Saturday, April 21, 2012

Life with mares

Please keep in mind, I've never owned a mare before Fiona.  Before her, I would swear up and down that I didn't like mares and wouldn't own one.  I'd never had a real partnership with one.

What does that have to do with anything?  It means that I don't know much about mares.  I know all sorts of stuff about geldings, and even stallions.  I know about the joys of sheath cleaning and telling a stallion to 'put that away'.  The nice part about geldings is that, aside from keeping the equipment clean, they're pretty easy to manage.  They don't have hormone swings or anything like that.

Now I've got a mare, and all the joys that come with that.  Ovulation and heat cycles and whole new equipment to manage.  Udder cleaning is easy enough with Fi, since she doesn't mind.  Just give her a quick wash and off you go.  I was so darn happy that I wasn't going to need to do anymore sheath cleanings.  Clearly having a mare was going to be less awkward.

Yeah, no.

Fi had a visit with the vet to discuss getting progesterone shots to help with her heat cycles.  She's good under saddle, but making people a bit crazy around the barn when she's in heat.  She also gets distracted.  I've noticed back pain mid-cycle, too, and figured ovulation was giving her cramps.  If all of this could be fixed with some shots, I was on board and I'm sure the princess would be happier.

If discussion of mare parts bothers you, change the station now.

When I got Fiona, I did notice her vulva was a bit . . . odd.  I was told that she had a breech birth and was a bit torn up.  Being completely new to mares, I didn't think a thing of it.  Fast forward a year and a half to now, when an actual vet flipped up her tail and had a look.  Evidently, she was way more torn up than any of us knew.  As in you could get straight to her uterus torn up.  It was an amusing phone call, as the vet kept adding commentary in the background to make my trainer squirm while the news was relayed.  Ew.

But as with many things, this is an easy fix.  A quick Caslick procedure to close everything up and she should be right as rain.  The vet commented that it looked like she gave birth without a previous Caslick being removed, and I was frankly horrified.  Who does that to a horse?!  The pieces of her history just keep coming in and none of it is ever good news.  It's possible that some of her back pain is due to air getting into her uterus as well, so it's good to rule out all possible causes. 

I like to think that Fiona lucked out when my trainer forwarded me that ad from Craigslist.  A year and a half later and I'm still fixing things other people broke.

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