University of Maryland Campus Farm Update


Campus Farm Program Completes Successful First Year
By Katherine O. Rizzo
(first appeard in the August 2014 issue of
The Equiery)
The Equiery first reported on the University of Maryland’s revival of the Campus Farm when renovations were complete and the first horses moved in back in April of 2013. That spring, the first foals were born and in the August 2013 issue, we wrote about the Equine Studies program and how having horses back on campus had brought both a positive impact to the student body and the Maryland horse industry. Now, one year later, the first full cycle of the program is complete and the second cycle is in full swing.

The first two foals born into the program, Amazin Terp and Diamondback Fire, were weaned at the end of last summer and began their in-hand training to prepare them for the December Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale. Intern Johnny Weiss was the assistant farm manager for the fall semester and overseer of the training process.

Dr. Amy Burk said, “Johnny brings a good bit of experience to the position, having grown up on his parent’s Thoroughbred breeding operation in northern Maryland. Also, Bill Reightler has taken us under his wing by giving us advice on sales prep.”

On the day of the sale, December 9, Fasig-Tipton and Reightler as consignor waived their commissions and fees on both yearlings so that all funds went directly back into the program. The Cherokee’s Boy filly Amazin Terp, out of Amazin, was first in the ring and sold for $3000 to Teresa Beste of Christ Is King Stable. Diamondback Fire, a colt by Friesan Fire, out of Daylight Lassie, sold for $9,000 to Louis Rao, Jr. Though neither sale broke any records that day, it was the start that the program was looking for.

“For the first year out, I was happy. There were startup costs. They add up, but we brought in some income,” Dr. Burk told Joe Clancy of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.

 

 

 

Life as a Terrapin Equine Studies Intern
By Hannah Gorrie, UMD class of 2014
It is year number two for the University of Maryland’s equine breeding program! This year has seen many changes and much excitement: the sale of our 2013 foals, the addition of a new broodmare to our herd, and the birth of two new colts, one of which was born in the middle of a crippling snowstorm. It has been a successful year and we at the University look towards the future of this program with hope and optimism for its continued success.

The New Girl

Our new addition to the broodmare herd is The Best Sister, nicknamed “Bess” by the students. She was donated to our program by Jim and Christie Steele of Shamrock Farm in Woodbine and was bred to Rock Slide, who stands at Shamrock. She is 17 years old, and this is her seventh foal, but her first foal with us. In 2013, she was bred to Rock Slide at Shamrock Farm, and was due to give birth on the 11th of February. Her pregnancy went very smoothly, and we approached February 11th with high hopes of an uncomplicated delivery.

The Equine Reproduction class, taught by Dr. Charlie Apter, monitored her milk production for the few days leading up to her due date in order to predict when she would foal. Her due date arrived, and her milk test levels were indicative of a potential delivery that night; eight students from the reproduction class, Dr. Apter, Dr. Burk and I brought our sleeping bags and pajamas and bunked in the Animal Science building overnight. We had set up a camera in Bess’s stall to allow us to monitor her remotely, so as not to disturb her. Before leaving her for the night, we wrapped her tail, washed her vulva, and prepared the stall with adequate amounts of straw. We spent the whole night dozing and periodically checking the webcam for signs of labor. She appeared slightly restless early on, but ended up relaxing and sleeping peacefully through the night.

The Snow Baby

While we were disappointed that she didn’t foal, we were optimistic that she would deliver the following night. There was a setback, however: a monstrous snowstorm nicknamed Pax was due to hit the entire state that night, and we were faced with the potential of being snowed in on campus. Despite the warnings and the freezing temperatures, we prepped Bess as we had before, including installing a few heat lamps for warmth. We then quickly returned to the comfort of the Animal Sciences building.

It had been snowing heavily earlier in the evening, and there were several inches of accumulation on the road. Hoping Bess would go into labor early enough for us to escape the snowstorm, we watched the webcam intently. Around ten o’clock that evening, she became restless; pawing at the bedding, looking at her sides, and pacing. When she lay down for the first time, we immediately threw on our winter coats and ran across the street to the barn.

By the time we arrived, she had already begun stage two of labor with two feet and a nose visible. She lay down, positioning herself up against the back wall of the stall where there was a door that opened into the paddock. Dr. Apter and one of the students from class trudged out through the snow, opened the door from the outside, and checked the position of the foal. We were pleasantly surprised that the foal was in the normal presentation for delivery. Within a few minutes, the wet foal had arrived into the blistering cold with plenty of students eagerly taking their turns toweling him dry.
Maryland’s Best

Bess was an amazing mother from the start. As soon as the foal was born, she nickered to him constantly, and within a few minutes, she stood up and began to clean him off. He was a handsome colt, with a star, half stripe, and snip. He was healthy and strong, standing and nursing within an hour and a half of being born. We remained with them during this time to ensure that there were no health concerns and that the colt was able to nurse successfully.

Unfortunately, the snow was accumulating fast, so many students went home out of fear of being snowed in at the barn. I stayed behind and caught up on a few more hours of sleep in the Animal Sciences building. Come morning, we trudged through the layers of snow to find mama and baby still healthy and happy; the colt was very friendly and curious about us, and Bess allowed us to handle him without a problem. In honor of the storm into which the colt was born, we gave him the barn name Pax. His registered name, Maryland’s Best, came later in the semester after a voting contest held by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Maryland’s Best, I’ve learned, is also the name of a Maryland Department of Ag Program linking consumers with superb Maryland farm products.

The Surprise Baby


Our second colt was delivered unexpectedly, ten days before his expected birth date. His dam, Daylight Lassie (nicknamed Cassie), had only started to produce a few drops milk that day, so we didn’t gather the students for foal watch. You can imagine the surprise when the first student arrived on Saturday, March 29 to feed Cassie and saw the chestnut colt standing and nursing beside her.

Everything appeared to have gone smoothly; perhaps Cassie just wanted to have her foal without the fuss of having all of us involved. The postpartum care was a little more intensive than Pax’s had been. Although the colt, who is by Friesan Fire (stands at Country Life Farm) was able to stand and walk, he was a little unsteady. Upon closer inspection, his hind legs were crooked at the hock, looking as though the wind had swept them out from under him. I learned that the condition was known as “windswept” legs, but that it would correct itself over time and with limited exercise.

The colt weighed in at 136 pounds, and since he was so large, his legs must have been placed in an odd position while he was growing inside his mother. Also, the colt’s umbilicus had not broken as close to the body as we would have liked. It was moderately swollen, which made us concerned about possible infection. Finally, since we were not there to observe the birth, we were concerned about Cassie’s postfoaling health as well. We found the placenta, examined it, and found that all of it had been passed out of the birth canal. Therefore, we were less concerned about a retained placenta, which could also lead to infection.

We spent the first few weeks taking their temperatures multiple times a day, administering multiple doses of antibiotics to the colt, and limiting his exercise due to the shape of his legs. It was a great experience for me, and I was able to compare managing an easy birth and postfoaling care to one with some minor complications.

The colt’s legs have straightened and strengthened considerably. Due to his conformation at birth, the staff decided to call him Forrest, after Forrest Gump, hoping that with time, he will be fast enough to win the big races! His registered name was also voted on and the name Fear the Fire came out on top.

Future Foals


About one month after foaling, the mares and their foals were trailered to Maryland Thoroughbred stallions for rebreeding. Amazin was bred to Baltimore Bob (Malibu Moon out of Gabby’s Love) at Shamrock Farm, and is currently in foal. Bess was bred to Freedom Child (Malibu Moon out of Bandstand) at Country Life Farms, and Cassie was bred to Buffum (Bernardini out of Storm Beauty) at Northview Stallion Station. With such superior pedigrees, we hope our future foals will be healthy competitors. So far, we’re still on track to have three foals for the spring semester.

Managing the mares and foals since foaling has been very involved. We groom, handle, and perform minor treatments on them daily. I worked closely with Dr. Burk to evaluate the mare’s diets to make sure we’re providing enough energy and nutrients for adequate milk production. I’ve conducted fecal egg counts to identify parasites and dewormed the animals accordingly.

My internship ended in early May upon my graduation from the University of Maryland. The skills in leadership and broodmare and foal management that I acquired will definitely be put to good use in my future career in the horse industry. If I had to pick one thing that I’ll always remember about my internship, it would be the excitement I felt when I saw that cute bay colt appear during one darn right frigid snowy night in February.
It is year number two for the University of Maryland’s equine breeding program! This year has seen many changes and much excitement: the sale of our 2013 foals, the addition of a new broodmare to our herd, and the birth of two new colts, one of which was born in the middle of a crippling snowstorm. It has been a successful year and we at the University look towards the future of this program with hope and optimism for its continued success.

The New Girl

Our new addition to the broodmare herd is The Best Sister, nicknamed “Bess” by the students. She was donated to our program by Jim and Christie Steele of Shamrock Farm in Woodbine and was bred to Rock Slide, who stands at Shamrock. She is 17 years old, and this is her seventh foal, but her first foal with us. In 2013, she was bred to Rock Slide at Shamrock Farm, and was due to give birth on the 11th of February. Her pregnancy went very smoothly, and we approached February 11th with high hopes of an uncomplicated delivery.

The Equine Reproduction class, taught by Dr. Charlie Apter, monitored her milk production for the few days leading up to her due date in order to predict when she would foal. Her due date arrived, and her milk test levels were indicative of a potential delivery that night; eight students from the reproduction class, Dr. Apter, Dr. Burk and I brought our sleeping bags and pajamas and bunked in the Animal Science building overnight. We had set up a camera in Bess’s stall to allow us to monitor her remotely, so as not to disturb her. Before leaving her for the night, we wrapped her tail, washed her vulva, and prepared the stall with adequate amounts of straw. We spent the whole night dozing and periodically checking the webcam for signs of labor. She appeared slightly restless early on, but ended up relaxing and sleeping peacefully through the night.

The Snow Baby

While we were disappointed that she didn’t foal, we were optimistic that she would deliver the following night. There was a setback, however: a monstrous snowstorm nicknamed Pax was due to hit the entire state that night, and we were faced with the potential of being snowed in on campus. Despite the warnings and the freezing temperatures, we prepped Bess as we had before, including installing a few heat lamps for warmth. We then quickly returned to the comfort of the Animal Sciences building.

It had been snowing heavily earlier in the evening, and there were several inches of accumulation on the road. Hoping Bess would go into labor early enough for us to escape the snowstorm, we watched the webcam intently. Around ten o’clock that evening, she became restless; pawing at the bedding, looking at her sides, and pacing. When she lay down for the first time, we immediately threw on our winter coats and ran across the street to the barn.

By the time we arrived, she had already begun stage two of labor with two feet and a nose visible. She lay down, positioning herself up against the back wall of the stall where there was a door that opened into the paddock. Dr. Apter and one of the students from class trudged out through the snow, opened the door from the outside, and checked the position of the foal. We were pleasantly surprised that the foal was in the normal presentation for delivery. Within a few minutes, the wet foal had arrived into the blistering cold with plenty of students eagerly taking their turns toweling him dry.
Maryland’s Best

Bess was an amazing mother from the start. As soon as the foal was born, she nickered to him constantly, and within a few minutes, she stood up and began to clean him off. He was a handsome colt, with a star, half stripe, and snip. He was healthy and strong, standing and nursing within an hour and a half of being born. We remained with them during this time to ensure that there were no health concerns and that the colt was able to nurse successfully.

Unfortunately, the snow was accumulating fast, so many students went home out of fear of being snowed in at the barn. I stayed behind and caught up on a few more hours of sleep in the Animal Sciences building. Come morning, we trudged through the layers of snow to find mama and baby still healthy and happy; the colt was very friendly and curious about us, and Bess allowed us to handle him without a problem. In honor of the storm into which the colt was born, we gave him the barn name Pax. His registered name, Maryland’s Best, came later in the semester after a voting contest held by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Maryland’s Best, I’ve learned, is also the name of a Maryland Department of Ag Program linking consumers with superb Maryland farm products.

The Surprise Baby


Our second colt was delivered unexpectedly, ten days before his expected birth date. His dam, Daylight Lassie (nicknamed Cassie), had only started to produce a few drops milk that day, so we didn’t gather the students for foal watch. You can imagine the surprise when the first student arrived on Saturday, March 29 to feed Cassie and saw the chestnut colt standing and nursing beside her.

Everything appeared to have gone smoothly; perhaps Cassie just wanted to have her foal without the fuss of having all of us involved. The postpartum care was a little more intensive than Pax’s had been. Although the colt, who is by Friesan Fire (stands at Country Life Farm) was able to stand and walk, he was a little unsteady. Upon closer inspection, his hind legs were crooked at the hock, looking as though the wind had swept them out from under him. I learned that the condition was known as “windswept” legs, but that it would correct itself over time and with limited exercise.

The colt weighed in at 136 pounds, and since he was so large, his legs must have been placed in an odd position while he was growing inside his mother. Also, the colt’s umbilicus had not broken as close to the body as we would have liked. It was moderately swollen, which made us concerned about possible infection. Finally, since we were not there to observe the birth, we were concerned about Cassie’s postfoaling health as well. We found the placenta, examined it, and found that all of it had been passed out of the birth canal. Therefore, we were less concerned about a retained placenta, which could also lead to infection.

We spent the first few weeks taking their temperatures multiple times a day, administering multiple doses of antibiotics to the colt, and limiting his exercise due to the shape of his legs. It was a great experience for me, and I was able to compare managing an easy birth and postfoaling care to one with some minor complications.

The colt’s legs have straightened and strengthened considerably. Due to his conformation at birth, the staff decided to call him Forrest, after Forrest Gump, hoping that with time, he will be fast enough to win the big races! His registered name was also voted on and the name Fear the Fire came out on top.

Future Foals


About one month after foaling, the mares and their foals were trailered to Maryland Thoroughbred stallions for rebreeding. Amazin was bred to Baltimore Bob (Malibu Moon out of Gabby’s Love) at Shamrock Farm, and is currently in foal. Bess was bred to Freedom Child (Malibu Moon out of Bandstand) at Country Life Farms, and Cassie was bred to Buffum (Bernardini out of Storm Beauty) at Northview Stallion Station. With such superior pedigrees, we hope our future foals will be healthy competitors. So far, we’re still on track to have three foals for the spring semester.

Managing the mares and foals since foaling has been very involved. We groom, handle, and perform minor treatments on them daily. I worked closely with Dr. Burk to evaluate the mare’s diets to make sure we’re providing enough energy and nutrients for adequate milk production. I’ve conducted fecal egg counts to identify parasites and dewormed the animals accordingly.

My internship ended in early May upon my graduation from the University of Maryland. The skills in leadership and broodmare and foal management that I acquired will definitely be put to good use in my future career in the horse industry. If I had to pick one thing that I’ll always remember about my internship, it would be the excitement I felt when I saw that cute bay colt appear during one darn right frigid snowy night in February.

©TheEquiery2014