I finished up at work this Friday just passed with the view to change directions in 2008 although still working with horses. The last few weeks at Larneuk have just proven how much I can still learn about horses and the care of.
We had a mare that this year aborted her foal sixty days before she was due. Consequently, once we’d gotten her back in foal, boss wanted to check on the pregnancy to ascertain things were going along normally. In the Thoroughbred industry, a mare is checked initially to see if she’s in foal fifteen days after she’s been bred to the stallion. If positive (in foal), this is followed up with a scan at 30 days and finally 45. This is generally the last check done in the Southern Hemisphere and at this stage, you’re due to pay whatever the stallion’s fee is.
I know that over in Ireland a 60 day scan is carried out also, or at least a vet was practicing this scan while I was over at the National Stud. However, I hadn’t really seen a lot of these scans on the vet’s scanner screen. Our vet confirmed that at sixty days this particular mare was still in foal and at this stage in her gestation, it is actually possible to sex the foetus. My boss can look forward to a colt being born next year, all things going well!
A week ago I was out feeding a paddock of mares and foals and noticed a young filly with a rather weepy eye that was half closed over. Conclusion? Grass seed. This time of year it’s so dry and the barley grass is rather prominent on the farm and the foals tend to frequently manage to get a seed in their eye. The vet had a look at it and managed to find and remove the seed. He pointed out that the blood vessels in the eye grow at a rate of 1mm/day when aggravated and due to the length of the vessels, he could deduct that the seed had been there four days – bad observation skills on my behalf, perhaps – but an interesting fact to know. Bub’s eye is fine now, by the way!
The most surprising thing that caught my interest was on my last day however, when the farrier came to visit. He showed us a shoe that he’d removed from a recently turned broodmare on a nearby farm.
Now that the mare is no longer in racing, the farrier is going to try leaving her barefoot and see how things go. This may be welcome news for the owners. The shoes she had on her feet, he informed me and another staff member are known as a ‘Sigafoo’. It looks like a general light racing plate with some type of glue/silicon around the perimeter of the shoe and attached to this is a hessian like material that reaches around the shoe and actually comes up over the wall of the hoof once the shoe is attached to the horse.
Apparently the hessian thickens the wall of the hoof, acting as another layer that the nails can be driven through. This is for horses with thin hoof walls. And the cost for a pair of Sigafoo’s? $660.00. Ouch! My lovely horseriding boots don’t cost anywhere near that!
“Horse People are Stable People.”