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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Posts
    259

    Default 1st Time Breeder Here! Need Words of Wisdom!

    My mare is about to be 60 days along, so the stallion selection process and insemination process is FINALLY done.

    However, if you had to pick any few things to tell a first time breeder what would they be??? For example, broodmare nutrition, foaling, baby handling, tips and tricks you swear by, etc. ANYTHING you can think of!

    This would be much appreciated since no matter how much I learn I always feel I am missing important info!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Posts
    510

    Default

    Hardly a veteran breeder myself but two things float to the top IMHO:

    (1) Read, read, read, in order to gain a broad general understanding, & keep asking questions like these because...

    (2) Broodmares don't read, and don't follow the script. They will do what is right for them, when they want, not the other way round.

    The rest the mare and foal will teach you!

    Get ready for a wonderful but crazy ride.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2008
    Posts
    260

    Default

    1) Find a good breeder and stick with them. Someone you can call with questions and call at 3am when your mare foals. If she foals easily and perfectly she won't need any help- But when it goes wrong, it goes fast and a novice may not notice immediately that something is wrong. Have someone there who knows what they're doing! It's easy to lose the foal and the mare in a very short amount of time.

    2) Don't let the foal get away with anything because it's little and cute! Make sure that you enforce the same rules as you would with a large young horse. Obviously don't demand it stand perfectally still for 30min of grooming, because it's a baby and doesn't have the attention span, but don't let it walk all over you, nip, kick out at you when it doesn't want to be caught, etc.

    3) Nutrition- Don't feed grass hay with fescue and ask your breeder friend to look at your feeding schedule to make sure there is enough protein, vits and minerals. Mares needs will change in each trimester and while nursing.

    4)Fencing- make sure your mare and foal turnout has fencing that is low enogh at the bottom and won't let the foal roll out of the pasture!

    5) READ READ READ!

    ^) Enjoy- Watching your mare and foal playing in the pasture, watching your baby go to his first show, there is nothing better in the world! That is why breeders live with the heartbreak, financial loss, lack of sleep when we could spend the money on a beach house and a convertable instead!
    Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most...now where did I put those marbles...
    Secretary, WTF Registry



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2004
    Location
    Loudoun County, VA
    Posts
    10,424

    Default

    Read the book, Blessed are the Broodmares.

    Are you planning to foal your mare out yourself? If so, I would find an experienced person to help you (actually I would recommend having someone else foal her out entirely, but I am risk adverse).



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2003
    Location
    Howell, Michigan
    Posts
    456

    Default

    Do a search on this site regarding feeding to prevent OCD. There were some excellent articles referenced.

    I don't remember the details but there was one supplement that should be fed to the mares while pregnant (someone help me out here - don't remember what it was called) to keep the copper ratios correct. The paper showed significant differences in OCD depending on whether the mare was on the supplement or not.

    Sorry I don't remember more of the details.

    Dan



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Alright! Welcome to the breeding addiction!

    I agree with Yankee Lawyer, definitely have someone experienced around to help you foal out or better yet, check into the programs that any nearby clinics have to foal your mare out for you. (Some 90% of all pregnancies go just fine but for the other 10%, they go downhill FAST). You may be shocked at just how stressed out you get the last 30 days of the pregnancy!

    Aside from just reading, see if you can get a hold of some videos or webinars on foaling/foal raising. Watching the information seems to make it stick more then simply reading it. I think I initially watched some on thehorse.com. And of course there is lots of great information on these forums and a plethora of folks willing to help you out.

    Congrats and have fun!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2004
    Location
    Loudoun County, VA
    Posts
    10,424

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Centerfield Farm View Post

    I agree with Yankee Lawyer, definitely have someone experienced around to help you foal out or better yet, check into the programs that any nearby clinics have to foal your mare out for you. (Some 90% of all pregnancies go just fine but for the other 10%, they go downhill FAST).
    I just wanted to add that I in fact send my mares to my vet to foal out as I know that I would not be physically able to reposition a foal in case of a bad dystocia, for example (I am petite and realistically there is only so much I could do by myself). This year, we had one that went absolutely text book - a child could have foaled that one out. But, our other foal got stuck at the shoulders coming out and it took all that my vet and a second large man had combined to get that one out. Both mom and baby were 100% fine. There is NO way I would have been able to do that by myself and I very likely would have lost both my top mare and her gorgeous foal. I am very grateful to my vet and the incident reminded me of why I send mine to him to foal out.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
    Location
    Michigan North Pole
    Posts
    335

    Default

    check with your vet about vaccination schedules for pregnant mares and read everything you can about nutrition. Our mares have different needs depending upon age and breed.

    Also as others have told you, make a foaling plan. I am an ammy breeder with a professional partner, but 3 of our mares foaled when I was Home Alone. it was scary and wonderful all the at the same time, but I had already helped deliver a handful of babies in the past. One baby I just helped at the very end to open the sack, but my Dutch baby I had to deliver with mom. It was very emotional and thankfully everything was perfect. But our 3rd mare I had to call the vets b/c mare was maiden and in distress. Fortunately, I knew what to look for. It took 2 vets to deliver mom and baby and thankfully, they are both healthy and thriving. Obviously, named that filly Amazing Grace. .

    Seek loads of advice about how to handle the foals. They're precious but need boundaries and can be stressful to deal with. There is tons of great advice out there about raising a youngster.

    Good luck and enjoy the ride!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2002
    Posts
    4,951

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by YankeeLawyer View Post
    Read the book, Blessed are the Broodmares.

    Are you planning to foal your mare out yourself? If so, I would find an experienced person to help you (actually I would recommend having someone else foal her out entirely, but I am risk adverse).

    I agree and disagree with this post. I AGREE to send the mare out to foal or bring some VERY experienced in to your place for the blessed event. I DISAGREE with reading that book, mainly 'cause it will scare the snot out of you and make you think more about all the things that could go wrong but probably won't.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2004
    Location
    Loudoun County, VA
    Posts
    10,424

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dune View Post
    I agree and disagree with this post. I AGREE to send the mare out to foal or bring some VERY experienced in to your place for the blessed event. I DISAGREE with reading that book, mainly 'cause it will scare the snot out of you and make you think more about all the things that could go wrong but probably won't.
    You are right about that - I should have included a warning with the recommendation! But I do think that if you have no experience, it is better to learn about the range of problems that could come up, even if the chance is remote (just keep some perspective).



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2005
    Location
    McMinnville, Oregon
    Posts
    312

    Default OCD Pellets

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan View Post

    I don't remember the details but there was one supplement that should be fed to the mares while pregnant (someone help me out here - don't remember what it was called) to keep the copper ratios correct. The paper showed significant differences in OCD depending on whether the mare was on the supplement or not.

    Sorry I don't remember more of the details.

    Dan
    Probably OCD Pellets. They recommend you feed them to the mare during the last 3 months of gestation, all the way up to weaning, and then to the foal all the way up to 2 years of age (I think). Just do a search on OCD Pellets online and the site where they are sold will come up.

    I also learned the hard way that more is not necessarily better when it comes to feeding and nutrition, but that the right balance and ratios of vitamins & minerals is what is most important. Upon the advice of a couple of very experienced breeders, I put my pregnant mare and all the young horses on a Ration Balancer instead of grain. The one we use is specifically formulated for the mineral deficiences in our region of the country as well as for what may be present or lacking in grass hay, so that everything stays in the proper balance. Most of the ration balancers that I am aware of also make a version for people who feed primarily alfalfa instead of grass hay. You feed it according to the weight of the horse, and all of my horses like it as much as they do "normal" grain. It's also convenient, because you don't really need to do extra supplementation since everything is already there, unless of course, you choose to add the OCD Pellets.

    The other advice I would personally give would be to give young horses as much safe turnout time as possible to stretch and exercise their young and growing tendons and ligaments and to strengthen their bones. My repro. vet thinks that one of the fastest ways to invite OCD is to keep foals, weanlings, and young horses on stall rest. Of course, there are times when it is necessary, but under normal conditions, he stresses exercise, exercise, exercise!

    HAVE FUN!

    www.foxdalefarm.us



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Posts
    259

    Default

    To respond to a few of you about the foaling myself vs. sending her somewhere I am MOST DEF. SENDING HER TO A GOOD BREEDING FARM! There is NO way I could EVER be comfortable doing that on my own for the first time!

    As far as the nutrition goes, I AM very nervous about OCD. That is my fixation currently and so my plan was to put her on grow n win in addition to the 12 percent pellets shes getting now. I know grow n win now makes one with glucosomine and chondroitin. I just have to make sure its the same nutrient levels as the ones for broodmares/foals. Good news is she does get VERY good fescue-free pasture.

    Would you all please explain the ration balancer vs. grain concept more? I get a bit confused on that.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2005
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    223

    Default

    My advice would be to get your hay analyzed. I have had my hay analyzed in past years but this year when I spoke to the feed consultant about the results, she mentioned that there was insufficient sulfur in the hay. She informed me that recently, many of the hay samples in my area were showing this deficiency. Consequently, all my horses are now supplemented with MSM. This was especially important for my broodmare as sulfur is needed for the development of joints, cartilage, skin and hair.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 28, 2006
    Posts
    259

    Default

    Very good advice. Didn't even think of that!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 31, 2004
    Posts
    1,399

    Default piggybacking you/another novice here!

    Quote Originally Posted by warmbloodzrock View Post
    My mare is about to be 60 days along, so the stallion selection process and insemination process is FINALLY done.

    However, if you had to pick any few things to tell a first time breeder what would they be??? For example, broodmare nutrition, foaling, baby handling, tips and tricks you swear by, etc. ANYTHING you can think of!

    This would be much appreciated since no matter how much I learn I always feel I am missing important info!
    me too, first time and about 40 days along! I feel helpless...but, I am trying to learn as much as I can. My mare is on a probiotic (by Equerry) with glucosoamine but, the vet said it was fine. My mare is a pony by Blue Who bred to Ridley!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 2, 2005
    Location
    McMinnville, Oregon
    Posts
    312

    Default Ration Balancer

    Quote Originally Posted by warmbloodzrock View Post

    Would you all please explain the ration balancer vs. grain concept more? I get a bit confused on that.
    Here is a link to a great explanation: http://www.horseforum.com/horse-heal...can-you-16182/.

    I have had excellent luck with LMF Super Supplement, formulated for the Pacific Northwest.

    www.foxdalefarm.us



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,819

    Default

    Breathe.....just breathe. There's so much that can go wrong that you will worry yourself sick just thinking about it! Trust me, I know from experience!

    My advice is to focus on excellent nutrition, worming, exercise and forget about everything else until the last 3 months. Be sure her vaccines are always current and discuss the pneumo-abort shots with your vet (we don't give the last one any longer - don't ask why!!!!). The last 3 months are the most critical in my opinion for most things that can go wrong (hay, vaccines, grass). If you are in a public barn where there are many new horses coming and going, I'd suggest keeping her isolated to her own area to prevent any chance of catching something from visitors.

    And finally, with a maiden mare (or maiden owner) I wouldn't foal at home alone. The cost of a foaling spa is well worth it in my opinion. We probably would have lost our mare and foal on the last two birthings had we not had her at the "spa" for foaling.

    Good Luck!!!! Remember: Breathe



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    5,781

    Default

    I have a really dumb question (keep in mind I've boarded forever). Where do you send your hay to be analyzed? Is this something the county extension office does?
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Feb. 3, 2004
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    1,819

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
    Where do you send your hay to be analyzed? Is this something the county extension office does?
    Here in NC, yes.



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