Friday, April 26, 2013

Reflections... LGDs

     When Bella was born, Ruya was in strong heat, therefore she was restricted to being either inside or in the kennel until we could get her to be bred. The very day after Bella was born, Ruya found herself at Darlene's. A week went by before we could get down to pick her up, thanks to a sprained ankle and other surprises. During that time, however, Aslan had introduced himself and checked out Bella when we brought her in, sniffing her legs and rump with a tucked tail and afterward hanging out by the stall, occasionally trying to kiss Bella when she was exploring the stall door.
     Well, it wasn't until after we turned Bella out that I remembered Ruya had not been introduced. Ruya, of course, ran the fenceline barking with worry. What was that black thing running around Doo Dah?!?!?!  I knew that without a proper introduction, Ruya would not be at ease, and there was a risk of something happening to her or to Bella. So, I got out a leash and dragged Ruya into the pasture while someone held Doo Dah.
     There is something magical about watching a LGD bond with a new member of the "flock." Ruya kept her tail low and gently sniffed Bella. Bella ran away a few times, but Ruya patiently tried again. After I knew all was well, I let Ruya off the leash. She very quietly walked up to Bella and sniffed her feet and her tail. After maybe 30 seconds, her tail started to wag and she started to give Bella kisses on the nose. Of course, Bella took off and hid behind the other side of Doo Dah, but Ruya quietly tucked her tail and tried again. After Ruya and Bella had gotten accustomed to each other for a couple minutes, I left the pasture and called Ruya to give the baby some space. It was obvious that Ruya did not want to leave her baby for two seconds, but Doo Dah's glare made up her mind, and she squeezed out of the pasture and went with me to chill out in the house.
     I will never cease to be amazed at the way these dogs are wired. All it took was a short introduction, and Ruya was all over it. I could see in her eye that she felt bound to the little foal for the rest of their lives. For Bella, she now knows that Ruya is her friend, and I hope that she develops a trust of Ruya that will stay with her forever.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

New Mina update!

This is a bit delayed in posting, but I felt it was worth sharing. Mina has been down to Mary Werning's place a few times now, and she is doing beautifully off the longe. She was completely cool about the mirrors and the new place; it didn't bother her a bit. We did serpentines and started baby laterals last time we were down, and she was wonderful. Mary was super impressed by her level-headedness and her swinging, solid gaits. I will start showing Mina very soon, especially since there are no babies due until May.
At home, Mina is now doing some work bareback. She is so easy to ride bareback and is very comfortable. As always, she is very cautious about doing everything right, but she is getting the hang of it very quickly. She is just an outstanding young mare!

Another change in plans... with new update!

     I am tired of all this planning and then changing plans, but I suppose there's a lesson in it.
     We are still breeding Ruya. No doubt. But we have changed the male. We are back to going with Micah, an Odaci Kangal out of Odaci's Safak and Ch. Yasemin. He is an incredible mover with a great guardian instinct and has produced outstanding puppies out of a female of Ruya's same breeding. This is his first breeding the US, his other litters contributing to the Canadian gene pool.
     I'm sure everyone is wondering why all the changes. Well, that is a long story...
     We decided to go with Micah as soon as he came to Georgia. However, shortly after that, my father was killed in a car accident, and we were in no way ready for a litter of puppies. When we went to pick up Aslan, our young male, Darlene told us about the straws she had left from Arkadas, and we were thrilled about that prospect.
     Then everything went wrong. We lost a foal, and the mother had to go to surgery. With the mounting vet bills, we started questioning breeding Ruya by the very intricate methods of AI. The repro vets said there shouldn't be a problem, but they weren't comfortable either using the very last breeding dose on a maiden female. I wasn't thrilled with having a small litter of a line that is otherwise not represented in America. So, as Ruya was in flaming heat, I called Darlene Kelley, Ruya's and Aslan's breeder, and we both thought about what to do. It was her advice to breed this cycle, as we don't want to push Ruya in the future to have litters at an older age. So, we decided to go for Micah again.
     Ruya is now with Micah at Darlene's place, and while she is still sitting down when he tries to mount, she is getting much closer to accepting him. They should lock any moment now this week, and we will have our first litter of Kangal puppies!

UPDATE 4/17: Ruya and Micah locked earlier this morning! We are thrilled about this litter, as Micah's last litter with a sibling of Ruya's came out beautifully. You can see pictures of that litter and how the puppies developed at

First baby of the year has arrived!!!!!

C. Ivey has a purebred daughter with Seraphina! Bell'angela was born in the night early Sunday morning. She is so far black with a white star, snip and two socks. She is absolutely gorgeous; one of the prettiest foals I've seen. She is sweet and curious about everything though her momma, the surrogate mare Doo Dah, is a little nervous, this being her first foal.
I did not have the chance to imprint immediately upon her birth, as Doo Dah foaled out sometime in the night and got her standing and nursing all by herself. Way to go, Doo Dah! She is a fantastic mother, especially for a maiden mare. She will be wonderful for anyone else who ends up with her carrying their foal.
Little Bella seems to have a lot of her daddy in her. She has his topline, but she seems to have a balance between his and Seraphina's movement. She has a nice combination of her momma's Hungarian nose and her daddy's broad forehead. Temperament-wise, she is all Seraphina. She thinks she is all grown up and likes to try to escape (much to her surrogate momma's chagrin...). She runs and frolics all the time and is afraid of nothing. She has even walked over plastic without so much as batting an eye. What a precocious little stinker!

UPDATE: Finally, technology cooperated and let me upload pictures of baby Bella! More to come!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kangal Update: We're in heat!

I'm sure you have seen on the website that we've changed plans and gone with Ch. Doga Farm's Arkadas for Ruya's first breeding. He was an outstanding male out of equally amazing lines. We managed to get hold of the last breeding dose of his frozen semen, and we will be breeding Ruya sometime next week! She surprised us all and went into heat a couple months early, so we quickly found a vet that does AI and has a good track record of successes. It is definitely going to be a fascinating process. We're going with the endoscopic transcervical insemination method as our first choice, as that seems to be better than simple insemination with less of a recovery period than the surgical method. If they have trouble with the TCI, then we will probably resort to the surgical method. All very interesting to learn about... detailed post on those methods soon to come.
I am extremely excited about this breeding. "Arki"'s lines can't be found anywhere else in the country and are considered precious internationally. I will probably keep a puppy from this litter for my own breeding stock, and I truly hope that there will be a few people wanting breeding stock from this litter. Ruya's lines are some of the most influential in this country, and Arki's lines are highly revered in Turkey and in England. Ruya has matured into the most wonderful female I could hope for: calm, quiet, confident, loving, friendly, and patient, not to mention an incredible guardian with great instincts. Arki was equally friendly and loving as well as charismatic and just as incredible a guardian. He is sorely missed, but at least his lines can still be carried on.
I just found that the old links to Arki's page are no longer working, so here's the new link:
Please comment if you have any interest or questions.


     Spring is such an amazing time of year. The grass suddenly becomes green again, the air is warm and moist with the spring rains (sometimes too moist...), and the birds chirp while the bees hum. Across the street, the cows are calving and the bulls are roaring at each other. The same is happening over here.
    Our first purebred Lipizzans are due any minute now. Bahama looks like she's about to explode, and the surrogate mare, Doo Dah, has lost a lot of tone in her hind end. Both are bagged up at the same stage, though Doo Dah is due today and Bahama is due in a couple weeks.
     I can't help but remember the first time I met Doo Dah, a little QH mare who is blind in one eye and now belongs to NCSU. She was a little bossy, but she meant well and was overall a sweet little mare. We brought her home so we could give her Dynamite feed and be there for foaling time to do our own "imprinting." The first day, she walloped me in the face with her nose when I was introducing her to the pasture (and, unfortunately, I was on her blind side). I turned her loose, and she immediately went up to the other horses with a bit of a naive "blond" look on her face. Pretty soon, she was given a double-barrel by her only pasturemate. I was a bit protective of her for a bit, especially since she's carrying Seraphina's baby, but she's made of sterner stuff than I allowed for. She frequently waltzed up and started eating out of an alpha mare's dish, and, of course, the alpha, whether it was Jasmine or Bahama, would squeal and kick her a few times. No matter what I did to prevent this, she always tried to eat someone else's food, even if there was only one other horse.
     After a while of being out with the two geldings, I put her in with Bahama, Lyn's mare on lease to us. Bahama is the boss beyond all doubt. Even Jasmine obeys Bahama, though not always willingly. But for some reason, Bahama and Doo Dah are inseparable. They eat together, they graze together, they do everything together. I think that Bahama has taken on the task of raising Doo Dah, and wow has she done a great job of it! Doo Dah is now more confident and comfortable in her own skin. I've caught her standing guard over the other napping horses more than a few times. This would never have happened when we first brought her home. Much of her bossiness has gone away, and she is easy to handle and doesn't panic anymore when I touch her blind side without significant warning. She lets me do nearly anything with her on her blind side. She adores being loved on and gets very excited when I call her, as usually it means she's getting food or attention. I have been so touched to see how much the little girl has grown up since June last year. Now, I can't wait to see how she raises Sera's baby.