance to get a nap with her in my arms. She was magnificent! Straight, correct, nice head, neck, and back. She was so sweet with an endearing personality that was growing by the minute. She was all that we had hoped and dreamed for. When our vet, Anna came and examined the mare and filly, drew blood from the filly and checked her IGG level the results were good and we sighed a collective sigh of relief that all was well. Mahogany had settled and was letting the filly nurse at will without incident. We left them and went into the house to get some rest, still checking on them through the night. All appeared well.
The next morning Carlene noticed that the filly’s respirations were too rapid but she was still alert and nursing albeit not as bright as yesterday. The filly stopped nursing and her condition seemed to worsen, so we milked Mahogany and tried to get the foal to take the milk with a bottle. Anna came back and examined the filly. At that point we were concerned that the earlier kick suffered may have broken her sternum or a rib as pain reaction is delayed in foals. We decided to take the filly to the Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Virginia for x-rays. It was during the trailer ride that Mahogany started to finally act like a mother.
We arrived and after a lengthy exam process, discovered that the filly was septic and had a severe case of pneumonia. The doctors only gave her a 50/50 chance of survival. We asked them to do anything they could to try and save her life. We traveled home Thursday evening, praying, in tears but hopeful. At 3 AM Friday morning the doctor called and told us that the filly, although responding well to treatment initially was not doing well. One last option remained to treat her and we gave our authorization. We were told that if she did not respond well we would be called in an hour. Carlene and I prayed together for the filly’s survival. We had been told that she was a fighter. We fell asleep, exhausted, finding that over three hours had elapsed and we had renewed hope. We dared not call the doctor as we wanted to assume that the filly was doing well. We received a call to inform us the filly was not improving, suffered cardiac arrest, was revived by CPR but very weak. Any further treatment was ill advised and inhumane. We sadly gave permission to euthanize the filly. Words cannot express our feelings. So much had occurred in two days. Life cut so short. I quickly thought about our vision, “Breeding for Conservation and Performance”. This filly represented our vision, her sire being a NaSta performance tested, premium CB stallion and the plight of the Cleveland Bay horses being critically endangered. She would have been a bright light in the breed, dimmed suddenly without any warning signs. We are not the first CB breeder to suffer a loss. We know others, friends that have suffered too many losses. We were not so naive to believe that it would not happen at our farm, our program. The sorrow and sting is no less knowing that it was only a matter of when, not if.
We wait to name our foals after waiting to see what their personality is like and what works for them. Some names have been no-brainers. While never discussing with Carlene, I thought that the name Spirit would be so appropriate. We had not discussed bringing her home to bury her with Netami, Carlene’s beloved quarter horse of 35 years. Two no-brainers. We could not bury an unnamed filly and Spirit captured our vision so perfectly that no other name was discussed. She is the spirit of our farm, our program, our dreams and hopes. She rests on a hill, overlooking the barns with Netami, the babysitter. Spirit’s job will be to look after the future foals and remind Carlene and me how important yet fragile our work is. Rest well our beloved filly, Epiphanybay Spirit.
Finally, a Name for the New Filly. March 19, 2011: The naming of a new foal can sometimes occur in an instant as it did with our first purebred filly, Epiphanybay Independence. She was born on July 4 and has always been quite independent even as a foal. Often she would venture far away from mom to explore her world. For other foals, it takes a bit longer to find a name. We have watched Epona's filly develop an absolutely lovely personality. She is very friendly, energetic and seems care free. All of these are a blessing as she had a bit of a slow start. One of the veterinarians that I work with came up with the name suggestion. She was thinking how lucky the filly had been in her arrival, which was early. A synonym for luck is serendipity. The filly will be named Epiphanybay Serendipity and be called Sera.
We continue to closely watch Mahogany as her due date of March 24 nears. Mahogany, who is normally quite laid back about life, is going through a cranky period just like Epona did prior to foaling.
When it's all worth it! March 13, 2011: This morning found Epona's filly quite frisky in the stall with her mother. As we sat on a bale of straw in the corner of the stall watching this little gal's exuberance, Mike commented, "This is when it's all worth it." The satisfaction and joy of knowing that we have been instrumental in a small part towards preserving this endangered breed of horse, the Cleveland Bay. There is much which goes into this day. Choosing a stallion for the mare. Ultrasounds to determine if the mare is ready to be bred. Hauling the mare to the stallion and having a successful covering and hauling her home. The waiting for the first ultrasound to determine if there is a single embryo present and not twins. The ultrasound to find the heartbeat of the fetus. Ensuring the mare is fed properly and that she does not consume any fescue grass or hay in the last three months of pregnancy. The vaccines given throughout the pregnancy and about a month before foaling. Fecal egg counts and deworming with products safe for a pregnant mare. Hoof care. The 10 months of waiting after the fetal heartbeat ultrasound is positive. There is the preparation of the foaling stall and the collection of all of the potentially needed supplies for birthing. Then as the due date nears, there are the frequent trips to the barn to check on the mare all hours of the day and night and near sleepless nights when foaling is imminent. There is the hoping that you will be present when the mare finally decides to foal, as mares can be tricky and decide to foal when you step out for a brief moment. The most dangerous part to both the mare and foal is the actual birth process which takes about 20 minutes and if anything goes wrong may result in the loss of the foal and possibly the mare. Then there are the hours spent after foaling ensuring the foal is normal and is able to stand and nurse for which the timeframe is typically one hour and no more than three hours. There is a concern that the mare will accept the foal and allow it to nurse. The foal has to consume the mare's first milk to obtain antibodies for immunity as a foal is born without any immunity. At about 12 hours of age, a blood test is done to determine if the foal has been able to absorb an adequate amount of the antibodies in the mare's milk. Then, hopefully, all is well and will continue to be well. Sitting there on the straw bale this morning, we were blessed to be able to say, "Yes, this is when it's all worth it."
Epona has given birth to a Filly! March 11, 2011: We have spent some very long hours in the broodmare barn since March 9th. We were quite concerned as Epona was foaling early and were checking on her every 30 minutes. When I checked her at 2:00 am on March 10th, I decided to stay with Epona as she had become increasingly restless. When Epona laid down to give birth, I called Mike and he came out to the barn. By the time he arrived the delivery was in process. It was not the smoothest delivery so it was a good thing we were there to assist. The filly was born at 2:40 AM. Either Mike or I stayed with mare and foal constantly for the first 20 hours after birth. Epona is worth her weight in gold as a mother as we could not have asked for a more perfect mare to cooperate with all that occurred. Today, both Epona and the filly are doing well.
Another night of frequently interrupted sleep! March 9, 2011: Epona, whose 340 day calculated foaling date of March 28, started waxing up 48+ hours ago and has many other changes indicating foaling is nearer than March 28. Two days ago, we moved Epona to a foaling stall thickly bedded with soft straw. I checked on her every 1 1/2 to 2 hours all night long. She did not foal and I was tired! Yesterday, she started dripping some from her teats and last night was again spent with hourly checks all night long. Again, she did not foal. Today, late in the afternoon I found her standing in her paddock with milk steady dripping from her teats. Now, every 30 minutes she is being checked. If she is going to foal tonight, I sure wish she would foal earlier than later. In 2009, when she gave birth to EB Constance she foaled at 329 days. Today, she is at 321 days. Mares are frequently unpredictable year to year when one can expect them to foal.
The Waiting Game. March 2, 2011: With foaling dates nearing, each day we check the two mares, Epona and Mahogany multiple times daily. Checking for changes in udder size is the first item on the check list. We are also checking for changes in the foal's position as evidenced by how the mare's belly appears. As the mare nears delivery the position of the foal changes. Next we check for changes in muscle tone around the tail base and perineal area which relaxes significantly as delivery nears. Mares have the ability to control when the foal will be delivered. As a prey animal in the wild, it is important to control foaling time from a survival standpoint for both the mare and foal. Veterinary information on foaling gives a range of 330 to 350 days of gestation as the timeframe in which a mare will typically foal, with the recommendation to begin watching the mare closely beginning at day 300. Our foaling dates are calculated for day 340. As we are past day 300, the waiting game has begun.
Second Photo Day: February 28, 2011: Yesterday, Delaney came out to work with the horses. Abigail tried her best to have Delaney pick her to work with first. When Abigail saw Delaney, she walked to the gate of the round pen and looked at Delaney as if to say, "Ok, I'm ready". When Delaney picked Lady Leone to work with first, Abigail came over and tried to interject herself between Lady Leone and Delaney. Abigail stood at the side of the round pen the entire time Delaney worked with Lady Leone. Delaney rode Lady Leone at a walk in the round pen, concentrating on having her move forward. Lady Leone took everything in stride.
Then, Delaney picked Sully to work with second. Abigail tried again to have Delaney pick her by interjecting herself between Sully and Delaney. Sully did fairly well, although, he did test Delaney a few times to see if she really meant what she was asking of him. As soon, as Sully realized that Delaney meant business, he readily cooperated.
Abigail finally had her turn. Although, when Delaney went to get her, Abigail walked away from her playing hard to get. Abigail did well with her lessons. Afterwards, she followed Delaney around wanting to be scratched and getting hugs from Delaney.
Yesterday's weather was gorgeous. We tried again to take photos of Epiphanybay Constance and Epiphanybay Independence together. Delaney helped by holding Constance and Mike held Independence. Both fillies cooperated quite well, resulting in some good photographs being taken.
Mares in foal. February 23, 2011: Over the past two weeks we had noticed that Epona, who is due to foal on March 28, had become increasingly cranky. She did not want to be touched or have her favorite places scratched. When out with the herd, she would maintain a distance from the herd. We decided to separate her from the herd during the daytime turnout. We placed Epona along with her personal round bale of hay in a paddock. Almost immediately, she returned to her usual friendly behavior.
Mahogany, who is due to foal on March 24, would come stand near the paddock with Epona. Epona and Mahogany have always gotten along well. We placed Mahogany with Epona and both settled in around the hay bale. The odd occurrence is that Lady Leone, who has been Mahogany's best nearly inseparable buddy since the day she arrived at our farm, would come stand by the paddock and Mahogany ignored her. Leone would just stand there watching Mahogany and Epona, yet, she did not call out or race around. After a day, Leone returned to hanging out with the herd.
We suspect that Epona may foal earlier than her calculated due date, although one never quite knows. Her belly is dropping, the muscles around her tail base seem softer and yesterday her udder became significantly larger. Mahogany is not yet showing any of these signs. Although maiden mares can surprise you.
Today is to be cleaning day for the stalls in the broodmare barn in preparation for foaling. Hopefully, the day warms up some so at least it will be pleasant to be outdoors.
Photo Day. February 21, 2011: With the milder weather today, we took some photos. The fun, so to speak, was to take photos of Epiphanybay Independence and Epiphanybay Constance together. We took them into a pasture they had not been into for a while where there is the faintest hint of green in the grass. The fillies interest was in anything but standing still together.
Farm History 2011
Breeders of the Purebred Cleveland Bay Horse and the Cleveland Bay Sport Horse
The Cleveland Bay Horse is a critically endangered heritage breed of horse as determined by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and the Rare Breeds Survial Trust