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Mountain lions and foals???

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  • #21
    Originally posted by Lesley Feakins View Post
    This sounds absolutely crazy but about a month or so ago, my husband and myself saw what looked to be a huge cat walking out of the woods on the corner of our property and across two fields. At first we couldn't work out what it was..clearly a cat of some kind but huge and golden in color. It hung around for a good 15 or 20 mins so it wasn't like we just got a quick glimpse.

    When I came into the house and went of line to see what it was we actually saw, I was shocked that when a photo of a mountain lion came up....that was it...exactly. In this area you don't see them.

    I have been terrified to keep our foals out over night but can't keep them in forever and my daughter to likes to go jogging up through the woods, needless to say doesn't jog up there any more.

    Haven't seen it since and I'm hoping and praying that its was passing thru.

    Crazy, I know....but I'm pretty sure that's what it was.
    Lesley I am in NE PA (Millville) and I've seen a Mountain Lion when I was in high school, about 15 years ago. Saw a bob cat too while riding.
    Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
    Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
    & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


    • #22
      I don't have any advice because honestly, we still don't know what to do if it happened again.
      But when my family was living in Big Bear, CA, our two horses were attacked by a mountain lion. Both horses had terrible long and deep scratches down their back. My sister's paint mare was out of work for a couple months, but the appy was okay after a few weeks. Luckily for us, two full-grown stubborn mares+pen with a pole holding up the cover= bad things for the mountain lion. The only thing that we figured happened was that Hannah, the paint, smashed into the center support pole when the lion was on top of her. The pole was extremely bent when we went out to feed in the morning. Luckily both horses healed to 100%. Scary situation none-the-less.

      Also in Big Bear, we had our fair share of coyotes but honestly, the coyotes were no problem. They were actually quite friendly... (not like we went to pet them but we were used to them and they were used to us.) But we did have a kennel of about 20 Siberian huskies (my mom used to breed them for show). We had a pack of about 10 live in the back of our property. (Our Kennel was triple fenced for security.) I don't see coyotes as a nuisance if you have large dogs/horses; chickens/cats/small dogs yes. Large animals, no.


      • Original Poster

        Okay....Now I'm completely scared. I didn't think a mountain lion would attack a grown horse. About 3 years ago, one of my 4 year old mares showed up with 3 huge cuts down between her eyes. It looked like 3 sharp claws had cut into her head, above the eyes, and peeled away the skin in 1" stips, down to the skull, about 8" long, down her face toward the nose. The next day, the ranchers behind me were hunting deer and I asked them if they'd seen any cats. They had not. I chalked it up to her getting herself stuck somewhere and didn't think about it again.

        But when Luger (my 2 year old Landkonig colt) broke his leg, In March this year, the ranchers behind me saw him dead and were worried that something had gotten him. I assured them nothing had. But they told me if I had any predator problems they would go get em. I guess I'll be talking to them tomorrow.

        It seems to me a moutain lion would have to be really hungry to go after a 1,200 lb. horse. Great...foal watch, and now cat watch. I guess I can give up on sleep. I hate to sound like a baby, and I know I'll get over it in a moment, but this has been such a sucky year! Lost the 2 year old Luger, then the 2 week old Klasse. I just feel like having a good cry.! Maybe I'm just tired from being on foal watch for the last 3 days. I honestly couldn't believe my eyes watching that cat walking up the road!
        Last edited by misita; Jun. 12, 2008, 01:30 AM.
        Chris Misita
        www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
        To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
        Victor Hugo


        • #24
          When the vet came out, he said that mountain lion attacks are very rare. He also said that only very weak and hungry lions would even try to attack full-grown horse. That year, if I remember correctly, Big Bear was having a drought and had quite a few lion attacks.

          Totally off-topic but I love Wind in the Willows. I terribly miss my purebred Walter Scott mare and I love my Walter Scott granddaughter to death. If I had the means, I would lease Willow for a season for a baby.


          • #25
            Had a friend that lost two foals to a cougar a few years back. One of the mares was slashed down the face trying to rescue her foal as well. The other mare must have been totally traumatized as she was stone blind and kept in a round pen with her foal, she wouldn't have been able to help protect her foal and I can imagine the trauma she went through hearing it and not be able to help her baby or see what what was going on :-(
            Cindy's Warmbloods
            www.cindyswarmbloods.com Cindy's Warmbloods
            www.facebook.com/CindysWarmbloods Join Us on Facebook for latest updates!


            • Original Poster

              Willow is due any day now. I'll send you photos when baby gets here. She's a VERY BIG mare. At least 17.1 and maybe 17.2 with a lot of bone, very heavy. She had a full and very successful dressage career and this is only her 2nd foal that's due now. She is bred to Bravo and I'm hoping he lightens her up a little. But her conformation is damn near perfect, just big!!

              I know the cat attacks are rare but they seem more often now. I've wrote all these signs off until this week. But maybe my lack of sleep is just getting the better of me. But no doubt about it. What was walking up the road tonight, was a big cat, 1 1/2 miles from town. 1/4 mi. from the freeway and 1/2 mi. from my horses.

              Drought is the other thing that scares me. We're in our 2nd year of drought and my property has a year round pond. This year I've seen an increase of snakes, including rattlesnakes, crossing the road to get to the water. But they don't scare me because they stay away from my main set up where Bravo, my mares and foals, etc. are. There's just too much activity for them.
              Chris Misita
              www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
              To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
              Victor Hugo


              • #27
                Oh definitely keep me updated on Willow. Walter Scott is a rare bloodline so I keep my eye out on who has mares from that line. If you want to see some more daughters from Walter Scott, I can PM you a link to a farm that has 3 (one is my ex-mare).

                Definitely get some sleep. You'll feel better if you do.

                At least on the Central Coast I don't have to worry about snakes anymore. I HATE snakes...


                • #28
                  Great Pyranesse are good watch dogs for herds.

                  That's so frightening. Good luck.



                  • Original Poster

                    I'll keep you updated on Willow but now I'm beyond scared.

                    My sheriff husband just got home from work, I told him what's been happening, and he told me not to go out with my mares and foals tonight. Just recently in Sonoma, Ca. a town close to us, a mountain lion (days ago) was right in town in someones backyard, in a tree. He says I'm just a meal for a mom with cubs and my chances of getting killed are good. The rangers went out and shot that mountain lion. He thinks I'm too isolated and too at risk where my horses are. He told me I have to call the rangers again tonight and insist they come right away. So I'm off to call the rangers again. Damn, he says I can't even spend the night with my pregnant mares, like I always do.
                    Chris Misita
                    www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                    To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                    Victor Hugo


                    • #30

                      Please be very very careful and heed the advice. I might hav emissed it in the thread. Can you foal them out in a barn at night?

                      We had some things going on this year and we brought the mare in to a stlal and pulled the truk into the barn beside it and camped in the bed of the truck. Just a thought.

                      This is so unnerving, I am sure. Bless you. You are aware of your surroundings and situation. Be prudent and use good judgement.



                      • Original Poster

                        Dear Donna, Thank you so much for your advice but right now it's almost 11:00pm PT. My husband and children are telling me I must stay home, in the house. I feel like I'm abandoning my mares who are stuck in 24'x24' foaling stalls, which are NOT fully inclosed, and I have to go to them NOW!

                        I'm so torn! I'm going to go to them tonight. I can't leave them alone to foal. Even without this threat, I would be there.

                        Edited to add: Prayers and jingles for me, my mares and their babies tonight. I'm sure everything will be fine, but I'll sleep better knowing your prayers are out there for us. I'm going to sleep with my mares tonight, like I always do.

                        Dray, your strength is with me tonight, and I'll be fine.
                        Chris Misita
                        www.hiddenvalleyfarms.net Home of Bravo and Warrick!
                        To dare; progress comes at this price. All sublime conquests are, more or less, the rewards of daring.
                        Victor Hugo


                        • #32
                          When I read the title of this thread, I became very worried for you Chris. I live in an area teaming with big cats, they have killed many animals and even people around here. (I live in Agassiz in BC-TONS of cougars around here with the mountains) You must be very careful dealing with cougars, they will kill horses, dogs, and people if they get in the way. The BEST solution is a gun, I hate to say it, but if it's hanging around the farm, then it's hungry and that's not a good sign. You could also invest in some Llamas. Llamas are fierce when it comes to their territory, and this will sound awful, but if the cat is going to go after something....a llama is slower than a horse....I know of ranchers that have llamas in with their horses specifically for this purpose
                          However, I would be keeping a rifle handy and be ready to call conservation officers if it's becoming too brazen and you are worried. It's nothing to toy with, they are dangerous animals especially if hungry or with babies.


                          • #33
                            About 45 min north of Las Vegas there is a small town which wild horses roam. It's high in the mountains, and there are reports of mountain lions up there. Last year I was riding with some friends and I saw a dead 1 1/2-2yo horse mauled with it's guts ripped out on the trail by a moutain lion. The horse probably weighed 650-750lbs. It was kinda scary since there are tons of elk, deer, rabbits and coyote for the mountain lions to eat.
                            Mountain lions, for their size tend to be "scaredy cats" and mostly only attack from behind. They mostly won't attack, unless forced to, animals much bigger than themselves, and rarely ever would think about attacking horses in a herd, or people hiking with their dogs, but I'm sure, if they were hungry enough, they would. They mostly hunt at night, so is there a way to keep the foal in at night?


                            • #34
                              One of my 'neighbors' had a mare and foal in a pen some 200' from the house. A lion dragged the colt over the panels and it is assumed, was beaten off him by two other horses who guarded the colt until the owner arrived on the scene. Amazingly the colt survived (was immediately rushed into horsepital), although is badly scarred.

                              So, yeah. Don't assume they won't attack.
                              Visit us on Facebook!


                              • #35
                                We have mountain lions and bobcats in our area. My next door neighbor lost a foal a few years back to a mountain lion and the mare suffered significant damage to her hind end. They were in an average size round pen and couldn't escape. Over the years we've heard or seen occasional attacks on horses. While it is not legal to hunt a mountain lion or bobcat here it is legal to protect your livestock on owned or permitted range land. While the breeds mentioned regarding livestock protection type dogs are all excellent at their jobs, I have treated on more than one occasion the same for lion, bear, and javelina attacks. Bobcats on the other hand tend to leave most larger prey alone. I've seen females protect their young but otherwise smaller prey (usually rabbits but can include domestic cats and small breed dogs) are their preference at least in this area. I regularly run into bobcats out on the trail. The only time I had one turn on me was a female who clearly had a litter probably somewhere closeby.
                                Ranch of Last Resort


                                • #36
                                  In the USA the two predators to worry about around horses (grown and foals) are mountain lions and grizzlies.
                                  Dogs can be used to deter them *but* they have to be trained lion dogs or bear dogs. The normal livestock guarding dogs are meant to protect against other canids...not animals large enough and willing to eat them. Lion and bear dogs are traditionally smaller than livestock guard dogs, they need to be fast and agile. And even then some of the best ones still get hurt or killed. They're usually used in small packs as protection against lions, it takes a few dogs to drive one away since they circle and harass from many different directions at once. Confuses the cat (or bear) and they can't keep up with nips from every direction and will leave.
                                  You can use firecrackers...but don't use them in a very dry area. They can start fires.
                                  Also...you can call around to rifle clubs, stores that sell rifles and/or paintball ranges to get someone to come out and chase your lion off. Even if they can't be legally hunted...you can still have them shot with the large predator rounds from a paintball rifle. Those are loaded with pepper spray...they hit the animal, sting/hurt like hell, leave a welt and also explode into a fine mist of pepper spray. They need to be used from a distance...I wouldn't suggest them on a large bear like a grizzly because of the thickness of the coat and the tempers on a large bear. Lions don't always have the best control of thier tempers either but cats have a lot more self-preservation than a bear does. They also have thinner skin and coats...the rounds will hurt like hell and the pepper spray will deter them. Being done from a distance means someone with a long range rifle with a scope...not something easily affordable. (this will be a 1500-$2500 purchase for long range capabilities)
                                  Or maybe check at hunting stores, online or at rifle clubs/ranges for anyone who has lion experience. Ask for anyone with dogs trained for lions to come chase the lion off for you.
                                  You jump in the saddle,
                                  Hold onto the bridle!
                                  Jump in the line!


                                  • #37
                                    Oh my Misita!! You are way more kind than me! Anything that ventures on my property that can propose a threat to my family (humans, dogs, or horses) gets shot on the spot! I don't take chances as I have heard and seen the destruction not only a wolf but a big cat can do. They are very, very rare up here, but they are around. My fiance has seen two within the last two years...the first time was only 3 miles from our hourse, and the second time was 7 miles. I'm still scared out of my mind knowing that they are around. There is always a rifle handing, and I always carry a knife on me. Sure, the knife might not save me, but at least I can get some good gut stabs in (hopefully) so it will bleed to death (hopefully). Plus, it makes me feel better. Definitely have the warden out NOW, and if they don't come in time and you see the cat first...SHOOT!

                                    I'm jingling like mad for your family and ladies!


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by misita View Post
                                      Has anybody had experience with mountain lions hanging around your pastures? Or problems with mountain lions and your foals?

                                      About 5 days ago, I was pulling out of the driveway of my pasture, about 5' from Bravo's pasture, when a print in the earth caught my eye. I got out and looked very closely and thought, Dang, that's a large cat. Not having a lot of experience with cat prints, I wasn't positive. But I knew it wasn't a dog and the print was about the size of my hand.

                                      I've been on foals watch and sleeping with my pregnant mares for the last 3 nights. In the middle of the night, 2 nights ago, I was awoken by a thundering noise. It was my entire mare band running full steam down the hill from one end of the pasture to completely the other side, 150 acres. I thought it was incredibly odd and again the thought of a mountain lion crossed my mind. I always sleep out with my mares when they're due and have never heard them running around at night.

                                      So today, I'm driving up the road, about 1/2 miles from the pasture, and walking right up the side of the road, is a large cat, small mountain lion, about 60-75 lbs. It's too big to be a bobcat but seems too small to be a full grown mountain lion.

                                      So now I'm freaking out!

                                      The good news is, there's a lot of game out here. I daily see rabbits and deer. There is also a farm right next door who raises sheep and they have lost them in the past to predators. So I'm thinking these other animals would be much easier pray than a baby with a mare guarding it.

                                      There's a 4,000 acre ranch behind me and the owners have told me if I ever had problems with predators, they would hunt and kill them for me. Would you have these guys go after this mountain lion and kill it? I hate to kill anything that's not bothering me but I'm afraid if it starts bothering me, I'll lose a foal over it. It's not like a mountain lion bothers you 1/2 way. If they're hunting something, they're going to be fully intent on killing it.

                                      Thoughts anyone? This is new territory for me. My son told me he saw a mountain lion a couple years ago, but it didn't hang around.

                                      Shoot it, immediately (or have you neighbor do it). If you saw that cat with your own eyes it's only a matter of time before it takes a foal, and then it will be back for more.


                                      • #39
                                        Only dog that I know of might be good against a lion would be a Rhodesian Ridgeback....and even then, only in a pack. Otherwise the dog would also be prey. But I could see were a smaller faster pack might also work....would need to be trained very well so as not to turn on foals and people as well.....not a quick solution.

                                        Llama sound like a good suggestion....but they can be pretty mean, and spit.

                                        I wonder if there are any perimeter types of protection that are affordable....like sents or high sound sorts of deterrants.

                                        Good luck....very scary. Just one more thing to worry.
                                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


                                        • #40
                                          they are successfully using Anatolians in Africa to protect goats against big cats
                                          Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

                                          The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”