As Zenyatta becomes accustomed to being a mother to her newborn Bernardini colt, numerous questions have been raised by fans—from how the champion mare is handling her new role--to which stallion she will be bred to next.
During a March 13 Talkin’ Horses podcast on BloodHorse.com, three staff members from William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm, where Zenyatta is boarded, were on hand to answer some of the most common inquiries about the mare and her foal.
When asked breeding plans for 2013, farm manager Mike Cline said, “I spoke to the Mosses about that before they left, and there’s been lots of conversation about it. Jerry Moss is superstitious, though and wanted to make sure the foal and Zenyatta were okay before he made a final decision. In the next couple weeks, that decision will be made clear.”
One of the other most popular questions was how Zenyatta had handled the foaling process. Charles Campbell, who helps manage the broodmare operation at the farm, said there had already been five other foals born at Lane’s End when Zenyatta went into labor around 10 p.m. March 8.
Campbell noticed Zenyatta was showing signs she was ready to deliver and called his foaling team, who arrived around 20 minutes before the mare’s water broke. “Her foaling was very routine and normal,” Campbell said. “(After her water broke), she lay down and started pushing. It was a simple foaling…She had a normal resting heart rate, which is impressive for a maiden mare.”
After resting for a little over an hour, Zenyatta’s colt stood up for the first time and nursed before midnight.
When asked if Zenyatta received any special treatment over the other mares at the farm, Cline said, “You always try and pretend like Zenyatta is like every other mare boarded here at Lane’s End…we keep her on the same routine as other mares and don’t do anything differently. But obviously if you take time to think about it, you know she’s special. She reminds us every day she’s special, but she’s also a pleasure to be around…she’s very sweet and intelligent, so she makes it easy.”
Another fan wondered whether Zenyatta and her foal would be kept in the same paddock as other mares or foals. The Lane’s End officials said they would give the mare and foal a week or two by themselves, after which they would choose another mother and baby to bring into their paddock. “We’re going to raise (Zenyatta’s) foal as normally as we can,” said Cline, adding that the Bernardini colt would be weaned in about five months.
Understandably, fans were also interested in how Zenyatta’s foal compared to his mother in terms of looks and personality.
“We have noticed the foal does have a lot of presence in the paddock,” said Donna Vowles, assistant broodmare manager at Lane’s End. “He seems to be copying his mother’s lengthy stride and is always paying attention to everything going on around him.
Added Cline: “He also looks like her—they have similar heads and hips. He’s good-sized. He’s not huge, but he’s leggy, scopey, and nice that way. He has a nice length, and I would expect he’ll be at least 16 hands when he’s full grown. He ended up being bigger than we thought…as she was pushing him out, he just kept coming.”
Team Zenyatta said they will continue to update their website at www.Zenyatta.com with photos of the mare and her foal in the coming weeks.