Bad news … with a silver lining

27 05 2010

To get it out of the way, because there’s good news coming, here it is: Mahogany obviously has had her foal. That foal just as obviously is nowhere in sight … with the resulting obvious conclusion that s/he didn’t survive.

Here she is with Sundance immediately behind her – he seems to have claimed her and is guarding her against all comers – and Mouse beside her at right, as close as he can get without being overtly challenging. Aspen also is vying for her, and they’re both protecting her from him …

… as well as still-nursing, almost-grown-up, almost-2-year-old mama’s-boy Storm. (Yes, the bands were back  “together” in the sense that they shared the same geography, but Steeldust is now acting as Butch’s lieutenant, protecting him, Luna, Gideon, Alpha and Storm (except when he goes on his hopeful breeding forays) and keeping the others at bay. Comanche has Kestrel and Winona – pictures to come – and they were close but far enough away that they were insulated from the chaos.)

Mahogany is definitely in heat (definitely no foal seven days ago), and Sundance has mounted her – as well as Storm – though I don’t know how successful either has been yet. And compare these pix with those from last week; she’s definitely no longer heavy in-foal.

So the loss of the foal is the bad news (it hit me hard, like they all do, but I’m trying not to dwell …).

The silver lining is that Mahogany – an older mare, though I don’t know how old (likely at least 10) – will have a year of rest before her next foal …



5 responses

27 05 2010
Janet Ferguson

I read in an older book published by the University of Chicago Press that if the mare is pregnant (up to 6 months) and a new stallion takes over her band, they are more inclined to miscarry the foal. After 6 months they carry the foal.
(I think that’s what it said?)

Maybe Sundance destroyed the foal? Or it was killed in fight between the two stallions? Or Sundance “herded” her away from the foal before the foal could follow, thus abandoning the foal?

27 05 2010

I don’t know how likely that is? Besides, Mahogany was at term. We’ve had some band changes and not this kind of occurrence. Look at the roundup in 2007. All the mature mares but one (who had a broken pelvis) carried their foals to term – they would have been less than 6 months pregnant – despite not only changes in bands but the extreme trauma of the roundup. (But then look at the mares who lost their late-term foals after the Calico roundup …) Also, there seems to be this giant misconception that “all stallions will kill any foal not their own.” It’s possible that because of the pressure from the three stallions, Mahogany was separated from the foal and couldn’t get back and/or that the foal was caught in the chaos between stallions trying to get to Mahogany – which I think would have entirely unintended consequences, which is to say, I seriously doubt there was any malice involved in the foal’s death. But of course, I did not witness it, so I can’t say for sure. My thinking is based on witnessing behavior of stallions – including bachelors – with even the youngest foals – including foals not their own. Several stallions are vying for one mare in this case. At this time of year, there’s chaos. Mahogany is a mature mare and would have some experience in protecting her foal … I think it was simply a terrible tragedy – to us. Nature is not always as kind and gentle as we would like – or as simple. We can speculate, but we’ll never know.

27 05 2010

I just read about the Calico horses just now, and then I saw this! It’s so sad. Well, at least Mahogany will have a year to herself. I hope next year she has better luck. Did she seem upset at all about it? Or has she gotten over it already?

28 05 2010

I wondered the same thing … but no, it must have happened enough days ago that she didn’t seem to be looking for anything, wasn’t trying to go to any particular place. In fact, although she could have gone anywhere and the stallions would have followed her, she was staying very close to her original band – Luna and Alpha.

30 05 2010
Lynn Bauer

TJ –
Maybe this is where some folks who might not know very much, try to say “Stallions kill foals that aren’t their own.” We KNOW that’s not true, but this could be where such rumors get their start. Mahogany was at term, but couldn’t she have miscarried, producing a stillborn foal??

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