When a mare has a foal, and then is sent to another farm to be bred for the next season, is the foal left back at the farm until the mare returns or does the foal accompany mom in the horse van to the stallions farm ? Is someone assigned to the foal to keep it calm while mom is being bred?
A:Typically, as long as the stallion is local, the foal will be left at home while the mare is bred. They usually return within a one to two hour period, and someone in the barn will watch them closely while the mare is absent. In our breeding shed we will make concessions for mares that are travelling some distance to be bred and allow them to bring the foal with the mare.
Zenyatta has always been a big girl and has packed on quite a few since retirement—do you have a way of providing structured exercise to those horses that need it?
Karen in Indiana
A:In Zenyatta’s case she came to us in peak physical fitness off the track in the dead of winter. Due to the dramatic climate change for her we had to let her down slowly and carefully. Obviously she needs the extra condition for farm life as she has the elements to contend with now. She gained weight gradually and she is a mare than can hold a lot of condition due to her size and depth of girth.
Typically we do not have issues with broodmares becoming too overweight—in fact when they have a foal at their side they need a lot of calories to maintain the foal and their own condition. We feed the mares grain at least twice a day and sometimes three for those who warrant more. The mares are turned out as much as possible when the weather permits, as free exercise is the best way to keep them in shape and healthy both mentally and physically.
We do sometimes have weight control issues with the stallions. We have a horse walker in place at the stallion barn to keep some of the bigger guys from getting too heavy, especially before the breeding season when they need to be fit and ready to go!
Client Management, Lane’s End
Alys has been at Lane’s End for fourteen years. She has worked in every division of the farm and is now in charge of client management, keeping owners up to speed about the lives of their horses.