Posts Tagged ‘breeding’

A kinder Magic

January 7, 2013
Judy Claire Sprite Magic Crop

Judy, Claire, Sprite & Magic.

Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

I carried the tiny foal to the stable.

Claire, her teenaged owner, followed leading her mother.

Claire had first come to my riding camps at age nine.

I helped her find Magic – her first horse and dream come true – a liver chestnut quarter horse mare with long socks and a blaze.

Magic was agisted at my farm. Claire spent every holiday moment with her: riding in the bush, swimming in the dam and lying in the paddock sharing secrets.

Magic had just given birth to her first foal at 16 … a late first-timer.

She refused to let her foal drink; squealing, kicking and spinning around.

We thought of foal names as we sat in the stable waiting for the vet.

He arrived and shattered Claire’s dreams by saying, ‘The foal has neurological damage; let nature take its course’.

Never one to give up, I asked him to sedate the mare and administer electrolytes to the dehydrated foal.

Claire slept in the stable, waking every hour to calm her mare and balance the uncoordinated foal while she drank.

Morning dawned to a relaxed mare and an energetic, well-hydrated foal.

Claire named her Sprite. It had been a life-changing night for both of them.

Claire researched boarding schools that allowed horses and presented her parents with a well thought-out plan for a future they couldn’t refuse.

She took a gelding to boarding school and rode Magic on holidays.

Sprite grew into a stunning adult and moved to Claire’s parent’s holiday farm with Magic and the family horses.

We kept in touch over the years.

Sprite was started under saddle but only ridden occasionally as Claire’s study demands grew.

She graduated with honours.

I stopped running children’s riding camps to concentrate on breeding horses and teaching horse behaviour.

Claire started university and Sprite injured herself.

I was happy to reunite with Sprite when asked if I could help heal her.

Grossly overweight, she struggled to walk.

Vet visits, feet and leg x-rays, weight rehabilitation and massages still didn’t improve her ability to move without pain.

To better understand anatomy and breed sounder horses I attended equine biomechanics lectures and whole-horse dissection courses.

I took Sprite to equine biomechanics expert Sharon May-Davis for assessment.

Sharon immediately pointed out that Sprite’s front-leg lameness was caused by extra stress on her forelegs due to a pelvis injury.

She suggested putting Sprite in foal, saying the subsequent release of endorphins and tendon-softening hormones would improve her quality of life.

Though dubious, I watched in awe as, after artificial insemination, Sprite gradually began to move with ease.

With regular bodywork and foot trims, she was galloping and bucking with the other mares even when hugely pregnant.

Now, as I lie in the paddock watching Sprite trot after her foal, I realise my life has changed too.

‘Letting nature take its course’ can sometimes mean stepping in and helping where needed.

Sprite and Magic also taught me that trusting others and accepting help graciously is more dignified than battling on alone.

It’s the difference between surviving and living.

🙂

Advertisements

Weaning. Mothering Lessons from The Herd.

April 24, 2011
photo morgan horse foal wean weaned weaning

Playing can ease the pain of maternal separation. Dana with Dainty Dancer (and friend).

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

I wean foals in autumn, giving the mares optimum time for nourishing their expected babies.

With 28 horses in the herd (comprising retired brood mares, mares with foals at foot and one- and two-year-old fillies) there’s plenty of choice for comfort and companionship.

Mares in a herd like this can relax while other mares babysit. As they mature, the foals create their own gang, only returning to mum to feed.

The yearlings and two year olds provide discipline when games get rough, while giving foals an opportunity to experiment with rules and boundaries.

To wean the foals, I remove four mares at a time and put them with a couple of retired brood mares for comfort.

The mares left in the herd with their foals provide a calming atmosphere which helps the motherless foals settle quickly.

A week later, when I remove the last mothers, their foals are tightly bonded with the earlier weaned ones.

Without their mothers to intervene, these foals quickly learn the manners and behaviour needed to fit into polite society.

I spend hours with my horses, observing their problem solving and social behaviours, so I only breed from those with the best temperaments.

The four foals weaned last week had vastly different mothers.

Daisy

Bess, an aged Standardbred mare, had foaled once ten years ago. She smother-mothered her foal Daisy, keeping her well away from the herd and calling her back if another foal enticed her to play.

Though Daisy gained weight and looked well, she became shy of horses and humans. Bess lost weight and became aggressive when a horse came near.

When I removed Bess, Daisy galloped the fence line and ran to any horse or human who let her approach. She even lay down with a teenage visitor.

I returned Bess to her owner. She’s settled now, enjoying TLC and chamomile tea in her feed. She won’t breed again.

Daisy, meanwhile, is learning to self soothe.

Veto

Partbred Morgan Viv (an experienced brood mare with little human contact) joined the herd with Veto – her huge colt foal at foot.

Viv shunned contact from other mares but let Veto do as he pleased.

One day, when I was moving the herd to another paddock, Viv lagged behind.

Veto galloped back, reared and kicked at her to make her keep up. But Viv remained shut down, so Veto left her to join his friends.

When I took Viv away, she called desperately all the way to her new paddock and ran the fence line for hours before finally settling to graze with an older mare.

By contrast, Veto didn’t stop grazing or look for his mother.

Dapper

Experienced mum Crystal tends to overreact to change. She came with Dapper (her colt foal at foot) and eventually settled into the rhythm of herd society. 

Not long after arriving, she forgot to collect Dapper and rushed through a gate as the herd moved to a new paddock. Dapper panicked and jumped through the fence. No harm done and another lesson for me.

Dapper is confident and bossy with his peers but nervous of new things. He stays behind the others when humans join the herd.

When I removed Crystal, she screamed and galloped for hours, resuming each time she saw a human.

Dapper joined Daisy in calling and fence running, but soon tired of it and resumed playing and grazing with other foals.

Xelle

Angel is a purebred Morgan from NZ. She’d had one prior foal and was so relaxed after Xelle’s birth that she remained lying down to feed her.

Xelle is friendly and respectful to all. Her curiosity and intelligence endear her to visitors. She reads the play so well, I’ve never seen her reprimanded by another horse.

Angel was last to leave. Though reluctant, she only neighed once. Dapper and Daisy followed her to the gate and relived their mother-leaving anguish.

Xelle stayed with the other mares and foals, seemingly unaffected by her life change.

Angel calmly greeted Viv and Crystal, who soon followed her lead and began grazing with the two aged mares.

Free of Bess’ out-of-control behaviour, these mares have settled and only call occasionally… perhaps due to a painfully full udder.

I’ve forgiven my parenting mistakes and am proud of how my sons thrived and survived my smother-mothering.

I use lessons from the herd to nurture my networks of supportive friends and to be an angel of a grandmother.

My Journey to the Morgan Horse

March 16, 2011
peaceful photo of morgan horse and foal with owner at Samaria Creek Morgan Horse Farm Judy Oldmeadow
Peace in our time.

By Simone Bullen, Simone Bullen Real Estate

As a little girl, I dreamt of learning to ride horses. But being an only child with an overprotective mother, I was never allowed.

When I grew old enough to make my own decisions, I was too busy building a career and living in the city. My passion went in the too-hard basket.

Two years ago, at age 37, I promised myself I’d follow my dream and have regular private riding lessons.

I found a riding school where I did weekly trail rides to practice what I was learning. It started well, then a horror fall shattered my confidence.

I thought I’d better do something less ‘extreme’ for my age.

But just as that thought came into my head, a client who knew I was learning to ride came into my office and asked, ‘How’s your riding going?’

Holding back the tears, I told her of my experience and how I thought I was too old.

She said, ‘Nonsense! What you need is a Morgan horse! Once you’ve ridden a Morgan, you’ll never want to ride another breed again’.

After she left, I Googled ‘Morgan horse’ and found several websites. Something drew me to Judy Oldmeadow’s Samaria Creek Morgan Farm.

As I reflect on that first weekend at Judy’s property, I realise it was the start of far more than a complete turning point in my riding ability.

Judy’s understanding and respect for horses and herds and uncanny ability to teach that to her students is a true gift. I’m so lucky she’s sharing her knowledge with me. 

The first weekend I met Judy, I couldn’t believe we were going riding in the bush just in halters! No bit, and the fact she chose to ride her stallion alongside the mare chosen for me, was overwhelming at first.

I thought Judy was crazy, though deep down I knew she was an intelligent lady who wouldn’t risk the safety of herself, the horses or anyone else.

So trusting this gut feeling, off we went into the Samaria State Forest.

I’ll never forget that first bush ride, with Judy’s private tuition, gentle approach and constant feedback about what the horse was feeling and telling us with different responses to our actions.

The kindness, respect and understanding Judy offers her horses became obvious to me. They offer the same respect straight back to you.

After a few more visits, I knew the Morgan horse was perfect for me in size, temperament and its gorgeous curious nature.

I wanted to buy one, but such a big decision mustn’t be rushed. Which I knew Judy would never let me do, as her main concern is that her horses go to perfect homes.

Judy’s stunning stallion Nimrod is always such a gentleman – on and off ‘duty’. I knew her breeding choices were well suited combinations of mares with Nimrod.

So if ever I were to have a Morgan foal, I wanted one of Nimrod’s.

I didn’t even think about looking elsewhere; I’d found my breeder. The big question was how to choose the best foal for me with all of them so cute!

At the time, this question seemed bigger than the universe!

Then it happened! While sitting in the paddock among many mares and foals in January 2009, little Black Betty came up to me.

She started grooming me and smelling my perfume (we suspect she loves Channel Number 5). I knew she was in love when she started to pick at my bra strap!

This decision was the easiest of my life, Black Betty had chosen me!

I knew from that moment we were going to be perfect partners who could grow and learn together.

On a visit over Easter, just lying in the paddock beside her while she slept so peacefully, I had tears in my eyes and thought I was the luckiest girl in the world!

The fact Black Betty can stay with Judy for her first three years is so comforting. I believe she’s in the best possible hands and care in Judy’s peaceful natural environment.

Each night I rest easy.

I wanted to share this story and thank Judy for being with me on this journey – always so supportive and generous with her wealth of knowledge.

I can’t finish without a huge thank you for also turning around my husband’s fear of horses.

I remember his first visit; in the Land Cruiser with all the windows up, too scared to get in the paddock.

Today he’s first out of the car and totally comfortable among the herd. It won’t surprise me if sometime in the near future he comes on a ride with us!

This is truly a credit to what you’re doing, Judy.

Well done and thank you for being so special! 🙂

As Easy As 1, 2, 3, 4 … 5!

December 22, 2009

So much work. So many people. So little time!

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

Years ago, searching for strategies to deal with depression, I read about ‘morning questions’: those first thoughts to pop into our head when we wake. 

So I composed five morning questions to start my day. What can I: 

  1. Be happy about?
  2. Be excited about?
  3. Contribute?
  4. Learn?
  5. Do to have fun?

Sometimes I struggled to answer these questions. But that struggle was better than the litany of depressive thoughts with which I was always bombarded. 

Slowly it became easier, and these five questions are now habit. 

Last Sunday I woke overwhelmed with thoughts of too much to do. The day was filled with people: 

  • Sarita and teenage daughter Bo were in our cottage with Sarita’s sister Quintana (who was visiting from Holland and wanted ‘the whole farm experience’).
  • In our loft was vet nurse Elise (owner of Morgan gelding Oscar, who’s on agistment here) and Kristy (apprentice and owner of Morgan gelding Detroit).
  • Christi Wales and daughter Dana (visiting their two Morgan yearlings) were looking forward to a day in the herd.

My farm duties included: 

  • Taking our stallion Nimrod to serve a mare at Bonny Doon.
  • Providing an exciting riding experience for Quintana.
  • Moving four mares, with foals at foot, from one side of our farm to another.

And so to my five questions: 

  1. I was happy to have so many interesting people enjoying and buying the horses I’d put my heart and soul into nurturing.
  2. I was excited to have a mare owner seeking another foal by Nimrod – a stallion so well mannered I can take him anywhere, which lets owners of mares with foals at foot rebreed without the stress of transportation.
  3. I could contribute 100% of my attention to every moment of the day using skills I’d fought hard to learn.

The learn was question easy, as every moment I spend with horses teaches me something new. 

But I struggled with fun, as it all looked like hard work. 

So, I decided to combine the people with the work. 

Bo, Kristy and Elise came to Bonny Doon to see the mare. 

Jan, the mare’s owner was away. As I watched her son Dane calmly follow my orders, oblivious to the gaggle of girls, in a situation totally new to him, I had my first learning for the day: 

Focus on one task at a time, without distraction. Get it done satisfactorily before looking to the next task. Thank you, Dane! 

We had to create a safe place for the mating. It was wonderful to have so many willing hands to move a hen, a water trough, two curious alpacas, a mini mare and a foal. 

All went well and we look forward to a foal in eleven months. 

Next came the task of moving the mares and foals across our farm. 

With the right attitude, WORK = FUN!

By including all the people, it was like a movie scene. Bo rode Folie, Kristy rode Poppy, I rode Tanjil (with Dana behind me) and Christy led Arizona while Sarita and Quintana took photos. 

The foals loved the adventure and galloped and bucked like spring lambs. Apart from having fun, I felt exceedingly proud of these amazing mares that haven’t been ridden for over a year. 

Are we having FUN yet? My oath! 🙂

To complete the day, Quintana got to ride a Morgan. Nimrod changed roles from breeding stallion to teaching horse with just a shake of his head and a prance in his step to let us know which job he’d rather have. 

At last, Quintana and Nimrod have their moment.

By applying my five morning questions to a set of tasks I’d found overwhelming, everybody had fun. Especially me! 

Life is 10% what happens and 90% attitude.

Pets Blogs

Horse Birthdays: Amanda’s Response

December 3, 2009

For good manners and even tempers, you just can’t beat the herd!

I just read the post on horse birthdays and I can’t agree more.

I’m going through exactly what Paul describes with my thoroughbred, who’s only seven years old.

I’ve had him since he was three and a half. I go on his actual birth date, which I researched through Racing NSW’s website.

Though he’d only been in three races, the damage was already done.

Unfortunately, I didn’t realise this at the time.

It has been absolutely heartbreaking. And very costly.

What I’ve gone through (and what many others experience when they buy a thoroughbred off the track) wouldn’t happen if these beautiful animals were given a more natural start to life.

I see such huge differences in health and behaviour between my thoroughbred and my two-year-old (actual age) part-Morgans who’ve grown up in a much more natural environment in a herd.

Amazingly, my filly has taught my thoroughbred how to keep all his manure in one spot!

He never did this before we put him in the paddock with her. He’d just go all over the place, making grazing more difficult (as horses, like humans, don’t eat where they poo).

Now he goes in specific places, which frees up the rest of the paddock for grazing.

I never thought a horse could learn that at an older age, as it’s something foals learn when they’re young – and only then if given enough time to learn it from the mares!

I’ve been enjoying the Good Morgans blog and visit it daily to see what’s been published. I love reading all the different articles.

Keep up the great work!

Amanda Gallen.

Horse Birthdays: No Reason to Celebrate

December 1, 2009

Bright light. Dark shadow.

The thoroughbred industry uses common birth dates for horses.

August 1 in the southern hemisphere and January 1 in the northern hemisphere.

These dates coincide with the horse racing season.

This system standardises thoroughbred ages for comparison (due to the historical lack of actual birth day records).

On August 1, after a horse is born, it’s deemed a yearling. The following August 1 is its second ‘birthday’. It’s considered two years old, even if it’s as young as one year and one day.

Thoroughbred breeders aim to produce foals close to August 1. That way, when it’s time to train them, it’s the right time of year to race them.

This practice sees young horses ridden and raced before their bones and joints have matured.

Shoeing, and the unnaturally high protein diet given to these young animals, add further stress to immature joints.

As a result, thoroughbred horses older than five have many soundness issues.

Unfortunately, many of these visually beautiful animals are sold to the pleasure horse industry, causing emotional and financial heartache to many.

Learn more.

Then and Now. My Journey.

November 28, 2009

Judy Oldmeadow . Decide what you want and the Universe will conspire to help you.

By Judy Oldmeadow, Owner & Master Horsewoman, Samaria Creek Morgan Horses

Dark days

Last day of school holidays. It’s nearly dark as I push a heavy barrow round the horse yards. Forcing my overworked 53-year-old body to pick up the last of the manure.

Vaguely, I wonder if I could analyse people by their shit, as I can horses.

Calico dumped her piles by the gate as she looked for someone to take her back to her paddock.

Holly, the fiery Arab, spread hers fast and loose along the fence as she impatiently paced, neighing for attention.

Banjo, the slow-thinking beginner’s horse, deposited his huge pile under the tree where he patiently waited for something to happen.

Barrow empty at last. A final check for brushes and tack in their correct places.

I limp inside. Happy I’m alone at last, but sad I’ve only enough energy to shower and collapse into bed without eating.

For ten years I’ve been running children’s riding camps on my 22 acre property.

I know I can’t sustain this life of one camp after another, with ten kids in my one bathroom, no partner and only a teenage assistant and daily cook to help me.

At the end of each camp, no matter how tired I am, I always give each parent an encouraging report on their child’s particular skills.

Today I advised a mother to tell her nagging, blaming, attention-seeking daughter to forget horses and take up acting.

Time to stop.

A place in the sun

I lie under a walnut tree on a stunning 240 acre property, surrounded by contented Morgan mares and their foals while my imported stallion stands watch.

I smile as I watch lead mare Tanjil and her filly Yve. Tanjil’s mothering skills never cease to amaze me. Within three hours of Eve’s birth, Tanjil pushed her over to my LandCruiser to let her investigate it. Next, she nudged Yve to me and kept her there with her body, letting me touch her all over.

For three weeks Tanjil did this with all new human visitors, occasionally pushing Yve away if a person wasn’t to her liking. Now Yve is allowed to make her own choices. She’s curious, confident, friendly and respectful.

Horses could teach people a lot about parenting.

I hear my husband Miles slashing the paddock ready for the fire season. I allow myself a moment of pride for our achievements.

Our Morgan herd comprises a stallion, five purebred mares, two partbred mares and three other breed mares in foal. This year we have five foals at foot, seven yearlings and one two-year-old running in the hill paddock with the nanna mares. All but one sold.

We provide agistment for the horses we breed until they’re two. This gives them the best environment for sound hoof and bone growth in a herd that develops confident personalities.

We’re succeeding beyond all expectations.

Our cottage lets owners get to know their new horse in a safe environment. This month, our first two-year-olds have gone to new homes in three states – well mannered, confident, barefoot and sound.

I work with my horses to teach communication, assertiveness and self awareness while having fun.

I’m living my dream.

How did I do it?

All my life I’ve not made changes until things got bad enough. I saw myself as tough – nothing could make me cry.

Then my closest friend fought a long, heartbreaking struggle with cancer. One of her coping mechanisms was to plan her own funeral.

She designed an amazing mural for her coffin, chose the music and asked mourners to walk to the cemetery. She asked me to ride beside the hearse leading her mare Tinto – saddled, with her boots backwards in the stirrups, military style.

I agreed, thinking it’d be a lovely way to say the inevitable goodbye. At the cemetery I tied my horse to a tree and led Tinto to the grave. In the silence after the service, Tinto called and my horse answered.

A huge wail rose in me. I cried for weeks. In the supermarket. At the doctor. With visitors. Alone. Years of suppressed tears.

Worried for my sanity, a friend suggested internet dating. I didn’t even own a PC! She set me up on a hand-me-down.

After three months, I was over my depression and happy to live alone. Then I got an email from Miles Oldmeadow. My deceased friend had worked with his mum and we’d met several times.

We had much in common and many mutual friends. Two years later we married. I sold my farm and began building my new teaching facility at Samaria.

I was used to aching knees; they’d both been dislocated and lacked medial cartilage. But in our second year of marriage, my pain was everywhere. I tried to work through it, but sometimes I spent days in bed – exhausted by an hour’s work.

After a merry-go-round of tests, specialists and medication, a rheumatologist finally diagnosed fibromyalgia.

My research into managing this condition included meditation and reading about post traumatic stress. I noticed I was almost pain free when relating to horses.

Early one morning, with pain preventing sleep, I decided I’d breed safe, friendly, comfortable-to ride Morgan horses for families.

I was thrilled when Miles embraced my idea. In November 2006 we began our journey by purchasing two purebred mares.

I no longer have fibromyalgia symptoms. My depression has lifted and I’m breeding sensational horses while coaching animals and humans into harmonious relationships.

Life got bad enough.

I did something about it.

Pets Blogs

Foal Play

November 14, 2009
Foal Play

Nothing can prepare a city dweller for the exhilaration of time with a foal.

When a foal steps out of your story-book imagination and into your arms, the effect is profound.

The look, feel and smell of this beautiful creature completely intoxicates your senses.

And when another foal joins in and they take turns nuzzling you, the feeling of connectedness with nature is unbelievable.

The mares don’t let everyone play with their babies: only the pure of heart. They can see right through you and they’ll violently defend against any perceived threat.

This makes it all the more amazing when they’re content to stand off and watch you romp in the grass with their offspring. Fabulous!

There’s Something in The Water!

November 13, 2009
IMG_6498

Our water contains 13 ppm magnesium, which makes it ideal for horses.

Our property is situated over an artesian water bore. The geology of the land makes the water pure, sweet and rich in nutrients like magnesium.

Below is a copy of our water report, so you can see for yourself.

Stay tuned for an explanation of how this water is good for horses.

Jude has written a fascinating post on how magnesium benefits the health and wellbeing of our Morgan horse herd. Click here to check it out.

Pets Blogs

Somewhat Deflated

November 13, 2009
Deflating Foal

Deflated foals are much easier and cheaper to post overseas. This one's about half empty.

We export horses to 16 countries, including Tasmania. Ever keen to minimise costs, we’ve pioneered the practice of foal deflation.

Though frowned on by some industry commentators, we’re confident this revolutionary system will gain ground over time.

It’s certainly popular with the kiddies.

Upon delivery, foals can be reinflated with 2-3 standard CO2 bulbs (as found in soda siphons). Alternatively, they can be left to self inflate overnight without ill effect.

😉