March, 2005 Report
March was not as active as anticipated, but slow progress continues.

Our old pair, Hadar and Hamal, went through some social adjustment. Hadar, since his injury two years ago, is incapable of mating. Hamal was seen being vigorously courted by Mimosa and for a few days there was great concern for Hadar's well being. Had he and Mimosa fought? Was he injured or worse? Apparently not, for a few days after the switch Hadar and Hamal were back together and both looked fit. As they age they are going grey. Hamal's forelegs will probably never get any better (she was injured years ago and limps) but she's obviously strong enough to mate. The fact that Hamal may still be fertile though she is well into her 20's is perhaps indication that these horses can live a long time when not exposed to the farm environment for their whole lives. She and Hadar would have spent the least amount of concentrated time on the farm and thus would have had the least exposure to that environment during their early years.

During the strong heat cycle that the mares had this time Stallion Achernar attacked the fence (not powered up) around a mini pasture. Fortunately one of our caretakers, Avener, was on the scene. He and Stallion Sirius worked together. Avener said Sirius herded the mares into a corner of the pasture and stood guard while Avener worked to get Achernar out of the pasture and rebuilt the fence. The whole evolution took about five hours as it was a weekend and Jean was not on duty. Avener corroborates that Sirius mated with each mare. This was a particularly heavy cycle for the mares, and certainly the strongest since they have regained most of the needed weight. All look good and their coats are glowing in the "bloom" that follows the high hormonal surge of a heavy cycle.

We are getting some excellent volunteer help for designing the container living quarters. The farm tree clearing is well underway and we hope to get use of the bulldozer fairly soon.

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