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are all horses born suicidal?

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  • are all horses born suicidal?

    From reading some of these "jingles" threads on COTH and my own experiences breeding, I'm starting to wonder how anyone ever manages to breed a mare and get a healthy, normal foal that manages to not kill itself before it's three years old. Seriously, is it always this hard? I had one foal born in 2010 and two this year in 2011 and I've had: two foals with low IGGs, one requiring plasma and hospitalization, the other went septic. I've had one rectal tear, a retained placenta, one foal with contracted tendons and entropian, one severely colicing mare requiring hospitalization and today a foal with a pretty serious laceration. Thankfully all horses survived and have gone on to live normal healthy lives. I'm starting to think I should just have my paychecks direct deposited to my vet's bank account. Why not skip the middle man?
    Am I the only one that has such bad luck or is this just normal when it comes to breeding? I can think of a few other breeders on this board who have also had miserable luck and they are all concientious horse owners like me. What gives? The ironic thing is, if you do manage to get a healthy, lovely, well conformed and good moving foal, will you be able to find a buyer for it?

  • #2
    All you need for trouble free foaling is an unobserved, unvaccinated mare in a field of sharp and rusty farm equipment.

    Oh.......and a mare that would qualify for Fugly's blog!
    Oldenburg foals and young prospects
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    • #3
      In a word--YES!!!!
      We all have bad times and good ones. Disasters and success,Mother Nature is the dealer at the craps table of breeding, and she is a boitcch. SHe can be generous and cruel.
      For 9 years in a row, we had high mortality, low fertility. Then it turned around. But 2010 was hell, many great results, but Courtney getting hurt and Don Principe needing a new rider. Maestro, one of the best, breaks a leg( and by the way, broke his cast again 2 hours ago-waiting on the vet to come stabilize it for transport to the clinic)
      Don't give up, life is always chalanging and changing. Good things will come.
      Maryanna Haymon- Marydell Farm - Home to Don Principe & Doctor Wendell MF
      2012 USDF Champion Breeder! 2007, 2011 USEF Champ Breeder
      2009,2010,2011 USDF Res Breeder of the Year!


      • #4
        If I didn't I'd at the truth in that statement!

        It is my humble opinion that only the most talented, gifted, extra special ones are 100% suicidal. The ones that are the closest to average, (think a 60-65% at best at a Regional show) those are the ones that while they do ridiculously dangerous things - they emerge unscathed. The rest of the population is just more inclined to watch their less/more gifted companions do these antics and observe them as they get extra meds, stall rest and/or visits with the vets.

        Sometimes it seems like it is Survivor Island but just with the Outplay, Outlast parts...

        Good luck and I hope your self damaging ones heal without incident.
        Watermark Farm
        Watermark Farm Facebook Fan Page
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        • #5
          I feel your pain and worries.
          I've been at this for 7 years. For the first 5 things went swimmingly well to the point that I thought that my good care and attention to details were what kept me under the "bad luck" radar.
          But as I upgraded to better quality mares and stallions guess what: bad luck started hanging around (although not as bad as some here: touch wood).
          Now in the last two years I've had one setpic foal die, one mare abort late term, another develop a cyst that compromises her future as a broodmare, one mare with retained placenta, one foal with contracted tendons and rupture extensors plus a patent urachus, one winspwept foal and finally one foal born healthy but died for what looked like a simple lack of desire to live.
          Nothing has changed in my care of the horses, if anything they getter a better ballanced diet then they did when I started so WTH!!
          Have to focus on the healthy sane ones I suppose. Those make it worthwile for sure
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          • #6
            Years ago I patented the phrase..."It is the ONLY business where your inventory eats, shits and tries to commit suicide!!" Pretty well sums it up!!
            Oh, but the joys when you get ahead of the ones trying to ruin you and break your heart and spirit!!
            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


            • #7
              Iron Horse Farm I loved your comment! But seriously I think for any breeder sh** will hit the fan at some point sooner or later. Interestingly much like with other aspects of life there seems to be a rule that the devil always poops on the large pile (meaning it always hits those you think have had more than their share already, plus it all happens at once). You get one foal or mare sick or injured, your chances are this is only the beginning and better dress warm so to say.
              That being said I believe when disaster strikes you can only maintain sanity by the certainty that every measure has been taken to avoid it in the first place and every effort made to address whatever problem with the due attention and attempt to nip it in the bud.
              You can't do any more. But if you've done less you won't keep sane during times when tough luck strikes. I've found it's those times when breeders divide into those you can quit and those who can't

              Will you still have hurtful losses with the best possible effort? Yes. But you can easier find your way out of the dilemma if you can reasonably say to yourself 'I did my best and it didn't work out, there is nothing I could have done differently to make this not happen'
              Froh zu sein bedarf es wenig...


              • #8
                PS: To answer the initial question: No, only some!
                Froh zu sein bedarf es wenig...


                • #9
                  Ditto was Kareen said. Love the devil line.

                  It will stop I am told. I have taken exactly Kareen's approach, I am anal about details and want everything done *perfectly* or as much as possible so at least, if things go wrong, I can find comfort in "I did my best". I'd rather not use it, but it does help.
                  Breeding & Sales
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                  • #10
                    I've had more than my share of bad "breeding luck," -- close to zero conceptions with frozen -- and the TWO times I did get a foal (Weltmeyer & Wolkenstein II) the former was born badly contracted with a host of other issues that sprang from that AND the WII foal (also a filly) started out as a triplet conception and ended up with a breech birth (only 1:500 chance of that happening -- hows THAT for bad luck?!?)....lovely chestnut filly died in my arms.

                    Then the year I had 7 foals due and lost 3!! One placentitis abortion, one dummy foal we could not save, and one born with such orthopedic issues he had to be put down at 5 weeks.

                    The next year was even better when, for the first time ever, my Teke stallion was having issues getting the mares caught, I had low conception rates, AND I lost my beloved Kinor to a broken leg in the pasture.

                    I'm telling you Forte -- I think most of us have had that sort of run. Why the heck I've kept going is honestly beyond me!

                    But I've also produced some very nice horses given the resources I've been able to throw at it (no $40K imported mares for me)....and I LOVE the foals.

                    And the last few years have been better: things have been smoother, horses good quality, selling them for good, although certainly not outrageous $$...

                    I enjoy breeding & horses -- they are a main source of fulfillment, so it's well worth it to me.

                    But I firmly believe there is such a thing as "Breeders Luck" and some do everything right and STILL have a poop-storm go through some years.

                    But it clears....it really does. It's just if it's worth it to you or not?


                    • #11
                      I was being sarcastic obviously, because I seem to have the run of bad luck while the people down the street who barely bother to feed their horses have none.

                      In 2008 I lost a mare and foal - foal born dead, likely due to 50+ twists in the cord and mare bled out.

                      In 2009 I lost my heart horse, the love of my life, Nina and her foal when she foaled 20 feet of intestines out her vulva and we couldn't feel the foal no matter what we tried.

                      Haven't bred since. Just walked away.

                      1 week ago, I bred my aged hunter mare to Apiro and today (if Fed Ex doesn't screw it up) my 19 year old Elite Hano mare Amelia will be bred to Edelweiss de Bonce.

                      I still hurt when I think of Nina, but I am pulling myself off of the ground and starting again.
                      Oldenburg foals and young prospects
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Iron Horse Farm View Post
                        I was being sarcastic obviously, because I seem to have the run of bad luck while the people down the street who barely bother to feed their horses have none.
                        Though luck will catch up on them. I used to curse when I saw my neighbour, we all have one like that, get lucky year after year. Well this year, he lost two foals out of three and has had the worst luck. So much, he is retiring and getting out of breeding.

                        It took a while, but his luck came to an end. Even those folks are not immune to bad luck!
                        Breeding & Sales
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Iron Horse Farm View Post

                          In 2009 I lost my heart horse, the love of my life, Nina and her foal when she foaled 20 feet of intestines out her vulva and we couldn't feel the foal no matter what we tried.

                          Haven't bred since. Just walked away.
                          I think losing a mare would do it for me. I would have to close up shop and walk away.

                          At this point all my broodies are homebreds, so I was there the day THEY came into the world. I can stand losing a foal -- but a mare?

                          Can't imagine the grief....


                          • #14
                            We've lost 2 mares in the past 4 years & raised orphans, and lost a foal the year before. Losing the mares was actually hardest on me - I had a relationship with them that I didn't yet have with the stillborn foal.

                            And raising orphans at home is not for the faint of heart . . . although those Igloo coolers are a beautiful thing!

                            I once had a vet who said, when I lost a stallion, that the more she was around horses, the more she believed that no matter how safe you make the environment, they'll find a way to kill themselves.

                            True words . . .
                            Hidden Echo Farm, Carlisle, PA -- home of JC palomino sire Canadian Kid (1990 - 2013) & AQHA sire Lark's Favorite, son of Rugged Lark.


                            • #15
                              Yes. Yes they are. That is really all that needs to be said.


                              • #16
                                I always tell people what I was told when I started breeding horses...Horses are born and then spend the rest of their lives trying to commit suicide. Some are more successful than others.
                                Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                                "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"


                                • #17
                                  In addition to suicidal tendencies, I also think they have something against physical perfection. Does anyone ever get a horse to adulthood with no dents, pings or scrapes?

                                  Every horse I have bought had some scar, some evidence of injury in his past.

                                  Every foal I have had has somehow gotten an injury resulting in a scar. This despite constant vigilance for sharp protrusions in the fence etc.

                                  My young mare made it to 3 unscathed before putting her leg through a corral panel at the breeding farm. She healed sound but there is a scar.

                                  One colt scraped his fetlock in the trailer on the way to the inspection. Got infected, now as a four year old you can still see a slight scar.

                                  Last year's colt was doing well on the injury front and then as a yearling managed to lacerate his eyelid. On what? Darned if I know. A twig maybe? Healed without incident but there there is a tiny little section of eyelid that has no eyelashes. At least he didn't scratch the cornea.

                                  Bent on destruction I tell you.


                                  • #18
                                    I find it amazing if they make it unscathed to three years old....but then they need perfect xrays on top of that.

                                    "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                                    • #19
                                      Suicidal horses

                                      yes indeed. Given the opportunity, anyone of them is willing to commit Hari-kari at a moments notice. Keep in mind it is never the piece of crap, w/horrible gaits , lousy conformation and bad attitude...only the really good ones that you love from the minute their feet hit the ground.
                                      Fox Ridge

                                      Champ. Welsh Lands End The Colonels Fox
                                      Fox Ridge Welsh ponies on fb


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by ise@ssl View Post
                                        I always tell people what I was told when I started breeding horses...Horses are born and then spend the rest of their lives trying to commit suicide. Some are more successful than others.
                                        This is the quote my vet uses all the time.

                                        I only breed for ones to keep myself. In 1999, my heart horse was on stall rest for torn suspensory, horse #2 had colic surgery one Saturday and the following Saturday morning I found horse #3 had foaled early (I bought her in foal and she was 'pasture bred' and did not have reliable breeding dates and showed absolutely no signs of foaling). The very large foal was horribly malpositioned with both front legs back. Foal was dead when I found them, and poor mare had been in agony all night. My vet removed the foal (I had to go in the house - I could not bear to watch that) and we lost the mare later that day. That was my second experience with foaling.

                                        My vet says I am 'vaccinated' for quite awhile now after that. I bred two to keep myself since then and was a wreck since the mare was my heart horse, but both went OK. But on a regular basis - to sell? I do not have the heart nor the stomach for it.
                                        Donerail Farm