As 1 September rolled around the breeding barn doors are flung open marking the start of Spring and the breeding season.
Across the industry, the anticipation of 1 September is not only very exciting but brings with it much apprehension and signals the start of a very busy period.
Late nights and early mornings become the norm as we continue to welcome the 2019 foals to the grass of Victoria. The stallions standing have their work cut out with many broodmares ready to be covered in anticipation of the 2020 crop.
We asked a few of those in our industry, what the season looks like for them.
Phil Campbell from Blue Gum Farm remarked, “It is definitely a busy time of the year. There are a number of different highlights during the year on a breeding farm. The first foal at the start of August is one of them and opening the breeding shed doors on 1 September is another. Then there is the start of yearling prep obviously, 1 September is part of that cycle.”
Whilst 1 September marks the start of the cycle for the breeding season, there are many other times throughout the year that bring similar pressures. “It used to be that there was a quiet time which doesn’t seem to exist anymore,” laughed Phil.
Like many other farms, Blue Gum Farm welcomes many clients during the breeding season and indeed through-out the year. The farm works hard to ensure that the grounds are always ‘aesthetically pleasing twelve months of the year’.
Sally Watkins from Willaroon Farm commented, “We spend so much time choosing our mares, looking at our stallions and working out the mating and everything that goes with the breeding of a mare. As of the 1st September we start to action that plan. It is exciting and daunting all the work that we have to do.”
Sally works closely with local farms Rushton Park and Noorilim to share the pressures of the season. Between the three farms, last season they walked-on approximately sixty mares. Willaroon wasted no time in starting the 2019 breeding season with their first mare booked in early on 1 September!
“It’s exciting but I also think about the thousands of miles that we will driving over the next few months. It all culminates with the yearling sales and from there to the races. We can concentrate on getting mums back in foal again and the cycle continues. It seems to come around quicker every year,” remarked Sally.
The breeding cycle would not be possible without all the dedication to the veterinary professionals in the industry who work 24/7 during the breeding season. Dr Katie Wilcox from Avenel Equine Hospital explains, “I always have mixed emotions at the beginning of the season. I am always excited that we are going to have new babies born and getting to know all the new mares for the season but equally it comes with a few disasters, lots of late nights and sick foals as well.”
Not only does this time welcome all the new foals, it is also a time to prepare the yearlings for the coming sales which adds an additional pressure for this time period.
“The 1st September is the beginning of the new year when the whole cycle starts again. You take those foals from new born babies that really need a lot of help to being able to get by on their own. Then getting the mares back in foal and then the foals are growing up and getting weaned and then we have them as yearlings. It’s a cyclical year.”
We would like to wish our members a successful and prosperous breeding season.