It must have been about 4 years ago that Moo was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis in her spine. I think it was around then that I started to realise she wouldn't last forever and that someday I'd like her to have a foal to inherit her gentle, laid back nature, impeccable manners and her willingness to please me.
After she was diagnosed we changed our main focus from Eventing to Showjumping as her dressage had got worse and worse. Thankfully her jumping wasn't effected and we spent a few happy summers show jumping.
It was during a showjumping weekend at Bicton Arena that I spotted the talented and gorgeous stallion "Pauldarys Touch of Tiger" jumping the Derby in the main arena.
I was there with Lala and Emily, who owns a Pauldarys horse (Ameria) so she wanted to watch him jump, I was immediately amazed by his technique, his bounce, his forward going attitude and his general way of going.
We all started imagining what his and Moo's future foal would look like!
About a year an a half later, Moo's showjumping was starting to feel the effect of the osteoarthritis so Terri and I decided the time had come.
It was time to REALLY decide on a stallion! Several people including Terri advised me to shop around a bit but nothing else seemed like quite the right fit for Moo. So I finally persuaded Terri to come and visit Pauldary's Stud with me.
Terri and Paula already knew each other through showjumping, the stud felt really down to earth and everything seemed very laid back and natural. We saw 4 stallions but my heart was now totally set on Touch of Tiger (Jimmy). So after the visit, we settled on him and agreed Moo would go there for natural covering the following spring.
We had a great winter Team Chasing and hunting. Then the day after the last spring Team Chase, Moo had her shoes removed and the following day we trucked up the M4 to Pauldary's Stud in Hampshire.
There followed 9 slightly agonising weeks of will she/won't she.... Moo took 2 weeks to come into season, didn't take on her first season, so we had to wait 2 more weeks, then 2 more weeks again to makes sure she didn't come into season a third time, but happily after 7 weeks Paula phoned me with the happy news that she was pregnant!! Unfortunately it was twins...
Horses generally can't carry twins and usually miscarry at 7 months which is a very traumatic experience for the mare. So the usual thing to do is for the vet to pinch one out, so she had to stay another week for another scan to make sure this was successful.
Thankfully it was, so off I went again up the M4!
I think she was pleased to see me after all that time, and there is a lot more of her now! No it's not pregnancy fat at this stage, she spent 9 weeks in a lovely grassy field and she's an incredibly good do-er, so she's rather large and needs to be ridden again to get the weight down.
I should be able to gently hack her until autumn winter, and then she'll go on maternity leave. I think her due date is somewhere around the end of April next year :)