Cimmeron's foaling thread! When will she go? Pics...
Sooooo, I'm going to start a foaling thread for my maiden mare, Royal Cimmeron. Mostly because I'm going nuts waiting for this baby :)
She is a Kentucky Mountain mare by Crown Royal, out of Major Star. Both are palominos, she is a flaxen chestnut. Cimmy is pretty special to our family because she was my first 'new' horse, after my childhood buddy had to be put down in 2006. I've always owned horses, and they've always been a big part of my life and now we're blessed to be able to 'start over' with a very family friendly breed.
Cimmeron came to live with us when she was 3 years old, in the summer of 2008. She was already larger than your typical mountain horse and we knew she still had some time to grow. I am 6' tall, so I prefer a bigger animal and we thought she might fit the bill. She more than fit it, she's amazing. Now we have five mountain horses and one friesian/walker (and a pair of mini donkeys, of course!)
The year she was four we started trying to breed her. I found the 'perfect' suitor for her. But she wouldn't come in standing heat. We had the vet out, he sweated her, she stood for the stud and didn't take. We lavaged her, sweated her again and brought her back a third time. She said hell no. So I gave up for that breeding season.
Last year we started fresh and early. We had the vet come and ultrasound her throughout her cycle, watching follicles develop, mature, release and then we'd bring her to the stallion again and she wouldn't take. (or stand for him.) So we had her cultured. <sigh> It was becoming a bit cost prohibitive, but this mare is STUNNINGLY gorgeous and has an awesome mind and horse-anality...I was determined. We cleaned her out again, found no evidence of a problem, and took her to a different stallion. 21 days later, no pregnancy. I came to terms with the fact that I would NOT get a baby out of my lovely girl, but loved her just the same. In the meantime I had acquired a couple more delightful rocky girls and figured we would center our breeding program around the more desired size of a mountain horse. I was disappointed, but could have bought TWO horses for what we'd spent on figuring out WHY Cimm wasn't catching.
Then I ran across a really cool stallion with old time bloodlines and a personality that is out of this world. I bought him. Why not? I had mares, show experience and a great place to keep him so I figured we'd see what transpired. His name is "Pure Kentucky"...he's triple registered KMSHA, MPHA and RMHA. Within a few weeks of him coming to live with us, our eight year old daughter was riding him. (Please don't throw tomatoes, she was in a safe environment!) Well, Cimm was pastured fairly close to him and within a month or two, she came in standing heat. He'd never bred a mare before but he had to learn somewhere so I thought our barren princess would be as good a teaching tool as any. She stood for him. He managed to figure it out. But 21 days later she was back in heat again.
I was ready to rip my hair out but I let him have another shot. This one was completely squandered because he managed to mount her, but where he is a full two hands shorter than her, he fell out before he could finish. I actually said, "THERE IS MY BEAUTIFUL CHOCOLATE FILLY, SWIMMING IN THE MUD..."
I also bred him to my black mare who caught immediately but absorbed her foal before the 4 month preg recheck. I did have Cimm checked and the vet assured me she was open, but she wouldn't come back in heat. We had her at summer camp when it was determined that Hope's foal was missing and I never had another thought of having Cimm checked again.
Until January. When I brought her up out of the field she looked much wider than 'normal'. We had her palped and there was a baby in there! I was so proud of her, lol. We used her last cover date though the follow through was not the best...I think my boy must have some strong swimmers :)
She was last bred on 4/19 and we had the vet out a couple of weeks ago to see how she was progressing. I was worried that she wasn't even starting to make a bag and she was 3 days away from her 'due date'. The vet was also concerned because of the fescue in our area. So he started her on domperidone. She immediately developed a bag. And soon after started streaming milk. I freaked a bit, backed off the dom and watched her bag disappear again. Then, last Sunday, she went into labor.
It was exciting, too, lol...with her pressing her butt against fence posts, pacing in her stall, standing still having contractions, kicking at her belly...but by Monday morning, she'd stopped. And her milk was gone. Her belly had changed shape and we couldn't feel the foal moving any more so I assumed she'd just gotten her into birthing position and would go ahead and have her. (or him...I do have a preference!!!) She did not. We've been doing 2 hour checks for the entire week. The vet wanted to put her back on the dom to combat the fescue again, but I convinced him to wait until she was at least 14 days past her edd. With the weird spring, mares have been waiting until the foal is born to make a bag and with her being a maiden...plus we KNOW the dom will help her produce milk if we need it to.
We went and got a fabulous bottle of colostrum from one of the huge breeding sheds in the Bluegrass. It's safe in my freezer if we need it. Cimm has been pretty much boring all week...I have expressed some fluid but it's yellowish and sticky and I know the domperidone will negate any milk test anyway. Her vulva is completely relaxed, her hind end is mushy and her hips are sticking out something awful. So her BODY is almost ready.
Then tonight when I got home from Easter celebrations, she was waiting at the fence to go into the barn. She knows that's where she gets fed, but it was a few hours before schedule. I always put her up at night (b/c we have loads of coyotes in our area) but she HATES her stall. It takes an act of God to get her to go in the barn willingly (and as it turns out, her feed is her god, lol) so I always feed her in the aisle and brush her/check her out while she's eating.
Tonight she was a total wackadoo. She ran into the barn and refused her feed. She nibbled at some hay, but wouldn't go anywhere near her bucket. Then she went in her stall. All by herself, lol. Veryyyyy strange. I offered her dinner again, and she turned her head. I made sure she pooped before I left her alone (which she did, twice...it looked like cow patties) so I know she's not colicky.
An hour or so ago I went back to check her and offer her dinner again...9pm is a more 'normal' time for her to eat anyway. Again she refused, but did deign to nibble some hay. I brushed her, rubbed her favorite spots, and left her leaning against the post. Maybe we're getting closer. Gawd, I hope we're getting closer.
She's at 355 days today. I'm attaching a couple of pics so you can see what she looks like :) Can also subject her to the indignities of further vulva photography if anyone is interested! (That's Daddy in the last pic!)
We have played 'Bag and Go Seek' all week. In the morning it's big, at night, it's gone. Sometimes there is fluid, sometimes it's sticky, sometimes it's thin and clear.
Cimm's butt is jello. Her tail head is distinct. Her vulva is relaxed. Sometimes she'll eat, but she isn't finishing her ration. She doesn't want to cuddle and is not manipulated by treats. We've had such a weird spring. The "trend" here in KY has been to go 3 weeks over, and several mares are making pitiful bags. We are at 355 days now. I'm starting to think the two love birds had some secret joining that I was not aware of and we're more like a month behind schedule, but the vet was pretty confident that the foal was at a 'good size' and 'good position' a week ago, we were just waiting for nature to take its course.
I hate the waiting :)
Here is a shot of her business...she asked me not to post it, but I asked HER to have a baby a week ago!!!
I'm HOPING that we're 'off' on dates somehow, b/c not only is Cimmy not acting like she's in LABOR, she's not really acting PREGNANT anymore! We have had the vet out, he says everything is fine, baby is getting bigger and bigger and isn't moving much b/c it's in position.
Her pH was a 7.2 tonight and her Calcium was 300+ppm. It doesn't go any higher than that on my strips so it's not super accurate, but it DOES show down to 6.2 pH.
Just when I'd decided this silly maiden of ours would NEVER deliver a baby, she started making progress. Today she is streaming thick, creamy colostrum (all on her own, no domperidone to 'help' her out!) and her hind end is very relaxed. She's testing off the charts in her calcium reading, and her pH is below 6.8, it had dropped down to 6.2 an hour ago.
We washed her area, wrapped her tail and turned her back out...it's a beautiful afternoon here in the bluegrass and if she could foal outside, that would be ideal! Of course if she's still pregnant tonight she'll go back inside, but we're hoping for an outside birth.
Really, we're hoping that this whole drama is behind us this time tomorrow, with a healthy, happy mama and baby.
Will bore you with updates sporadically, provided there is anything to update ;)