Sunday, March 28, 2021

Teat Training Our Grumpy Maiden Mare, Cowgirl

(the mamas)

Oh, the things you discover on this horse journey. Who would have thought we'd be "teat training" our pregnant mare? 

It all started a couple of days ago while I was doing Masterson Method bodywork with Cowgirl. When I'd touch anywhere near her teats, she'd pin her ears, kick out, and grunt. And that wasn't even touching them. 

She's my daughter's horse, so I told her about it yesterday, and she was concerned. Apparently, that area can be sore when it starts to expand, and some mares will even reject their foals from nursing. Scary.

Shiloh decided to start a teat training program. I hold her. Shiloh gets close to the sensitive area, rubs, waits for relaxation, and then releases and treats. 

We had our first session yesterday. As you can see, I'm just the helper now.


All you experts out there, uh hum, Shirley, will have to share your experiences with this.

In other training news, Tumbleweed got to help with a lesson yesterday. My trainer says he's so much better when another horse is around. Not surprised.  


I'm going to go see him April 9th. 

And last, we have a windstorm approaching.  In two hours they predict gusts as high as 70 mph.  Say a prayer for us.

11 comments:

  1. That sounds like some destructive wind! We're in for only 60 mph tonight so batten down the hatches.
    Tumbleweed is really progressing. It will be good to see him.
    I know nothing about pregnant mare teats. I do know that Rosie had at least one foal and she doesn't like me to touch her there. It was hard to clean her but she's getting better. Warm washcloth and very gentle touch. Good luck.

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    1. Turned out to be a nothingburger. And I’m glad it did! Their forecasts scared the hell out of us! Good idea about the warm washcloth.

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  2. Carmen is sensitive there as well. I was able to help her with it in the summer - with the bugs it was itchy and she learned to enjoy the scratches.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your visit.

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    1. Interesting. All my other mares could care less. Cowgirl used to let us groom back there, but we never focused solely on touching the teats. She seems much more protective now.

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  3. Maiden mares can be sensitive in that area; I like to get them used to being touched there long before breeding; in fact I do this with all my mares/fillies. Summertime when there are flies is a great time to start, scratch their bellies and slowly move back to the teats. I also clean between the teats as a residue builds up there and they seem to enjoy having that cleaned. That way when they are pregnant and more sensitive there, they are already accustomed to being handled. That being said, for this case, I would use the advance and retreat method. Rub the belly and move back as far as you think she will tolerate, then before she protests move back to an "approved" area, and keep progressing until you are at the udder. I also will lightly run my hand over her- belly to udder, without dwelling on the udder, a few times. There are several ways to handle the situation, including what you are doing. Personally, I don't use treats. As she gets closer to foaling, make sure you handle her udder more if she is sensitive. Coulee was touchy there and once she foaled and realised that nursing helped relieve the pain she was much better. Most mares are good though.

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    1. This is a new behavior for Cowgirl. So, I’m thinking her teats are probably sore now and she’s protecting them. It definitely caught us off guard. It just wasn’t on our radar. But we have a lot of time to work with her since she’s not due for two months. The advance and retreat is a bit like Shiloh is doing. She’s going back to a point she tolerates, then waiting for release. Have you ever seen a mare reject a foal from nursing?

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    2. And I wish we had done all of that before she got sore. You need to write a book!

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    3. Yes, Coulee rejected Mesa. I had to halter Coulee and discipline her for kicking. I also milked her and gave Mesa the colostrum; once I milked Coulee for a bit and the pressure went down on her udder we got Mesa nursing and that's all it took. Some maiden mares are actually scared of the foal, they can't quite figure it out why that little creature is there and poking around their belly.

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    4. I remember that, now that you reminded me. Milked her colostrum. Wow. Just wow. My head is spinning. I feel like we’re going to get this scenario, and I don’t know if we can get the colostrum. How much time do you have?

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  4. I read your post title, and instantly thought to myself - teat training?? Never heard of it. Makes total sense tho. Love that first photo of the girls shared bond! Looking forward to your Tumbleweed visit & update. Thanks for posting your Maiden Mare experiences, I am learning from them!!

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