The Horse

NOV 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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20 November 2018 The Horse | owner isn't prepared to handle foaling, boarding the mare at a barn under the care of someone well-versed in it might be the best option. "It's important to know where a foaling facility is and how much it will cost," she says. "In case you panic last-minute or have a problem, you know where to get help." While Veley charges $700 a month for foaling services, fees vary based on the region, length of stay, services rendered, mare value, quality of the facility, extent of technology available (e.g., foaling monitors, night vision surveillance cam- eras, etc.), and skill of the personnel. When owners ship mares to these facilities varies dramatically, depending on how far away they live. If the facility is within an hour's drive, says Ferris, the owner can transport the mare there a few days to a week prior to foaling. If the mare is going to be transported long- distance, she should ship several weeks to a month in advance. Veley asks mare owners to provide the mare's breeding history because mares tend to follow a foaling pattern. Without that history it's difficult to estimate an arrival date. "We recommend that the mare comes to us around Day 310, or at least 30 days before her expected foaling date," she says. "The mare and foal stay until the vet has checked them and given them clear- ance to travel. This is usually within the first week after foaling, unless there are complications with the mare or the foal that require more monitoring or treat- ment as per the vet." Breeding Reality There's an old saying: If you have live- stock, you also have deadstock. Breeding and, subsequently, foaling can bring the most joy and at the same time the most heartache, regardless of how immaculate your care is each step of the way. This year alone, Veley lost three horses: a 4-year-old stud, a broodmare, and a foal. "It happens to everybody, and the busi- ness can be absolutely brutal," she says. However, "it's where my heart is, and I absolutely love the breeding business." "Life is a gift, not a promise," Moore adds. "You're making a life every time you breed, and it can have its ups and downs." h 3 Tips for Small Breeders Getting a mare pregnant isn't as easy as it might seem. It takes planning, preparation, and perfect timing, especially when using cooled or frozen semen. Florida-based veterinari- an Philip M. Matthews, DVM, of Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital, in Ocala, offers his advice for small-scale breeders to increase their success rates. 1. Know each mare's reproductive history. This includes finding out whether she has been pregnant or foaled previously and her age. Some breeders are surprised to learn their mare has a disorder or fertility issues that can complicate the process. A maiden (never been bred) mare can develop fertility issues as early as age 10 or 12, and that might make achieving a pregnancy more difficult, says Matthews. 2. Know the stallion's fertility. "Ask about the fertility of the stallion and the viability of the semen," he says. "We want to do whatever possible to maximize our result, which translates to a pregnancy and, ultimately, happy mare owners." Knowing the stallion's age and the number of mares he serviced successfully in the previ- ous breeding season can help you set your expectations for success. 3. Know how best to manage the mare's cycle. Artificial insemination has made breeding to top stallions more accessible, but it also means you must manage your mare more intensively to ensure a pregnancy; timing of insemination must be nearly perfect for frozen semen and within a short window for cooled semen. Planning the timing includes knowing how many doses are available, especially for frozen semen. "If there is only one dose, it has to be used within six hours of the mare's ovulation to minimize the number of ultrasounds and to breed successfully," Matthews adds. "When two doses are available there is a little more flexibility. Insemination can be done pre- and post-ovulation then."—Katie Navarra SMALL-SCALE SUCCESS Many small-scale breeders choose to send their mares to foaling facilities equipped with the staff and technology to handle the birthing process. PHOTOS COURTESY TRICIA VELEY

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