16 Horses Incorporated August 2008 seven babies.
So you see, the production of more horses from our breeding operations is not only improved with the higher quality breeding material, but the embryo transfer process has allowed it to be geometrical – thus the added frustration for the long suffering husband.
To add insult to injury, last year when the impregnated Hochkarat was flushed, Dr.
McKinley discovered that the embryo had split and that there were twins under the microscope.
What to do? Two babies and only one surrogate mama.
Not to worry! Dr.
Peters knew of a ranch that had a plethora of recipient mares in their herd.
Maybe they had one that was in the right time of her cycle to help out.
Sure enough, they did and both babies found a new home to grow up in, and this year we were presented with virtually identical twins born about a week apart in February.
It turns out that there are some slight variations in the color pattern of the twins that apparently occurs in the uterus of the mother, so the twins have the slightest differences in the white points.
One has four full whites and the other has only three and a little bit, both have a wide and somewhat irregular blaze that are nearly identical, and one has a belly spot – but you really have to look twice to see the differences – amazing! This occurrence presented us with some additional input for our knowledge of the process of breeding and raising horses.
The original recipient mare was very insecure and was not able to fit in to our herd.
We allow all of our mares and young horses to share a large pasture together to help with socialization and grow up in a more natural horse environment.
Because Cherie was unable to fit in she had to be separated from the rest of our herd.
She spent her pregnancy at the Kruger Ranch and was foaled out there.
Even though the other mare that we had picked up with the help of Dr.
McKinley is much smaller than our Warmblood horses, she was able to hold her own in the herd, and essentially earn her share of respect so that she found a spot near the top of the pecking order.
So she stayed with us and bore her foal here.
Within a few days, she and baby were back out with the herd.
We brought Cherie home after her twin was born, but it was still necessary to keep them apart from the rest of the herd.
Last week we weaned the twins and the differences caused by “environmental factors” became immediately apparent.
The twin that was born and raised by Cherie, White Quarterkarat, was heavier and less fit than her sister, White Solitaire, because she had not had the same degree of exercise.
When the twins were put together, the smaller of the two, White Solitaire, who had been raised in the herd with a confident mother immediately demonstrated her dominance.
This was a very vivid demonstration of the fact that both genetics and environment have an impact on the development of the individual.
It will be interesting to see how these differences present themselves as the twins continue to develop. www.horsesinc.net It turns out that the surrogate mothers have proven to be very good and natural mothers to their “adopted” babies and we have been very lucky with the mares that we found for recipients.
We have four such mares and they are as different as can be.
I already told you a little about Cherie, a somewhat maladjusted registered Missouri Fox-Trotter mare.
The mother of the other twin, “Bonita Red River” (Marion gave her this name because she bears a very apparent freeze-brand, “BRR”, on her hip) was acquired from a very large horse ranch.
She has no papers and is of unknown origin.
She appears to be possibly a half- Arabian/quarter-horse cross.
When she arrived here she was extremely head shy and had a relatively severe scar on her face.
It took a long time, but love and care have brought her around and even though she is still a little reticent, she is a really welcome member of the family around here.
Both of these mothers of the twins have proven to been very attentive mothers and their babies have done very well.
Our two other surrogate mothers have been with us a little longer.
The surrogate mother of our first embryo transfer baby, Wolkenkarat – our rising star, is a thoroughbred mare named Bambino Banit (Babe) and she has proven to be a very competent and effective mother and has apparently provided the right “environmental” input for her babies, as all have so far proven to be very successful show horses.
And, last but not least, our surrogate color producer, Anatevka has born us two wildly colored babies, both by Radikal and two different biological mothers.
Anatevka was rescued from a Canadian PMU Ranch, an unwanted bi-product of a pharmaceutical company’s hormone production program.
She is also of unknown origin, but was definitely a draft horse cross of some kind.
Consequently, she provides the “extra large oven” and tremendous milk production that have caused her two babies to be, not only colored (genetic chance), but also more developed both at birth and during the entire nursing period than their contemporaries.
Our recipient mares have become real professionals at the horse shows, and imagine the heads that turn when you show up with a clunky and hairy draft mare (Marion has been trying to pass her off as a Gypsy Vanner) with an elegant show quality Warmblood foal full of suspension and elasticity.
Her first baby, Rabenschwarz (Radikal x Hochkarat) was the USDF 2007 yearling colt Horse of the Year! Way to go Anna.
We haven’t really paid attention to the selection of the surrogate mares, assuming that by using the highest quality donor mares would produce the best quality offspring, but I have to think that it also is important to select the surrogate with nearly as much care as is given to the selection of the biological mothers.
As with everything else about the care and breeding of the best quality sport horses, this has also been a tremendous learning experience for us here at the Cocolalla Creek Sport Horse Farm.* Horses Incorporated August 2008 17
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