How Convenient!

The stallion pen, where Guards Apollo is housed, is centrally located.  Today I realized how convenient that is.  Now that breeding season is upon me, the logistics of teasing and breeding have come to center stage, and the location of the stallion pen has solved some problems for me. 

At one end, the stallion pen is separated from the turnout by a space of eight feet.  The two pens share a large stock tank that is in that gap, and there are two eight foot fence sections on either side of the water tank.  My open mares and youngstock are all housed in the turnout, and it is common for them to interact with Apollo through the fence sections, though they can only get close enough to touch noses.

A mare showing me she's in heat at my informal teasing rail

Today as I was trying to plan the teasing of my mares, I heard squealing from the vicinity of the stock tank.  Usually this means that one of the mares is in heat, and they are flirting with Apollo.  Sure enough, that’s what was going on, and I realized I had a lazy way to tease, just by the nature of the location of the stallion pen.  How convenient!  So far I’ve detected three of my mares in heat without any effort on my part!

At the other end of the stallion pen, separated by a 12’ drive, is the round pen.  For my mare with foal at foot, this configuration also presented a convenient teasing venue.  I put the mare and foal in the round pen, then extract the mare and tease.  The foal got used to the routine after the first two times and actually preceded the mare and me into the round pen.  How convenient!  Then when it’s time to breed, I extract the mare and put her in with Apollo.  After a few minutes together, I extract the mare and return her to the foal.  The mare is never far away, and the foal got less and less anxious at each turn.

In 2005 I had an elaborate teasing routine involving haltering four mares, leading them to the round pen, tying them, then haltering the stallion and leading him past each mare in succession, noting the reaction of both male and females.  It worked; I knew when each mare was in heat or when they would next be coming in.  My lazy approach this year, though, is sure a lot more convenient (and a lot less work)!

© Jenifer Morrissey, 2011


About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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