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Equine Endeavor

Breeding Season Begins

Updated: Sep 20, 2018

Week 7 started off with a holiday on Monday, so although I would usually be out at the barn regardless of if there is school or not, I was down in Los Angeles for a wedding over the weekend and did not get home until late on Monday night. With that being said, just because the week had one less day in it for me, does not mean that the work load was any lighter!


I spent most of my Tuesday at the horse barn. Anthony and I started by collecting Dun for the ANS 92 interns. This was exciting because Kelli let Anthony and I do most everything in the breeding shed just the two of us. (Also very nerve racking because we had an audience)

For most of the interns, if not all, it was their first time witnessing a collection. It was interesting listening to their chatter and commentary going on in the background while Anthony and I were with Dun. Anthony collected and I got to handle for a second time. I felt much more confident this time, even though Dun had to mount twice so I had to take him to the phantom two separate times. After we finished the collection, I put Dun back in his paddock and then went into the lab to help sterilize our AV and clean everything up.

I got asked to help a couple of the foal managers with hot walking some of the mares that are going to be used at Field Day in a couple of weeks, so Anthony finished up in the laboratory and I grabbed Holly and groomed her up and put her on the hot walker. The girls exercised for about thirty minutes or so, and once they were put away I started raking the hay barn. It's gotten excessively messy in the past week, so the plan is to maybe try using a leaf blower later in the week after raking a second time to get some of the finer pieces of hay off the ground.

I started preparing for evening feeding soon after that and got to watch a few minutes of Julia riding Dun while I loaded the hay into the feed cart. Jessica showed up soon after and we fed the horses dinner and went home after we finished all of our chores. (Not exciting so I won't go into detail)

Tomorrow, although we usually palpate in the afternoon, we are going to palpate Sadie in the morning to see where she is at. She is getting close to her second ovulation of the season, and we want to breed to it! This mare is known for having a lot of fluid in her uterus close to ovulation, so we will check her at 0900 tomorrow, and if she has fluid we will start her on oxytocin to kick the fluid out and hopefully have her bred before the weekend. She is going to be bred to Protege. The rest of the mares will stick to their afternoon schedule.

I am hoping to get the donkey out to exercise too as well as clean his pen. So much to do and so little time in each day. It's midterms week too, so I really need to focus on school - but there are so many cool things happening at the barn!


We started off Wednesday by palpating Sadie. She did not have any fluid in her uterus and seemed to be regressing the follicle we thought she would ovulate. We are going to recheck her Friday and see where she is at to see if we will try breeding her over the weekend or wait and recheck again on Monday. Later in the morning, the UC Davis Large Animal Field Service unit arrived to perform a umbilical hernia repair surgery on one of the barn's yearlings.

This was so much fun to watch. I have been working emergency on call at the UCD VMTH (Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital) so I have seen loads of interesting things, but don't get to experience these elective surgeries. Towards the end of the surgery, I got to step in and help hold the lidocaine/xylozine fluid bag, which I would say wasn't exciting, but who am I kidding? I keep a horse blog. It was exciting to me just to be a part of their little "team" for a moment.

After her surgery, I went to clean stalls but much to my surprise, Anthony had already cleaned them! He mistook the schedule and cleaned accidentally, but I of course didn't mind and agreed to help him on Friday when it was his actual scheduled day to clean. I cleaned Protege's pen instead.

In the afternoon, we palpated four more mares. Yellow had a 34mm follicle and usually ovulates around 40mm, so we are going to check her tomorrow to see if she may need to be bred over the weekend as well. The other three mares were rescheduled for other days of next week.

At the very end of the work day Wednesday, Jake and I got Protege out and lunged him. He was extra scared of the aisle-way where we groom and tack him. I always wonder if he had a bad experience in there or what, because he is so frightened by that small area. Once he is cross tied he behaves though. We groomed him up and put his boots on before taking him out to lunge. Jake lunged him to the left and he was a little testy for Jake, but when I took over and had him going to the right he was pretty darn good for me again. I try really hard to be cognizant of my body language the whole time I am working with him, because it seems like it really makes a difference.


My typical busy day of the week, which was even busier than usual this week because in my Swine Reproduction lab it was castration day. We had to castrate 14 8-week old boars and prepare tissue samples for subsequent analysis which was supposed to be done before noon, but didn't get wrapped up until close to 2PM. At noon I snuck away (the class is only supposed to be until noon, so I wasn't really just leaving class) and was able to tease the mares with Julia and then go back to the swine barn. This was an exceptional teasing day because all of the girls were all really well behaved - even the ones who didn't want anything to do with the stallion! We added Stockings to our teasing rotation on Tuesday of this week but Thursday was my first day getting her out. She is pictured here.

Yellow was scanned, but seemed to be regressing her follicle, so we will check her again tomorrow.


I woke up Friday just not wanting to do the day to be perfectly honest. I had a Reproductive Physiology exam at 11AM and was going to need to help with a Protege collection at 10. Not that I didn't want to help with the collection because I definitely want to get all the experience I can - but I get very stressed pre-exam and only want to study. Luckily, Anthony is also in that class and was also a bit panicked. Kelli could sense that about both of us, and since she's great, she told us we could just collect Monday instead, since it was just going to be a clean-out collection. Jake and Izzy were available though, so they ended up collecting Pro while Anthony and I crammed the last hour before the exam. Boy am I so glad that I did - what I studied intensely that last hour was all over the test!

After the exam (which went pretty well!), I came back to the barn and read a really neat textbook of Kelli's to get some more information about palpations and ultrasounding. I am hoping to purchase the book because it was already quite helpful for me, and it's something I could keep and use always.

We got Yellow out and palpated her, and she was back to having some large pre-ovulatory follicles on both ovaries. I got to practice on her and was able to find her left ovary! I wasn't able to get the left, but finding the right was really exciting and I made Anthony take a picture of the ultrasound-machine screen. (I will add the picture of it later!) We scheduled Yellow to be scanned again on Saturday, and she was, although she still hadn't ovulated on Saturday either. Our plan at the moment with is to short-cycle her so she comes back into heat quickly and we can breed her on that next ovulation. We will scan her Monday of to see what she is up to, and if she has ovulated.


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