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Equine Endeavor

A First for Everything

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

Monday

Exciting things happened on Monday! It was a full day at the barn, starting with exercising Protege with Anthony spotting me. Protege, since we collected on Friday, now thinks that when one of us gets him out of his pen it is time to breed. He was at the height of intractable behavior. He was very territorial and wanting to roll everywhere (on every single pile of manure we passed), he was trying to drag me to any manure pile or piece of brush on the ground he wanted, and he wasn't responding to pressure or being light in any way. It was a bit deflating because I know he knows how to be a good boy, but just decides not to sometimes.


After ending on a good note with Pro, I went to class but was back at the barn later in the afternoon for a Dun collection and to practice palpation skills.


With the collections we have been doing, we have been switching off roles so that each stud manager can practice with handling, hygiening, and collecting the stud. On Monday, since there were three of us present I didn't collect or handle, but was able to hygiene for the first time. Let me just say again how appreciative I am to have a stallion like Dun to learn from! He is such a gentleman and makes learning something completely foreign not so bad.

The Dun collection went smoothly, as it usually does, and after we put him away we took a couple mares out to practice palpations with the ultrasound probe for the first time. Let me tell you - it is quite the workout! We have to hold our hand with all five of our fingers together when we are in the mares, and clasping down on the ultrasound probe while trying to orient yourself within the rectum of a horse is no easy task. My thumb and pinky finger were aching about five minutes after starting, which Kelli assured us is normal. I wasn't able to find ovary, but did get to see the uterine body - so I was at least in the right area!



Tuesday

On Tuesday, I cleaned Protege's pen and raked the hay barn, as well as teased the mares with Julia and lunged Protege. Pro was an absolute star for his lunge! It was the lightest he had ever been on the line and I felt really connected to him for the first time. He was very in tune with what I was asking, instead of deciding that other things around him were more interesting than me.


I was really, really pleased with him and his complete 180 from his obnoxious behavior on Monday. We lunged for maaaaybe twenty minutes and then called it quits because he was being so great. I wanted to be sure he didn't decide to be a handful before we ended on a good note together. At the end of his lunge he was very receptive to me and would walk to me when I asked him to and back away from me when I asked him to. We both really enjoyed working together on Tuesday, so hopeful for more days like that! Fingers crossed.




Wednesday & Thursday



Wednesday afternoon after palpating the few mares we had (there were only two on Wednesday!) I had the opportunity to watch one of the university's repro veterinarians do a transrectal and transabdominal scan on two of our pregnant mares. Both of the mares we looked at Wednesday are full term in May, so they still have a few months to go.


That being said, I had never seen an ultrasound scan done on a pregnant mare, so that was very exciting to see. The veterinarian (her name has slipped my mind, gosh darn it) was also a great teacher and was telling me what she was looking at as she was scanning, which was much appreciated. The two pictures are above were taken with permission as she was scanning. The picture on the left was taken transrectally and is a shot of the head of the horse. The black spherical shape in the middle of the image is the foal's eye! If you look closely, you can also see the lens of the eye.


The picture on the right is a cross section of the foal's hoof! At first I couldn't orient myself or see what it was, but if you look really closely at this one, you can see the frog of the hoof! Amazing is all I have to say about that.


Thursday evening I made it out to the barn to groom Protege and clean his pen, but that was all my wild school schedule allowed for.


Friday

I started off my Friday by cleaning stalls and doing a Dun collection. Both of the boys needed to be collected Friday morning for a study that was being done by a visiting PhD student. Sadly for me, I had class at 11AM so I wasn't able to stay for Protege's collection. Dun's collection went great though and I was able to handle for the first time! I would say that my handling skills so far are much better than my collection skills. Dun was easy and went up to the phantom easily. I do think I need to have him get a bit more momentum and trot up to the phantom faster. But, for our first time, I can't complain.


After class I was back at the barn since we had our usual Monday meeting for 2/19 on Friday since it is Presidents' Day and a university holiday. We started our meeting by the most exciting thing I have done so far this internship: digging!


Okay, it wasn't really that much fun, but we all worked together on digging out the panels of our old round pen and it was actually pretty enjoyable work. I connected my phone to a Bluetooth speaker and we listened to music while we worked. Unfortunately for me, my phone shuffled through only three artists: Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, and Jason Aldean. So now my co-interns probably think my taste in music is quite monotonous.




After we finished that project, we pulled two mares out to practice palpating and two mares out to put on the hot walker. Two of the stud managers went out to hot walk first, and two of us palpated. Then we swapped 1/2 way through our meeting. This time when I took the ultrasound probe into the mare, I was able to find the uterine horn and *almost* made it to the left ovary, but not quite. I am pretty disappointed in myself because on Friday, all of the other stud managers found an ovary! I need to catch up, but I am sure I will get there. Oh, and an important part on this palpation - I got to do it on our draft mare, Dee! It was my first time in a draft horse, so that was exciting.


So many firsts this week!

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