Mare care/Foal Out/Young Foal Training Facilities?
I am considering offering Foaling Out services here at our farm beginning in 2011. We would accept outside pregnant mares for boarding and would allow them to stay as long as until after weaning of the foal if desired. All necessary pre-foaling care and post-delivery care for the mare and foal would be provided.
Each mare would have a 12'x 24' foaling stall equipped with 24 hour video surveillance and electronic foaling monitoring beginning 2 weeks prior to due date (unless signs indicate this would be needed sooner). Our very experienced attending staff is on duty 24 hours per day. Pasture turnout would be available with other pregnant mares and mares/foals for the all important socialization skills foals need to learn to be good members of a herd.
Our staff is excellent at working with young foals, so the necessary basic foal training such as leading, tying, loading, feet handling, batheing, clipping and grooming would also be offered.
Does anyone else do this now and have suggestions or advice regarding the pros and cons of offering these type services? If you would possibly be interested in using these type services, I would welcome your input as well.
Too funny- I just asked a very similar question although we would stop at the basic foal training- our focus would be more on the veterinary aspects of getting them pregnant. Foaling services offered as a natural consequence of the former! Too bad we aren't closer......we could have a joint venture.
I use that type of service now. Also the care of foal afterwords is important to me. So I would choose a knowledgeable BO who has a couple of foals a year so that foals have company after they are weaned. I'm also not a fan of turn them loose then get them at 3yo, so basic manners are good to have.
Also since I only have 1 broodmare and too much of a chicken to foal one myself, I will always choose foaling out services.
What you are offering sounds great. My boss uses this type of service with his mares. We used to foal out at his farm but with boarders and the day to day work it became very difficult on the older bodies.
Where we send the mares is run by a friend who has been foaling out mares for years at one of the big tb nurseries up here. She is wonderful and now out on her own.
What is important to us is that she treats the mares and foals as if they are hers and the foals are taught manners right from the start. She is also very vigilant and has the experience to notice the slightest thing that may seem off with mom and baby.
She has foaled out 2 of the girls already this year for us with one left - come on Cher! I'm a bit of a control freak and when we drop of the mares I know they are in great hands and don't worry a bit. I also like that the socializing of the foals is very important and they are out with other mares and foals early on.
Her prices are straight forward with no nickling and diming, the care is exceptional and the comfort of knowing the mares/foals are in good hands is priceless. I think the biggest frustration is quirky clients but if you've been in the horse biz long enough you've seen plenty of those.
It sounds like you have everything a mare owner would be looking for. Your vet can be a big help in directing clients to you along with reputation and word of mouth. Good luck!
This is exactly what I have been hearing from the people around here that got me to consider providing these services.
We have almost 40 acres and all we do is breed, no showing (I did enough of that in my earlier life), no regular boarding or lessons etc. I have a wonderful very large main barn, a smaller 6 stall weaning/colt barn, another 2 stall foaling barn with runs, separate pastures for colts/weanlings, open mares, and mares with foals, several paddocks with run-in sheds, a covered, well liighted arena currently under construction (so I can ride in the evenings after work or turn my horses out to blow off steam in bad weather), great stocks, lab facilities and a fulltime live-on-the-premises barn staff with 4 year college degrees, one in Equine Science with the emphasis on breeding/foaling. All have many years of horse care/young horse training experience and are excellent.
As it is now I use it for just my own horses (6 mares, 2- 2010 fillies, 1 yearling filly, 2 yearling colts and my mini-teaser stallion) and I also currently have a friend's 2 mares with their foals (both born here), their yearling filly and 2 yearling colts.
These friends are into showing and although they have a wonderful facility for jumper/dressage training, they do not have the facility or staff experience to deal with the foaling and working with the foals. As a result, one of their 2009 colts was injured at birth (stepped on by the large warmblood mare just after being born in a small stall with nobody in attendance) resulting in a huge vet bill and permanent damage to the colt's leg. Their three 8-9 month old weanlings came to us as "wild animals" (their trainer's words) that did not lead, tie or allow their feet to be handled. After 6 months here, they are now like big dogs that love to be handled.
We truly enjoy the early developmental stage of training horses. I much prefer that to the more intense later stages although I still do all my own under saddle training for my young horses myself. Because my horses are so well trained early on and are used to being handled from the ground, I never have had ANY issues when I finally do get on them.
I have used this sort of service since 2006, when I stopped foaling out my mares at home. I send my mares to a friend's farm to foal out and to be rebred. The youngsters stay there after weaning until they are long yearlings or sold (whichever comes first).
I am very lucky to have the sort of relationship that I have with her. We see eye to eye on all aspects of the process, from foaling, to handling, to nutrition, farrier, you name it. That sort of service, if run well, could be a very good business venture.
I also provide this service and one year foaled 6 client mares. Unfortunately with the economy that part of my service is nearly dried up. Many of my clients were breeding Arabs and part Arabs and all have completely gotten out of breeding. I am down to two client mares this year.
We also board youngstock and provide breeding services. We have a breeding lab here and work with the local vets for insemination and foaling checks.
Tricia - I am in Ohio.... so partners in spirit we will be!!
It's encouraging to read this- as this is truly where my heart lies.... although we would probably do much less in the foal training area. I would probably like to send them "home" at 30-60 days of age or so but we would do all of their firsts with them. Since I am a veterinarian, we would focus on the breeding work as much as anything.
How far away are you willing to send/take your horses? We are not completely off the beaten path but not in the center of the horse universe either!
We send our mares to our repro vet's farm to foal out and be re-bred, if need be. They then move down the road to our foal nanny where they stay with their dams until weaning, at which time the mares are brought home to our farm. The foals will stay at the nanny's until they are long yearlings. There is a farrier at the nanny's so our minds are at ease regarding constant checking of hooves. The nanny is also vigilant regarding care, nutrition, handling, etc. To date, this has been a successful arrangement. I see this as a highly successful business venture that is actually more closely aligned on the European model.
dr j, Ohio is a bit far to go, but I would definitely be interested in staying in touch to compare notes.
Up until now, my vet has been coming here to do the initial ultrasound scans. When the follicles got to 40mm we gave the Deslorelin and transported the mares to his clinic. I left them at the clinic for up to 3-4 days for more scans (every 6 hours) and insemination, but my breeding related vet bills were getting ridiculous (over $7500.00 in April alone, not counting semen cost) for the 5 mares I was breeding this year.
With the blessing and the encouragement of my vet (and fellow COTHers), I have bought a wonderful scanner (better than my vet's machine, he tells me) and I now do my own ultrasounds and send the images to the vet via email. Next year I plan to start to do my own FS AI as well. My repro vet (who also happens to be a good friend) taught me to do the ultrasounds and is now going to teach me to do the inseminations, since his clinic is 40 miles away and it is not always easy for him to get here when the time is right.
I am not a veterinarian (although I did seriously consider that at one point) so I will not be doing the repro work for others, but I do have my really good friend, the repro vet here that I use, and there are other vets in the area who can either come to the farm or the mares can go to their clinics for the repro services.
I firmly believe the mares do better at home on the farm to be bred, rather than in a clinic environment. I know my mares are much better behaved and do not require any sedation for ultrasounds here, when they generally do require sedation at the vet clinic. My vet cannot believe the difference in their behavior. They are like totally different horses.
SHF, the foal training services we provide are very much like the "nanny" services you describe. We treat all of the horses on our farm just like they are our own. Although we do not have a resident farrier, our wonderful farrier, Todd (with the patience of a saint) is here almost every week to work on one horse or another. Our foals are "trimmed" every other week so they are totally used to being worked with. Usually he just smoothes the rougher edges a little with a rasp, but each foal is checked carefully and any adjustments needed are done to assure proper growth angles are maintained.
We also offer foaling out services down here in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Our farm has 6 permenant 12x20 broodmare stalls with 24 hour video surveillance, and a very experienced staff of 6 people. We have been offering this service for the last six years and have successfully raised twins and orphaned foals, as well as having a flawless record with our client foals. All of our broadmare stalls have their own pasture attached to the back with safety fence for young foals. The older foals can go out with a group of mares if they all get along. We are extremely careful about that!
We do foal training for as long as our clients want to keep the mares and foals here. Some go home after a month, some are our permenant guests.
Our numbers are down slightly this year because of the economy but so far we have successfully foaled out 8 client mares and have a few more to go.
We also offer full mare management services, collect stallions, (we stand two stallions of our own) send and freeze semen. We do embryo transfer and have huge recipient mare herds close by at Peterson-Smith in Ocala. We have two terrific vets (husband & wife team) who are here to help, an Ivy League trained blacksmith who is one of the best in the country, and access to several top Vet Hospitals withih 20 minutes.
We are 20 minutes north of WEF so often clients will send us their pregnant mares before they come down for winter circuit so they can enjoy their foals while here and then send them home after the foals are a few months old. Stallion owners can come to our farm to collect on off show days and they go back to the show easily.
Visit our web site at www.MarabetFarm.com for more info and lots of pictures. It is a great fun business! We just love what we do! Good luck with your new business!!!