The joy was four ‘foaled’ at The Glanvilles Stud in May, and Lucy Procter explains the fascinating feet corrections (plus Honeysuckle is pregnant!)
The photos on my phone are revealing – muddy gateways and rain-soaked horses in early May but dry fields and sun-soaked horses by the end of the month. What a difference a few weeks make! During the first week of May we were contemplating bringing the youngstock – that had been living in a barn all winter and only turned out in mid-April – back inside as the rain was so constant and the ground so saturated.
It stopped raining eventually though, we moved all the stock onto new grazing, and we have now managed to repair most of the damage caused by numerous hooves on that un-seasonally saturated ground.
May has been a busy month at TGS, with four foals born, six mares visiting stallions in six days, three AI covers, two foals requiring foot extensions, five foal microchips, daily scanning, and an entire yard of horses that are still stabled overnight.
As the weather slowly warmed up, the four mares who were all due at the end of May started to foal early. The first, a resident showjumper, producing a leggy, black colt foal in the first week. A few days later another warmblood and a visiting thoroughbred decided to foal simultaneously. It was one of those evenings when I was relieved to have three of us in the barn to help proceedings. They were swiftly followed by the last of our own mares, Molasses, who gave us a lovely tall filly overnight on 14th May. Just two more mares to foal and then we’ll be done for the season – and back to enjoying something like a more normal sleep pattern.
However, three of these four foals were born with slack hind pasterns, which results in them rocking back onto their heels with their toes pointing skywards. This type of problem is often not disastrous, though; with expert vet and farrier attention and carefully restricted turnout, the condition usually improves to the point that later in the summer we will be looking at a bunch of foals trying to remember which ones had to have early intervention.
Two of the foals have been helped to strengthen and straighten with lateral extensions glued to their feet to hold the foot in the correct position as they put weight on it. I will never cease to be astonished by the immediate transformation effected by these little shoes, but they cannot be left on more than a few weeks as, just like a human child, a foal’s foot grows and changes shape very quickly. The third foal’s hoof problems were less dramatic and, after two weeks of restricted turnout, the farrier rebalanced her hoof with careful trimming and the foal is now standing with her hind feet square on the ground.
On the track
Recent weeks have seen some pleasing results. Having previously raced over hurdles, after some bad luck and two seconds, the 7yo TGS-bred Triple Trade rounded off his first season chasing with two wins on the bounce for trainer Joe Tizzard. His younger sibling, the 6yo, TGS-bred Nine Graces – in training in Ireland with Barry Connell – followed up her first win in February with another nice win over hurdles in April. The 4yo Tique, whom we had foaled for owner Heather Royale also made May a winning month, crossing the finishing line in first place for the first time, in a National Hunt Flat race for trainer Seamus Mullins.
Although all these horses are in the ownership of others, we follow all the graduates of The Glanvilles Stud, and we are delighted when they win.
But the month was again dominated by the recently retired and greatest of all The Glanvilles Stud graduates, Honeysuckle. Not only was Doug up at The Thoroughbred Breeders Association Awards to collect Honeysuckle’s fourth Leading Hurdler Mare trophy, but social media was alive with news of her confirmation of being in foal to the Irish stallion, Walk In The Park. Despite having optimistically booked a hotel room for us both to stay in Doncaster, I was left watching the foaling cameras overnight rather than living it up at the awards evening – and next morning it was me driving a mare to stud. Well, someone has to hold the fort back home!