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April 2023 Horse Report

closeup of Annie's face

I was planning to write a much different report this month, hoping to announce the pregnancy of my sweet mare, Annie. Instead, I am reminded that nothing worthwhile is ever easy. In lieu of a birth announcement, please allow me to talk about some of the finer points of what this process looks like for Annie.

In case you missed it, as part of my own personal “Horse Goals or Bust!” I decided to breed Annie to one of my all-time favorite AQHA stallions, Bet Hesa Cat—a handsome roan cow horse that stands at the 6666 Ranch, and whose size, conformation, and pedigree cross very nicely with Annie’s.

Rather than have Annie travel to Texas, the pertinent parts will travel to her, and she will be artificially inseminated. Toward that end, we drove 100 miles to drop Annie off at the mare-care facility, at the end of March. There, she is under the watchful care of Dr. Richard Marrott, of Elite Equine Veterinary Services in Cañon City, Colorado.

Although Annie passed her pre-breeding exam with flying colors, presenting as a “much younger” mare would, it turns out that on the inside, not so much. A tad past her breeding prime at the age of 16, Annie has what is sometimes referred to as “old maiden mare syndrome.”

A maiden mare is one that has never been bred, and consequently, her reproductive organs are not in ship shape. Nonetheless, Dr. Marrott successfully inseminated Annie the first week of April, and she did indeed create an embryo. But due to the “hostile” environment of her uterus, the embryo failed to attach. The good news was that she produced a viable embryo (step one). All we need now is a friendly place for him (my wishful thinking) to land.

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Additional good news is that this is an entirely treatable condition. Since her failure to settle into pregnancy, Dr. Marrott has flushed her uterus, infused it with medication, and flushed her again, pulling off bags of disgusting yuck and leaving a sparkling clean (and substantially more friendly) uterus behind.

As I write this report, Annie is just a few days away from her second round of insemination, and Dr. Marrott is very optimistic about her chances. She will be bred again on or about May 9th, and we should have news of the success two weeks later, with ultrasound confirmation.

I really miss having Annie at home. I miss seeing her, grooming her, and riding her. Mostly I worry that she is unhappy, lonely, or stressed, even though I know they are taking excellent care of her. But I am hopeful that in the end, both Annie and I will be thrilled with the results. Annie has always been enamored of baby horses, in ways that are blatantly obvious. I know she will be thrilled to have a foal of her own, and I look forward to having a youngster around my barn again.

Meanwhile, we are crossing our fingers and hoping for a colt! Rich has been busy converting stalls in the barn to make a luxurious, tongue-and-groove paneled foaling stall with a large, attached nursery pen. Nothing but the best for our gal! We are bringing onboard an older companion mare for Annie, so she can spend the summer lolling in her private paddock with her friend, away from the ornery geldings who tend to pick on her.

So cross your fingers for us and stay tuned! I hope to be writing that “much different” horse report next month.

Julie Goodnight (signature)
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