Spring Has Arrived!

It may have arrived but someone needs to tell the weather man we all want warming news.  There are horses to be washed and pampered, mites to be treated, manes to be braided, and tails….well that is another big job, not to mention as the grass greens it grows and we all know what that means.

The herd as it was six months ago, size wise and comfortable with my routine. To stir things up a bit, Drew is now on board after school and so welcomed.  This journey with cancer dear David and I are on is like a new job, with everything different in some way so it goes without saying, after school relief is truly a blessing.  Aside from the fact that everyone needs a good grooming they are all healthy having come through this winter in good shape.  Gypsy Vanners, on the other hand, are chronically a little voluptuous.

The two boys I am sharing today are Archie and Otis.  These were taken last summer as you can see, but since we have been a prolific filly producing farm, I thought you would enjoy a look at two of the boys…handsome devils that they are!  Bye for now.

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The Ground Hog Says…..

Well, the critters and humans on Chocolate Horse Farm really don’t believe anything a ground hog says, but we do know it is cold!  There will be no babies this year as we have spent much time dealing with the big “C”.  For those of our readers who are not aware, we began a journey into the world of the cancer patient in late 2015. It is truly a journey, humbling, challenging, and at times exhausting; but we are surrounded by a tremendous support team, without whom it would be a lonely road. They are all incredibly special.

We did attend the 2016 Gypsy show at the Missouri State Fair with Hobbs, our first colt in quite a few years.  We are especially pleased with him but time only will tell whether he becomes the latest member of our small gelding herd.  Cracker, one of our three original imports, is still with us and it goes without saying, but I will anyway, he has been the very best boy one could imagine. There isn’t much he hasn’t done and done well.  Then there is Traveler.  Seems several farms have one….a Traveler that is!  He is just under 14hh and is awesome regardless whether in harness or under saddle.  As much fun as we have had with him, it would be good to see him with someone wanting a solid horse to show. Next, we have Otis, named for a very special man, Otis Fulbright. Otis is a big do ta do boy as I like to think of him.  So typical Gypsy.. with a laid back manner, in your pocket, giving kiddy rides even before any formal training, and now a solid driving horse.  He too needs a home where his personality will be needed and appreciated.   Fitzwilly fits in here as a good solid driving horse after nine months of road driving nearly every day.  He was our right brain introvert, good days bad days….all of which got worked out on the day to day routine that was put in place.  Sid is in this group, an older gelding, half Arab half Gypsy, and is also a well started and going driving horse.  A tad, well, maybe more than a tad….lazy, yet responsive.  Older, perfect for a green driver taking lessons.  Can be ridden, prefers the younger set.  I have to mention my big boy, 16hh The Broker, a big red quarter horse out of my lovely Toll Free and Easy by the now gone to horsey heaven, The Diversified One.  Broker is a …..well, just a super good boy, green broke under saddle and with this many boys, really has led the life of Riley!!!!  There are two more… youngsters, Hobbs and Archie, both Sparky boys, but I will save them for another day.  Thanks for joining us and our little run down on the boys at Chocolate Horse Farm.

Cheers, Carol and David

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Horse Listening…check this out!


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Care of Newborn Foal..

Care of the Newborn Foal-Navel Ill Prevention

Nathan Voris, DVM
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After many months of hard (and expensive) work in the breeding shed, and countless hours on foal watch, you are greeted with the wonderful sounds of a mare gently nickering at her new foal. If you are like most of our clients, you didn’t get to witness the birth because the mare held out until she heard the back door close and the porch light turn off-signaling she has some time to herself. Try not to be too upset with yourself for missing the birth and try to forgive the mare for cheating you out of being a part of the event after many sleepless nights. Chances are, if the mare was fine 2 or 3 hours prior, and now has a new foal looking for its first meal, things went just fine.

A first priority in keeping our new foal from getting sick is navel care. During fetal development, the umbilical cord is the foal’s lifeline. Within the umbilical cord are two umbilical arteries, one umbilical vein, and the urachus-the extension of the urinary bladder which allows the fetus to void urine. Shortly after birth, the umbilical cord breaks. The umbilical stump remains, thus leaving a potential access point for environmental pathogens to gain access to our newborn foal. Navel ill, or omphalophlebitis, is the term given to an infection of any or all of the structures of the umbilical stump. Unfortunately, many umbilical infections do not self contain to the umbilical area. Because the umbilicus is made of a vein and two arteries, navel infections can travel up the stump and enter the bloodstream leading to septicemia, potential growth plate and joint infections and possibly death.

So what can we do to protect our new foal from such a horrible disease? The answer is simple-Keep things clean! The first thing we recommend to our clients is dipping the umbilicus with a dilute Nolvasan (generically known as 2% Chlorhexidine) solution as soon as possible after birth and then 3 times daily for the first 2-3 days of the foal’s life. A good dilution is 1 part Nolvasan in 4 parts water. This makes a fantastic disinfectant which is not irritating to the delicate umbilical tissues. Never dip the umbilicus in strong iodine! Current research shows that iodine can actually kill some of the tissues of the umbilicus, leading to delayed umbilical healing which can increase the risk of umbilical infection.

The second thing I recommend is cleaning the stall. Replacing wet bedding with fresh, dry bedding will greatly reduce the likelihood of the foal being exposed to environmental bacteria when it lies down.

Finally, contact your veterinarian. It may sound like a shameless plug for business, but the truth is, the vast majority of 3 day old foals with navel ill were foals who did not absorb adequate antibodies from their dam’s colostrum (failure or passive transfer) during the first 24 hours of life. A simple stall-side blood test when the foal is 12-24 hours old can tell your veterinarian if the foal’s immune system is weak, thus at increased risk for future infections. Prompt preventative action can then be taken which will strengthen the foal’s immune system and help reduce the risk of neonatal illness.

A new healthy foal can make all of the work done the previous breeding season worth while. A sick foal, on the other hand, can ruin your year. Getting off on the right foot with umbilical care and a simple antibody screening test will help prevent serious setbacks in your foal’s healthy development. If you have questions about your new foal or a concern regarding the health and well-being of any of your horses, do not hesitate to call our clinic. A veterinarian will be glad to assist you with all of your equine medicine, lameness, surgery or reproductive needs.

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Hobbs is one of two youngsters born in 2014.  He is the carbon copy to full sister, CHF ZEVA, now residing in Joplin.  Ironically they are the first to be born with this color pattern.  We have not run color dna on either at this point so I have no idea which one of the lovely terms apply.  I do know he is a real trooper, having participated in the 2015 Missouri State Fair as if he were much older and show seasoned.


CHF Hobbs is a Talbot’s Sparky son out of Lora of Martock, one of two five star mares here on the farm.

Show Time

Talbot’s Sparky

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Summer of 2016!

Several families celebrated birthdays with the Chocolate Horse Farm Gypsy Vanners again this year.  All horses were kind and willing participants in the festivities.  There are so many ways to introduce people to the animal world in positive ways.  This is just one.  The next for us will be the show at the state fair here in Missouri.  Show time will see two of our crew, CHF Traveler and CHF Hobbs…look for us!


What a way to celebrate a birthday~

Birthday Party

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A Word on Whoa

Throughout my riding career I’ve had a few coaches, all with a different stance on the use of vocal aids. I used to have a bad habit of “clucking” on takeoff whenever I got a deep spot to a fence. …

Source: A Word on Whoa

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