Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Fixed It

I think I mentioned that one of the things I wanted to fix with Trask is his trailer loading. He is normally fairly good about following you into the trailer, but oftentimes (especially at shows) he likes to put his front feet in and then refuse to budge. Super fun when you just want to go home.

I think self-loading is a really important skill for all horses so I wanted Trask to learn too. It's a lot safer and just a generally good life skill. I've been putting off teaching him this for no reason, though it's more difficult now that the days are so short and I can't exactly practice it in the dark.

Since he goes home soon, I sucked it up and finally put in the work on getting him to self load. I'm really proud of him for figuring it out, especially since half way through working with him I thought it was going to be a bust and I had failed.

Trask is a funny horse. He's very smart and not generally a spooky or reactive horse. But, when he doesn't understand or doesn't like something, he tends to freak out and his brain just stops working and he panics for no reason. He understands pressure, both from the halter and from tapping with a whip. He just can't process it when he's freaking out.

After trying to send him into the trailer multiple times, we kept getting hung up on putting the front feet in the trailer, but he wouldn't put his back feet in. Tapping his butt resulted in him kicking out at the whip, then rearing and rocketing out of the trailer backwards. Obviously not the smartest thing to do, and it resulted in him scraping a good amount of hair off his face when he reared and backed out at the same time (he's very talented).

I was sure we were done at that point. His poor head hurt (luckily didn't need stitches), he wasn't listening to me, just trying to run me over and rear. I was pretty sure I wasn't making any positive progress, so we changed tactics.

Trask is very food motivated. I use this to my advantage since he's a panicky horse, the treats help him refocus and have a positive association. I don't use treats with all horses and I don't use them all the time with Trask.

Now, I led him into the trailer. He stopped again with his front feet in and I tapped him on the shoulder with the whip. Eventually he stepped in the trailer and I gave him a handful of treats, lots of praise, and we just hung out for a while and got lots of pets.

Then I led him in again and repeated the treats and praise. One more time and he seemed to start to understand. The next time I went to lead him in and as he got his front feet in, I stopped and let himself get all the way in. Treats and repeat.

This was the end result:

We did it a few more times, sometimes with treats, sometimes without. He also learned to wait until I asked him to turn around. We will do this again to make sure it's cemented in his little pea brain, but he's a self loading horse now!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my little gang! And an update on baby:

Normally she hates selfies!

Age: 5 months
Height: 13 hands in front, 13.2 hands at the hip
Blanket: just moved up to the 60" setting on her baby blanket
Likes: giving kisses, bucking and leaping around, apples, chewing on things she shouldn't be
Dislikes: being told what to do (still), her scary new jollyball, selfies (though she's getting better, she usually pins her ears when I pull out my phone!)
Progress: much better about being blanketed - no longer thinks velcro is awful and is improving about letting me throw the blanket across her back
Next step: getting weaned!

Also, my poor horses. They are so tolerant!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Expensive Babies

I'm not sure if anyone is interested in this, but I know I would have been before breeding. So here is a breakdown on the cost of breeding your own foal (obviously can vary HUGELY)

Before baby is born:
  • RPSI (now Westfalen) inspection and breeding approval for the mare = $290
  • Stud fee = $1400
  • Collection and booking fee = $350
  • Equitainer deposit = $400
    • Kinda irritated I haven't received this back from the stallion owner yet...
  • First mare reproductive exam = $59
    • Jetta had a hemorrhagic follicle so we had to make it ovulate and then short cycle her
  • Breeding package from vet = $465
    • Includes the breeding, ultrasound check before to check follicle size, and post breeding to make sure the follicle ovulated and heartbeat check
  • Mare boarding at the vet = $240
    • I was out of the country at the time of breeding and was relying on a friend to pick up Jetta and she was kinda busy so Jetta stayed longer than I would have liked. Ideally I would've only paid the $20/day for less than a week.
  • Endophyte testing = free (normally charge $75 per sample)
    • Not necessary if you're not going to have them on tall fescue hay or pasture
  • Mare color genetics test - $40
    • Just for fun, tested red/black and agouti genes
  • Foal halter - $2 
    • I received a nice halter as a gift but it was kinda big so I bought a used tiny one at a tack sale
  • Pneumabort injections for EHV-1 at 5, 7 and 9 months of gestation - my vet friend gave them to me for free, but you should expect them to cost ~$20/vaccine
  • 6-way vaccination ~30 days prior to foaling = $27.95
  • Not counting the very nice Orchard grass hay I switched Jetta to for her pregnancy, much more expensive than the normal local grass hay!

After baby is born:
  • Snap test for IgG and placenta inspection, bute = $101
    •  My vet recommends giving banamine after birth to the mare but I didn't have any on hand, and the local vet gave me bute instead
    • I opted to do the snap test by myself to save money on a vet visit when I am capable of drawing blood myself, but usually this is included with the vet visit you have after the foal is born
    • I also wanted a second opinion on the placenta since it was torn and I couldn't be sure there wasn't some pieces missing (fun fact - the most common location for a retained placenta is the tip of the non-gravid horn = retained placenta -> endotoxemia -> laminitis)
  • Westfalen inspection/registration (includes lifetime USEF number, microchip, membership) = $477
  • Ivermectin dewormer a week prior to mare foaling - mainly for Strongyloides westeri (threadworms) which can be transmitted in the milk = $4
  • I did not count deworming for mare and foal (important for ascarids! Please deworm foals so you don't have an ascarid impaction colic which will most likely result in a colic surgery) and also vaccinations for the foal

The grand total? $3856!!


For reference, the breeder sells foals (you can purchase in-utero or once they're born) for $9000. Granted, a lot of her mares are much nicer than Jetta!

I could have saved quite a bit of money if I had taken Jetta to the local community college that does breeding, they are quite cheap, but I bred outside the normal breeding season. Plus it would have been less expensive if she hadn't had to stay at the vet's for so long. If I ever get my $400 deposit back, that'd be nice. I saved a lot of money since I was able to do things myself (IgG snap test, sucromate injection for short cycling). I also had a few different stallions on my list that would have been cheaper too.

My aunt that has bred quite a few horses always told me to budget $3000 for the breeding, not including the stud fee, so surprisingly I stayed below that! Of course, this is if everything goes well. My costs could have quickly skyrocketed if things hadn't gone so well. For instance I was worried Maisie wouldn't get enough colostrum with Jetta spraying her milk everywhere (for four whole days...), so if she had failure of passive transfer (of antibodies), she would have required plasma which can cost over $1000!

Would I do this again and breed Jetta a second time? I've already had offers to buy Jetta's next foal, and of course looked at different stallions that I think would suit her, but I'm really not sure I could go through all of that stress again! I was an absolute basket case, especially the week of foal watch I did. No sleep + driving an hour to work and back again + stressing about baby = not a good equation. I wouldn't change a thing because now I have Maisie, but as much fun as it was picking out a stallion and getting a baby out of the deal, I would not have been able to handle a bad outcome very well and I almost think it's worth just buying a baby on the ground so you don't have to go through all the stress, you know exactly what you're getting in terms of gender, color/markings, conformation and temperament.

Monday, December 18, 2017


Well, this isn't the best comparison, but it's kinda fun! I was too lazy to make all the pictures face one way.

A progression of pregnancy pictures:

Early November
Late November
Early December
Late December
April Fool's Day
Late April
Early July

Late July

Can't belidve this little beauty is mine!
Also, can we reminisce about how beautiful her tail was?! I wanna cry

Friday, December 15, 2017

Back from the Dead

Wow, it's been such a long time! It has been absolutely insane with moving, finals, animals, etc. So I guess it's time for an update?

Jetta & Maisie - they are fuzzy and adorable and super messy and all they do is eat. But cute. I can't believe that it's less than 2 weeks until I wean baby! She'll be a little over 5 months old then, which is a little earlier than I'd like to wean her, but she's already so independent and eating lots of hay and grain by herself. I'm so ready to start riding Jetta again, I can't wait! She's looking rough right now - no topline, no tail (baby decided to make it even shorter) and very fuzzy.

Maisie got her mane braided, it's already so long!

Exciting things about having horses at home - buying stuff to keep water buckets from freezing!

Her little unicorn horn <3
School - what a term! This has been the toughest and also the best term thus far. I spayed a dog and a cat, neutered a dog, did pregnancy diagnoses on cows, sheep and horses, and most importantly, passed the most failed class of vet school, Large Animal Medicine I! It's crazy that they fail out students at the 3rd year point, 5 of my classmates didn't make it this term which is depressing. I hope you all appreciate your vets! Now I have a whole month off, which is amazing, but it's my last break ever since after spring term I start rotations and then it's into the real world!

Trask - poor guy has been pretty neglected. We've been toodling around and doing lots of lunging and he's doing really well with it. We've even been doing bridleless work! He's a natural at it and seems to really enjoy it. He's very responsive with a neck rope - once I decide to trust him and take his bridle off, I'll get a video of it! He gets to go back to his owner soon, in about a week which is going to be really sad!

He's looking so handsome and starting to get uphill finally!

He's getting better at water! He'll be a xc pony in no time

House - got my bf all moved out of his apartment and pretty much everything is unpacked. New roommate and her two horses got moved in. Our bedroom is finally all painted and it looks great, but geez. I never want to paint another ceiling again! Worst idea ever is to move and paint a bedroom during dead week of vet school. Never again.

Kitten - we adopted a kitten! His name is Apollo and he's the cutest little tiny orange fluffball full of energy. He's going to be our new mouser since our other cat is indoor only.

All adorable in his Christmas sweater

So Christmas-y

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Home Sweet Home

I've been so bad about posting, third year is proving to be super busy, but also super fun. So far this term, I've practiced pregnancy palpations on cows, passed nasogastric tubes in horses, orogastric tubes in cattle, I had the opportunity to palpate a mare and ultrasound her ovaries, I've diagnosed pregnancy in sheep via ultrasound, spayed a cat and neutered a dog. It's exciting to actually start feeling like being a vet is in reach.

Anyways, the real exciting part is that my girls moved home!

My roommates bought a new house so I am going to rent the house that I currently live in from them. This means that I get to have Maisie grow up close to me. There's several little pastures and an outdoor arena even. I'm so excited!

I moved them up this past weekend. It definitely puts a bit of a drain on me having to feed and clean since school has been so busy, but I love having control over their care. And it's nice that if I just want to hang out or cuddle, they're just a few steps away.

Hopefully I can start working with Jetta a bit more to prepare her re-entrance to the riding horse world. She thinks this broodmare job is the best thing ever. You know it's bad when the baby is absolutely perfect for her second farrier visit and Jetta is very, very bad. 

I turned them out in the arena to run for a bit:

Their matching blazes <3



Maisie's leg seems to be almost all healed, so I've left off wrapping it. The skin is almost completely closed and there's just a little bump where the proud flesh got excited. Also, the girls both got new blankies and they look adorable:

Sun as a bug in a rug
 That's about it for my exciting new in the world of baby horse!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


We actually had a not-so-bad show this last weekend! We even managed to canter in a test! I don't know what I was thinking because these past two weeks have been the worst weeks of vet school thus far but what better way to end an absolutely awful week of no sleep than with a horse show??

We signed up for a dressage suitability class, Intro B and Intro C. I briefly toyed with entering Training 1 since the flow of the test is better, especially in terms of canter. Having less than a whole 20-meter circle to pick up the canter and get back down to the trot makes it pretty tight. But, overall I feel like it was better to enter Intro because a horse that can't canter very well at Intro is kinda cute and baby-ish, but if they can't canter well at Training then you probably need to go back to Intro. That was my thinking anyways.

He warmed up beautifully - if only he could be that way in the show ring, he'd be so nice!

I was glad we entered the dressage suitability since it gave him an opportunity to get used to the arena (again, he's been here several times but they had all sorts of Halloween decorations out) and get him used to the judges booth with it's scary flashing lights and canopy. He was really good in there though we couldn't canter past the judges booth on the right lead, but the judge liked him so he got a blue ribbon! Probably the only blue I'm ever going to get on him, and it was just because he's cute lol.

He's pretty adorable

Intro B did not go quite as well. We went immediately from Dressage Suitability to our test, so we stayed in the arena while his new "friends" left which made him very unhappy. Our test started out well, but we went to do our first circle at B and he went sideways and there was some rearing involved. I got him back on track and the rest of the test went well.

I was surprised to find we got a 66%! Even with rearing! I swear if this horse ever figures his stuff out, he's going to be amazing.

Intro C went much better. He was not as good in the warm-up arena and kept screaming back and forth with his buddies from the barn which was obnoxious. Luckily when we went back in the arena, we had a moment to school our circle in the middle of the arena and after a few antics he figured out that it was much easier to just do his circle.

This test went better than the last one, though there was still tension and he could not manage to pick up the right lead. Usually he's very good about getting it the second time after I bring him back down from his unsuccessful first try, but he just couldn't figure it out. Kind of a bummer that there are two marks for the canter, so that was a bummer, but he still pulled off a 62.5%

I was pretty happy with him! It was definitely an improvement over the last show, so I'll take it!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

WW: Friday the 13th

Forgot about these cool pictures I took on Friday the 13th! The fog was too cool to pass up taking pictures outside. Of course, shortly after these pictures Trask spooked and bolted, resulting in a sprained ring finger on my right hand that STILL hasn't healed. Boo.

Apparently he really likes warm baths!