Take care of – but don’t coddle – those early foals
Horse-Breeding Tip: Take care of – but don’t coddle – those early foals.
Horse breeding experts Dr. Joe Carter, D.V.M, of Oklahoma Equine Hospital, and Barbara Helland, owner of Helland Ranch in Hutchinson, Minnesota, have years of experience in the horse-breeding industry. They foal out both ranch-owned and client mares in the winter.
Here, they offer their advice on the specific management needs of early foals. What they had to say centered around four major areas of concern. Continue reading “Winter Babies”
Piano player. Stock trader. Scholarship athlete. Business owner. Philanthropist. Family man.
At some point, all those labels have fit after the initials of J.M.K, aka James Melvin Kifer of Hartselle, Alabama.
Of course, if you’re into American Quarter Horses, you’d add “leading breeder” to that list. Horses with a “JMK” in front of their names have consistently sent James to the top of the list of leading halter horse breeders.
Truth is, it’s difficult to put just one label on James Kifer, and that makes him one interesting horseman to meet.
Man of Many Caps
“I’m not sure who I’m going to be every day until I get up and decide, or I see what the day’s problem is,” James says. “It just depends what kind of cap I’m going to get up and put on, if I’m going to be a farmer or golfer or piano player or horse breederor trade the stock market or run my machine shop.”
James lives with his wife, Rita, on a 300-acre farm outside of town, about 30 miles south of the Tennessee line. On any given day, you might find him following stocks via the Internet, changing the oil in his tractors, on his bulldozer helping a friend or local church with a landscape project, or foaling out a mare. His breeding, stallion and show barns are just a short walk from the house, and he can see most of the mare pastures from there, too. Continue reading “How “Halter Horse Breeding” Is Spelled”
During these cold, dreary days of winter, a common discussion around the barns in this area is whether or not horse owners should provide their horses with a bran mash daily, weekly or at all. So I thought it would be a good idea to discuss the benefits and problems of feeding bran.
Wheat bran is a fluffy, low-density feed that is similar in nutrient content to oats. It has one-half the density of whole oats, around one-fourth the density of corn or wheat and about four times the phosphorous content of most grains. It’s relatively high in vitamins such as niacin, thiamin and riboflavin, but much lower in B vitamins. It is somewhat palatable to horses, once they’ve become accustomed to it, but expensive for the nutritional value it provides. Continue reading “Bran Mash”
With spring in full bloom, many American Quarter Horse owners are welcoming new foals into their equine family. Foals require careful monitoring to ensure that they are healthy and developing properly. To help owners as they raise their future champions and performers, we spoke with AQHA life member Dr. Jerry Black, director of the equine science program at Colorado State University and owner of Oak Valley Ranch, an equine reproduction facility in Oakdale, California, on his recommendations for caring for mares and young foals.
Dr. Black emphasizes that the health of the foal is clearly dependent on the health of the mare, particularly in the last trimester. Mares should receive booster vaccinations approximately four to six weeks prior to foaling and be on a sound nutrition and parasite control program, without being overweight.
“Administering booster vaccinations prior to foaling helps to ensure that the mare will have maternal antibodies to pass along to the foal in colostrum,” says Dr. Black. “If a good vaccination regimen has been applied prior to foaling, we don’t need to vaccinate foals until their immune system is ready to develop after maternal antibody levels start to decrease.”
Dark clouds are supposed to have silver linings. Consider, for example, Chicado V. Blessed with tremendous talent, Chicado V (chick ah doo vee) ran on her own dark cloud: legs fast enough to propel her to records, but calf-kneed and crooked enough that she could not keep it up. When the filly pulled up lame on a California racetrack, never to race again, the silver lining was her extraordinary ability as a broodmare. Chicado V had what it took. Continue reading “Chicado V”
With the foaling season in full swing, many new American Quarter Horses are being born at farms, ranches and breeding facilities around the country. Early foals may be several months old now, about the time that owners and breeders should consider initial vaccinations. While most foals are protected from common equine diseases by maternal antibodies in the mare’s colostrum for the first few months of life, they need to start a course of vaccinations as soon as those maternal antibody levels begin to drop. Continue reading “Foal Vaccinations”
My initial response is the same as a human obstetrician’s answer would be to a patient who asks how soon she can start working out after having a baby: “It depends.”
What was her condition before the pregnancy? Were there any foaling complications? Like the professional human athlete who returns to world-class competition 60 days after having a baby, a fit, healthy mare can bounce back from a pregnancy fairly quickly. And, similar to those human mothers who are bedridden for months after a birth, mares who entered motherhood unfit or unsound may be incapacitated afterward for an extended period of time. Continue reading “When Can a Mare Return to Riding?”
In 2010 the American Association of Equine Practitioners revised its vaccination recommendations and expanded the list of core vaccinations that should be administered to every horse in the United States regardless of location or occupation. The core vaccines now include Eastern and Western Encephalitis, tetanus, West Nile virus and rabies.
There is also a list of “risk-based” vaccines that can be given to horses that may be exposed to these diseases, either because of their occupation or the part of the country in which they live. Those include Potomac horse fever, equine influenza (flu), equine herpes virus 1 &4, and strangles. Respiratory diseases like these are especially dangerous for traveling horses and should be vaccinated against. Your equine veterinarian is your best source of information on risk-based vaccines for your horse.
Can you spot the signs of Potomac horse fever? Do you know how this devastating disease is contracted? Be prepared with AQHA’s FREE Potomac Horse Fever Report. Download and print it out today!
Schedule A (see table) is for foals whose mothers received a vaccine booster four to six weeks prior to foaling. Her high level of colostrum serves to protect the foal for several months, but could also block any vaccine given too early after birth. Schedule B, which can be found by going to AAEP.org, is for foals whose mothers were not boostered prior to foaling and, as a result, their colostrum may contain lower levels of antibodies; these foals will need to be vaccinated at an earlier age. Continue reading “Foal Vaccination”