July is a very exciting month, even though there are no foalings or coverings yet, there are always the fillies arriving for their maiden seasons at stud. Fillies you saw racing their hearts out on the track are being retired at this time of year to start their next career as a broodmare. And let me tell you, you don’t just automatically qualify for this job, you have to either be a) A star racehorse, b) Very, very well related or c) An excellent physical specimen. All, or a combination of the above mentioned, will drastically increase your chances for a first date with a stallion with the credentials of KAHAL or MUHTAFAL of course.
This season we are fortunate enough to have some exceptional fillies entering the broodmare band, including recent arrivals RAISERAOSE (4wins, R239,240, at 3 to 4, 1400 – 1800, placed 12 times, inc. 2nd Lady’s Bracelet, L), LEGALLY BLONDE, Champion 2YO Filly in 2003 and HARD TO GET (3 wins, R160,900, at 2, 100 – 1200m, inc. East Cape Fillies Nursery, L, placed 5 times, inc. 2nd Fillies Nursery, Gr.3, Lady’s Slipper Stakes, L), just to name a few. Then there are also several imports which includes amongst others, a KINGMAMBO filly out of a SADLER’S WELL’S mare, an ALHAARTH, a PIVOTAL and a HENNESY filly.
Very shiny and looking a bit ‘skraal’ compared to our pregnant mares, these fillies are stabled under infrared lights and grazed on green pastures to get them to start cycling in time for the September breeding season. You see, because the Jockey Club’s of the world in their considerable wisdom, have advanced the official birthdays of racehorses to 1st August (in the Southern Hemisphere), we’re forced to manipulate their seasons artificially and we’re trying to trick these fillies into believing that Spring’s already upon us.
Another important thing is to get them used to the crush where all the vet work gets done. Looking very, very similar to a starting stall, they’re walked through and handled in these crushes as much as possible before the vet starts his work in August. Believe you me, it’s quite an issue to get a race filly to stand still and relax in something she’s used to JUMP out off every previous encounter, because when you open that front door, they’re ready to GO! These are the times when you really appreciate all the old girls on the farm that pretty much walk in there and lift their tails – all by themselves.
Posted by Annet Becker