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Discussing: A horsey question

A horsey question

Are horses let out to pasture at a particular point in the spring or summer, or does it depend on the climate? I've got a sentence or two that I want to be credible; dealing with a stable, and how many horses were in it in April in Fourth Age Ithilien. I'm assuming some of the horses would be let out to pasture, which I guess means day and night. (does it?) Would pregnant mares be stabled or let out to pasture? I have to have at least one pregnant mare in the stable on a particular night at that time.... RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

Re: A horsey question

I'm not a horse expert by any means, but.... April in Ithilien would be quite warm, summery, I would think, since it's so far south. Horses can be pastured at any time of the year, though in the winter they're often brought in at night. If you need most of the horses out, then April is warm enough that they can be out day and night, and the grass is green enough to feed them if they aren't doing much work. If you need most of them in, then the possibility of sudden, urgent need will explain it--no one wants to chase a horse around the pasture when the orcs are attacking, after all, or even when a message needs to be sent to Gondor. If there is a danger of predators--orcs, wolves, or (in Michigan in the autumn) hunters with bad eye-sight--they would all be brought in at night. Mares in foal (horsy term for pregnant) would probably be brought in at night, winter or summer, especially towards the end of their term. April is a likely enough month for the mare to have her foal, so it would be reasonable for her to be in the stable. Very few people want their mares to give birth out in the pasture, since it makes it difficult to discover an emergency before it becomes a tragedy for both mare and foal. So in other words, you can have your pregnant mare(s) and as many or as few other horses in the stable as you like.

 

 

Re: A horsey question

Hi Raksha Are horses let out to pasture at a particular point in the spring or summer, or does it depend on the climate? In my experience, horses are incredibly resilient, being able to be out in all sorts of weather, since before domestication, they didn't have stables. I would think in April in Ithilien, the only horses that would be stabled are the ones you would want to have readily accessible, or the ones you wish to keep a close eye on (pregnant or injured/sick ones) It's been my experience that horses fare far better the more time outside they have. We always made sure our horses, including the ones being showed, had lots of pasture time. Horses can develop some pretty bad habits or get pretty sour if they stay in stalls all the time. I always thought ours were much more relaxed and happier having plenty of outside time. Perhaps close by pastures? I'm not sure what the predator danger would be, although healthy full grown horses are many times very capabile of taking care of themselves, but why risk it? They're valuable, and dear to us Would pregnant mares be stabled or let out to pasture? I have to have at least one pregnant mare in the stable on a particular night at that time... For pregnant mares, I think you have a feasible situation. Our pregnant mares spent the majority of their time outside in pastures. When they were getting close to foaling (coming into milk, etc) then we'd have them pastured right around the barn with access to a stall, which they were locked in every night, and let out again every morning. It's much easier to keep track of them and "foal watch" when they're stalled and/or close by. I can see the very pregnant mares in Ithilien spending their nights in stalls. A foaling mare and a newborn foal are very vulnerable to predators. Although a newborn foal can run within an hour of birth, I can't see the risk being taken with a perfectly good stable nearby. HTH! Cheryl

 

 

Re: A horsey question

Thanx, Adina and Cheryl! Cheryl, when do pregnant mares come into milk? How long is their gestation? The one pregnant mare who has to be in the stable is about a month away from foaling. Do horse breeders try to get the mares pregnant so they'll foal in the spring or summer, or is it whenever the mares go into heat - assuming they do go into heat...What I'm trying to ask is - is it likely that there'd be several heavily pregnant mares in the stable (some of whom would probably die, since something bad happens in the stable), or just a few...The one pregnant mare who I need to be in the stable is going to survive; but I need to figure out if just a couple of others will perish or several... RAKSHA, sorry to be bugging y'all for details on a small sub-plot within a convoluted story

 

 

Re: A horsey question

Try this research article: http://www.henneth-annun.net/members/stories/chapter.cfm?STID=486 You could always contact the author for further information. RiverOtter

 

 

Re: A horsey question

Cheryl, when do pregnant mares come into milk? How long is their gestation? The one pregnant mare who has to be in the stable is about a month away from foaling. It's been my experience that mares begin to "bag up" (come into milk) anywhere from a couple weeks to a month before foaling. When foaling is very close, the mare's teats will "wax up". This is a cloudy sticky substance that will form on the end of the teats that help the foal hang on and learn to suckle. When you see this, you're about 12-24 hours from foaling (usually). A mare's gestation is roughly 11 months. Do horse breeders try to get the mares pregnant so they'll foal in the spring or summer, or is it whenever the mares go into heat - assuming they do go into heat...What I'm trying to ask is - is it likely that there'd be several heavily pregnant mares in the stable (some of whom would probably die, since something bad happens in the stable), or just a few...The one pregnant mare who I need to be in the stable is going to survive; but I need to figure out if just a couple of others will perish or several... Well, putting modern horse breeding aside,(where early foals are desireable in many breed circles) yes, spring and summer foaling is the best. In fact, mares are the most fertile in the months that would allow them to have foals in the late spring and summer, because the foals in the wild have it easier with the more agreeable weather...they evolved that way. I could see a heavy concentration of mares being heavily in foal at one time, with many others scattered out before and after that, kind of like a bell graph, where the majority fall in the middle with stragglers early and late. That said, April could actually be a little early to have the majority of horses foaling...at least in my part of the world (Northwest US) Mares here are the most fertile in the end of June/early July, so May/June is the prime foaling season. Not to say that mares don't get pregnant earlier..or later than that, and therefore have foals earlier or later, I just can't see the majority falling into that catagory. Remember that mares cycling and fertility is directly related to the amount of light in the days, with mares actually not having fertile cycles in the late fall/winter/early spring. (Trying NOT to get into an indepth discussion on horse breeding ) I could see your scenario working, as long as you dont have the majority of your herd ready to foal in April. But a couple other mares in the barn? Absolutely. RAKSHA, sorry to be bugging y'all for details on a small sub-plot within a convoluted story No worries, Raksha! I love answering horse questions! Cheryl *who REALLY does try not to make her answers too complicated...*

 

 

Re: A horsey question

Thanx much, Cheryl! I'll know who to bug when I write more about horse breeding. Which I will be in several months...I'll use poetic license and assume that horses of Ithilien have breeding/gestation cycles similar to those of Northwest US...So Eowyn won't lose all her pregnant mares...(I feel bad enough about mentioning deaths of horses; not to mention a dog or two, and several humans) If you ever have questions on dog breeding, feel free to ask me! RAKSHA

 

 

Re: A horsey question

Definitely! Feel free to contact me with any questions. (I feel bad enough about mentioning deaths of horses; not to mention a dog or two, and several humans) Well, it does happen...and would be something that would effect Eowyn quite a bit, I think, as a horsewoman. Is this something you've posted or are you still working on it, or both? Cheryl

 

 

Re: A horsey question

It's for a story I co-write elsewhere. It started with a writer called clairon, who wrote a story in an AU (Saruman lived) movie-verse story set a few years into the Fourth Age, called COME TO HARM. I sent in reviews; and ended up beta'ing the sequel, which was called MADE TO SUFFER (I co-wrote the last few chapters of that story). Now I'm co-writing the third and last entry in the series, which you could find under 'clairon' at fanfiction.net and Storiesofarda.com...I'm working on Chapter 18 (17 chapters have been posted, and the story will probably reach 34 chapters) of the third story, which is entitled HOME TO HEAL. It's about 18 years after ROTK; movieverse with some bookverse elements. Chapter 18, which I'm working on now, deals with the aftermath of an attack on Emyn Arnen...All three stories have a certain amount of angst. Legolas appears in the second story briefly and will also appear in future chapters of the third story, but it's more about Faramir, and Aragorn, and a few others (Eowyn, Arwen, Elboron, Eldarion, for example). Thanx for asking! RAKSHA THE DEMON

 

 

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