27th Apr 2022
Both Ann and Tom started the week in Blandford Yard which houses the mares and foals which are not rota vaccinated. In the morning the mares are teased and vetted, checking for follicles big enough to warrant them a trip to the covering shed. Scans include ovulation checks, 14-day scans to check for pregnancies, 16 days to check for heartbeat and 18 days scan to check for twins to name a few. With a busy few weeks in the foaling unit, Blandford yard has very few empty boxes and lots of big strong healthy foals to keep us all on our toes! With very few foals on treatments and the vet finishing early in the morning, the mares and foals have been getting to make the most of the unusually good spell of weather we’ve been having spending most of the day out in the field. Some of the older foals have been beginning to spend the night outside this week as the nights start to stay mild. The grass this time of year has also shot up and become more nutritious to assist with the mares keeping up good milk production as a foal needs 20% bodyweight in milk during their first month.
This week’s lectures kicked off with a lecture from Shane O’Dwyer, the CEO of the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association. We were given an insight on how the ITBA operates and their on-going work in the industry from post Brexit trading to ITBA Next Generation. We are also being given the opportunity to voice our opinions on what our representative body can do for us with our next project titled “Investing in the future generation of breeders – the role of representative bodies”. Our lectures then continued with Lauren Eisemann where we continued to learn about dystocias, Sally Anne Grassick with feedback from our successful week hosting Thoroughbred Tales and finally a lecture with veterinary surgeon Claire Hawks teaching us all about the respiratory system.
Over the weekend Ann had her second rotation on nights with Hayley, while the foaling unit has settled down with only five mares foaling Monday-Thursday, the weekend started with 3 foals being welcomed into the world on Friday night under the watchful supervision of night attendant Lauren. With three more foals born on Saturday night and only one born on Sunday night. Ann, Hayley and night attendant Tina were kept busy watching the 40 mares in Sun Chariot including keeping a very close eye on the 8+ mares that were waxing or running milk which indicates they would be the closest to foaling. The long stretch in the evening and the bright mornings has made nights all the more enjoyable, the good company helps us stay awake too!