Monday, April 21, 2008

More from the Foal Front

The palomino colt has been christened with the nickname "Cowboy." My sister came up with that one, and actually I think it's rather cute. The funny part about it is that my sister and I convinced our mom to breed April-- the Oldenburg/Trakehner/Thoroughbred mare-- to an American Quarter horse because we both wanted something smaller and less "warmbloodish." Guess what? As of now Cowboy is lookin' pretty much like the standard sized warmblood foal. In other words, he ain't no Quarter pony. In fact, he's so leggy and growthy that his front tendons were a little tight. Not outright contracted, so that he was knuckled over, but just too upright and rigid. That can be a problem for big, fast-growing foals. In simplistic terms, their leg bones in particular grow faster than their tendons. The tendons can only stretch so much before they're damaged. Plus, contracted tendons can lead to conformational faults.

Fortunately, since we've bred and raised warmbloods before, this was something we'd dealt with. And our vet, Jennifer, arrived armed and ready. She infused intravenous tetracycline into Cowboy. Yes, that's an antibiotic. But for some reason it also has the side effect of relaxing tight tendons in newborn foals. How someone discovered this side effect is beyond me, but in 24 hours Cowboy's front legs looked darned near normal. By this afternoon they were fine. However, he has to live in the foaling stall for two weeks before Jennifer thinks his tendons will be stretched and limber enough for him and his mom to live outside in the paddock.

In the meantime, Cowboy is being handled every day. He really is beautiful... at least we think so. Originally I would have described his pale palomino coloring as mauve or lavender. But now he's darkened a bit and I would call it "champagne."

Now there's a name for you: Champagne Cowboy.
Share your thoughts and comments by clicking on "comment" below!


Anonymous said...

I have tinkered with the idea of breeding my mare (the first I have ever owned), but the thought of bringing her safely through pregnancy and a NORMAL delivery, as well as having a healthy foal, scare the beejeezers out of me and make my pocket book cringe in terror!
Congratulations on your new baby!

Anonymous said...

I hope we'll get to see lots of pictures of him growing up! I'm so jealous!

Anonymous said...

Cowboyyyyyy, take me away!

Did he have problems finding the udder? Haha, the last colt that was foaled about three years ago, he COULDN'T find Lucy's udder for about an hour and half. Diane and Farren held him up, urged him toward her hind legs, and he would topple over and go BACK to her head. He stuck his head between her front legs looking for milk. It was really cute.

Cindy Hale said...

Breeding a mare that you really, truly love is definitely a risk. Something could go wrong... although the chances are slim... but if it does happen and tragedy strikes then there you are: heartbroken. I think it is, in most cases, cheaper to find a weanling or yearling already on the ground and buy it rather than going through the expense of shipping semen and all the vet charges to bring the foal to term. Plus, you have to wait a year before the foal is born. And then at least another TWO years before you can even think of hopping on its back. So it's really a hard, personal decision to make.

And yes, just like all foals, Cowboy was a dork about finding the milk faucet. *sigh* We usually give them about 2 hours of hunting and experimentation on their own before we finally go in and gently aim them to the correct target. The sooner they nurse, the sooner they poop and the sooner we can all go to bed!

Anonymous said...

another con to breeding yourself is that there are already so many, many horses out there(a lot for cheap, and some are very nice)that are for sale. What's going to happen to all these horses that can't go to slaughter? I think it's helping out the "horse race" to buy one rather than adding another foal to the problem. but that's just my opinion.