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June 2023 Horse Report

My Horse Goals or Bust! plans have taken an unexpected turn. My big horse goals included breeding my mare, Annie, which turned out to be an exercise in patience.

It has been a rollercoaster of emotions⁠⁠—she was pregnant, then she wasn’t; her chances for pregnancy weren’t likely, then they looked good; then she was pregnant, and now she is not. I’ve reluctantly concluded that Annie having a foal is not in the cards, and my #1 horse goal has turned out to be a bust.

Annie came home a couple of weeks ago, 14 days into a 330-day pregnancy. We were thrilled to welcome her home, prepared to spoil her endlessly, and I had little colts frolicking in my dreams.

She settled in nicely and adjusted well to the diet changes, but when it came time for her next vet exam, she was no longer pregnant. Who knows what happened? It’s probably attributable to her age, but whatever the reason, now we know that Annie having a foal is not meant to be.

I’ve gone on record many times throughout my career saying that it is always cheaper, easier and faster to buy a young horse than to breed one. I guess I should have listened to my own advice. Anyone who has recently tried to find their dream horse knows how hard it can be, but breeding one is even harder.

Between stud fees, collection fees, veterinary treatments, mare care, transportation, medications, etcetera, it’s been an expensive and intensive few months. Even if she maintained the pregnancy, there would still be many unknowns and risky moments yet to come.

I have delayed making further decisions for now. I have plenty of time to decide if I want to utilize the breeding on another mare next year, or just put this behind me. Right now, the latter is where I am leaning, but some time and distance from it will give me a better perspective.

For Annie, life has not changed much. She’s happy to be back in her own barn, getting lots of attention and hanging with her buddies. I know she would’ve loved having a foal⁠—it’s obvious by the way she acts around young horses⁠. Instead, she’s back in a conditioning program to leg her up for riding. After being away for a while, she seems happy to have a job again!

Even though this part of our journey didn’t go the way I hoped it would, there’s still so much ahead for Annie and me. I’m fortunate to have such a lovely horse to ride, and we’ll reboot our plans for the fall⁠—my #2 goal to go horse camping! I’m glad to be moving forward, and to have something fun to work toward with Annie.

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  1. Please revise my previous email suggesting working with Dr. Blodgett, I just learned of his passing..

  2. I am so sorry it has not worked out for you; 13 years ago we bred our mare to sixes pick (a shoutout to Doctor Blodgett and all the reproduction staff at 6666 ranch) and got “Tammy picks a gem”. It took 2 iterations of AI (the vet kind) to get Tammy (Drysan Tamarica) settled, but in the long run it has been worth the expense, emotional roller-coaster and investment in training time from mare care to birth to imprint training to foal care and groundwork training through all the training and experience it takes to make “Tammy picks a Gem” a “good” horse. If this is still your dream, hang in there; it is ultimately worth it. You are probably already aware of the basis for what my only suggestion would be, which is to bring Dr. Blodgett at 6666 ranch into the loop on your efforts. I am sure you have an excellent vet you are working with, but you may want to consider a call (or trip?) to Guthrie for some detailed planning. Best wishes to you on this journey!

  3. So sorry. I know how frustrating it can be to have to accept that you can’t always get what you want. But if you try, sometimes, you get what you need. LOL! Please forgive me, I couldn’t resist. But maybe there is another option. I mean, you have a perfect reason to buy another horse! Or perhaps adopt a couple of nurse mare foals next spring and raise them to breed/compete/perform. Annie might adopt a foal if she was offered one who needed a mother. I am sorry your plans for her didn’t work out. I know you will soon have another goal in mind to work toward and I wish you the best of luck. And let me credit Mick Jagger for the lyrics.

  4. Sometimes the Lord uses disappointment to lead us to bigger and better things.

  5. I too understand what a dissapointment this is for you. After breeding a mare several times we ended up with two great foals but several other losses we Dec I ded ot was indeed easier and less expensive to buy a young foal. Added bonus you can choose the sex and color!

  6. Hi Julie,
    I understand your disappointment with Annie’s pregnancy. I had a mare with the same issue. Then one of our local vets suggested that she be blood tested once she was pregnant to see if she was low in a certain hormone. It turned out that was the problem and we had to keep her on Regumate for so many days after a pregnancy until her own body kicked the hormones in.
    You are correct that there are so many other issues and dangers in raising a foal, even though the rewards are immeasurable! We have 6 mares from ages 20 to 15 that were all mid-wifed and raised here at Many Ponies Ranch in Norwood, CO. I miss those years of having foals. You will have foals in your future, I’m sure of that, but in the meanwhile enjoy the Ride!

  7. I went through a similar experience with my endurance mare Adios. When she did not conceive I put her back into competition where she seemed to prefer to be for a few more years.

  8. WOW!!! You’ve got the Cow GIrl Up attitude. Where one door closes another will open. The Dream Horse becomes what your blood sweat and tears make her/him to be. Wisdom, knowledge, courage, and strength flow from your heart to the heart and soul of your horse. But, hell, you know that, Julie. Annie is your living proof. Enjoy the summer. Great things are in store for you and Annie, and maybe a newbie.

    PS. Miss you

  9. Horse camping is so much fun .I just returned from a 3 week stint to 3 different camps and have another coming up later this week for 10 days. I love the peace and quiet and being surrounded with natures beauty. I’m sure you have many places in Colorado to ride and explore just as we do here in Oregon.
    Happy trails,
    Carol Mc Daniel

  10. Julie-
    My heart aches for you as I read this. You’re a big girl and so very tough, but I’ve been following your “foal fever” for Annie from the beginning and I know how much you’ve invested in it emotionally, as well as financially. You’re wise to give it some time, as time, in my experience, is life’s best teacher. You’ll package what you’ve learned from this and you’ll be helping others make similar decisions in an even wiser way. In the meantime, you and Annie are in my thoughts, warmly.

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