Breeding

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The morning grass is glittering with light. Moisture drops in crystals from bushes and trembles in the trees. The air is still and cool. After an early lesson, I invite my dressage coach in for coffee and pull my riding boots. He removes his shoes and stands looking out the window. “Are those both stallions?” he asks.

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Satisfying the horse-specific needs of stallions is imperative for their mental and physical health. However, it can be challenging to provide living arrangements where stallions aren’t just surviving — but thriving. Kelly Brook Allen is one stallion owner who is adamant about her horse’s welfare. “He gets to live a normal life,” she says. Allen owns Canoa Farms in Merritt, British Columbia with her husband, Ron Stolp.

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Close Call - I staggered up to the house at 5:30 in the morning, kicking myself for being stupid. How could I have been so cocky as to breed horses for 20 years and not learn how to milk a mare properly? If the newborn colt didn’t get colostrum soon, I’d be rushing for the first ferry to get him and his mother to a vet clinic in the valley. But how was I going to load him into a trailer with Lucky, when she was terrified of him? My eyelids kept closing as I set the alarm for 7am and fell onto the bed, nursing the slim hope that when I woke I could find some local help. Ninety-five percent of foals are born safely, standing

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If you have a pregnant mare in your barn, plan ahead to collect and freeze some of her colostrum — that all-important first milk — so you have it on hand if a foal is born without access to this essential liquid.

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Every spring, mare owners get excited about choosing a stallion for their mare, but many decisions need to be made before selecting the stud and breeding the mare. “Breeding is not for the faint of heart,” says Lisa Longtin. She owns Merrington Warmbloods in Kindersley, Saskatchewan and has been breeding warmblood horses for the dressage and hunter rings for 25 years. “When things go well, it’s great. But there are so many things that can go wrong.”

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Flexural limb deformity occurs in two forms. The first form, also known as contracted tendons, clubfoot, or knuckling, is the inability to extend a limb fully. The condition may be present at birth (congenital) due to improper positioning in the uterus (which can lead to dystocia in the mare), abnormal fetal development, disease or malnutrition in the dam; or acquired as the result of nutrition (abrupt changes in amount or quality of feed leading to rapid growth), polyarthritis, trauma, or disease. It is a common condition in foals, usually occurring anytime from birth to 14 months of age.

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Commonly seen in young foals, this infection can be fatal if left untreated. Parasites in the genus Cryptosporidium are an important source of gastrointestinal disease in humans and animals globally. These highly contagious parasites infect the intestine and cause diarrhea and weight loss.

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Fragile Foal Syndrome (FFS) is a lethal genetic disease of connective tissue which has been reported most frequently. in Warmbloods. However, a recent study has found that the genetic defect responsible is present across a range of other breeds.

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Grooming is an enjoyable way to bond with your horse, and most horses love to be fussed over, but cleaning a male horse’s sheath is an unpleasant chore that owners and riders tend to avoid. From potentially being kicked, to lack of knowledge or squeamishness, those with geldings and stallions often shirk the task altogether. However, veterinarians agree that cleaning and inspecting a horse’s sheath is a necessary and regular part of maintaining their health.

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Canadian breeders producing quality foals - North American horse owners may not be aware that Canada is the home of Linwood Ranch, an equine breeding facility that has generated peer reviewed research in recent years on subjects such as equine behaviour, equine welfare, stall design, and the requirements for lying down time for healthy horses. Linwood Ranch is a PMU or “pregnant mare urine” ranch in Manitoba, and is also where active research is conducted on many equine welfare issues affecting all of our horses.

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