When The Mare Is Not Ready To Show, But Her Foal Is
I have what I think might be the nicest foal I've ever bred. He is HUGE (hocks were almost the same height of his dam's when he was born), beautiful, and very correct. His full sister won the foal class at Upperville two years ago and although she was pretty fabulous, this boy is rockin! The problem is the mare developed an infected tooth (luckily my fiance is an equine dentist and got control of it right away), but she went several days without eating much due to the pain and dropped weight like mad (she milks like a cow, hence the big baby!). Anyway, I am DYING to take him to Upperville, but the mare still doesn't look great. The colt is almost 2 months old, but could easily pass for a 6 month old. However, he is too young to take without his dam. The mare is picking weight back up, but we only have two weeks and I'm not sure if we can pull it off by then. What would you do?
GO ANYWAY! If you're anything like me, you will regret not going.
I had a similar situation this season. My lovely broodie had a cracking foal by Prestige VDL but he was a greedy little sod and stripped all the weight off her. In the 3 week run up to the show (a very large National level show) I packed as much fattening feed into her as I could. I very nearly didn't go. I was embarrassed that she did not look anything like the sort of condition I would would normally have her in. But she was shiny and turned out beautifully and the foal of course was looking spectacularly chubby in all the right places.
I took a great big breath, put on a big fake smile, and went anyway. Man, was I pleased I did. The foal won everything and was Reserve Champion against the older horses. The mare won her broodmare class. Everyone understood.
I don't know about Upperville, but I can tell you that anytime I felt my mare was in a "no show" condition, I went horseless and came home thinking mine would have looked FANTASTIC compared to the others...
Broodmares, in my neck of the woods at least, often look awful. Thin, rough, hooves slightly neglected (I mean kept on an 8-12 week schedule, instead of 6-8).
Unless she looks like a starvation case, I would do as rideagoldenpony suggests, I too have seen miracles in as little as 2 weeks, and bring her along.
I agree - GO! Groom her to the nines; everyone will understand. A mare that looks loved and cared for, but a little thin, with a HUGE baby by her side is not going to raise any eyebrows. And much can change in 2 weeks!
You should go, unless the mare is emaciated (which it doesn't sound like) and won't eat on the road, thus further jeopardizing her health. It isn't at all unusual to see mares at less-than-ideal body condition at shows and inspections. You'll regret it if you don't go!
I've been to a LOT of breeder's shows in the past 4-5 years. I have rarely seen a broodmare with foal at foot that wasn'T ribby/saggy/sad-looking. Really.
Mine (a young maiden!) dropped a ton of weight last year nursing and her filly was a total porker. I took her a show in August anyway. Yes i was a bit embarassed by how the mare looked, but the filly won nothing but blues & reds. So, it was all worth it.
Go, have fun! And yes, feed your mare like crazy up until then!
Go ! If the mare is in good health other then a bit sucked down by the foal Go go go!
The foal is who is being judged ..she is just there for moral support. Lord knows after raising my siblings and I there were days my mom was not looking so hot (especially after a weekend at a horse show ) !!
"I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"
I am going to be the nay sayer here. I wouldn't take any horse in public that looked in poor condition unless I absolutely had to. I have been to breed inspections and heard many nasty comments from spectators about mares who were thin. People who are not very knowledgable can be very catty. I made the mistake last year of posting a picture of one of my foals on Facebook. The mare was in the background in the picture and she looked a bit thin from from nursing such a huge foal and she had had recently broken out in hives due the large flies in the area (hives were resolved within days of the photo being taken). You wouldn't believe the s*** storm that erupted from those pictures. I ended up losing a very lucrative sale because of it. The mare is now fat and sassy and happily owned by knowledgable new owners, but I will never make that mistake again.
You are right, the mare could improve in two weeks. If the OP is really keen on going to the show, she could always enter and then scratch at the last moment if she doesn't feel the mare has gained enough weight.
There is no way in heck I'd post those pictures of my mare again. I learned my lesson the first time.