I had forgotten to publish this blog and found it in the drafts folder. Seemed a shame to just delete it so ive published it now in December instead.
Its been a very long day but we have a lovely new arrival to the Roble Stud family.
I went to bed about 1am this morning and watched the camera on the foaling box for a while. I fell asleep only to be woken by Ceni in the stable at about 02:20 so i quickly looked on the camera and she had a foal half in and half out. By the time i rushed to the stable she was just pushing the rest of the foal out.
Not wanting to interfere, i just observed for a while but Ceni didnt look 100% comfortable. I put it down to contractions to deliver the placenta. I checked her back end externally and there wasnt any bleeding. Whilst i was there i just untangled the foals legs from the placenta and had a quick nosey to find out if we had a girl or boy. I also soaked the naval.
Over the next 20 mins i watched the foal get control of its legs and then get more confident walking around. Unusually for Ceni she wasnt keen to get up. She did briefly stand but was a little wobbly and laid back down again pretty quickly.
Just before the hour mark, i went into the stable to get Ceni up so that the foal could suckle. She was a lot more steady on her legs by this point thankfully. The foal was quick to get the hang of the milk bar which is always a relief. I have never known so much mycomium come out of a foal but at least it was coming out. Ceni had been leaking milk slightly for a day or two prior to the birth which was a concern as it is the colostrum that was being lost. After discussion with the vet we had decided to milk Ceni the day before she had the foal and freeze it to ensure the foal had good enough quality colostrum and that it wasnt all lost to the floor as at that point we werent sure how long it was going to be before she actually foaled. I let the foal suckle mum before heading off to steralise the bottle and defrost the colostrum, because i wanted him to know exactly where he should go for his milk. From the amount of slurping going on, i think he drank a fair bit which meant he wasnt quite so thirsty when it came to having the colostrum from my bottle but we did manage to get him to take the majority of it. Whether this was necessary, we wont 100% know as we cant tell how much she lost prior to foaling but at least we know he got some good stuff. I would always prefer to let them do things naturally but as a foal isnt born with any immunity, it is vital that colostrum is consumed in a timely manner.
Unfortunately Ceni didnt look 100% still and she still had her placenta so i called the vet to get her checked over and a jab to help with the placenta. Horses can get very sick very quickly from retained placentas, unlike cows and ewes who can hold onto theirs for days. As always with this breeding lark, the call was out of hours for the vets and for the poor lady answering the phone in the early hours, dealing with Spanish horse names at that time was not easy.
Much to my relief, one injection of oxytocin and a little work by the vet and the placenta was out. Ceni was checked for any internal damage and thankfully there wasnt any. The placenta was then laid out and checked as we always do and finally Ceni was given a painkiller just to help her out as she was in a little discomfort. The foal was going from vet to me to mum and back to vet checking up on everything that was happening, bold as brass.
We gave Ceni and the foal an hour or so to chill out and recover before we turned them out into the field. I always find it remarkable how steady the foals are on their legs so early. He cantered along with ceni trotting to find her patch of grass. The foal met the other three in the field (mare with foal and my very elderly arab) but took it all in his stride. Soon they settled and Ceni started to fill her belly and he slept. He cant see the point of getting up when i go and check them in the field and he doesnt appear to have any fear so far.
One of the great things about having a stud farm is people come and visit to talk about horses :-). We've had some lovely people to see Noggin and his babies and to discuss their mares. Considering we haven't advertised the stud this year apart from on this website its great that they have still managed to find us.
We recently had the farms residential status certified which is fantastic news and will now allow us to plan for the future a little easier.
The end of last week saw the end of the lambing for 2015. All ewes foot trimmed, wormed and then moved with their lambs into the bowl which has far too much grass. Trying to check that the lambs are with their mothers is hard work. If the lambs lay down, they cant be seen until you are on top of them. At least we won't be having to move them for a while.
Alan has been away at School. He is thoroughly enjoying life and I don't think will want to come home. He is a horse with a heart of gold but he has been a lot easier than I thought he would be. He just loves learning. He is on a mixed yard (stallions, geldings and mares) with daily turnout and has been great.
Last week was Jades first week on work experience with us here at Roble Stud. Jade is a student of Kingston Maurward College in Dorchester. It was a varied week which included handling some of the youngsters and teaching them to stand still (sounds small but is oh so important for the rest of their lives) and lead. We trimmed up some of the mares and youngsters, Spanish style!. Alan had a mane wash and plait up and a our young colt had a vet visit for a hoof abscess (flint cut).
We had a visit from a friend studying an Equine science course which involves training methods based on how the horse thinks and learns. The horses responded well and Jade picked up the training very quickly.
On Saturday we popped down to Haberton, near Totnes to Heather Moffetts yard for an In-Hand clinic with Becky Holden. I have to admit it wasn't what i expected and I have come away with some new ideas and am looking forward to trying some of it out. I think Jade enjoyed it too, although i think maybe our (my) navigational skills need a little work before any future road trips :-). I hardly ever use a sat nav but thought that it would help with the back roads in Devon. The Sat Nav decided to give up just as we were about to turn off the main road (the bit i knew) so we arrived late having been down several lanes incorrectly including those with grass growing down the middle.
The challenge for me is to do things how they should be done and not necessarily how i do them when in a hurry!. I am pleased to see how the horses respond to Jade and have so far been well behaved. It was a bit of an unknown as youngsters are so very different to school horses but Jade has been quiet and confident.
I thought I would try out this blog option on my website.
I used to type a bit more about what we were doing but then moved over to using Twitter linked to my website to make quick updates to ensure it was more up to date. Whilst I like the more frequent short updates, I often find that there isn't enough space on twitter to explain or describe things properly. This is my potential solution so I will see how it goes.
Feedback is always great.
p.s Apologies for spelling and grammar. Neither are my strong point (As Anita - proof reader - will testify to, when i used to be the editor for the BAPSH magazine!)