Sunday, May 11, 2008

Foaling Season 2008 on the Baby Boomer's Arabian Horse Breeding Farm - Poop Patrol Antics

I've been on poop patrol before with a number of Arabian foals but usually it is about passing meconium not after it's been done. With the lower bowel all flushed out from the Fleet enemas, there was no telling how long it was going to take for poop to come down into the lower tract but we needed to be watching for signs of an impaction so poop patrol it was.

We were watching for signs of straining and particularly those with an arch in the foal's back. Straining that hard with an empty bowel could cause the bowel to loop back on itself. When that happens sometimes it can be fixed by tubing the foal with water and oil and sometimes they require surgery. It was going to be important to watch this foal around the clock until we saw some signs of poop.

My vet said looping back of the intestine is one of the side effects of those Fleet enemas and why he avoids them at all costs. I know they are recommended by lots of vets but after this experience you can bet I"ll never use one again. I have some in my "horse" cupboard that are making their way to the trash.

So the poop patrol began. I also enlisted the aid of some of the people on Mare Stare. Needing to track this filly 24/7 was going to take more eyes than my two.

Fortunately the filly gave us lots of entertainment. Her usual antics might amount to racing around her mother and kicking the daylights out of the mare before the filly decides to stop and nurse. The mare has had to resort to lifting her leg and gesturing a kick back to get the filly to back off and sometimes to make her nurse on the other side. The only time it's been dull in that stall is when the filly was asleep.

The filly wasn't much better with the humans in her world. Poor Lindsay cleaning stalls had to deal with this brat of a filly trying to sneak out the door and pushing Lindsay out of the way in the process. The redhead had no idea that she was just a horse........indeed, she was pretty sure she should be some kind of queen over this new world of hers.

I decided that all this attitude was going to need to be channeled real soon. It would be a mistake to let this behavior go unchecked......... halter training had to start asap. I think in some kind of all time record for me, I broke out the rope halter. I planned to teach this filly how to give to pressure, although I was going to have to catch her first.

When I came through the people door with that rope halter in my hand, the chestnut filly took off for behind her mom. Lucy wasn't sure what to think about my motives or for that matter those of her filly. She hesitated as I asked her to move away but obliged when the filly got pushy. I think the poor mare has had it with the attitude as well.

So when Lucy moved to give me access to her foal, the filly darted past me trying to escape. I reached out and grabbed her blanket holding on tightly as she drug me with her across the stall. I still can't get over how strong baby horses can be.

I did manage to get her stopped and trapped in my arms. When I tried to put the halter on her nose, the filly just flat out threw herself onto the ground. Too bad I hadn't been thinking about such a response because I should have sat on her. Instead she managed to bounce back up before the thought ever hit my mind. I can assure you the next time she makes that move that I will be ready. This filly really could use some more imprinting.

I did finagle the rope halter onto her nose and then the strap up and over her pole. Getting the halter fastened took a bit more effort as the filly shook her head and stomped her foot at me scrunching my toes. I was really relieved when I finally got the knot done up holding the halter firmly in place.

From there I just put a little bit of pressure onto the lead asking the filly to drop her head. At any sign of change in her expression I gave her a release to encourage her to give to the pressure. Some of the time she over reacted and tried to escape. Her choice of routes changed it time but I managed to second guess her and keep her caught.

The gains at dropping her head were small but I thought I was making my wishes known. The during a released moment the filly dropped her head almost to her knees. Then she dropped her shoulder and tried to roll out away from me. I quickly trapped her with my arms as she threw her head up high in the air. The message was clear......."I get you want me to drop my head but I'm not going to do it for you!"

I did manage to gradually get her to drop her head about six inches from its highest point before I stopped. No way was I anywhere near the point she had dropped her head at me in disdain. I figured because she was a newborn a lesson five to ten minutes long was probably enough. But this one session made it real clear that lots more sessions were going to be in order. Not only did this filly think she was a princess........she was a very smart princess with her own ideas on how the world should turn.

It was then it occurred to me that her regal, aloof attitude was just like a character I clearly remembered in a book. Always looking for names that suit the personalities of my horses, it seemed that this character was a perfect fit. How to make the name of the heroine of Gone with the Wind into something "scandalous" was going to be tough but the very thought of calling this filly "Scarlet" tickled me.

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

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  1. oh-MiKael,
    You got your hands full with this little bundle don't you?

  2. I read this post which is, by the way, a delight to read and then somehow got to read about Trouble and Surprise which was even better. LOL. Sorry they had to be separated but after reading the piece I can understand it. Sounds like they are both doing OK now and only call out to each other now and then. Good.

    I had no idea about this poop patrol thing. When I was growing up I don't think people even thought about this but maybe they did and never talked about it. LOL

    Nice post. Horses are still beautiful. Thanks for stopping at my blog again.

  3. Hope you had a Happy Mother's Day. MiKael - How you can be a mother to so many four-legged children as well as your two legged ones is a real accomplishment! I hope you had some time to relax and get some pampering for yourself.

  4. She sounds like a firecracker! I've known one filly who would fling herself to the ground when handled early on. She has grown up well, so far as I know. Scarlet is the perfect name. :)

  5. Scarlett is a perfect name for this willful little filly! She does remind me of the Scarlett O'Hara character with the me me attitude and her stubbornness.You really have your work cut out for you, love that she threw herself on the floor in a tantrum to escape the halter. What a brat.

  6. Scandalous Scarlet! Love it!

  7. this is .exactly. the kind of personality I love best. When they finally start working for/with you, you have a devoted partner for life.

    I'm in love with her.

  8. Ooooh after that description, have we thought of Scandalous Attitude LOL. I like the Scarlet idea LOL. Boy am I regretting not getting a hold of my six now when they were that small but it was an impossibility at the time so water under the bridge and I am going to have to try to fix it the best way I can.

    Off to check Princess in her stall.


  9. poop-patrol haha! I have heard vaguely about enemas being bad but it seems everyone uses them. you explained it very well here. I KNOW Ill be spreading the word about them now.

    The little filly is sure full of herself! she sounds like a handful but a fun one at that :)

  10. Scandalous Scarlett would be perfect! (I think Gone With the Wind's Scarlett has two t's). That's my favorite book, and scandalous is a perfect word to describe it's heroine, and your little filly. It's going to be so much fun to watch Scarlett's progress. I'm attached to her already.

  11. Oh Scarlett's a perfect name for this sassy girl. 'With God as my witness I will never wear that rope halter again.' (stomp).

  12. browneyed cowgirls, ya got that right! lol She is a pistol and I absolutely love it.

    abraham, ya, I don't know if they knew when you were young that foals could be born with impactions. Either that or you're right they just didn't talk about such things. I know that posting about it here, I had to laugh at the "decorum" of it all.

    victoria, Mother's Day for me was spent working the six horses I am trying to get trained. For me, that's a great day!

    billie, a firecracker definitely describes her. I think she'll be just fine. I love all that spirit.I just know I need to keep it focused. lol

    grey horse, yes, I have to admit that I loved it too. It made me giggle as she tried to throw herself down. Wait until the day she does that and I jump on her (carefully of course). I can't wait to see the look on her face.

    callie, I'm getting flack from my pit crew......Lindsay doesn't like scandalous used with scarlet. Don't know if I'm going to let that change my mind of not. I really like the reference for this filly.

    holly, I totally agree. Once mares with this type of personality get it figured out, they are the very best of friends. I love her too!

    lori, yes, the sooner the better they can get started the easier it is. It's sure a lot less work to do it when they are small.

    barn goddess, I can't believe all the trouble those darn enemas caused. You would think that more vets would get it. But then all of us have different experiences so who knows, maybe they've not put two and two together.

    I know the first time I had problems the vet then had me use two of the fleet enemas. Now I wonder if that whole problem could have been avoided had I known about the glycerine kind. From here on out, I'm stocking the glycerine ones. I never want to go through this again.

    You're right about her being a fun handful.........she definitely tickles me.

    jackie, don't tell me scarlet has two "t"s. I'm restricted to 21 spaces (letters and spaces included) and the name I liked the best uses only one!! AWK!!!!

    Unfortunately, I'm attached to her too......way to attached and I tend to collect fillies......not good for the numbers here. lol

    ranchette, oh that is just toooo funny. You are so right, I can just see that going through her little mind. lol

  13. WOW! What fun that one is going to be - she will probably turn out to be one of your favorites - the ones with all that personality and opinions usually manage to snag your heart also.

    Thanks for the info about the poop patrol - I had not heard about the problems with enemas. So did you have any problems with her - is this the first one you didn't give an enema?

  14. I like that name... Scarlet.

    I am rooting for Scarlet to be a right little pixie running you rugged but I guess I shouldn't be!

  15. I just want come grab this filly, pick her up and give her a big squeeze of a hug. I bet she'd be kicking and screaming... lol I love that movie. I love comedy. And this filly is full of comedy. And Scarlett would be a perfect name for her. But unfortunately if you want to register her with that name, you'd have to only have one T. There is two T's in Scarlett O'Hara.

  16. I am learning so much about horses, foals, breeding, and showing from your blog, Mikael! ;)
    And I really like the name Scarlett, too!

  17. Was the spelling "Scandalous Misscarlet" discussed on MareStare? That's 21 total and would keep away from pronouncing it Miz, if you don't like that.

  18. Scandalous Scarlett is only 19 characters so you could drop the second t and name her Scandalous Ms Scarlet, that is 21.

  19. I have just read DJs idea and Misscarlet sounds like a great solution.

    I have just checked and the little angel is sleeping while momma is eating her hay

  20. The "Misscarlet" spelling was actually my husband's idea. He's a technical writer for an aerospace company, so the word wheels are always turning! ;)