Weaning the Foals from their dams:

Last Friday, October 30, 2010 we separated the foals (baby horses) from their dams (mothers).

At some point in time a mare would naturally wean her foal.  But we have seen older horses come and nurse from their mothers.  Usually we wean our foals at between 5 and 6 months of age.

When we separate them, we attempt to have the mares where their foals cannot see them and vice versa.

We usually put the dams and foals together in a large field after the foals are fairly sturdy on their legs.  So the foals all know each other and have established their own order of ranking in their mini herd. Their dams also know each other and their herd rank; and they start teaching the youngsters herd manners.

S. Valhalla (Hal), when he was alive, was the perfect babysitter- leader for the year’s foal crop.  From the time that they were weaned, until the next group was ready the following year, he would teach them more herd manners.

After Valhalla died, S. Selebrity (Seppy) held the job.  Seppy was not as patient with the frolicking of the youngsters as Hal had been.  But he got the job done with a minimum of unhappiness.

Since Seppy has been gone, we have tried some other methods. 

This year we gave the foals to the senior mares:  UC Cinnamon (Cinnie) (UVM Viking x UC Spicy Lass, our foundation mare)(1979); Sleipnir Constellation (Connie) (B-L Rhinestone Kid x UC Spicy Lass)(1983); and Coeur d’Alene (Alene) (Breezeway x Oak Hill Perfect Pic, a Funquest/Mor-Ayr Supreme mare) (1988).  All three of these fine quality mares have had important Produce (their foals) for our breeding farm.

One has to think twice about putting young colts, who have not been gelded as yet, in with mares. However, none of the mares can carry to term any longer; and we had retired them.  I do not recommend doing this with mares that could become “in foal”.  We know that even if they were impregnated by one of the young colts, they would not carry to term. Of course, they are not cycling, and I do not believe that they have for awhile; and they informed the colts to stay away!!!

One problem with this system is that we feed the senior mares a senior grain and a mineral supplement for their joints, which the foals do not need. And the foals get a regular grain, which if the mares try to claim some, will be more difficult for them to chew and digest.

So far the procedure is working out.  We put two separated feeders in their large paddock.  And each “set” is staying to their own feed. 

The colts have not been calling for their dams very much. And the dams are “drying out” (drying up their milk supply).

In about a week, we will return the mares to the main field (pasture).  The problem there is that the foals will only be separated from their mothers by about a 16 foot aisle.  So, the dams and foals could end up running the fence a lot, tiring them, or trying to break through to each other.  So, that will be a stage to watch carefully.  Presumably the whole process will go smoothly.

In the “old days” we didn’t have as many paddocks, and we stalled our horses more.  It was much more traumatic on everyone, especially the foals, to be confined in a space with no company.  This system is much more natural and humane, and yields a lot less crying for “Mama”.

Advertisements

Sleipnir Geldings: S. Celestial Array, S. Explorer, and S. Fieldstone and more:

I’ve been writing a lot about our wonderful mare S. Onstar lately, since John and I have just started driving her. And there are new stories to tell…she had her first show, which was a success.

So, I thought I would change topics and speak about our three mature geldings: S. Celestial Array (2002); S. Explorer (2005); and S. Fieldstone (2006); and our two fantastic deceased gelding family members, S. Valhalla and S. Selebrity.

Stallions, Mares, and Geldings have each held a central spot in our herd since the very beginning.  U C Spicy Lass (UC Marquis x UC Taffy) was our first horse, our first Morgan, and the focus for the beginning of our Morgan Horse breeding farm.

UC Spicy Lass’ first two foals for us were the wonderful gentlemen S. Valhalla (1980-2005) and S. Selebrity (1982-2008). These fellows were each gelded at approximately a year old.  They were John’s, Elizabeth’s and my Pleasure Driving Horses and Elizabeth, Caitrin and Britta’s Saddle Seat Equitation and English Pleasure mounts. They spent their entire lives as part of our family, although some of the time they were off at major show stables.

Spicy was in foal to UVM Viking (UVM Flash, an Upwey Ben Don son out of a Canfield daughter x UVM Kathy, a Ulendon and Panfield grand-daughter) when we purchased her from the University of Connecticut Morgan Horse program.  We intended to sell the foal to recoup part of her purchase price.  As with many breeds, Morgan horses usually carry a farm prefix as well as their name. When the foal arrived, we needed a prefix and a name for the foal, a colt.

We took inspiration from his sire’s name and out of a horse book that John and I had bought for the girls.

In the book was a mythological horse named Sleipnir.  He was the horse that carried the Viking warriors to Valhalla, their Heaven. He was depicted as having eight legs to show that he was strong and fleet of hoof.  So, the farm became Sleipnir and our first foal became Sleipnir’s Valhalla.

Of course, Valhalla was never sold. Valhalla (Hal) was the only foal on the farm.  Horses are herd animals, and after he was weaned, Hal was alone. We did not go searching for another horse; but we found B-L Rhinestone Kid and he found us.  Hal is buried here on our TN farm, having passed away at 25 y/o.  Seppy (S. Selebrity) is similarly buried here, passing away at 26 y/o; and B-L Rhinestone Kid, the sire of our herd for almost thirty years, is also buried here having followed his old friends last year at 29 y/o.

Sleipnir Celestial Array (2002) (Hylee the Rage x Sleipnir Constellation) is a grandson of both B-L Rhinestone Kid and U C Spicy Lass. Sleipnir Constellation was Rhinestone’s first foal and Spicy’s last.

“Array” has had a successful career in-hand so far, and has won Champion Morgan in-hand.  He had been trained professionally for Western Pleasure, but is currently working  Saddle Seat.  Noel and Michael worked with him quite a bit this Summer;  they and John and I have driven him. You can see photos and a video of Noel driving him on our website.

I have previously written about S. Explorer (2005) (B-L Rhinestone Kid x May’s Sweetie). Currently, Amber is riding S. Explorer Hunt Seat and the team is showing at some local, and at some Class A Morgan, Horse Shows. They always are in the ribbons for their rides. Sue Nerland, a veteran Morgan Horse owner and retired Equitation instructor, has taken Amber under her wing, and has been teaching her a better seat and hands, and utilizing Amber’s services to work horses at their stable.  Kimberly and Kaya, our other grand-daughters,  are also benefiting.

Explorer has had long-lining experience and dragged weight; but has not been hooked.  Array and Fieldstone both ride and drive.

S. Fieldstone (2006) (B-L Rhinestone Kid x NEJ Golddust Emma) has been a farm visitors’ favorite since he was a colt. Even as a 2 y/o he was the center of a grooming demonstration by three active young boys, at one of our Open Barn Events.  He has gone to be a participant of a day on the farm program with 100s of First graders+ surrounding him for hours, and he has been ridden Western, Saddle Seat and Hunt Seat; and he has been driven.

These three geldings follow in the hoofbeats of Valhalla and Selebrity as “family show horses: showy family horses” (our motto from the beginning).  They follow from three decades of our studying pedigrees, and motion, and speaking with Morgan old-timers.

The 2009 and 2010 colts: S. Smoky Mountain (2009) (Sleipnir Sequoyah by B-L Rhinestone Kid x NEJ Golddust Alice); S. Ocoee (2010)(Sleipnir Sequoyah x NEJ Golddust Emma); Sleipnir Double Feature (2010) (Sleipnir Echo’s Finale, out of S Constellation x Playday Rebecca); and Sleipnir Resonance (2010) (Sleipnir Echo’s Finale x NEJ Golddust Alice) will be the next athletic, intelligent, friendly and handsome geldings to follow the trail led by Valhalla and Selebrity.

New Gelding on the Farm

We are welcoming a new gelding to the farm.

Bramble Creek Katzpyjamas (aka “PJ”), a 1998 liver chestnut gentleman has been professionally trained to the hooking stage; and has been trained to be ridden Western. 

We are looking forward to training him as a pleasure driving/carriage driving horse; and having the grandkids ride him.  Amber has already been for a short ride, and PJ performed well.

We have 4 colts to geld, once fly season has ended, one 2009 (Smoky) and three 2010 (Ocoee, DF and Resonance).  We are still debating gelding one of the older stallions.  We do not need four to eight stallions. At one point we didn’t have enough geldings.  Pretty soon we will have more stallions and geldings than mares.

Currently, on the farm, the mares out-number the stallions/geldings…but it is getting closer.

If someone is looking for a new stallion for a breeding farm, all four of the youngsters are nice enough to be a stallion.  They’ll all be gelded over the Winter though as Geldings are often desired.  So if you are looking for a mature, breedable stallion, we have three that we will consider selling, a black, a bay, and a Mahogany bay.  And if you are looking for a younger version, we have four, two blacks and two chestnuts.  

If you are looking for a horse that is already a gelding we have four: three bays, and a chestnut. 

If you want a young gelding, we will work with you regarding which of the four colts that you would like, and gelded.

If you would prefer a mare we have those too.

Plus, several friends of ours have Morgan horses for sale. Geldings and mares.

Whether you are new to Morgan Horses, or a Morgan Horse Breeder…we probably have, or can find, just the right horse for you.

Sleipnir Explorer and Amber

Amber has been S. Explorer’s (B-L Rhinestone Kid x May’s Sweetie) primary person. She has done almost all of his training on her own. Dawn K gave her advise and counseling. And, more recently, Sue N has been teaching Amber Equitation, especially for Hunt Seat; and Explorer has been at “Horse Camp” with Sue and Chris.

In only a few months, Amber’s seat and hands have dramatically improved. At Liberty Classic Horse Show this year, Amber asked Sue for some helpful suggestions. I wasn’t able to go to Liberty this year. But when Amber and Explorer returned home, they were already markedly better.

Sue took them on for a “project” and they disappeared to North TN for the Summer.

In the process, Amber and S. Explorer have been to a few more local shows and two major Morgan shows. They went to the KY Bluegrass Morgan Show; and the Morab Nationals, also at the KY Horse Park.

The team improves all the time, and have been always in the ribbons, in small classes and larger ones.

Today, was the Linsdale Horse Show. The last Linsdale Show for the year. Amber and Explorer had a good show; Blue ribbons, nice…but more importantly, S. Explorer picked up all his canter leads in his three classes; and had no errors.

It was a lovely day. We had visitors at the farm. We are recovering from the tornado/winds and rain at the beginning of the week; and Amber/Explorer’s probable last show of the year was a great success.

And all of this has been accomplished from the end of May until the end of October, including Amber being back in school for her Senior year.

We are proud of all of our grandchildren.

But we have to especially mention how hard Amber, and Explorer, worked this year, and how it has all paid off.

What type of Morgan Horses do we breed?

One more post for today.

Recently, I was asked about the type Morgan horses that we breed.

It is an interesting question…and has a complex, but simple, answer.

We breed for a family friendly, beautiful, intelligent, well-conformed horse that is historically a Morgan, but in a contemporary context.

We have very versatile Morgan horses. And we also know that the horse, itself, has preferences regarding the type of work (s)he does.

We utilize historically important bloodlines, as up close as possible, to achieve these results.

For Example: S. Onstar had been trained to ride Western by professional trainers and VERY beginner amateur grandchildren. As I said in an earlier posting about her, she had not been ridden for over a year when Amber rode her Hunt Seat (see the pictures). She still hasn’t worn a pair of shoes…and clearly can vary her motion.
She literally floats through the air with a super reach for Travis driving her Roadster (see pictures and the new video). She had plenty of natural up/down motion for Amber, more than typically Hunt Seat. But she carried the saddle happily, having only carried a Western saddle prior. She also has plenty of up/down motion as I drive her. She is constantly listening and thinking about what we are asking her to do, and wants to please.

On another path, we have been discussing May’s Prunella and May’s Joy with “Foundation” Morgan horse people who want their bloodlines and hope for a foal or two. Other of our horses are too much “show horse” for the Foundation people, who do not care for certain bloodlines.

Virtually all of our horses sold in the past have been trained and sold locally as trail mounts. But some could have had brilliant show careers.

A few have competed successfully in competitive and endurance trail events, in New England and in the Deep South.

Several have gone to be the basis of a new Morgan horse breeding farm.

Some have been crossed with Friesians, and Arabians, bringing their talents to those breeders specific plans.

Some have been sold to be fancy Parade horses…a job that requires patience and willingness to please with beautiful looks and the ability to carry a heavy load of tack and rider.

We have several National Caliber – Class A quality show horses that are hidden jewels waiting for the right person to come along. Horses that can be ridden/driven by a professional or by an amateur with success.

We expect all our horses to be cared for by a family of amateurs, including children.

We have horses with great hooves, good legs, wide chests, tiny ears and kind eyes. We have horses that are tall and horses that are more typically “morgan heights”, non-shod, pasture length hooves. 

We have solid blacks, dark and light chestnuts, gleaming bays. Stallions, mares, and geldings. weanlings to retirees.

In the past, we sold a gorgeous mare. She could have had almost any kind of show career, but sold to be a pleasure riding mount. While she was parked out by the barn, a gander chased his mate directly under her body, with squawks and spread wings. She didn’t flinch. SOLD.

Are our horses always perfect? No. Can they adapt to their humans’ requests? Usually. Is every horse capable of doing everything? Of course not. Do we have a wide range of styles and types of the Morgan Horse? Always. Read their individual pages. Look at their pictures and pedigrees.

We breed for horses that fulfill our motto:
Family Show Horses: Showy Family Horses.

A visit with the weanlings and their dams.

10/11/10:   The weanlings.

Yesterday was gorgeous weather and John and I took a brief walk around parts of the farm.

The weanlings are, as always, very cute.  The three young males: S. Ocoee (S. Sequoyah x NEJ Golddust Emma) a solid black; S. Double Feature (S. Echo’s Finale x Playday Rebecca); and S. Resonance (S. Echo’s Finale x NEJ Golddust Alice) almost a perfectly matched pair of chestnuts, were super friendly and inquisitive.  They each wanted their fair share of scratches. We brought bags of carrots for their dams, but it wouldn’t have mattered.  Emma, Becca, and Alice would have come to visit whether or not there were treats included.

We hadn’t taught carrots to the little guys yet and they had found the whole interaction with their mothers to be fascinating.  D F (Double Feature) decided to try some carrots too.  I took a large end and held it for him. He took tiny nibbles, like eating an ice cream cone, and seemed to like it quite well. Ocoee and Resonance were interested, but adopted a wait and see approach.

I don’t really like to give young horses treats other than handfuls of long grass.  The carrot pieces or horse treats can get lodged in their throat and make them very ill, even resulting in death.  But the way that D F nibbled along the large piece was perfectly safe.

It is always a pleasure to visit the various members of the herd. This is something that I don’t take enough time to do.  Knowing that these little fellows are here as a result of our careful planning and care of their parents and them is very fulfilling.  We are very pleased with how both S. Sequoyah’s and S. Echo’s Finale’s foals are turning out.  And, naturally, Emma, Becca, and Alice have a lot to do with that too!  It is important as a breeder to choose really nice mares in both physical and temperament characteristics; and then breed them to very nice stallions, recognizing all the positives and negatives that may result.  Too many people do not bother to think about the complex responsibility of the choices that they make.

Once Michael re-enforces some fencing, we will be weaning them this month.  We intend to put S. Fieldstone and S. Smoky Mountain in the pasture with them.  I’d put S. Celestial Array in too.  But I don’t think that he needs the extra grain that goes to the young colts.

When they are gelded and we have waited an appropriate amount of time, we’ll probably put their coming two year old sisters in with them for the winter. 

Hopefully, Elizabeth and I will have some new photos up on their pages soon.  We’ll keep you posted.

Our complete Herd List – 2010: Pedigrees, Conformation and Temperament

Our horses are, for the most part, a firmly entrenched part of our family. But they are also a business. Our mission is to breed a versatile Morgan horse, with historic temperament and conformation, and to share them with current Morgan horse owners, and buyers new to the breed.  When you see our herd, you know that you are looking at a Morgan horse.  We specialize in protecting the historic bloodlines in a more modern horse package, versatile from the backyard to paths to the showring.

Some of the horses that we offer for sale are very old time style…given the fact that historic Morgans were of many different framework, I’ll elaborate and say of the “Figure” style.

Others are of a longer and leaner body style, also historic, and also decidedly Morgan.

We have a very small amount of “Lippitt” bloodlines, in a few horses.  While we understand the Lippitt breeders’ idealism, we believe in utilizing a wider gene pool. 

Our horses combine the best characteristics of various bloodlines, including: Old Government, through U C and U V M bloodlines, Beamington, Breezeway, Canfield, Courage of Equinox, Devan, Flyhawk, Mansfield, Orcland Leader +, Panfield, Trophy, Ulendon, Upwey Ben Don, and Waseeka – through Peter Piper and Showtime +   and so many more core stallions and mares, and historic breeding farms…

Numbers, and ages, of our horses:

11 Stallions, colts, and geldings – 2000 >>2010. Ten of the eleven are available for sale. Plus two geldings are available as agents for other owners, (1993 & 1994).

1 born in 2000; 1 born in 2002; 1 born in 2003; 2 born in 2004; 1 born in 2005; 1 born in 2006; 1 born in 2009  and 3 born in 2010.

18 mares, including 6 retired broodmares, and 3 leased broodmares, (includes 1 of the retired broodmares). 

Of these, eight of our mares are for sale; one of the leased mares is offered for sale; and another mare is offered as agents for other owners.  Also, some mares, not included on the For Sale List, are offered on ON FARM BROODMARE LEASE.

1 born in 1979 (a daughter of our first horse and The Matriarch!); 1 born in 1983; 5 born in 1988; 2 born in 1993; 1 born in 1994; 1 born in 1998; 1 born in 1999; 1 born in 2000; 1 born in 2003; 1 born in 2004; 1 born in 2006  and 2 born in 2009.

Each of the For Sale and At Stud horses has their own individual page.  Some of the mares only available for On Farm Breeding Leases are listed on the Breeding lease page.  Further information for them is available upon request.

Most of the pedigrees are linked to their individual pages.  Others will be up soon and are available upon request.

Our Motto for over thirty years:  Family Show Horses  : Showy Family Horses

See the complete list of Members of our Herd elsewhere on our website.  And let’s talk about pedigrees and conformation and temperament.