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Kim's Foal Watch Diary 2008 Season

We had such a lot of nice feedback last season about Kim's Foal Watch Diary that we decided to carry on this season. So here you can read about some of the goings on at Aurum over the current season.

Monday 13th October

Through Monday Belle continued to look pretty much the same so into the evening we decided to take shifts, Richard taking the first and me heading for bed.

Belle was walking as she had most of last night and making Lucy walk with her again.

At one point she looked ready to pop so we brought her out onto the grass but decided that she had tricked us again. The small foaling yard has some grass cover and is the easiest to watch so we decided to move Belle into this and give poor Lucy some peace.

Tuesday 14th October

I went back to bed and left Richard watching her again. 12:55am I got a phone call...this time for sure! The membranes had ruptured and things were on the move. Everything was in the right place and fairly soon there was a little chestnut nose with a white snip poking out.

Everything followed nicely and just when we thought the delivery was about complete progress ceased. The foal was out to halfway along the rib cage and when Belle went to stand up we could see how Hardy sustained his broken ribs.

I think that she must have been slightly hip locked and as Belle sat up and lay down again the foal rotated just enough to become free. So at 1:13 delivery was complete.

Mum was in a hurry to check out her good work and jumped up pretty quickly for a look, rupturing the umbilical chord quite soon after delivery. Remember that piece of string?

I grabbed the foal's stump which was bleeding like a hose and squeezed while Richard got the string. In the time it took to wrap the string around, the bleeding had thankfully subsided.

This little girl was not going to sit around and wait and was on her feet doing all the right things in no time. In fact she was so active she led mum and the attendants a merry chase around the foaling yard for a while!

I must now apologise for the lack of follow up instalments. I am afraid that a number of other issues interfered with sharing our foaling progress.

The very condensed version of our foal watch diary follows.

17th of October

Lucy was now able to get some rest as no one else was there to push her around. Piney (Better Pine) who was in the same paddock is a very gentle soul.

Lucy almost caught us out, even though we knew she was close. On the night of 17th of October she spent some time resting in the hay and then without actually lying down (and therefore setting off the alarm) or bothering to get up delivered Honey, a very cute (probably) black filly by Hewey (Aurum Remarqable).

Piney was desperate to claim this one for some reason. Perhaps not so surprising as she was due nearly two weeks ago and maybe she thought this was an easy way to get it over with!

Honey has a very distinct blaze with a large black ‘target’ in the middle of it. She will be instantly recognisable at any competition!

We then had a short break until Better Pine finally decided that her son was well enough cooked at 358 days, which apparently is her normal gestation (Jive Princess was also born at 358 days). One more by Aurum Remarquable, Harry is another apparently black fellow with a gorgeous face!

We knew this fellow would need colostrum from our bank as Piney is now 22 years old and her last foal 2 years ago had a low IgG. Other than that it was pretty straightforward. Harry is a very sweet young colt, very quiet and friendly.

So ended a busy 3 weeks for us with seven ‘safe’ arrivals. Hardy was going from strength to strength and was almost at the safe point. He had ‘growth joints’ inserted in his bandages but was of course still confined to the stable.

November was quiet on the births front so there was a chance to actually get out and compete on Aurum Riviere d’Or (aka Patch) who had his first outing on November the 1st. We were delighted at his behaviour and how well he coped with the big scarey outside world.

Sadly November will be most remembered for the loss of Hewey. Those of you who have read his story will understand that I can say little more than tragically it ended on November 16th 2008.

Moving on into December, we were clear of due dates until the second half and elected to compete at the Dressage Festival with Patch. This was going to be huge for him as it entailed staying overnight because he was on Friday and Saturday. He thrived on this and was very happy with his new found friends. The scariest part for him was going past the sheep for which we had to enlist the help of a companion! Again we were very pleased with his attitude and behaviour throughout the 2 days. For those who do not know, the venue was blessed with at least 3 inches of rain overnight Friday with more continuing throughout the Saturday.

As we have been in severe drought I had never ridden Patch in the rain. Hence I was unsure how he would cope with the rain and puddles, some of which were knee deep!

Once we were able to convince him that he should leave the stable, which took some doing, he was perfectly happy. I am pleased to say that Patch happily ploughed down the long sides on the lake, sorry arena, and only took a slight fright at the noise of the horse in the next arena doing the same. He didn’t even mind the judges' windscreen wipers!

Sunday 14th December

Back to the theme of foalwatch; Sunday the 14th at home was busy. The morning brought another very dainty and cute Hewey baby. A bay filly, Heidi, out of our Family Ties mare Dreamie.

Heidi was very shy at first and is still qite a gentle little lady but now thinks people are very nice, especially when they offer her scratches!

We had visitors to stay on Sunday evening and our friend Vickie had requested a birth ('as usual') so they were quite pleased to arrive to find Heidi had only recently been born.

However that wasn't quite what was requested so that evening, especially for our guests, another Patch filly was born out of our other Family Ties mare Milly (Natheira)! Great service at Aurum!

Here Vickie gets to feel Phoebe's heartbeat! The transition from placental life to independant life after birth is an amazing process that happens in a very short time after birth.

Phoebe is extremely bold and was talking to every one right from the start. She had her head out of the stable window from day one and when she was in the yard next to Heidi was hanging through the fence to her. Poor Milly always seems to have these super friendly and bold foals when she would rather stay right away from everyone! The only time that we can easily catch Milly is shortly before she foals and all the while she has a foal!

The other mare up in the waiting area is Tidal Wave, aka Gloria and mother of Hewey. As she runs milk for about 2 weeks before foaling she always keeps us watching. Her gestations have ranged from 303 days to 343 days so it is anyone’s guess when she will actually foal! This meant a quiet Christmas at home as she is 340 days on the 2nd of January.

This time she decided to go a little early again and on the 27th of December a very sweet chestnut colt by Chacco Blue arrived. Gloria is now 21 years old and this was a single straw frozen semen conception! We of course had to swing into action with the colostrum bank and while Richard was in the kitchen thawing the next bottle, Chillie decided to faint on me. The birth had been relatively straightforward and the oxygen was now back by the gate so I shook the foal and yelled out to Richard. Fortunately I have a good set of lungs which brought Richard and the oxygen running. This did the trick and this bright young chap was then pretty much up and running.

"This is all VERY strange indeed!"

The last group of three mares are due from the 25th of January to the 2nd of February. However in the group are at least 2 who could vary dramatically from 340 days so they need to be up early. In this group we have Mary Poppins (by Walt Disney) who is in foal to Jazz so we are hoping for another ‘Ella’ who has springs on her feet. Also there is Risqué (by Regardez Moi) who is again in foal to Weltmeyer and Byalee Minuet (by Medallion) also in foal to Jazz. These will all be full siblings to last year's foals as each was very impressive.

14th (and 15th ) January 2009

Tonight Gi Gi (aka Risque) has a pin head of wax which coupled with her full bag means that she may well foal tonight. So of course she will be watched pretty closely. A little after midnight the event commenced so we brought Gi Gi onto the grass and at about 25 past midnight a black colt with a big star arrived. A nice uneventful birth albeit a little early!

He did not take long to get to his feet and find a good feed and even work out how to lie down for a rest in between. Gi Gi also thought that a rest was good so at one stage only the humans were on their feet. By about 2 am we were also looking for a rest and even though the placenta was still in situ we headed for the stables. Happily the meconium started moving along the way but it was very hard, like small rocks.

This colt, a full brother for Candy, stands 38.5 inches tall and our guess is he is about 40kg.

At about 3:30, the placenta had still not arrived and at the next check I decided that it was time for ‘oxy’ to help. This still did not have the desired effect but fortunately the next shot did and when I checked at 6:30 the placenta was on the straw and intact. It weighed 3.96kg.

Later that morning the colt was still straining a bit with the meconium so a small enema was administered. This did the trick and he was a much happier lad. We did his IgG at 12 hours and were happy that it was 1274.

On the evening of the 15th January Minnie (Byalee Minuet) started walking the paddock. Her last two pregnancies have lasted only 319 days and we were now up to 321 days so probably the birth is pretty close. I watched her through the night and she just kept walking, all night.

16th January

Minnie kept walking all day with very few stops to eat or rest. At 4 pm Richard came in to say that she finally had some wax and at 4:04pm (yes in the afternoon) the alarm went off. She had started foaling!

There was one foot out when she rose to her feet. We quickly led her out of the paddock onto the grass and she dropped down again. On internal examination the second leg was there but a little retarded and I could feel the nose not far behind. However the head was down between the legs making a very broad package. I eased the legs down and together which then allowed progress and within 5 minutes there was a bay colt sitting blinking on the ground behind Minnie. This little fellow is again by Jazz as we were so pleased with Jolson. The new edition is almost the image of the previous one but with a little less white on his socks.

He was not in a great hurry to get up but after a couple of assisted attempts the colt was standing, just over half an hour from birth.

He had been sucking at anything within reach but of course the concentration required to stay upright took his mind off that for a few minutes. Minnie was happily wandering around picking the fresh grass and just checking back to see how he was progressing every few minutes. The meconium started moving at 5:30 and this was a nice softish version yet it still required the utmost concentration to keep it moving. Minnie still had the afterbirth in tow but at 10 to 6 we headed into the stable so that we could get the evening feed up underway. Whilst making the feeds we could keep an eye on the newly installed pair, with yesterday's addition keeping an eye on us through the stable window!

Just before we were ready to head out with the feeds the afterbirth had started to move. There was visible placenta and at 6:30 I heard a ‘plop’ as it fully detached and hit the straw. It was all present but was not a very good colour being quite brown over most of the surface. A good reason to be born early I guess. This placenta weighed only 3.7kg not suprisingly as he is not a big foal. We measured him on the way in and he stands 37.5 inches tall with a girth of 30.75 inches and a length of 27.5 inches. We don’t have scales at the moment but working on the placenta being 10% we would guess that he is around 37kgs.

Just when I thought that I was nearly up to date….

19th January

Mary Poppins, who is our last to foal and 340 days on the 28th of January, has waxed up. It is not just a pinhead but a good nob of wax on both teats. We have had four foals from this mare and although her gestation has varied (336 – 352 days) her pattern has been fairly similar with the only change that she walked less last year than in previous years.

MP is not walking the paddock but she has changed shape and there is no doubt about the wax.

After her dinner MP started walking.

Another long night ahead!