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Possibly, unexpectedly pregnant... Its a FILLY and a Happy Ending

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  • Possibly, unexpectedly pregnant... Its a FILLY and a Happy Ending

    Back in January I acquired myself a new young mare - 4yo, big boned, fleshy... a real "good do'er" as we say in the Antipodes.

    In May, the mare's udder swelled up a little - no milk or anything - and I half-jokingly said to the previous owner "Ah, hope your stud didn't get 'er!"... Turns out that, ahem, they had bred the mare to their younger stud (I had not been aware of the younger one though I goggled a little at the older stallion) a month before I bought the mare. No-one had thought she "took" (unsure if that means the vet and the owners, or just the owner's gut 'inksticks'...) and I wasn't told at the time of sale.

    (I am not in any way angry for not being told.)

    The mare's udder went down within a few days and she appeared to come into season - mucky tail, bit of blood around her bits and all that delightful dinner talk. My older mare also develops some edema in her tummy when she's cycling, so perhaps that was normal for the mare. Foal thoughts were discarded.

    We are now in August. I've been riding the mare 6 x weekly for 45 - 90 m each day. She's a nice little dressage horse, bit opinionated but oh I really do like her! My other mare - from the pseudonomas thread (she recovered thanks to a spray with metho, not the drugs!) - looked very, very pregnant when she was recovering from a variety of ails. Big big grass belly. She has now been back in full work since May, and has turned back into a trim and muscly girl. It's the end of winter here, and the grass is dying off, so the horses begin to lose a little condition at this time. I was admiring how trim the older mare was looking, and realised that... hang on, my young girl is looking very robust. Very robust in deed... She has lost a lot of fat from her neck, and no longer sports a soft, soggy topline covering; but her belly remains quite full and round. Not dropped, just "full".

    Comparing the two mares, who receive the same amount of feed and work, I figured that, if my youngster (who is half a hand taller and generally bigger all around) is getting the same amount of feed as the older, smaller mare - shouldn't the smaller mare be the one looking like she needs to be on a diet? She too is a real easy keeper.

    I started making the "is she? isn't she?" noises again a few days ago; but only half-heartedly. I thought the mare had recently cycled - though I realise now that she did not get the same level of "muckiness" happening. I nicknamed the belly "gas baby" and considered calling the vet - bear in mind here that I was (and am) still half-convinced that I am imagining things.

    Then, last night, I took my young mare for a trail ride, and let her have a bit of a long canter home. She loved it - ears pricked, happy as. Cooled her down on the walking stretch home, tied her up, and took off the saddle. That was when I noticed that her belly was ... well, boogie-ing. She'd breathe in and out, then her flank would "wobbled" randomly, or the muscle underneath the skin would appear to twitch. I had been feeling for kicks or signs of foal activity for a few days, and felt NOTHING. Not a flutter. Of course I stuck my hand on and felt.. well, I don't know if she was having random muscle spasms, gas, or if it was a foal kicking around in there. I've since felt a few flutters; again, foal or gas or normal muscle movement - I don't know!

    I've ordered a preg test for next week, so should know by next weekend if - oops! - there's a foal in there. Perhaps I am just imagining things... though I gave the mare a bath this morning, and noticed that her belly did get a little shaky when I first ran the hose on her. It subsided quickly though.

    She would be eight months baked if she is pregnant. Not sure how I feel about either outcome - I would love a foal from her; but two horses is "comfortable" and three would be "a stretch". On the other hand, if it got to be a 4yo and ready to back, then my older mare would be of an age when she would be winding down, so I would be still keeping two in work with the third semi-retired. The stud was a lovely reg'ed Lipi stallion, so NO complaints there!

    If she isn't; well, I'd be both disappointed (briefly) and very relieved that the "status quo" hadn't changed, and I could go back to just riding my horses without the "is she? isn't she?" hanging over my head.

    Thoughts? Comments?

    I'm not a breeder, just an adult ammie who likes doing low level dressage with appies!
    Last edited by Old Mac Donald; Oct. 18, 2013, 11:01 PM.

  • #2
    From the sounds of it, it does sound like a foal moving around. Simple twitches are one thing, boogie-ing around randomly sounds like a foal.

    Is the mare registered? Would the previous owner want a stud fee paid prior to registration? There's been a few cases like that here over the years. Where the previous owner thiught the mare didn't take, sold the mare and then started demanding things once they found out they sold the mare in foal.
    Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group


    • Original Poster

      No, my mare isn't registered. She is a purebred appaloosa - a big, chunky monkey of a horse, nicely made and with some talent for low level dressage. The previous owner is quite nice, and I keep her up dated with my girl's progress (though I haven't told her about my current suspicions, she can easily view my recent posts re: foal on Facebook)

      As for a stud fee... I'm not sure what will happen there, should the mare be in foal. I guess that's a discussion I will have to have with the SO should the mare test positive!


      • #4
        Is there really a pregnancy test for an 8 month pregnant mare? I think palpation would be a better idea. In the meantime I would lightly smack her belly with an open hand beside her udder when she is eating. That is the easiest way to get the foal to move in my experience.

        No freaking way you owe a stud fee by the way, so don't even entertain the question.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home


        • #5
          Laurierace, there is a blood test that can be done after about 100 days to check for a pregnancy. Of course, said blood test doesn't reveal the presence of twins, should one exist.
          Mystic Owl Sporthorses


          • #6
            Too late for a twin check -- if she DOES have twins, she's likely to be aborting them any day now.

            As for just the way she looks, there are race mares that were bred by accident (got loose during a fire, as I recall) who raced their entire pregnancy and gave birth while still in training. And these were 3 yr olds.

            Appies are tough and super easy keepers. I would have a vet palp your mare. Won't cost any more and (hopefully) will tell you the head is in the right place (facing "out"). That won't change in the next few mos., so you have that in your favor.

            Make sure mare is current on shots and wait.

            As for a "stud fee", unless there was a contract that said otherwise, you don't have to pay. But then the owner doesn't have to give you papers either...

            But first things first...see if she's in foal or not. Any capable vet should be able to palp an 8 mos pregnancy.


            • #7
              Many years ago I bought a Hannovarian-bred filly to be my future dressage horse. After she was started lightly at 3 and going well, she was injured at the barn where I boarded her due to their negligence. The resulting horrible injury was a result of a stall door handle that gouged her in the abdomen, just in front of the missed the stomach lining by millimeters, so she had a huge scar and it also caused her to have a permanent gimpiness and a sweenied shoulder from ramming her shoulder into the door while being gouged...awful.

              A "trainer" advised that I lease her to someone he knew that had an old "G" line Hanovarian stallion, who had produced GP winners, because they were interested to breed him and liked her. So..after 2 years of them leasing her, she was seemingly unable to get in foal..they assumed that the stallion "perhaps" was not producing due to his age.

              The Leasee contacted me and asked that the lease be ended and that I pick up the mare...Okay, well I did. As a precaution, I had her checked by the best equine vet in the area at the time, who they had also used, and he said she was not in foal and that perhaps her previous "injury" had affected her. I decided I did not want to breed, and I couldn't ride her. The "trainer" said that he had another sign her over lock, stock, and "barrel" to some friends of his that had a lovely place, and she would be a good companion horse for one of their horses. Well, I was upset and stupid, so I did just that.

              Sure enough....the next Spring, the mare produces a healthy chestnut colt..the leasee contacted me and wanted the foal. I wanted to to kill the "trainer". The people who now had the mare wanted the colt....Oy vey. Attorneys said that the leasee/stallion owner who broke the lease agreement had no recourse, I had no recourse because I had signed away ownership.

     can easily happen that they are bred, checked by a vet...and rechecked by a vet, deemed not in foal...and sold as is. I hope you get a lovely foal and if not, I hope she's a great mare for you.


              • #8
                Originally posted by fairtheewell View Post
       can easily happen that they are bred, checked by a vet...and rechecked by a vet, deemed not in foal...and sold as is. I hope you get a lovely foal and if not, I hope she's a great mare for you.
                This is true in the early stages. But by the time a mare is 8 mos pregnant I'm thinking most vets could would be a heck of stupid vet (or one who has zero horse repro experience, in which case don't use him...) to not be able to do least IMHO


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all your replies! Yes there is a "pee stick" for mares up to 300 days, 98% accuracy. If that goes positive, I'll get the vet out. Of course, I hadn't been feeling any movement all week had I, so was still thinking that perhaps I was just imagining that she was bigger then she was (and she isn't really obviously big anyway).

                  I ordered the test for peace of mind - then that afternoon her belly really started moving. I've felt movement all weekend, and am fairly certain (pee stick certain!) that I got a proper kick in the hand last night. The mare used to be really flank-sensitive, and now just stands there and relaxes whilst I rub her belly.

                  She never used to be one for peeing when being ridden, and I was dreading the thought of following her all day with a saucepan for a sample - but yesterday it was three pees in ninety minutes, two under saddle and one when being untacked.

                  Lastly, I put some photos up on my Facebook of her belly. A breeder friend of mine said "You know, I'd be less worried about the size of the belly and more concerned that she is sporting a great big vein along her side..." Sure enough, photos taken two weeks ago show no vein. Any truth in that, that a milk vein would pop up at 8 months?

                  Well dear, looks like next weekend will be your last show for a little bit! Actually, its very good timing, because the foal is "due" just before the start of our wet season, miserable time of year to ride and right when all the grass goes thick and luscious. The show season ends next week for us, starts again in March but I usually wait until May and the rain stops.

                  Oh! Forgot to mention - I have told the breeder. I sent her pictures and her reply was "Looks suspicious!". I don't believe there will be any issues about a stud fee or ownership of the foal. I think she was happy that her young bloke proved himself fertile!


                  • #10
                    The stallion owner is lucky you bought her, most people would be livid, myself included. The heck with the stud fee, I would be going after them for expenses and loss of use.
                    McDowell Racing Stables

                    Home Away From Home


                    • Original Poster

                      Hey Laurie, well... Yes, I am annoyed that I will lose use of my nice young horse... However I do have another to play with, and the break will be good for her. She's been working hard all year, poor kid.

                      As for expenses, so far apart from the pee stick, she hasn't incurred any additional expenses. I use a feed program to balance rations, and the feed she's on for "moderate work" is correctly balanced for "last trimester pregnancy".

                      Of course, there will be vet bills even if things go smoothly, and heaven help me should something happen as a result of foaling. I almost lost my older mare four years ago at my one and only attempt at breeding a horse. However, we picked up and moved on. That's horses!

                      I'm grateful that she was bred up, not "got at" by some mongrel stud. The mare should have a nice baby; certainly a Lipizzaner / Appy cross is not the normal - however take away the mare's colour (blue varnish roan) and she is built like an Andie. She moves nice, and I had some really nice compliments from a Portuguese trainer that I took a clinic with in May.

                      Yes, I could lose my mare and I will be devastated. On the flip side, I could end up with a fantastic horse to be the replacement of my older horse (work wise, the old girl is never ever leaving!). Should the foal not tickle my fancy, most likely if it is a colt, then I will cut losses and sell after weaning. I have my own property, so board is not a factor. Foal will be born right when the grass begins to come though, and the cost of feeding hay goes to $0.

                      (Wait til the vet bills come in, and the foal goes through the naughty-demon stage... no doubt I'll be singing a different tune!)


                      • Original Poster

                        Just an update - I most definitely felt something moving around this morning, and again this evening. My mum witnessed this evening's episode - saw the mare's side bugle out. I'm thinking we are on!


                        • #13
                          i'd love to see what a lipitt/appy looks like! best of luck
                          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


                          • #14
                            Best of luck! and interested to hear the outcome!


                            • #15
                              When will she be 320 days?
                              Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group


                              • #16
                                Where in the Antipodes are you? I am looking forward to the result of this cross too! Sounds like it'll be a chunky little thing. Is the sire grey? How will this affect any appy spots (should there be any)?


                                • Original Poster

                                  I have no idea of the service date - it was 1-2 months before I bought her, and a paddock service (horses together for a period of time). Given her size, I'm going on four weeks, which puts her service date roughly mid-December. We'll say 20 Dec.

                                  Going on a 340 day gestation, baby is "due" 25 November. So 320 days is 05 November. Having said that, it could be earlier. I don't believe that the mare was served any later, given that I bought her on 08 Jan, and she was "not in foal" at the time - had come back into season. So really, probably more like early December....

                                  The sire is grey, so no matter what colour mum really is under the varnish roan, it will be grey. With mottles. Genetics says minimal chance of anything else. Great - that makes THREE horses in my paddock with grey and mottles...

                                  I've been playing with this a bit... so much fun!

                                  I didn't realise about the PATN genes and LP genes; last time I looked at appy coat colours, it was all about the LP genes giving the "spots". Now it's LP genes giving the varnish, and PATN genes doing the spots.

                                  This was my mare two weeks ago. Since then the tum has drooped, there is a big vein running down her belly, her udder has slightly "inflated" (my older mare has what looks like two dried apricots for teats, this mare has dates - sorry if anyone was eating!), and the "gas foal" was kicking around like a racehorse this morning. Funny how quick she changed. There was no foal action prior to Friday, now it is very distinct.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I should add - there are two things which recently crossed my mind in the category of "UH OH!" and I will be ringing my vet to ask about them.

                                    1- both my horses were vaccinated for Hendra earlier this year. I believe in about May - June (four weeks between shots) as I live in north QLD. I had them done because of number 2...

                                    2 - This mare was "hit" by lightening in early March. I found her the next morning after a huge storm, standing very still, with blood in her nostrils. She had a massive temperature, very reluctant to move, panting - classic Hendra signs. I had my property closed to any human traffic, isolated the mare... and waited. I had to take hourly stock of her symptoms; any worsening and the vet was coming straight out to place me, the cat, and the other mare in quarantine, and this mare likely in the ground. Anyway, a chance look at her mouth and taking stock of a completely fried fence, the vet and I worked out she'd been electrocuted. The lightning hit the fence, earthed, and the mare was probably standing in the water around it. If she's been shod, she would have died, said the vet. The farrier has been meant to shoe her the day of the storm, and had cancelled due to a cold....

                                    Anyway, so no one is really sure what the HeV does to broodstock or unborn foals, and god knows what the lightning did. Might have a real bright spark... Or something not so happy.


                                    • #19
                                      Hadn't realized you are a fellow Aussi...

                                      Not really sure what I think about the Hendra vaccine, tough being the first season we have had it. Even scarier with it moving down the coast and changing symptoms!

                                      Let us know if she is in foal!

                                      A Wandering Albertan - NEW Africa travel blog!


                                      • #20
                                        ugh....fingers crossed it all goes smoothly!
                                        ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **