I've been itching for spring to roll around. Not necessarily because I'm getting tired of hauling water, chopping ice or it being just too cold to do much of anything, but rather because I've got a serious case of nesting. To set the record straight - the horse kind.
Now that we have turned the corner into the shortest month in the year, I'm becoming more and more anxious. For some reason, even though February has only 28 to 29 days, it makes it seems as though I'm jumping ahead when really, there is no getting around the 340 day average gestation. Not even a "short" month is going to make the time pass any faster.
It's times like these that I hearken back to my child bearing days. Once I got down to that last month, I was scouring the internet for "signs of labor" because maybe that soreness, sharp pain, tiredness or what-have -you all meant I was going to go into labor at any time and yet, I was two weeks overdue with my first and a week with my second. Still, a girl can dream right?
Beddy's foal will not be my first. I've had a least a dozen before her, but that was close to ten years ago. There is a nervous excitement about this particular foal. This will be the first time I will have foaled Beddy out. I don't know what to expect, thus my mind is running with all sorts of scenarios. Will she be early, late, does she bag up weeks before or the day before, how will she be with me around the foal and so on. It will also be the first foal to be born on the Timm Homestead. That in itself is a milestone that I'm ecstatic about.
The last couple of days I've been paying extra attention to Beddy. Watching how she eats, checking her bag - is it relaxing yet, etc. I purchased her exposed to the stud, Fast Minnie Bug (double-bred Easy Jet & Bugs Alive in 75) last June 2017. She had been with him the month of May through the first part of June. With a gestation period of 11 - 12 months, she should foal around mid-April or first part of May at the latest. That puts her at about 255 days, only about 85 days to go. One of the things I've been watching is sagging of her bag. Not filling up, but relaxing and loosening up. I can say with confidence that it has changed a little this week, but nothing too extreme, which is a good thing as it would be still too early for her to bag up.
Last night I decided to take a look at Bristol, who wasn't covered and Rain, who was covered, but who I figured didn't take this year, to compare with what Beddy looks like. Read the story about Rain's mishap here. Bristol's bag was tight and tucked away as I would expect. In fact, I had to really brush away hair to even get a look at it. But Rain...she looked close to Beddy! If she did take, she would be about 20 days behind Beddy. When we're talking horses, that's not that much.
Rain would be a maiden mare and again, similar dilemma as with Beddy, I wouldn't be sure what to expect. Though I did run a pregnancy test on Rain this winter due to her coming into heat when running with Big Red, I chalked it up to her not settling with a foal. The more I've done digging into the possibility, the more I've read about this phenomenon that is actually relatively common - a mare coming into heat regularly throughout her pregnancy. Could this be the story with Rain?
I decided I'd investigate further this morning in the daylight and do some reconnaissance. Below is the first round of evidence I've collected and I'll continue to monitor the progress each week.
Some things to note. Bristol's are very tight and tucked in. Rain is more loose, not as much as Beddy, but still loose and they also seem to have a little bit of calcium crystals on them. When comparing to Beddy, she has really loosened up this past week and her calcium crystals are very prominent. Calcium crystals typically only develop on a mare that is in foal. You be the judge.
I know some of you are thinking, just get her vet checked. Unfortunately, we live a few hours away from a vet that could check her via ultrasound and I don't want to haul that far just to find out she's not bred. I'll have to let time pass, as patiently as I can and soon I'll know for sure.
Until then, I can dream about two foals arriving this spring.
By the way, this page from Yellow House Ranch is a great resource with images of gestation progression.