Monday, February 26, 2007

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men and an Arabian Horse Breeder. Part 2

Part 1

The Arabian mares had paired up in the field, which I had expected. Horses in a herd tend to run in pairs. But the new Arabian mare paired up with Scandalous Love who was nearly the last mare scheduled to foal. There was a big gap between foaling dates that didn't bode well for keeping the Arabian mares paired up with their foals.

The new Arabian mare did foal in January as expected. She managed to keep me up for a week and then did the deed while I was out of town at the Arabian Horse Assc.Region V Mini Convention. Dave and Lindsay were left to do the foaling. Every thing went as expected and the Arabian mare gave birth to a beautiful chestnut filly. The plan was on track so far.

The weather was awful so the Arabian horses weren't getting out much. I was hesitant to put a January foal out into freezing rain. By the time the weather finally did warm up enough for me to feel comfortable with the new Arabian mare and her foal outside, Bey Aana, one of my other Arabian mares, had foaled as well, a pretty chestnut colt. So I decided to break up the way the Arabian mares had paired themselves and put the new mare with her foal out with Aana and her foal. That worked pretty well. The colt was a pistol but the filly was enough older and bigger than the colt that the filly soon put the colt in his place. So this was another obstacle overcome.

The next step was to breed the mare, but that's where the Arabian mare decided she knew better than I. No way would that mare show to the stallion. I tried everything.I left the foal in the stall and teased the mare away from the foal. I moved her into the stall right next to the stallion so she could get accustomed to him. I turned her out into the field facing his stall where she could come right up to the stallion's stall on her own and get to know him. This Arabian mare was having none of it.

I wasn't in all that big a hurry to breed the Arabian mare early in the year because the weather is too erratic for young foals. So I didn't worry about the Arabian mare not showing heat too much at first. But by the time April was almost gone, I was beginning to worry that maybe I had a lactating anestrus mare ( a mare that doesn't have heat cycles while lactating) I planned to have her checked by the vet but Mother Nature intervened.
Scandalous Love foaled twins and keeping them alive became my top priority. By the time I got through with the months of care and expenses for them, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to continue breeding horses. let alone deal with a difficult breeding mare.

I did try off and on to tease the new horse when I suspected the mare was in heat. The only sign I saw was a little bit of tail rubbing but the mare was always rejected the Arabian stallion. The mare wanted nothing to do with the stallion. The plan of having a foal on the ground by the next year was fast disintegrating.

Finally, I weaned the Arabian filly to see if I could get the mare to show heat. It was about a week before she showed signs. The Arabian mare was kicking the walls of her stall down along with rubbing her tail. At this point, I was sure the Arabian mare was in heat. But taking her to the Arabian stallion, I was still getting the same response.

Trying to problem solve my dilemma, I began rethinking everything I knew about this mare and horses in general. I know that this mare has never been bred live cover. Her first pregnancy they used frozen semen and the next two she was artificially inseminated with fresh semen. What they had done about teasing her etc was anyone's best guess.

Then it dawned on me, while I had taken extra care to introduce her to the other mares in my herd because she was in foal, I had not done anything different about the way I introduced her to the Arabian stallion. The scariest, most intimidating horse in the new herd but I more or less just threw the Arabian Mare at the stallion expecting the urge to breed to be stronger than her fear. So much for my horse sense.

To be continued....


  1. Ah, the babies. How I miss foaling season. And why do those mares decide to be so persnickety right when we need them to cooperate?? lol

  2. I'm pretty sure it's another part of the mare thing.