Sunday, May 25, 2014

BIG NEWS about Pmare!

I finally feel like I can break my BIG NEWS about Pmare, since I officially have an ultrasound in hand to confirm that this dream really is becoming reality. 

P is officially confirmed 17 days in foal for a 2015 baby by Oldenburg stallion Don De Marco!

I've never really written about what I truthfully bought P for in the first place, just because of how horrible people were to me when I talked about breeding Gogo. I seriously almost quit blogging about Gogo TWICE because of how mean people were about the whole breeding thing, and I only ever discussed it in mild passing. People are REALLY REALLY opinionated on breeding. For the most part I agree with them - you should ABSOLUTELY rescue pets, no question about it. But sport animals (dogs and horses alike), there is a place for purposeful breeding. You would love your 3-legged chihuahua as much as anyone, but you probably would not want to use him in agility trials. (As an aside, all four of my dogs and all five of my cats are all rescues.) So when I bought P, who is Metro's last remaining daughter and who is nice but not quite as quality as Gogo was, I figured I better shut my mouth and not say a WORD about my actual intentions with her. But I bought her as a broodmare. I bought her with the intent of continuing this line in a small way, just for myself, because they are just the best. I have no interest in churning out babies, I have no interest in backyard or irresponsible breeding, I have no interest in selling. I'm keeping this bloodline for myself. If anyone has a problem with that, turn your fanny right around and get out of here. I am not interested in getting into this "breed or buy" argument, I've had it before. I made this choice for a myriad of reasons, I spent two years going through my stallion options to pick just the right one, and I'm keeping this baby as my own sport horse prospect. This bloodline means a lot to me. And P is the last living one of them.

So if you have a problem with that, then now is the time to leave.

And the rest of you..... celebrate with me and go YAY BABY BABY BABY BABY!


This story actually starts in 2006, before I had even bought Gogo. I first found a sale ad for P (named Chloe, back then) in 2005. I still had Metro at that point, of course, but watched all her videos and loved her to bits. Metro died in 2006, and I briefly went back and searched for P's old sale ad, but she had sold by then (for about $20k). I managed to contact her seller, who passed me onto her new owner (who is the lady I eventually bought her from). We got in touch in May of 2006, and discussed creating a custom foal for me as a graduation (from college) present to myself. I had originally chosen Windfall, and was super excited about it. I even created this custom graphic for it:

So cheesy... but I was SO EXCITED.

As it turned out, the owner ended up breeding her herself first, and P absorbed the first pregnancy late in the year. They chose to breed her again the following year, which resulted in a filly named Spirit.

I didn't have much contact with her old owner after that, aside from a stint in 2009 when she called me up out of the blue and offered her to me, since she was planning her own family by then and was getting out of horses. She wanted $10,000 for her at the time, and I said there was no way I could possibly afford that, but to keep me updated on her.

I didn't hear from her again until right after Gogo died, when she called me up out of the blue again and offered her to me for a rock bottom price. You all know the story from there... I jumped on it and had her shipped down to Texas all the way from Canada. And I didn't tell anyone then, but I had every intention of using her as a broodmare.

I spent the last two years considering my stallion options, hemming and hawing, and going back and forth, all while riding her and then later leasing her out. I did consider going with Windfall, as was my original plan, but I actually looked at a few Windfalls after Metro died (before I ended up with Gogo) and never really liked any of them. They were nice, but some of them were horrible jumpers, and considering what the stallion himself did I thought their jumping ability should have been a lot better. Windfall himself has a long list of credentials, and is still sound and doing GP in his 20's, but his babies are sort of a mixed basket. Windfall's stud fee is also $3000, and that's just not something I can do for something that may or may not turn out like I want. After a long list of considerations, I went with the Oldenburg stallion Don De Marco. P is Canadian Trakehner, and not registered with any US registry, but the baby can and will be ISR/Old registered.

Why I chose this stallion, and what I like about him:
1) He REALLY stamps his kids. Even babies out of crappy mares are greatly improved by this guy. The stallion is very nice, yes, but the babies are WAY nice, and at the end of the day that is the true test of a stallion. P also out-produced herself when she was bred before, so hopefully if they both out-produce themselves, I might end up with something quite nice!
2) I need good strong straight (hopefully long) legs, and he delivers that.
2) I want to give P an uphill boost, especially in her neck and movement (she is a fairly level/flat mover with a level/flat topline), and he delivers that as well.
3) I want a knockout mover, and he delivers that as well!
4) The stallion passes on a pretty good temperament, maybe a little varied, but P's family line has a strong history of passing on that steady and bold temperament, no matter what the other parent was like. I have a good chance that the baby will inherit the same temperament that Metro, P, and Spirit all share.

What I'm not getting:
1) Size. Which is good! P is just a hair over 16hh, and the stallion is about 16.1hh and change. Hopefully I get something around the same size.
2) A guarantee for world class bascule. Which is fine by me. P is a very cute and tidy jumper, and when the jumps are high the stallion is tidy as well, but he doesn't have back-cracking bascule by any means. If I were specifically breeding for a jumper, I'm sure I would have chosen another stallion. I'm breeding in theory for a horse that can get around mid-level events without hanging a leg and killing anyone, so as long as the baby can safely get their legs out of the way of jumps, I'm happy. More important for me is movement, as my ultimate and primary interest  at the end of the day is dressage. I would rather have a decent (safe) jumper and a knockout mover versus a knockout jumper with decent movement.
3) A guarantee for anything really - breeding is a complete crapshoot, no matter how well you plan it!
4) His offspring are young and are just starting under saddle now. We don't know know they're going to hold up in the show ring yet, so we don't have a total performance or soundness guarantee. Only one way to find out though!

And when I say he stamps his babies with all the things I want, I mean he REALLY stamps them!:


Yes, those are ALL different babies! He is a VERY prepotent producer. He gives them exactly what I was looking to improve - good straight legs, an awesome uphill build, a very strong topline, and some banging good movement. To see him pass all of those things that I wanted, SO strongly in SO many foals.... that sealed the deal for me. His babies really, really sold him for me.

Oh, and they tend to grow up and look like this if you're lucky:

3 year old gelding. NOT BAD. I'd be very happy with something like that in my barn! I'd be happy with something half that nice!


 I trailered P out to the vet on May 7th (a Wednesday) just to get a baseline for where she was in her cycle. (The stallion owner generally collects on Mon-Wed-Fri.) I knew she was somewhere mid-cycle, but hasn't been tracking her cycles very closely. Imagine my total surprise when my vet checked her and declared, "oh nice she has a 52mm follicle! So can you get semen today?" Wait what?? Today??
I called the owner, didn't get through, and then emailed on a whim. By some stroke of dumb luck, she emailed right back and told me she'd get semen in the mail right away. A 52mm follicle is HUGE, even for a warmblood (they usually ovulate around 40-45mm or so), so we had a minimal amount of time to work with. She has some minor fluid that day as well, so we gave her some oxytocin and an ovulatory agent, and I left her at the vet for the night. The next morning, the vet reported to me that she was checked and was clear of fluid, and that her follicle had grown to 55mm. She ovulated right on time and was bred right according to schedule, but we decided to leave her at the vet for one more night. (We also only had one dose of semen, which is unusual... usually a breeder will send two doses. Luckily, our swimmers were 90-95% progressively motile, meaning they were all swimming strongly in a straight line!) Not unexpectedly, when they checked her the next morning, she had some fluid again (not abnormal for an older mare bred via AI), which earned her a lavage, more oxytocin, and one more night's stay at the vet. She came home with me Saturday, along with four doses of oxytocin, to be given at intervals until Sunday night. (The embryo doesn't enter the uterus until around day 6, so this is safe.)

It was totally worth it to drop her off at the vet and let them do their thing. They handled all of the paperwork, worked with the stallion owner, and did all of her therapies right on schedule. My vet is very experienced in repro work, so I just let them do their thing, even though I have a college degree in this stuff! (No, I really do... I minored in repro work!)

We checked her yesterday, at day 16 post-insemination.... and we had an embryo!! I was SO convinced she hadn't taken, because how could it all have POSSIBLY gone down that easy! But, she took!!

My baby looks like this right now:

Just a little black dot. But that black dot will grow and grow! We'll recheck in two more weeks for a heartbeat. My vet has a schedule he wants me to keep, but this is generally what we'll be looking at in terms of landmarks:

Ahhhhh I'm so excited!!! This is an idea eight years in the making.... and it is FINALLY coming true!!!


  1. I had a feeling. :) So SO excited for you!!! And I'm glad you published the post! I'd seen the first post on my feed and when I went to read it it had disappeared. Kept coming back and checking until this version went up. Congrats Andrea!

    1. It was an accidental publish ;) I had to take it down and redo it!

  2. Oh YAY!!! I AM TOTALLY ON BOARD boo hoo to those others

  3. Oh my goodness I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU AND P-MARE!

    This is the most exciting thing EVER! CONGRATULATIONS!! Such an exciting time!

  4. Yah! I'm so excited for you. Babies are a blast!!!

  5. So crazy excited for you! What a fun adventure, I cant wait to follow along!

  6. YAY! A foal to carry on the Metro line! That is soooooo exciting. No matter what, it's going to be an awesome baby. How could it not be? I'm excited that you are sharing this latest adventure.
    I do however, totally understand why you would be apprehensive. I love my shelter/rescue animals, but I would not want the guide dog I'm raising to come from a shelter. No one should have a problem with breeding if it is done responsibly and the animals will be used for a purpose.
    Congrats on the latest member of your little herd! You must be so excited.

  7. That's fantastic news! Good luck, those babies look amazing! So excited, 2015 is too far away. <3

  8. Eeeeeee congrats! So excited for you! :D

  9. Good Luck! Working with a good Repro vet is amazing! Breeding sure has come a long way baby.

  10. I am one of those people who is very opinionated about breeding...very opinionated. With that being said, I whole heartedly support your decision to breed your mare. You are doing it for all the right reasons, she is a gorgeous registered mare being bred to a gorgeous proven producer, which is what breeding is supposed to be all about. Its about producing quality horses.

  11. Congrats! Can't wait to follow along for the next several years!

  12. This is so exciting!!! NICE babies!!! :) Congrats!!!

  13. Congratulations on your new little bundle :) I am so excited for you and for P-mare!! I hope this pregnancy goes well and next year you have a beautiful little bundle to play with!

  14. Congratulations!
    I figured there was more in store for P than you were letting on. Great surprise and thanks for sharing!

  15. So very exciting! Can't wait to watch the whole baby experience unfold. What an incredibly special horse that will be, and based on the examples of the babies on the ground, quite worth the investment and risk! Good for you!

  16. BAYBEEEEE!!!

    LOVE that stallion! Every one of his get look just about identical, wow! Hopefully you'll have something that nice too!

    Congrads, and fingers crossed for smooth sailing for the next 11 months. ;)

  17. Yay!! Handsome stud with some very handsome babies! I'm so excited to follow along this journey.

  18. Beyond excited for you. Seriously. This is so awesome.

  19. Ooooooooh SO excited for you!!! I can't wait to follow the progress and seethe baby grow :)

  20. Congrats!! So excited for you :)

  21. Oh Congratulations!

    And Wow - that stallion really makes pretty babies.

    I can't wait to see P's foal.


    Seriously. Those are weird and I don't get why people want them, BUT YAY PONY BABY SUPER COOL!!

  23. I'm so excited for you!!!!!!!

  24. Hope it all works out for you guys...what a nice foal it would be!

  25. Whooo-HOOO!!!! Another one here who is thrilled and delighted for you. Nobody can accuse you of not doing your homework, that's for sure! I think your stallion choice was spot-on - just seeing his canter would have done it for me. Seriously drool-worthy! We will be keeping our fingers crossed that P-mare does her maresy thing and the little dot keeps getting bigger and bigger. Congratulations!

    P.S. You caught ME unawares with this announcement and I don't blame you in the least for keeping mum until now. I certainly don't support indiscriminate breeding of anything (including humans) but you are doing this for all the right reasons and most importantly, we know this baby will have the best of care and a home for life. :)

  26. Ad the link to my hop! :P Congrats!

  27. YAY BABY BABY BABY!!!!!! I wholeheartedly support your decision too! Anyone would be crazy to pass up a chance to breed a baby from a nice mare that was related to their heart horse. Maybe I'm sentimental about that though. I disagree with backyard breeding too, but this is NOT backyard breeding. You did your research and you're doing it for the right reason so if anyone has a problem with it they seriously need to get a life and worry about themselves instead of everyone else. It's your horse and your decision and I'm so, so, so happy for you!!!! That stallion is gorgeous and OMG those babies are amazing!!!

  28. Congrats! I hope it goes well as they say 80% of all of them do from conception on.

    I bred my own mare five years ago and am enjoying getting the filly going well under saddle and in harness presently. She is, hopefully, going to be my fancy dressage horse (and with some of her antics it seems likely!).

    It is very much worth the adventure. I wish you luck!

  29. Congrats! I hope it all goes smoothly and you end up with a really nice baby. As for those who would criticize you breeding your mare, as you said, they not go away mad, they should just go away. You carefully planned this, you did your research, and you have definite plans for the foal. This is the opposite of the indiscriminate breeders who flood the market with mediocre horses. If all breeders, equine and other, followed your strategy, we would not have a surplus of unwanted animals. You're doing something right here, and those who would squall at you are reactionary and ignorant.

  30. Wow, such a great thing to look forward to. If your foal inherits the conformation and looks of the babies you've posted here, you're going to have yourself a stunner! As for the naysayers, never let anyone rob you of your joy!! You've bred your mare for all the right reasons and will be a responsible breeder/owner ensuring that the life you're bringing forth will be cared for and loved. Congrats and I'm looking forward to following along on this exciting adventure. Vicki ~

  31. OMG!!!!! Congrats!! So excited! I want regular "Black Dot" posts now!

  32. SO SO excited and happy for you!! Congratulations.

    And F the haters. You've made the responsible breeding choice, and for that I commend you. If I could have a foal from my heart horse [in my picture] that I lost about 3 years ago, I would do anything.

    Is it wrong/weird to say that I hope he has P-Mare's ears? :) I absolutely adore them....cheers big ears!

  33. Oh my goodness. Those babies sure are gorgeous. Best of luck with P-Mare!

  34. BABY BABY BABY! =) Congratulations!

  35. Eeeee! I think you made a great stallion choice, and if P's baby comes out anything like it's parents then you are off to a great start! :)

  36. OMG I am so excited for you! What a dream, gosh this is just amazing and so heart warming that you get to keep your Metro's line alive, good for you. And those babies, so bouncy, so perfect, and such beautiful lines - you just know already that baby blip P's incubating is just going to be perfect. <3

    Well there goes my next year or so (or however long mares cook their dots for), I'm going to be watching out every day for a new post on how your little Don de Dot is doing as he grows up into your beautiful Don de Metro baby! :D

  37. He and all his babies are stunning!