Friday, October 5, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Maiden Season Part 8

Part 1 of the Baby Boomer Series

Part 1 of the Maiden Season

The vet made extensive records of the mare's condition. We also took pictures for documentation. Even in the photos you can see that bump on her back. I will never forget the condition that mare was in when I got her. As far as I'm concerned the pictures don't show anywhere near how bad this mare looked to me.

I was concerned about breeding her in this condition. My plan was to get her weight up at least 150 pounds before I even thought about breeding. But the vet assured me that mares settle much better when they are recovering from being this down. He really thought I should go ahead and breed as soon as she came into heat.

On the ride home back across that long, long bridge, I remember thinking about the twists and turns my dreams had taken. The loss of Scandalous had been so devestating with only the possibility of acquiring this particular mare being enough to bring me out of that darkness. Yet, here was this very special mare now in a nightmare of her own. I wondered where life's twist and turns would take us next.

The next day, the womam who owned this mare came by so we could do the paperwork on the lease. I know that you probably think I ripped her a new one, but I did not because to do so meant I jeopardized this mare's safety. I did tell her that I had taken her to a vet to have her condition documented. I didn't go into any details however.

That comment was enough. Her response was "Oh my, all of our horses had a tough, tough winter." Then she went on to explain how the farm they were moving to had burned to the ground before they could take possession. The insurance company suspected arson so there was not going to be a quick settlement.

In the meantime, the family was allowed to move onto the grounds to live in a trailer. However they would not let them move any of the horses onto the property. That meant they had to find pasture they could rent for their entire herd. The only way they had been able to do this was to rent several different fields. Of course, not one of those fields was in close proximity to another.

According to this owner, they would drop the kids off at school in the morning and the go make the rounds to each field to feed. By the time they had feed all of the horses it was time to pick up the kids from school and begin the rounds again feeding the horses.

Taking care of this many horses under this circumstances along with this being their first experience with pasture on high desert, it had just gotten away from them. By the time they realized there was a problem it had already gotten away from them.

We went ahead and finished out our paperwork and she went on her way. I never voiced my concerns about the fact they had planned on riding this mare in her current condition. As far as I was concerned, swallowing my words was worth it if I could save this mare. I was just going to bide my time, bite my tongue and wait to see how things washed out.

It didn't take long for the Dare Malik daughter to begin putting on weight. Once she was wormed and feed good quality hay regularly, the pounds went on pretty rapidly. Even though it would still be a whle before she looked like the exquisite Arabian horse that I remembered, the mare was happy and played just like that healthy mare I'd seen last fall.

It was only a matter of days before the mare came into heat. I still debated about breeding her this thin but ended up going along with the vet's recommendations. To say that Legs was excited about getting to breed another mare, would, or course, be a huge understatement. From the moment the young stallion laid eyes on this gray mare, he was in love. It didn't matter if she was in heat or not, just the sight of this mare made him drool. I was figuring our next breeding was going to be different from the last.

But the horse remembered me falling to the ground. Even though he hadn't gotten into trouble as far as I was concerned, the horse clearly remembered the whole incident as trouble. I didn't have to worry about him coming into my space. It was clear he was keeping his distance from me.

However, the young horse was so excited about the new mare, I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to get her bred. The horse wanted to jump too soon, he wanted to jump too late. He wanted to just lay his face across her croup and drool all over her. It looked like he didn't really care what he did as long as he could do it close to her.

Finally the mare began talking to him. I wasn't really sure if this was a good thing or not. The horse was already so excited he couldn't figure out what to do. But it must have been just what he needed to hear. I don't know what she told him. Whatever it was, he shook off his confusion and got up and bred her.

I remember as his weight came down over her, the mare stumbled forward as her back gave under his weight. For a brief instant I thought she was going to collapse to the ground but thankfully she didn't. She stumbled forward a couple of steps almost knocking Dave to the ground but finally caught herself.

Legs was so excited it hardly took a minute and I was pulling him off of the mare. That was it for me, even if this mare stayed in heat, I wasn't breeding her again. Not until I knew her strength was back and she could support the weight,would I even consider breeding her. There was no way I was going to jeopardize her life or anyone else's. Next time I was listening to my own instincts. It just doesn't seem that things work out all that well when I don't.

To be continued..........

Part 9


  1. What a sad story for this mare! Knowing that you were so interested in this mare, I think that woman should have been calling you as soon as she ran into trouble to see if you would buy her. I am glad you got her in the end though, and I am glad she was able to start putting on weight with just some good food and wormer. Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

  2. How heartbreaking! Something similar happened to a mare we sold. Fortunately the local saddler basically told the owner - 'get a new home for her or we're taking her off you'

  3. I'm just so glad you took this mare in. She's a lucky horse and quite a cutie...and glad Legs liked her...LOL! He sounds like one heck of a great horse!

  4. I'm glad you were able to take this mare in before her condition got too bad! Sheesh. Legs is so cute... Also, when you come to a good stopping place, can we have an update on the black filly that was injured?

  5. julia, I can't explain why they didn't do things differently. It's sure not how I would have handled it. But even at this point, they did not want to sell this mare to me. I was the one insisting they stick to the original deal of a lease with a purchase option.

    ro, it's good that your horse had someone looking our for her too. Many horses are not as fortunate.

    equinespirit, I'm fortunate to have gotten this mare, that is for sure and as for Legs' we'll see what you think tomorrow. It was a tough year!

    L, Thanks for asking about Echo, I am going to post an update on her and Suede soon.

  6. OMGOSH MIKAEL!!! Solidare is 18, and she looks waaaaay better then when you got her. She looks younger than when you got her. The appearance of a skinny horse, makes them look older than they really are. So when I saw these photo's of when you got her, and what she looks like today, it's hard to believe the bad looking picture of her was when she was younger, and her BEAUTIFUL photo of her now, she looks soo great and beautiful. But truly what I think her owners meant by hard winter, was really, it's been a hard winter for the owners. Having to drive all day to feed, must of been a real drag. I wonder if there were days, that they probably didn't feed at all. I hope no horses died because of it.
    When the weather gets bad, you have to feed. Cause that excuse is the worst excuse. Cause it really sounds like, the owners were having a hard time. I also agree with what Julia said. And Equinespirit lol.

  7. kim, the picture of Solidate on the website was taken the year after this happened.

    I know it looks bad for the owners but in all fairness to them, they had been putting their horses out on pasture with supplemental feeding in winter for most of the time they were breeding horses. But these new pastures were on high desert and a totally different kind of grass than they had experience with. I believe they expected the supplemental requirements would be the same as the grass at home had been and they were not. Part of this happened because of that.

    I know first had that changes in feed can cause a drop in a horses condition. Dave and Lindsay don't understand what they "see" looking at the horse as well as I do. I have to watch condition closely because they will overlook the ups and the downs and I will have horses that are too fat or too thin in no time at all.