Friday, May 24, 2024

Ultrasound, Rinse, Repeat: Part 1

This story really starts nine years ago - an Andalusian breeder whose program i really have a ton of respect for bought a new colt. I was intrigued. They have a great eye, and they do amazing work raising babies and turning them into very solid citizens. Cinna was having her first few rides in late 2015 and I was casually thinking long term about the next generation, so I made a note to keep an eye on him. 

The first of many of these photos.... 

Over the years, I followed along as he grew up, and learned all about being a riding and driving horse. His owner is an incredibly talented CDE competitor (on the FEI's developing athlete list!) and she works with great dressage trainers. The stallion matured and started doing things. He got even nicer. He moved to the top of my list for Ruby "down the line". He basically WAS the list 🤣

DH got to be involved one day the appointment fell on a state holiday. 

Since Ruby was my main competition horse, breeding was always on the backburner, but I really did want her to produce my next generation of riding horses. I am a firm believer than anything that reproduces should be DO things first. Unfortunately in the Iberian breeds, some people basically just breed them based on in hand class results and having lots of hair, and that doesn't do it for me. Ruby definitely met all my criteria of being a well-rounded, super fun amateur horse with a great brain, good conformation, and more talent than I knew what to do with, but I was having so much fun doing stuff with her the idea of taking the better part of two years off to grow then raise a baby sounded like it was going to interfere with a lot of show plans 🤣 so I kept thinking "well maybe next year".

Another photo, a different day in stocks lol. 

But then I got Emmy. And I was splitting my riding and lesson time between them. And then I started really focusing on getting bronze scores on Emmy. And of course Cinna was still around to ride. Which freed Ruby up to take a little time off. And then .........

Alright so time to tell you about the time the vet almost gave me a heart attack 🤣 at like the 3rd ultrasound, the vet was like "well that's weird, that almost looks like a testicle" 😱😱😱 it was not, just a weird quirk of the contrast/tissue that day, I made her check on every subsequent ultrasound, but god did she take like 5 years off my life lol. 

Last fall, I got a message from the stallion owner. I had been VERY vocal about keeping an eye on him for Ruby down the road. He was heading down to Florida for the winter season, and as long as things went well, she was tentatively planning to stand him at stud in 2024 and needed to get some breedings set up to make sure he collected and shipped well before she offered him to the public. And I realized Ruby would turn 13 in January 2024 and as a maiden, we would be getting a pretty late start and it might not be the easiest to get her in foal. So. We started making plans. Very tentative ones. But he had a great Florida season. And he came back home. And she wanted to know if I was still interested - YES!

There were a lot of ultrasounds. I took Ruby in a week or so before the stallion started phantom training, just for a touch base and to make sure everything looked okay/normal/heat cycles had started for the spring/etc. Once the stallion had been trained to collect and was ready to start shipping, I hauled Ruby back up for an ultrasound to try to coordinate a breeding. Of course we had *just* missed ovulation. So the vet sent me home with drugs to short cycle her, and we went back for another ultrasound. And back. And back. And back again. The university is about a 45 minute drive for me, so I had a LOT of 1.5 hours round trips listening to the Tortured Poets Department on repeat 🤣 Missouri's weather also conspired to send horrifying death storms like EVERY TIME RUBY HAD AN ULTRASOUND the first few weeks. It was nerve wracking. 

The amount of ultrasound photos I have on my phone at this point is unreal. Ruby didn't read the book and her follicles kept doing weird things. They'd grow, they'd hang out at an awkward size for too long, and then bam, they were gone. But finally, we were close. I filled out shipping paperwork and authorized the repro clinic to charge my credit card. We scheduled daily ultrasounds and the stallion owner and I were in practically hourly contact 🤣 bless her heart she was so patient with my neurotic ass, haha. So was the vet. And finally I got to send the official "SEND SWIMMERS" text. And then obsessively refresh tracking. And then hurry up and wait because FedEx opened late the morning the swimmers arrived. But then.... It was time!

There are two vets in the therio department - Dr. Fabio (that's literally his name I'm not being funny haha) did Ruby's initial ultrasound and one of the follow ups, but the majority of Ruby's repro work was done by Dr. Julia. Both of them are lovely people! 


This is so ridiculously long we need a part two 🤣 stay tuned! 


  1. Replies
    1. Hopefully it works out well and I didn't just flush four figures down the proverbial toilet 🤣

  2. I don't know how I missed this post! This is so exciting!

    1. Blogger has decided to stop showing my posts in people's feeds or in Feedly and I am at an utter loss how to fix it 🫠