Merlot Moo - A Pregnancy Diary
In 2011 Merlot Moo (A Quarter Horse) sadly lost her first foal.
I can write this in the past tense now as it is 2013. Merlot delivered a very healthy colt foal in November 2012 and this is her journey.
I (Cathy Dee) purchased Merlot in February the following year as a riding horse and also because she is in foal to stallion I have always admired...
(OK, I think also, the fact she is almost identical in colour and markings to My Boy Persil may have helped my decision)
This is Merlot's Pregnancy Diary - mostly full of photographs - I orginally thought it would be interesting to track her pregnancy from go to whoa as it was hard to find images of mares at various stages in their pregnancy to compare her with.
Hopefully this may help you if you have a precious mare in foal and it is, like mine, the first foal you've bred and you are wondering if your mare looks 'normal' ;-).
The First 'Trimester'...
Merlot and Persil gallop around together soon after Merlot first arrives.
This is the first foal I have raised so naturally I am very excited and pleased to have the ProvideIt team on hand with advice and all the right supplements to ensure that Merlot had an easy pregnancy and this time raises a healthy foal.
Merlot became a brood mare as a result of 'Navicular Syndrome'. I am interested to see whether - being barefoot and with the correct trimming, Merlot's lameness reverts. She was very lame when she first arrived.
Merlin - the stud.
Merlin is an angloarab/stationbred
The first thing I did was book her in for all her vaccinations - as the Equine Herpes is rampant at the moment.
Next I checked with Jenny about what sort of feeding requirements a brood mare should be on and this is what Merlot had throughout her pregnancy...
to this I add
March - 3 Months
Merlot's usual grazing is very old dried off pasture - PERFECT horse grass! Here she is 3 months into her pregnancy and looking good.
Being pregnant is very tiring it would seem - even at this early stage, she seems to lie down a lot!
April - 4 Months
April - (Autumn) and 4 months into her pregnancy Merlot is positively glowing.
She's had her first round of vaccinations for Equine herpes now - 2 more to go!
Correct barefoot trimming seems to be paying off - she is no longer lame. I am gently lunging her each day, although when I say gently, somedays, Merlot decides that the pace will be less than gentle, and she hurtles around like a rocket - clearly enjoying her freedom of movement!
May - 5 Months
Merlot is usually on very old crappy grass - on which she is doing brilliantly as you can see by her photos, however this month she has gone up to a friends place to babysit a just-weaned foal. The paddock she is in is chockablock FULL of green grass - EEK!
She will be there for a month so I am very glad she has the GrazeEzy in her feed to help with the imbalances that are bound to be found in her grazing.
She is stacking on the weight - hard to tell what is foal and what is plain old fat!
Here's Merlot in the green paddock where the foal is being weaned. She simply can not believe her luck! It's like us being in a lounge full of chocolate - yummy but not the best for us...oh well it's only for a short time!
The Second 'Trimester'...
June - 6 Months
Here she is, 6 months into her pregnancy -
proving you can still spronk about with a baby elephant lounging around inside you...
Merlot is back home now, back on old dry grass (+ her vit/mins etc) and doing beautifully, she's full of life and fun. She is really looking pregnant now. Come to think of it, she was looking pretty pregnant last month too. ;-)
She weathered out the snow storm, with plenty of hay and a snug warm cover which came off as soon as the sun came out...
July - 7 Months
'Does my bum look big in this?' - yes it does Merlot.
Merlot looks seriously pregnant now. Dave Martin, the vet came out and gave her her final vaccination commenting that she looks a picture - Of course Dave did not see her the day this photo was taken - 'It's a Mud Pack', she told me, 'Great for the complexion'.
Am beginning to think she somehow got in foal to a sneaky clydesdale.
Of course, being this pregnant is tiring work and winter is droning on and on...and I'm sorry - am I boring you Merlot?
August - 8 months
8 Months into her pregnancy now and she is very content and healthy and happy as a clam despite the crap weather...
Not a lot of change in her size at this stage which is probably a good thing as she is eating like...well, she is eating like a horse.
The Third 'Trimester'...
September - 9 Months
I tried to get some photos of Merlot sprinting around looking impressive. I flapped a plastic bag at her and waved my arms around like windmills. She looked at me as if I was completely bonkers. Then, she yawned. I MUST be impressive.
(The yellow stuff in her nostrils is pine pollen by the way, I wipe it out each day)
It was the same thing when I broke my foot a few weeks ago. I was attempting to high jump a fence, only I crashed landed on the ground in a heap in front of the Sheeples and Merlot and Persil.
The sheep waited impatiently for an encore. Persil bounced around as if it was the most exciting thing he had seen all year and Merlot was the only one who managed to look concerned.
On a rather exciting note, I felt the foal give an enormous kick this week. Up till now I've been unsure whether the movement I felt was Merlot's tummy rumbling or proof of life within - now I know for sure!
October - 10 Months
Only around a month - 6 weeks to go now. Things are getting exciting.
Merlot has almost lost her winter coat and is turning a glorious liver chestnut which I can't quite pick up on film unfortunately.
Her coat is so shiny despite not being covered that I can almost see myself in it. Can only put this down to all the ProvideIt goodies she is getting.
She is becoming more and more 'Gooey', following me around, leaning into me for scratches. She even scratches me back - very gently.
Here she shows me where she'd like to be scratched. Either that or she's showing me where exactly the baby is.
For the first time, that I have seen, Merlot and Persil actually scratched each other. Up till now, persil has been busy bossing Merlot about. Of course the scratching session ended in a bit of a stouch.
I swear her baby belly is getting much bigger now...but then I've been saying that all year.
The Final Month...
November - 11 Months
I can hardly believe it has gone so fast. We are now at exactly 11 months. Of course the Baby horse has not made an appearance yet - (perfectly normal) but we know he/she is in there!
I shall be recording on an almost daily basis from here on in...
You would think that with this much baby on board, merlot would be losing her appetite - where does she fit it all? Surely most of that is baby?
She certainly seems happy and content.
Looking all 'Hot and Bovered'... today is the first time I've seen her look as though she has enough of being pregnant already! Mind you it was a very hot day!
There's no mistaking the fact that she IS pregnant!
Back to the cheeky Merlot we all know and love. Spending a lot of time lying down now.
Got a fright today - she was lying down groaning. I thought she was about to foal, but no, it was just her breathing a little harder as the foal puts pressure on her organs when she lies down. All perfectly normal. She was fine.
Merlot is so huge now it's got to the stage where you start thinking that if she doesn't give birth soon, she'll pop. What IS she going to give birth to?!
Merlot's belly has dropped into that typical V shape I have read about which apparently is a sign the birth is immenent. very excited now! Compare this shape to Nov 13th and you can see exactly what I mean.
Merlot and Persil have now been seperated into adjoining paddocks. Persil is just getting too bossy and Merlot needs to be in the foaling paddock in order to 'nest'.
Merlot seemed to be quite relieved to have her own space. Persil was most upset but at least they can see each other and have contact over the gate on Merlot's terms!
Nov 20th - The Big Day at Last!
This morning Merlot and Persil were uncharacteristically schmoozing each other over the fence. As Merlot has been very standoffish towards Persil for the last few months, I went out to investigate.
The first thing I noticed was that Merlot's udder had 'waxed up'. As I was due out that morning, I rang Val Coker who told me not to panic, she could be another week away.
I think she's going to foal today I insisted. however I decided to keep my appointment and rush back.
Incredibly, Merlot must have waited for me.
I went out to bring Persil in for a groom and noticed Merlot pacing around looking uncomfortable - suddenly her waters broke and it was all on!
Within a very short time - around 15 minutes all up, at 4.30pm, Merlot had given birth to Lord LubbaDuck AKA Zephyr Moo - a very healthy buckskin colt.
You can see Zephyr's growth here...
For pictures of his birth and Zephyr's very own blog - visit The Zephyr Files.