Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Foal update...

A couple days late, (this flu is kicking my butt), so photos have not been high priority.  This is LeeLee's (Las Doradas Blazing Beauty) colt sired by fence jumper extraordiniare Ringo (Wesco Farms BuckeRowdyRoo).  A perfect match to Kiega!

 Leelee isn't overly thrilled about this or the dogs lurking in the background.  Although the dogs have a very healthy respect for the minis flying hooves and hang out literally under hoof during farrier visits - new babies are another story!  She's still in 'new mom' mode.

This is as yet to be named colt getting his daily molesting. He's strong and very tenacious, just like Kiega - I see driving in these two's future!!  Hmmm - matched pair blue roans = awesome!

Nice pedigree on this guy too! Ringo being a Buckeroo/Rowdy grandson (his sire is Juniors full brother) and LeeLee is a daughter of World Champion Little Kings Bay Ablaze (doa 2009) who is heavy Blue Boy while her dam was linebred Gold Melody Boy/Hashs Comet/Merry's Golden Mohawk - those gorgeous palomino Shetlands!

As the flu is pretty much fogging the brain, I haven't came up with a name yet.  Although as I've been reading the Histories by Herodotus on my iPhone, it won't be surprising if mysterious ancient Greek names appear this year!  Titan, Titus, Taras, Timon ....


Next on board we think is Baybee - she's very round, but no bag.  She's starting to get the V from the side view too. She's a maiden so we're hoping everything goes well.  She's been paying lots of attention to LeeLee and her baby so hopefully has picked up some pointers - lol!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sheath Cleaning

Sheath Cleaning 101

I wish I could take credit for this article, but I can't!  
I unfortunately don't know who wrote it either so can't give credit to the mystery writer!

It's harder in a mini because of their smaller size, but you can do it without too much trouble.

This is how I do it. They don't have to be 'dropped', in fact, I have never found one that cooperated to that extent. Be sure you have short fingernails. You will be working on some delicate areas.

Work from the side and as much to the front as possible. He may not be really appreciative of your efforts and may try to kick. Once things are started and he accepts it, you can probably stand just about anywhere. Just be cautious as he may change his mind as you go along.

If the water is warm and/or the weather warm enough, I try to get things wetted down with a water hose. Use a medium/low volume without a lot of pressure, and put the hose end up into the sheath. If you have a hose that has the metal screw end cut off, that is best, as long as is doesn't have any sharp edges. Use your hand/fingers to guide the end, you don't want to shove it up there and hurt him.

If you can't use a hose, you can still get the job done. You'll just have to use a small sponge or wash-cloth type thing to transport the water. Have a bucket of warm water, and access to plenty of additional water. You will need to be sure you have rinsed all the soap out before you are finished.

If you are lucky enough to use the hose, then start soaping things up. (There are special products on the market, Excaliber (?), but I have not had the opportunity to try them, someone else can describe their use, I will tell you what I have done.) I have used Ivory soap, or any very mild soap that is easily rinsed out. I soap up my hands so they are slippery and use a small chunk of the soap bar. I start soaping my way up into the sheath, bringing the small piece of soap up with me. The soap both helps clean and lubricates your way.

There are two areas of the sheath that you will find once you get up inside. Both will need cleaned. The first is bigger folds of skin that are the top fleshy parts when he is dropped. Just soap and loosen any yucky stuff that has built up. Some of it is thick, and you can pull or pick off the bigger pieces. It's kind of greasy, gunky, and smelly. Keep things wet enough so you are well lubricated. If it get too dry, it is going to be uncomfortable for him.

Once you have that area feeling clean, if you feel around, further up is an entranceway into the more inner sanctum. This is where what is the shaft when he's dropped is hiding. Again, try to get the hose up to this level if you can and if he'll let you. It is much faster if you can use the hose to get things wetted down and then later to rinse.

Again, work the small bit of soap up into this area, and use your fingers to loosen any bits of dead skin or gunk that you find. Again, keep things wet enough so you are well lubricated. If it get too dry, it is going to be uncomfortable for him. Just keep wetting/soaping/cleaning until you can't feel anything else that needs cleaned.

Since you're already up there, you may as well check to see if your horse has any 'beans' that need removed. These are deposits of gunk that accumulate in little pockets that are at the very tip of the shaft next to the tube where the urine exits. There seems to be two of these pockets, so you may find two beans. They may be fairly hard or they can be softer globs.

Just feel (gently, of course) around the tip area and see if you feel any hardish lumps. In a big horse they can be as big as the size of kidney beans, and about the same shape, so I'm sure that's how they got their name. The can be much smaller of course, or your horse may not have any. In my mini, they were more triangular or pyramid shaped, kind of the size of short candy corn.

If you find a bean/s, you may as well clean it out too. Try to work water and soap (lubricate, lubricate, lubricate) up into the little pockets where the bean is located. In a big horse you can just barely get a finger into the pocket and kind of scoop the bean out or push it out. In my mini, I had to end up more pushing from the outside of the pocket, almost like squeezing out a pimple, but more pushing than squeezing. It is very important that you use plenty of soap/water to make sure everything is slippery, or you will hurt him, and he may end up hurting you.

Once you are all done, be sure to get out all the soap. The water hose is the best, if you can use it. Guide it all the way up in, even into the inner sanctum, and let it flow. Use your hand to move things around so the water gets everywhere. Once the hose is up there, you can kind of hold the exterior sheath closed, and let the inner part balloon up with water, and then release the outside in a big gush. That expands things internally so the water gets up around all the folds a little better. Don't over-do it though, you don't want to hurt him or have him explode.

If you don't have a hose, you have to use a sponge or cloth, and it takes much longer. Just try to get as much soap out as you can. You don't want to leave any residues that will irritate him.

Now you are done, but you will still have the smell on your hands. It is a unique odor. Only a horse person will know exactly what you have be doing, but everyone will know you've been doing something yucky. I have heard there is something that will take out the smell, but I can't remember what they said it was.

Good luck.

For a lighter view on this fun job .....

The Sheath cleaning process... 
Written by: Patricia Harris

1.) Check to make sure there are no prospective boyfriends, elderly neighbors, or Brownie troops with a line of sight to the proceedings. Though of course they're probably going to show up unexpectedly ANYWAY once you're in the middle of things. Prepare a good explanation.

2.) Trim your fingernails short. Assemble horse, hose, and your sense of humor (plus, ideally, Excalibur cleanser and perhaps thin rubber gloves).

3.) Use hose (or damp sponge) to get the sheath and its inhabitant wet. Uh, that is, do this in a *civilized* fashion with due warning to the horse; he is apt to take offense if an icy-cold hose blasts unexpectedly into his personal regions ;-)

4.) Now introduce your horse to Mr Hand . What I find safest is to stand facing the horse's head, with my shoulder and hip snugly against the horse's thigh and hip so that if he makes any suspicious move such as raising his leg, I can feel it right away and am in any case pressed so close that all he can do is shove, not really kick. The horse should be held by an assistant or by your free hand, NOT tied fast to a post or to crossties. He may shift around a good bit if he's not happy with Mr Hand's antics, but don't be put off by that; as long as you are patient and gradual, and stick close to his side, he'll get over it. Remember that it would be most unladylike of you to simply make a direct grab for your horse's Part. Give the horse a clue about what's on the program. Rest your hand against his belly, and then slide it back til you are entering The Home of the Actual Private Part. When you reach this first region of your destination, lube him up good with Excalibur or whatever you're using. If the outer part of his sheath is really grungy you will feel little clods and nubblies of smegma peeling off as you grope around in there. Patiently and gently expedite their removal.

5.) Thus far, you have probably only been in the outer part of the sheath. The Part Itself, you'll have noticed, is strangely absent. That's because it has retired shyly to its inner chambers. Roll up them thar sleeves and follow in after it ;-)

6.) As you and Mr Hand wend your way deeper into the sheath, you will encounter what feels like a small portal that opens up into a chamber beyond. Being attentive to your horse's reaction, invite yourself in . You are now in the inner sanctum of The Actual Private Part. It's hiding in there towards the back, trying to pretend it isn't there. Say hi and wave to it . No, really, work your finger back and forth around the sides of it. If the horse won't drop, this is your only shot at removing whatever dried smegma is clinging to the surface of the Part itself. So, gently explore around it, pulling out whatever crusty topsoil you find there. Use more water and more Excalibur if necessary to loosen attached gunk.

7.) When Mr Hand and the Actual Private Part have gotten to know each other pretty well, and the Part feels squeaky clean all around, there remains only one task: checking for, and removing, the bean. The bean is a pale, kidney-shaped accumulation of smegma in a small pouch just inside the urethra. Not all horses accumulate a bean, but IME the majority do, even if they have no visible external smegma. So: the equine urethra is fairly large diameter, and indeed will permit you to very gently insinuate one of your slimmer fingers inside the urethral opening. Do so, and explore upwards for what will feel like a lump or "pea" buried no more than, I dunno, perhaps 3/4" in from the opening. If you do encounter a bean, gently and sympathetically persuade it out with your finger. This may require a little patience from BOTH Mr Hand AND the horse, but the horse will be happier and healthier once it's accomplished. In the rare event that the bean is too enormous for your finger to coax out, you might try what I did (in desperation) last month on the orange horse: Wrap thumb and index finger around the end of the Part and squeeze firmly to extrude the bean. Much to my surprise it worked and orange horse did NOT kill me for doing it and he does not seem to have suffered any permanant damage as a result ;-> I have never in my life seen another bean that enormous, though.

8.) Now all that's left to do is make a graceful exit and rinse the area very thoroughly in apology for the liberties you've taken . A hose will be MUCH easier to use here than just a sponge and bucket, IME. Make sure to direct the water into the Part's inner retreat too, not merely the outer part of the sheath. This may require you to enfold the end of the hose in your hand and guide it up there personally.

9.) Ta-da, you are done! Say, "Good horsie" and feed him lots of carrots. Watch him make funny faces at the way your hands smell. Hmm. Well, perhaps there is ONE more step...

10.) The only thing I know of that is at all effective in removing the lovely fragrance of smegma from your hands (fingernails arms elbows and wherever else it's gotten) is Excalibur. Even then, if you didn't use gloves you may find you've got an unusual personal perfume for a while. So, word to the wise, do NOT clean your horse's sheath just before an important job interview or first date ;-) and of course, there is that one FINAL step...

11.) Figure out how to explain all this to your mother (or the kid from next door, or the meter reader, or whoever else you've just realized has been standing in the barn doorway speechlessly watching the entire process.)

Now, go thou forth and clean that Part :-)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Breeding - Linebreeding, Inbreeding and Pedigree Matching

As a breeder, I tend to spend a certain amount of time (okay alot of time!) online and reading books researching and educating myself on breeding.  I don't stop at Miniature Horses though.  Dogs, cattle, rabbits... Google cavies or rabbits (most rodents) with their shorter lifespan, short birthing cycle, there is quite a lot of valuable data out there.  Much of which can be extrapolated and used for breeding horses.

 IMHO, Miniature Horses are too new of a breed (heck we're still classed as a height registry by AMHR, not even a breed!) so we don't have an established "set" standard of what exactly a Miniature Horse is suppose to be yet.  That won't change until AMHR and to a lesser degree AMHA accept that we want this to be a breed not a height registry. 

Look at the image on this AMHA Certificate of Registration - we aren't breeding them to look like that anymore!

Yes, both registries have a "standard" but when you think "Miniature Horse" as to general conformation, you will get a variety of opinions on what the ideal is suppose to be!(assuming no conformation flaws).  It can vary widely from the dishy arab head with a flatter croup to the high moving, short backed AMHR/ASPC dual registered Shetlands and about everything in between.

This is versus all the established equine breeds.  If someone were to mention - Arabian or Quarterhorse or Clydesdale.   Immediately a very clear picture forms  in your mind.
A definite type is set in those breeds.  Minis are not quite there... yet!  

Honestly I've said this before (I've said it often in the past 10 years!), I'd love to see Miniature Horse embrace a variety of the large breeds and have breeders specifically breed for miniaturized Arabians, drafts, stock, riding type horses.  That would be really amazing.  BTW, I 'd be breeding the Mini Fresians.... maybe a few typie black & grey Arabs... ROFL!

It would be hard to judge at a Miniature show, but the diversity and genetic selection necessary to breed for specific large horse characteristics - back to genetics!! lol!!  

Off my soapbox.

Studying the successful lines in Miniature Horses is another fascinating project, especially when you apply the knowledge used in other breeds/species on linebreeding, inbreeding and pedigree matching.  

It's not surprising to see the same names crop up repeatedly when you research lineage.  And I'm not talking just Rowdy or Buckeroo!  There are a number of lines that are prevalent in Miniature Horses (some are more regionalized than others), that have contributed over the decades.

If you are a breeder or plan to become one, I'm of the very strong opinion that both AMHA & AMHR studbooks are necessary tools in breeding.  Not that every horse's pedigree pre-DNA/PQ testing is correct (we've all heard the rumors!), but to be able to check the successful crosses, to your horses siblings, parents, grand-parents, etc., is valuable.

Or if you're a color breeder to check the recorded colors (the phenotype) in both registries versus the genotype.  The fees are money well spent, again in my humble opinion!

What I've found interesting when I'm looking through someone's herd or a new buyer is out here how often the eye goes to certain horses that prove to be from the same genetic lines.  I just find it fascinating how we can find something pleasing to our eye and the horses are closely related.  I noticed this again in the recent AMHA Stallion Showcase.  I'm particularly personally loving the Buckeroo x Redi or Not crosses!

Genetics, breeding theory, coat color, all totally fascinate me, so I thought I'd start sharing some of the articles and books I've uncovered over time this year.

Most of this is dry and boring - if you're not into factual and theoretical breeding practices that is!  But, if you are a breeder you should have the basics of genetics down. If you want to get into linebreeding or even pedigree matching (I love this term and have practiced it long before I knew what it was), you really better know your stock and the risks involved.  It's one of those wonderful when it goes right, oh noes when it goes wrong!
Horse Gquine Genetics & Selection Procedures, Equine Research Inc., Research Staff
David Cavill on Genetic Health (he has a series on Line Breeding too) in Dog breeds.  Some of this is very applicable to horses too!  He's very educated, a bit opinionate but knows his stuff!

Good resources on breeding (Google has pages of others too)

A few of the books I own and refer to: 

Arabian Horse photo - World of Horses USA
Clydesdale photo -

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our Website

We're moving - the website that is! has been hosted at for years, and I would highly recommend Homestead for anyone starting a website as it's super easy to use, zero downtime and just user friendly!

But, there comes a point that you outgrow some things, and that includes site hosts. So, we're moving to over the next month or so. When the actual 'change' occurs our site will be down for approximately a week. I'm planning to put the sales list on our blog so it is accessible during the move (it will show up on Facebook too).

If I can get everything working the way I'm envisioning (lol!!!) we'll have a new look, trimmed down appearance and hopefully have the blog linked directly to the site.

Soooo, bear with us. It will be a positive change, even though alot of @#%#%$ language is likely to be used while I'm doing it!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kiega update

Kiega (Wesco Farms ET's Secret Affair)is growing up and definitely high in the adorable scale!

I tried (unsuccessfully) to take some close ups, but between the bad light and my ability to blur a photo none turned out.

We do have a goal of photoing all the horses this year. Hmmm I think I've had that goal for a few years now!