My name is Krista Pack and I am currently a senior at Mississippi State University. This summer I am interning in Princeton, Kentucky at the Darling 888 Ranch. The ranch has two main barns on the property. The training barn houses client’s horses and each day Andrew Fox, barn and training manager, works with their horses to prepare them for reining completions. The barn that I work at is the breeding barn which houses about 35 mares and foals, broodmares, and yearlings. At the ranch I work with Dina Allen who is the breeding manager and the ranch veterinarian, Dr. Travis Luna. Each day at the ranch is different but we always begin the day around 7 a.m. feeding all the horses. Once we get done feeding, I then bring up the mares that we need to check to see if they are pregnant. So far we have succeeded with breeding two out of the five mares. One of the horses even had twins. When a horse has twins we measure the diameter of each fertilized egg, we then have to “pinch” off the smallest egg so that there is a better chance for the other egg to survive. This week we also collected semen from two stallions. One of the stallions we had to collect semen using medication. The medicine all
ows him to relax and then we collected in a sterile bag. The other stallion we collected using a teaser mare and an artificial vagina (AV), which is the preferred method. Once we have finished checking the mares we then begin working with some of the foals in halter breaking. The first couple of days we would just get into the stalls and get them used to us touching them, we then proceeded in catching the foals and placing halters on them and letting them get used to something being on their face. At the end up the week we were able to place the halters on them and walk them up and down the halls with their mothers. Throughout the summer we will continue to work with them and eventually be able to walk them around the barn without their mothers being beside them. We then feed the horses again and the day usually ends around 5 p.m. We work Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays we just come in to feed in the morning and the afternoon. This week I have learned a lot about the equine breeding industry and I am eager to continue in working and learning at the Darling 888 Ranch this summer.