Blog Anna: Springtime, finally and healthy foals!

Sping is here! Well, some days. The snow is disappearing slowly. There is still some lingering here and there, under the trees, in ditches, on little roads in the woods. And it doesn’t mean that we won’t get any more snow. No, on the contrary, we can get snow well into May. But that’s usually wet snow. It doesn’t stay around. Thankfully! It’s called poor man’s fertilizer. And that’s something we can use this year with the fertilizer prices!

As the snow slowly disappears, you can see the damage it has done. Just like every year, there are broken fences, wires stripped from posts, broken fence posts etc. The boards on my outdoor arena for example, on the road side which was covered by snow all the way, took a hard hit. A lot of them broke by the sheer weight of the wet, melting snow. That’s all fixed now. Repairing fences and cleaning up spruce trees that fell during the winter, either by strong winds or accumulating snow, is a job that comes back every spring. And the fence needs to be in good repair, as we welcomed two brand new fillies this spring!

Finally foals from frozen semen

We welcomed our first foal first foal of this year on April 9th. I had been watching Wiecke, the mom for a while already. A first time mom, you don’t know yet how things will go, if she starts waxing early or not at all. It can be a guess when foaling time is getting closer. She did well. Obvious signs that baby was about to come. Clear waxing turned into big milky waxdroplets. Baby came a week early and the delivery went smooth. As a first time momma she had to get used to that little thing, and that it wanted to nurse! She was not impressed at all. We had to hold her and milk her a little bit to relief some of the pressure on her udder. A lot of breeders here will milk the mare regardless and feed the foal a bit from the bottle before leaving them alone to bond. I don’t bottle feed unless I’m really concerned baby isn’t getting anything. It’s a good thing that this little filly was very determined, she didn’t give up, even when momma squealed and threatened to kick. Her persistence paid off. The placenta did not get expelled right way. So 4 hours after the foal was born, the mare got some oxytocin and an hour later again. The longer you wait the harder it can be to get them to pass it. Thankfully Wiecke turned into a great mom! And she loves to show off her little girl. We can get in the stall with her and cuddle little Uniecke (Matthys 504 X Tjsalle 454) to our hearts contend! She inherited the beautiful head and tippy ears from both parents. This foal is very refined, correct and elegant. It is always a bit of a surprise how a combination works out, but so far so good!

Wiecke and Uniecke ( Matthys 504 x Tsjalle 545)

Wunder overjoyed us Easter Sunday with a filly as well! Two fillies in one spring, that’s a wonder indeed. Especially since I have been trying for so many years already to breed with frozen semen, it is so nice to finally be successful. For Wunder this is her third foal. She knows the routine. She also gave clear signs that foaling was imminent. Dripping a bit of milk in the daytime, and yes that night her filly was born. Wunder’s filly was also early, almost by two weeks. But this girl is tall and sturdy; at first glance I thought it was a colt, just by the looks of her. Wunder loves her Nane 492 daughter. And you cannot just walk in the stall with them. Even when you are outside her stall she will shield the foal with her body. Yes every mom is different. But Wunder also loves treats.. sooo I just take some treats and then it’s easy to tie her or hold her when we need to work with her foal. As the foal gets older this over protecting always gets better. This foal is named Trude, after my parent’s first mare Trude Model Pref, a special mare I grew up with. This filly is solid and strong, long legged filly, with a nice headset. Who knows she may be just as special. We are pleased with both fillies! Ooh yes of course I’m biased 😉

April was busy with foaling and taking care of the youngsters. The weather has been cold and wet. So not much outside time yet. Can’t wait to see these galls run and play together. Hoping for some better weather soon!

Wunder and Trude ( Nane 492 x Tsjalle 454)

More frozen semen

Because we finally were successful in breeding with frozen, I am looking ahead to find the best way to import some more. In this area most breeders are small, thus it is best to work together, to make it worthwhile. To get the semen here is costly and there is lots of paperwork involved as well. With no approved stallion standing at stud in all of Canada, you pretty much depend on frozen, at my location anyway. It is still very hard to get fresh cooled in a timely/ cost effective manner. It is hard to believe that it took 17 years of trial and error. From bad semen, to better semen, to different breeding techniques and strategies! Now it’s time to forget about all that, and enjoy the fillies!

Trude (Nane 492 X Tsjalle 454)

First get together of 2022 with our local club

It was also dreary weather for our first get together in a long time of the Atlantic Canada Friesian Horse association! But that did not dampen our spirits! Our last in person meeting was last September. So that has been a while! This past April 30th we held our annual AGM. A great day, attended by members form Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI. So good to reconnect and welcome new members!! Potluck and door prizes are always a success. In the afternoon we held a Q and A session, horsemanship demonstration and talked about inspection presentation tips. All in all a very successful day, the ACFHA is looking forward to a year filled with many more activities….

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