This week was a great one at the Horse Barn! We started the week off strong by heading to the veterinary school for a reproductive anatomy lab. (Pictures below, not for those with weak stomachs!)
While in the lab, we started by learning about the reproductive anatomy/physiology, and then were able to check out all of the systems ourselves. I found the mare's anatomy to be the more interesting of the two, but that could have been because the stallion's was just a bit of a mess. There was a lot of bowel and muscle still attached, which made it difficult to really see all of the underlying structures. With that being said, we learned about the penis and the testes, and the structures that connect the two! It was pretty amazing to see the path that sperm have to take from their site of origin (the testes) all the way through the urethra and out of their body and into the mare. The sperm then have to travel through the mares vagina, uterus, and up the mares oviducts! It's wild that such small cells can be so mighty. (I added a stallion anatomy diagram to help with understanding exactly what we were looking at, it would've been helpful on Monday if I had the diagram with me!)
The mare tract was helpful for me to look at because it showed the structures that we are looking at when we do rectal palpations. I got to feel what the cervix and ovaries feel like, which I think will come in handy when I am ultrasounding mares in the future and trying to find those structures without being able to see them! Perhaps one of the most interesting things I have ever seen is the pregnant mare tract. There was an approximately 5 month old foal in there! I know you can't see him or her (I will just call it a him, for the rest of the paragraph), but he was about the size of an adult cat! Being able to feel through the uterus and feel the foal was something I won't forget. First of all, the uterus was incredibly strong. Obviously it HAS to be, but I had no idea how strong those tissues would feel until I was feeling the foal through them. The foal was amazing in itself. I could feel his nostrils, where his eyes were and down his neck, his ribcage, and his little stifles.
I left the lab feeling pretty humbled. Life is astounding. The biological engineering of these animals is quite amazing.
Protege was stellar this week and was very well behaved. He is really growing on me, and making me want a donkey in my life! How can you not just swoon over his precious ears? He seems to really enjoy getting out to lunge. This coming week it looks like we are going to have some beautiful weather, so he will be out working in the arena quite a bit.
Mares continued to be palpated all week, we had a couple ovulations, a couple about to ovulate, and a couple mares that are still transitioning. On Friday, Kelli had us palpate for the very first time! I got to palp Yellow, and was able to feel her uterine bifurcation as well as both of her ovaries (even though I had a much easier time finding the left one!) I didn't take the ultrasound probe in yet, but will start doing that next week.
Other fun things that happened and have photographic evidence below: Dun had a little photoshoot because there is somebody potentially interested in a breeding to him, and the drafties were out and about on Friday afternoon and looking too cute to pass up on the photo op!