Making a New Mom for a Rejected Filly

Jo's Magic Runs Maiden Race

Today is race day for Jo's Magic . Her first attempt to run for a purse. Her opportunity to do what she was bred to do: compete against other fast horses to determine which runner has the most talent, the best fitness, the biggest heart. Proud owner Scot with his mare, Jo’s Magic, at River Downs in Cincinnati, Ohio. In fact, this is also my first race as an owner and breeder. And, frankly, I never... Read More

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Happy Birthday, Jo!

It's been almost two years since I started watching my Thoroughbred broodmare, Exotic Blue, for signs of imminent foaling. A lot has happened since that cold February morning, when she gave birth to a little bay filly with a white star and one white sock in what first appeared to be a normal delivery. Jo's Magic officially turned 2 today (as did all North American-born Thoroughbreds, by the... Read More

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Epilogue: The Next Adventure

It's been four months since I signed off, and I'm not sure whether to characterize this stretch as "mundane" or "extraordinary." Jo's Magic enjoys some "people time." Hermione and Jo's Magic have led a common existence as mare and foal, without any snags, leading up to last week's weaning. No character quirks, no health concerns, no problems of adjustment... Read More

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Unqualified Success

Just under ten weeks ago, I was heartbroken and scared because I had a rejected newborn filly and didn’t really know what to do or how we could provide adequate care for her. Today, I can’t imagine Jo in any situation other than the one she’s living: carefree, well-nourished, and happily paired with a loving mom. Actually, I don’t often stop to think of the situation as being unusual, but there’s no... Read More

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The Cool Mom

Spring has arrived in the Bluegrass and the two foals have stopped tagging along quite so close to their dams. They now venture off impressive distances across the field, darting back to their moms only when some horse eater approaches. (On our farm, a leaf blowing across the paddock, or a dog barking at the neighbor’s, or a particularly strong gust of wind can all qualify as horse eaters.) At some... Read More

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A Matter of Character

Jo is going to be a "people" horse. I really picked up that feeling for the first time tonight. She’s done well with being handled and has always seen people as a pleasant source of good food, but tonight she played around with us just for the fun of it, and I sensed that she’ll turn into one of those horses who really enjoys human interaction. A turn around the pasture is all in a day's... Read More

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Getting to Know Each Other

Watch any mare as she interacts with her foal, and you’ll see her nip and push and generally physically dominate the foal to put it in line. There’s a short window of opportunity when people have a physical advantage over young foals, and can teach lessons the same way their dams do. After the first few weeks, “who’s in charge” becomes a matter of outsmarting and outlasting the horse--and, often, cheating... Read More

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Moving Day

If you ever want to see horses in motion, just switch their fields around. It’s good for at least a half hour of excitement. The farm where Jo is growing up is divided into four main pastures. The way the land lies, the first and second pastures are most visible from the house. The second and third pastures have run-in access, and are usually the fields where the broodmares reside. Today, Hermione... Read More

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Second Month

Jo didn’t seem to notice that her supplemental feedings were becoming less frequent. In fact, the longer we waited between feedings, the less interested she was in the formula. The filly still whinnied at our approach and would convince Hermione to amble over to the barn, but it was more for Jo’s curiosity and amusement than for the meal. She would put her muzzle into the bucket and play around a bit... Read More

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Pellets, Schmellets

Jo is thriving. We suspect that Hermione is producing enough milk to keep the filly well fed, and that the formula we're providing is just a nice dessert. A week ago, we dropped down to five daily feedings. Today, we lowered that to four. Within a week, we're going to stop supplementing altogether unless we see some indication that Jo needs the additional nourishment. Exciting? Definitely.... Read More

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About This Blog

(Archived) The excitement and joy of a newly-arrived foal turned into the heartbreak and struggle of watching the helpless little filly get rejected by her mom. But the story doesn't end there--in fact, that's only the beginning.