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June 29, 2005

Foaling - The Good and the Bad

This time of year is usually quite exciting with all the new babies on their way. But sometimes things don't always work out so well. That is one reason why it is a good idea to keep a close eye on your expectant moms and be available if they need help.

As you may remember, I had a maiden jennet, Pansy, due to foal the middle of May. She decided to go overdue - by 4 weeks! I was very diligent in monitoring her. I checked her in person several times throughout the day and night as she got closer to foaling, and watched her from work all day long via my webcam. That process worked out very well for me.

I was able to see when her udder started filling rapidly, and watch her much more closely. June 10 I knew she was getting pretty close, and so I planned to spend the night camping out by her pen. I checked on her a few times through the evening, and went out again about 10:45pm to check on her and then see about parking my car out by her pen for the night.

When I walked out to Pansy's pen, I realized pretty quickly that she was in labor. She was lying down like normal, but when she got up she had her tail cocked around sideways. I must have caught her right near the beginning of the second stage, because I believe her water had just broke, or broke shortly after.

I was able to sit behind some weeds on the other side of the fence and watch Pansy without disturbing her. After about a half hour I still didn't see anything presenting, so I called to check in with my vet. He suggested I watch her for another 20-30 minutes or so, and if she still hadn't delivered by then, he'd check her. After an hour she still hadn't made any progress, so the vet came right over to check her out. Great vet to work with, by the way!

When the vet checked Pansy, he found that the foal was upside-down, but did have both front feet and nose coming forward. Pansy was getting tired, so we had to help her pull the baby out. Things went along pretty smoothly, and we thought we'd have a live foal, but once we got the foal out, it never took a breath or responded.

We discovered that somehow the front 1/2 of the foal’s ribs on its left side had gotten broken - probably the reason it didn't make it. That is really uncommon, and the vet said in 18 years of practice, he's never seen anything like that. The only thing he could guess is that maybe the foal's head was turned back at the beginning of labor, and somehow the pressure of Pansy pushing with the foal's head there was enough to crack the baby's ribs. But by the time the vet checked her, the foal's head was forward, although kind of twisted a little in relation to the foal's feet, so the vet just had to turn her head or feet a little bit to line them all up straight.

That's kind of a bummer. The baby was a beautiful little red donkey jennet. Before he left the vet did a quick autopsy on the baby for me, and everything looked just fine except for her broken ribs.

I am very happy that Pansy has been recovering well. Within a few days she was back to her normal perky self. She is eating well, drinking well, lively and sometimes a little pest! She loves to play follow the leader with me when I invite her to join, and will walk, trot, and canter along beside me. So I know she can't be feeling too bad! We're still working on getting her udder to dry up the rest of the way, but I'm sure that will come with time. I've put Elsie back in with Pansy so she has company and a playmate to do things with. You can watch them on my webcam during the day.

From all I have hear, most of the time foaling goes quite well, but it is always good to be prepared incase you do run into problems. To the best of my knowledge we did everything right that we could have for Pansy and her baby, but it just wasn't meant to be this time.

If you have jennets or mares due to foal, I highly recommend doing all you can to prepare ahead of time. Read up on what to expect in a normal foaling, and what problems you might potentially run into. Talk to your vet ahead of time, and ask him any questions you might have. Have a vet who will be available any time of the day or night to come out and help if you need him, and have his phone number in a handy place.

Prepare a foaling kit with the basic supplies you would like to have on hand. It doesn't have to be fancy. I just bought a Rubbermaid box, and put in a few towels, navel dip, foaling information papers, a halter, flashlights (several rechargeable ones work well), and a few handy things like that. It's also nice to have a cell phone incase you need it, and you might like to add a camera too.

As your jennet or mare gets close to foaling, check on her frequently throughout the day and night. The last few days before Pansy foaled, I was going out every hour or so during the night to check on her. It is also very helpful if you can set up a monitoring camera where you can watch your expectant momma from your house, and better yet if you can hook it up to the Internet so you can watch it while you are at work or have friends help you foal watch. I just started another article series with information about how to set up a barn camera and hook it up to Internet.

When your mare or jennet goes into labor watch her from a discreet place. It is better that she not know you are there and that you not disturb her so she doesn't stop labor. They say that foals should normally be delivered within 30 minutes from the time water breaks. The foal should stand within 1 hour of being born, should nurse within 2 hours after birth, and the mother should pass the placenta within 3 hours. If your mom and baby don't meet these timeframes you should call your vet so that he can assist where needed.

In my case even with the best of care, Pansy's foal didn't make it. Usually most foals are born healthy and strong, and while some may need a little assistance, most do well in the long run. But occasionally you will lose a few.

I am currently planning to breed Pansy back later on to the same jack for another baby. And hopefully that one will have better luck!

Take good care of your expectant moms, and enjoy your babies while they are little!

Kristie Jorgensen


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 10:52 PM | Comments (1)

June 15, 2005

Setting up a Barn WebCam - Part 1

Have you seen all the neat webcams we have listed under the webcams menu here on Longears Mall? How would you like to have your own webcam like that?

I've had requests from some of you to share the process I used to set up my webcam in Internet. There are a lot of different choices of equipment and products that you can choose from when setting up your barn camera or web camera. How do you choose what do use? Well, I'll explore with you what I learned while setting up my camera, and some of the pros and cons between different options, and a few ways to save money when buying your equipment.

But first lets go over the basic pieces you will need. Then I'll go into more detail about each one.

First, you will obviously need a camera. Typically these are either web cameras (like those sold at a computer store) or CCTV security cameras. Although either one will work under appropriate conditions, your particular environment and system configuration may work better with one than other. I personally prefer the CCTV cameras for my barn camera arrangement.

You will also need power available to your camera, and a way to get the camera picture signal back to your computer (either wireless or by appropriate cable). I'll go into more detail about these options later.

If your camera will be outside, you will need an outdoor housing to keep it out of the weather. If it is in the barn you probably won't need to worry about this.

You may want additional lenses to adjust the field of vision of your camera or how it responds to different lighting conditions.

You will need a connection to Internet so that your camera images can be viewed from elsewhere over Internet.

If you use a CCTV camera, you will also need webcam software, a computer with a connection to internet, and a special adapter to hook your camera to your computer. Depending on how you set it up, you may also want to have a website hosting location (most likely where your website is hosted) where you can put a webpage with your webcam picture loading in the middle for other people to view.

These are all the basics. Next time I'll start going into more detail about each of these pieces and how to select the ones you need.

Kristie Jorgensen


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 10:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2005

Riding in Style

What do you think it was like for ladies who rode in style 200 or 300 years ago? You might be able to catch a glimpse of this if you ever have the opportunity to watch a sidesaddle riding demonstration.

I really enjoy watching the sidesaddle class at Bishop Mule Days every year. It is a class that takes you back in time - back to the day when ladies rode sidesaddle everyday. Each of the entries in the sidesaddle class is unique, and offen there is quite a bit of variety in the outfits chosen by each rider. There are a variety of different styles of attire that are appropriate for this class. They range from formal hunt or western attire (depending on the style of sidesaddle) with an apron added, to beautiful riding habits from times of the past.

Don't these ladies look elegent on their beautiful mules in the Bishop Mule Days 2005 Sidesaddle class?

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This is Monica Bishop riding Judiciass and Teri Merry riding Crestline's Hot Blanche.

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This is Sharon Woodside riding Poco Tosha.

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I believe this entry is Marika Vierling riding PR Easter Bunny.

I hear it is not too hard to learn to ride sidesaddle once you find a saddle that fits you and your mount well, though I suppose it probably is a bit awkward feeling at first. Here are a few neat websites I found with more information about sidesaddle riding. If you are interested in trying sidesaddle riding, you might enjoy checking them out!

World Sidesaddle Federation, Inc.
Riding Side-Saddle
International Side Saddle Organization
Side Saddle International
Side Saddle Lady
Side Saddle Australia
N.E.A. Sidesaddle Association

Kristie Jorgensen


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

June 08, 2005

Mule Power at its Finest

It is always so thrilling to watch well-matched and practiced teams of big draft mules working together.

Here are three beautiful teams that were at Bishop Mule Days. The first is from Copper Windmill Ranch. I believe they had several entries in this year's two-up hitch class.

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This team is from Mule Power Farms in Arizona. They always bring several nice teams to show at Mule Days each year.

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And here is a lovely sorrel team from Mahoney Mule Co. They look like they are having fun pulling that big red wagon, don't they?

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Kristie Jorgensen


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 10:31 PM | Comments (1)

June 07, 2005

Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 9

If you've followed all the steps in this series, your donkey should be looking pretty stunning about now!

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If you've just started reading this series, and would like to go back and refer to the earlier articles they can be found at these links:

Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 1
Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 2
Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 3
Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 4
Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 5
Donkey Clipping Photos
Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 6
Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 7
Clipping Your Donkey for Show - Part 8

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Once you are finished clipping, you should brush your donkey well to remove as many of the little hair clippings as possible. If it is warm enough outside, you can give him a bath to wash the clippings out. This will make him much more comfortable without all those little pokey clippings on his skin.

Also remember to blanket your donkey when the weather is cool or the nights cold. Now that you have shortened your donkey's fur, he doesn't have as much to insolate him from the cold. You will also want to be prepared to protect him from the flies and other bug pests. Using the size clipper blades and style of clip that I have shared, I have not had much problem with flies and bugs bothering my donkeys' bodies, but the bugs do bother all my donkeys legs and ears in the summer time, whether they are clipped or not. So I have to have fly spray ready to apply when the bugs start getting bad. Your donkeys will appreciate protection from the bugs too.

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If you run into any problems or have questions about any of these steps for clipping your donkey, please email me and I will be happy to answer your questions.


Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com


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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 10:04 PM | Comments (0)

June 06, 2005

We're Back!

Well, we're back from Bishop Mule Days! It was a great trip, and I especially enjoyed meeting so many of you from all over the country!

"Video" Mike Kerson was there with a booth set up right near the grandstand entrance. While I was there I purchased a copy of his video from Bishop Mule Days 2004. It was another great mule days video just like his first one from Bishop Mule Days 2003, except that it featured a different set of events. If you enjoyed his first Mule Days video, you'll want to be sure to order the second one!

We also got to visit with Crystal Ward from Ass-Pen Ranch again, and see all the beautiful donkeys she brought to the show. She had quite a variety - from a little mini donkey all they way up to big mammoths.

Amy McLean and her family from Sowhatchett Mule Farm brought a number of really nice gaited mules all the way from Georgia. They really looked stunning in the show ring, and did quite well placing in the gaited classes.

Ron and Brenda Overton and their mules from Overton Mules were there again this year. It is always so inspiring to watch their mule, Tuff Stuff, competing under the guidance of their trainer, Tim Philips. Those two have such a bond, and look so smooth and fluid when competing in the wide variety of events they enter. It is especially inspiring when you hear the story about how Tuffy used to be such a hard-to-handle mule, and bucked Tim off the first few times Tim tried to ride him. To me, it just goes to show what a lot of time, patience and perseverance can do for almost any mule or donkey!

Of course the show wouldn't have been complete without Jim Porter and his jack, SCMM Merlin, from Spring Canyon Mule Makers. I'll tell you, those two could be a show just by themselves! They are always very entertaining and fun to watch in all their classes!

There were a lot of really nice donkeys and mules at Bishop this year. I think the competition and training of the mules and donkeys is getting better and better every year. It's so exciting to see these wonderful critters doing such an outstanding job showing people what mules and donkey really can do!

We participated in a number of the donkey classes with two of our donkeys, Sagebrush Lady Elvira (Elsie) and Sagebrush Oklahoma Andy. Elsie placed 7th in Gamblers Choice Driving, and 8th in Pleasure Driving. I was really pleased with how well she did considering it was our first time showing in harness. I guess all our hard work paid off. And believe me, there was a lot of hard work Monday getting her to settle down and get to work in such a busy and different environment. I highly recommend that anyone competing at Bishop Mule Days get there at the beginning of the week to give their donkeys and mule time to adjust to the bustle of activity and then new environment before you start competing.

We also rode Andy and Elsie in the Donkey Barrel Race, and I rode Andy in Polebending, Keyhole, and Trail. Andy placed 8th in Barrels, 4th in Polebending, and 8th in Trail. In spite of the really rainy weather that we have had all spring, and the small number of days that it was dry enough that we could train, Andy did quite well. He was really on a roll this year, and really wanted to run in the timed events! When I'd ask him to go from walk to trot, he'd start cantering, so I just let him enjoy himself.

I've got a ton of pictures and video footage that we took at Mule Days. I'll start posting some of it soon for you to enjoy. But for now, here's a picture of Andy and me running the poles.

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(Photography thanks to PhotoFast)


Kristie Jorgensen
LongearsMall.com

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Posted by Kristie Jorgensen at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)