Empire Diva’s projected due date was February 8th.  She had been very large for quite sometime and I told her owners we might consider sending a “wide load” sign with her to the pasture.  Don’t worry I didn’t tell her that.  All she knew was that her that her graceful stride had turned into a waddle.

Empire Diva waiting for "wide load" sign.

Empire Diva waiting for “wide load” sign.

Even though it was about a week early, she started showing us all the signs that she was ready to have this baby.  And, yes,  they go thru several phases before delivering.   But days went by and… no baby.  Mother Nature is in control and we just have to be patient.

Waiting for this foal was just making me a little crazy…WHY???  …Because Empire Diva was carring a baby by Goldencents.  Yes, the one and only GOLDENCENTS.

Waiting for any baby is exciting, but when you are waiting for a second generation because you have already delivered one of the parents in this same barn is super exciting. Unlike us, many farms in this area have been in the horse business for generations and have seen this happen for quite a number of equine generations.  We, however, have only been in this business for 11 years.  I know I have friends who are probably smiling as they read this, but ….WOW… I can’t believe it’s been that long.

Empire Diva 2016

Empire Diva 2016

Six years ago when Karyn, Colleen and I were impatiently waiting for Golden Works to deliver her Into Mischief foal, we had not a clue of what was ahead of us…. that the colt she finally delivered would go on to achieve such great success, earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby, become the only two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner and earn a home in the Spendthrift Stallion Barn!

So back to Diva, she finally decided to have her baby.  After a long evening on Saturday, Feb. 6, she delivered a colt by Goldencents.

It’s hard not to have high expectations for this little guy and when I sent the first pictures to his owners (WC Racing, who owned Goldencents) I got two responses… “OMG so awesome !!!!” and “I love the heart…. it’s a sign of how he will run, all heart.”  Well maybe we’re rushing it, as at this point everyone is happy to have a healthy mom and baby…but that’s what this business does to you!

Empire Diva 2016 by Goldencents

Empire Diva 2016 by Goldencents


Meanwhile, back at the track….

Let me give you a quick update of Miss Noble Rose, she has been moving right along with her training as many of you have been watching thru Virtual Stable.  You might have noticed she missed a workout, but there was no major problem.  Like many young kids, she’s energetic and she enjoyed her last workout so much that when she got back to her stall she was bouncing around with extra energy and found a way to cut her shoulder needing a few stitches.  Then she had to wait for her veterinarian to give the okay for her to workout again.  Yesterday was her first work back… a nice slow work to get back in the swing of things.

So back to the Foaling Barn… 

The next mare was actually due February 4 — before Diva.  So again you watch the mare, looking for all the signs.  This mare was showing no physical signs but was very irritable.  I’d walk up to her stall and she would pin her ears back and just stare at me.  (If you have never seen this, just imagine the meanest look you have ever gotten from someone who is just daring you to say something.)  She didn’t even want her after dinner mints.

Several signs you see in a late term mare include her enlarged abdomen begins to drop, followed by relaxing of different ligaments to allow the birth (let’s not get anymore explicit).  Then the mare’s mammary gland will begin to enlarge —  around the barn you will hear “making a bag” as the term to describe this. At this point you might even start seeing secretions from the mare’s teats.  Once she starts producing colostrum (first milk), the mare is what we call “waxing” and this is another sign she’s getting close.  At this point you watch the mare constantly for the first signs of labor which include pawing, getting up and down frequently, restlessness, sweating and looking at their belly.

Crozet 2016 by Uncle Mo

Crozet 2016 by Uncle Mo

On Friday the 12th, Crozet came into the barn about 4 pm and had just a little waxing.  Chuck stayed with her, waiting to see any more signs of labor but saw none.  She was eating and calmly munching on hay.  (I forgot to tell you that many mares won’t eat if they are getting close to foaling.)  The owner happened to call and Chuck explained to him that other than waxing she was not showing any other signs, so it could be a few days.

After the nightwatchman came on, Chuck came back to the house.  Well, a few hours later, Crozet decided it was time and without showing anymore labor signs we got the call that her water broke and a short time after we arrived she delivered a feisty filly by Uncle Mo.

We are once again reminded these girls deliver when they are ready and that not all of them have read the book about the signs and stages of labor.