Horse Breeding

Horse-Breeding History: Expensive Hobby

April 11, 2014

Expensive Hobby made a lasting impression in the Quarter Horse world.

Expensive Hobby was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007

Expensive Hobby was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007. Photo by Glenncarol Photos/Courtesy of Al Dunning.

From America’s Horse

Expensive Hobby slammed his powerful buckskin hindquarters into the World Show dirt with a vengeance. The impression was a lasting one.

The AQHA World Show had just moved to Oklahoma City, and horsemen in the Heartland were witnessing West Coast-style working cow horse competition for the first time. Expensive Hobby dominated the event, just as he did at Del Mar and the Cow Palace in California. In 1979, he won world titles in working cow horse and reining. In 1980, in the All American Quarter Horse Congress open reining – the dominion of Eastern reiners – he marked one of the highest scores ever awarded.

Mehl Lawson, the sculptor who created the National Reining Horse Association’s bronze trophy, started “Hobby.” He was showing Hobby in the hackamore as a 3-year-old when Al Dunning of Arizona, then a 25-year-old up-and-coming trainer, purchased him for his “youth kid,” 17-year-old Georganna Stewart of California. Read the rest of this entry »

When Horse Breeding Evolves Into Horse Training

April 4, 2014

In Part 2 of this series, examine five more training exercises you can do with your young foal.

Foal.

Teaching a foal to accept restraint as a youngster will build trust, making future horse-training exercises and health procedures easier to perform. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

With these next five exercises, you’ll continue to provide your new foal with a solid foundation. Before attempting the exercises in Part 2, be sure you review and master the first four exercises in Part 1:

  • Haltering Your Young Foal
  • Teaching to Give to Pressure
  • Tacking to the Left and to the Right
  • Praise and Stroke the Foal During Lessons

Keep in mind, these foal-training exercises are done after a foal has already been through the imprinting process. Check out “Postpartum Impression” on America’s Horse Daily for more information on imprinting a newborn foal. But be sure you start these exercises while the foal is still small. Especially with the restraint exercises, you wouldn’t want to try those on an older, stronger foal who might put you in harm’s way. You’ll also want to make certain that your mare is OK with you handling her baby. Read the rest of this entry »

When Horse Breeding Evolves Into Horse Training

March 28, 2014

Four exercises to start your foal’s training on the right hoof.

When training your foal its important to work each exercise from both the right and left sides

When training your foal, it’s important to work each exercise from both the right and left sides. Journal photo.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

With these first four exercises, you’ll provide your new foal with a solid foundation. Keep in mind, these foal-training exercises are done after a foal has already been through the imprinting process. Check out “Postpartum Impression” on America’s Horse Daily for more information on imprinting a newborn foal. But be sure you start these exercises while the foal is still small. Especially with the restraint exercises, you wouldn’t want to try those on an older, stronger foal who might put you in harm’s way. You’ll also want to make certain that your mare is OK with you handling her baby. Check back next week for five more training exercises you can do with your young foal. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding Issues: Retained Placenta

March 21, 2014

Determine your course of action in the event that your broodmare retains her placenta after foaling.

Retaining even a small piece of placenta can cause serious problems for your broodmare

Retaining even a small piece of placenta can cause serious problems for your broodmare. Journal photo.

By Dr. Thomas R. Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal

One of the most common problems that can occur after a broodmare foals is retention of the placenta. Between 2 and 10 percent of broodmares are estimated to retain their placenta, which should be considered a true emergency that requires the attention of a veterinarian.

The placenta is the sac-like membrane that lines the mare’s uterus. It receives nutrients from the uterus and passes them along to the fetus via the umbilical cord. Because the placenta normally is expelled 30 minutes to three hours after birth, most veterinarians consider the placenta to be retained after if it is still present at least two or three hours after foaling. A placenta that is retained for an extended period of time – greater than six to eight hours – might cause serious uterine infection, toxemia, laminitis (founder) and even death. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding Solutions: Plasma’s Role in Foal Health

March 7, 2014

Plasma can provide your newborn foal with antibodies in the absence of your mare’s first milk.

A foal with failure of passive transfer might require two liters or more of plasma to increase the blood antibody level Photo courtesy of Partick McCue

A foal with failure of passive transfer might require two liters or more of plasma to increase the blood antibody level. Photo courtesy of Dr. Patrick McCue.

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Born with a competent immune system, foals can begin to develop antibodies against infectious disease agents upon exposure. However, foals and all other large-animal neonates (calves, lambs, etc.) are born without circulating antibodies in their blood.

They need to ingest antibody-rich colostrum within the first 12 to 24 hours of life. The colostral antibodies are absorbed into the bloodstream – a process called passive transfer of immunity – and protect against infectious diseases. The ability of the intestinal tract to absorb colostral antibodies ends by approximately 24 hours of age. Fortunately, 85 to 90 percent of foals ingest and absorb enough colostral antibodies in the first few hours of life to be protected.

When foals don’t get those colostral antibodies – called failure of passive transfer – they are susceptible to infections and can die within the first few weeks after birth. Foals with partial failure of passive transfer may be at low risk if exposure to pathogens in the environment is low. Read the rest of this entry »

A Critical Horse-Breeding Checklist for Foals

February 28, 2014

Ensure that your newborn foal is growing normally with this foal development timeline.

A healthy full term foal should stand within an hour of birth

A healthy, full-term foal should stand within an hour of birth. Journal photo.

By Dr. Thomas R. Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal

How do you tell the difference between a healthy newborn foal and one that is sick? Let’s start at the moment of birth and walk through the activities of a normal newborn and the signs that’ll alert you if something is wrong.

If the foal is born normally and is breathing normally, don’t rush in and handle him or cut the umbilical cord. The cord will break when the mare stands up, so don’t disturb them until then. The placenta contains close to a quart of the foal’s blood that will be lost if the mare stands and the cord ruptures too soon.

The only exception is if the amnion (the thin white membrane that covers the foal) is over the foal’s head and is preventing him from breathing. If that’s the case, step quietly into the stall and slide the membrane off the foal’s head and muzzle. Read the rest of this entry »

A Horse-Breeding Dilemma: Switching Broodmares

February 20, 2014

Sometimes broodmare behavior problems warrant foster care for your foal.

Protective broodmares can become a danger for the foal and people involved in the foal raising process

Protective broodmares can become a danger for the foal and people involved in the foal-raising process. Journal photo.

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

The birth mare had never been the warm and fuzzy type, even before she became pregnant.

She was the dominant mare in the herd and routinely showed her alpha attitude toward other horses and people. Unfortunately, her abrasive behavior increased exponentially after she foaled. The combination of hardwired surliness and protective maternal instinct turned her into a stall shark. You know the kind – snaky neck, ears pinned, teeth bared, and circling the stall like a barracuda on the prowl.

We dipped the navel of the foal after birth and barely managed to collect a blood sample for measuring antibody concentrations at 36 hours of age. Fortunately, the level was fine. We couldn’t imagine giving plasma while attempting to hold onto a 1,000-pound piranha. After that, no one dared to enter the foaling stall. Not even on a double-dare. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding Issues: Equine Abortion

February 14, 2014

A twisted umbilical cord can cause problems for your broodmare and unborn foal.

For horses the length of a normal umbilical cord is 55 centimeters Photo courtesy of AQHA Facebook fan Patricia Butler

For horses, the length of a normal umbilical cord is 55 centimeters. Photo courtesy of AQHA Facebook fan Patricia Butler.

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

A 14 year-old American Quarter Horse mare presented to the clinic at approximately eight months of gestation with a suspicion of impending abortion. She had been in her outdoor paddock with what appeared to be placental membranes protruding from her vulva. The mare had not shown any signs of labor or abortion.

On arrival, the mare was sedated to relieve her anxiety and allow for a safer evaluation. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding Problems: Dystocia

February 7, 2014

Learn what options you have in the event of a mare’s abnormal or difficult birth.

Following a dystocia the mare and foal should both be examined by a veterinarian

Following a dystocia, the mare and foal should both be examined by a veterinarian. Journal photo.

By Dr. Patrick McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

Dystocia. The word alone is enough to send shivers down the spines of horse breeders and keep them awake at night. The term dystocia refers to an abnormal or difficult birth.

Dystocias occur in approximately 1 to 2 percent of foalings and are more common in mares during their first foaling than in mares who have had multiple foals. The most common cause of dystocia in the mare is an abnormal alignment of the head or forelimbs of the foal in the birth canal.

Foaling is usually a rapid and forceful event. As a general rule, once a mare has broken her water and is in active labor, the front feet and nose should be visible at the vulva within 10 minutes. Complete delivery is normally accomplished within 20 to 30 minutes after the mare breaks her water. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding Success: Make Sure Your Foal Can Nurse

January 31, 2014

Use these four tips to help your mare and newborn foal through the first nursing.

The mares first milk is crucial to the foal because it provides the newborn with important antibodies.

The mare’s first milk is crucial to the foal because it provides the newborn with important antibodies.

From The American Quarter Horse Journal

Sometimes a newborn foal has trouble getting his first nursing. He might be weak from a hard birth or just big, clumsy and awkward. He might need help to stand and suck, or might need to be guided to the udder so he can find it. Occasionally, the mare herself may put up a fuss if she is nervous about motherhood or her udder is swollen and tender.

In these cases, the foal might need help for his first nursing or two, to make sure he gets that very important colostrum. The mare’s first milk is crucial to the survival of the foal. Read the rest of this entry »

Mothering Your Broodmares

January 24, 2014

A horse-breeding checklist for late-gestation broodmare care.

Its important to keep tabs on your broodmares as they near their foaling date, even if they are out to pasture. Journal photo.

It’s important to keep tabs on your broodmares as they near their foaling date, even if they are out to pasture. Journal photo.

By Dr. Tom Lenz in The American Quarter Horse Journal

This time of year, most pregnant broodmares are out to pasture, quietly “gestating” until their expected foaling dates in the spring. But that doesn’t mean you can just assume that they’re OK.

Here’s a checklist for managing mares at this stage of their pregnancies:

1. Every year, up to 15 percent of broodmares that were checked safe in foal at 45 to 60 days of pregnancy lose their pregnancies prior to foaling season. So have your bred mares rechecked when they get one of their EHV-1 vaccinations to confirm that their pregnancy is progressing normally. By the time a mare owner figures out that the mare has lost her pregnancy, there is not sufficient time to determine the cause, initiate treatment to correct the problem and rebreed the mare. Read the rest of this entry »

Horse-Breeding Woes: Foal Diarrhea

January 17, 2014

Most cases of foal diarrhea are normal and will go away quickly.

Dr. Patrick McCue discusses the reasons behind foal diarrhea. Journal photo.

Dr. Patrick McCue discusses the reasons behind foal diarrhea. Journal photo.

By Dr. Patrick M. McCue in The American Quarter Horse Journal

January is the beginning of foaling season for many, so take a look at some common foal ailments and issues, including diarrhea.

A majority of foals will exhibit diarrhea at some time within the first two months of life. In most cases, the diarrhea is mild, transient, not contagious to other foals and not life-threatening. However, in some instances, diarrhea can be contagious, severe and even fatal.

Noninfectious diarrhea occurs most commonly during the first two weeks after birth as foals establish their normal complement of intestinal microorganisms. This transient physiological condition has been termed “foal heat diarrhea” because it occurs at approximately the same time as the mare is first returning to estrus after foaling. Contrary to popular belief, foal heat diarrhea is not associated with normal hormonal changes in the mare or alterations in the composition of her milk. Read the rest of this entry »