While waiting for the next foal, the farm’s daily routine keeps everyone busy.
Chuck is at the barn by 6:30 AM, setting the plan for the day and checking to be sure no mama or baby has a temperature, and so on. The vet is usually here by 8, and sees all the mares who are in the breeding cycle. I’m kept busy with fixing breakfast and introducing our B&B guests to the world of Thoroughbred breeding, raising and racing, if they are interested, before I’m off to Lil’s Coffee House.
Then there is Teresa. Most people have no idea how vital she is insofar as keeping it all going smoothly for us. She is the ultimate Jack-of-all-trades, and master of most. Teresa begins her day by checking emails, printing the TDN (Thoroughbred Daily News) and meeting B&B guests at the breakfast table.
Then she updates teasing charts, books mares to the assigned stallions per the vet’s interpretations of the mare’s optimal time of fertility, prepares the paperwork that goes with each girl to the breeding shed, communicates with upcoming guests to answer questions and book a farm tour to Claiborne….or has to inform people that “No, we don’t have riding horses on the farm”. Some days she may be more of a therapist or IT person, and she even helps lead horses when needed. Oh yes, and she prepares the bills for the boarding clients and helps field questions from them. We’ve been SO lucky to have her for the last 10 years!
So back to breeding….at this time of year, the horse trailer is kept busy going to the breeding shed. There are times I like to ride along with the girls…like when we were going to Ashford to breed to Shanghai Bobby a couple of weeks ago. I saw him last year when we bred our mare Annapolitan to him, but I was hoping to get a glimpse of American Pharoah at work. Unfortunately he had finished and was back in his stall when we got there. Then there was the trip to Spendthrift to see our boy Goldencents. It doesn’t matter that we sold him in 2011, he’ll always be a part of Rosecrest Farm!
Foaling and breeding time at the farm is not only a busy time, but a very emotional one. Every time a mare goes to the breeding shed, you have many hopes…Hope for a quick and successful cover. (Quick because there’s lots to do back at the farm!) Hope for a healthy, single heart beat at 16 days…at 30 days…at 45 days.
Meanwhile, if that cover is not successful, it’s a disappointment but you send her back to the shed and hope again. It’s a low when it’s too late in the breeding season and you end up with an “open” (not pregnant) mare for the following year.
With all those successfully pregnant, next year you hope for an easy delivery of a healthy foal. Sometimes the delivery is not easy, but we have access to the best veterinarians and veterinary facilities in the world. It’s a huge high when a mare delivers a healthy foal that you’ve been working for, and anticipating, for 340+ days.
As I wrote last, we were waiting on seven mares who are “due” as of this week. With one of those mares, Mother Nature threw a curve ball that “all the King’s horses and all the King’s men” couldn’t save. It’s the lowest of lows when you loose a foal, and it affects every person on the farm, and it takes days for us to get our emotions back on an even keel. And I can see then why people are amazed we have a B&B on a working Thoroughbred Farm!
As of February 3, first-time mama, Swiss Army Wife (love that name!) was 18 days past her due date, but Golden History decided she was next up to bat and delivered a sweet filly by Goldencents while we were waiting on Wifey (our nickname for Swiss Army Wife). Golden History was one of those mares who decided to forego some of the preliminaries and, with little notice, her water broke and five minutes later….voila!…a Goldencents filly at 3:30 AM on February 3.
Above is Swiss Army Wife watching the whole delivery. We were hoping it would give her the idea!
And, indeed, finally Swiss Army Wife went into labor later that day. Often a mare having her first foal is late and a little unpredictable, as I kept reminding Wifey’s owner for the last two weeks we waited.
Once she delivered her 110 pound filly by Paynter, Wifey was very pleased with herself and was certain this was the cutest filly ever delivered. I’m not sure I’ve seen a mama nuzzle and kiss her baby more.
Good medicine for what ails you!