Well the foal didn't make it. Found it dead in the middle of the stall on Monday morning. Further inquiry to foaling farm found out that he had had some seizures during the first couple of weeks of life. They hadn't seen any recent ones when he was sent to me at 3 weeks of age. I don't think he would have ever been right - certainly not right enough to race. The mare knew something was wrong and was solictious of human help with the foal.

Knock on wood the bad streak is over and on to the good.

Weather was good all week and with March Break had the teenager who does weekends and works with me in the summer spent 3 days helping out. Got a load of BEAUTIFUL small square bales of hay in the loft. This with the load of fantastic big round bales that we got a month ago should have the horses positively popping at the seams with good health, not that they weren't looking great in the first place.

My mom's been out riding twice - one on the 27 year old stallion and once on our distance mare. She said not fun on the distance mare and will wait for me to get her settled into the season before attempting again. Mother will restrict herself to the ancients - the stallion and a 25 year old gelding. The only other one who is road broke is heavily pregnant so won't be going any place soon. That's the problem with living on a major highway with constant traffic, you either take out the safe, road broke horses or wait until the farmer's field dries up and we can get some of the broke but not road-safe horses out.

Hopefully I can get back to working ponies tomorrow. Times running out and I'm not much further ahead than I was at the same time last year. Dratted extremely cold temperatures and being sick!

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Comment by Diana on March 22, 2009 at 9:03am
Just a streak of bad luck at the job right now. You know bad things come in 3s and good things come in 3 sets of 3s!

I found the foal when I got to work on Monday morning. It was tough seeing the little guy dead but the owner had made a decision over the weekend to end the foal's life the coming week. Nature took its course prior to us having to do the dirty. He was 5 weeks old and hadn't really bounced into "normal". He was labour intensive and had cost a fair bit with vet calls and extra human help during that time. Mom was restricted on turnout due to baby's fragile health. He was a good size, well nourished but just not right - problems getting up, problems walking (okay he was a natural pacer so that didn't help matters), nursed okay but took 10 minutes to get the brain to kick into gear that he needed to go nurse once he got to his feet, plus I hadn't known about the seizures. A "dummy foal" crossed with a "frog legged foal"! Personally I don't think he would have made it to the track as a long yearling (if he had survived to weaning) and if he did he wouldn't have been successful at earning his expenses back. Not a nice thing to say but everyone is better off all round. Such is the BUSINESS of the race world, which is different than the hobby or show world.

The horses at work are all fat and sassy with the good quality feed they've been getting all winter - believe me I won't have a thin horse around if I'm feeding. These new loads of hay are just phenomenal. I'm so jealous that I want them at my parent's place to feed my horses!! You know those situations where you walk into a barn and see and smell their hay and you just want to stuff the hay into your car or truck to take home to your beastlies - well that's the type of hay we just got in. Considering how wet it was last summer and how scarce good hay is to find, we lucked out with great hay.

The good news is 2 of the maiden mares are pregnant on first try. Dam of the sick foal had to be rebred, we preg check next week to confirm. The 2 other mares shipped off to the foaling farm haven't foaled yet and one was due March 8. Only 2 more to foal out in April and 3 maidens to get bred. All told I will probably have 4 foals (should have been 5, sigh) running around later in the summer and next year there will be 8 foals if everyone catches (keeping fingers crossed).
Comment by Barbara F. on March 21, 2009 at 4:35pm
Hi Diana,
So sorry to read about the foal. What a terrible thing to come upon for whoever found him. :(
Interesting that the mare knew something was wrong. I do hope you have better luck coming around the corner and hope to see lots of pictures of very well fed horses as they make their way through that yummy hay!

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