Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with M.C. Toby, Dr. E.W. Thomas, Col. Floyd Sager, December 10, 1979

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
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00:00:04 - Advent of veterinary antibiotics

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Partial Transcript: Before penicillin and all, before all the antibiotics, even before the sulfanilamide and all that stuff see, we--

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about how the advent of antibiotics changed the equine veterinarian profession.

Keywords: Infections; WW2; WWII; World War I; World War II

Subjects: Antibiotics; Germany; Horses--Care; Horses--Health; Penicillin; Remount service; Sulfanilamides; Veterinarians; World War, 1914-1918; World War, 1939-1945

00:02:50 - Maiden mares--Introduction / Caslick operations

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Partial Transcript: Uh, Col. Sager, uh, this entity today that we would like to discuss would be the maiden mare, that is the maiden mare for breeding.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses what maiden mares are and the basic medical examination they should be given upon arriving at the farm. He talks about how too many mares at the race track come to the farm with unnecessary Caslick operations (i.e., sutured vulvas).

Keywords: Breeding sheds; Broodmares; Caslick operations; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Foaling; Heat periods; Infantile genitals; Maiden mares; Recovery; Resident veterinarians; Retired race horses; Speculums; Sutured vulvas

Subjects: Foals; Generative organs; Horse breeders; Horses--Health; Medical examinations; Parturition; Pregnancy; Race horses--Breeding.; Veterinarians

00:14:06 - Maiden mares--Stress and foaling

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Partial Transcript: Uh, Col. Sager, they--the uh, younger veterinarians are mentioning more frequently all the time stress on these, uh, prospective broodmares and on mares in carrying their fetuses.

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about potentials for stress to the maiden mares during foaling, but says that overall, they shouldn't experience more stress during pregnancy than older broodmares. He talks about the additional injuries and damage that maiden mares sustain during the birth of the foal.

Keywords: Broodmares; Bruises; Foaling; Injuries; Lacerations; Maiden mares; Pregnancy; Stress

Subjects: Fetus--Development; Horses--Breeding; Pregnancy; Veterinarians

00:17:30 - Maiden mares--Stalls and lighting

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Partial Transcript: Under lights, such as this maiden mare, uh, do you prefer to house her in a stall at night time during the winter preparing toward to spring breeding or keeping her in a lighted paddock with a shed, an open shed?

Segment Synopsis: Sager talks about how Claiborne Farm individually stalls their maiden mares and about how they manage their lighting in the stalls. He discusses what he considers the benefits of these approaches for the maiden mares and other broodmares.

Keywords: Broodmares; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Lighting; Maiden mares; Paddocks; Stalls

Subjects: Horses--Breeding; Horses--Care; Horses--Health; Mares

00:21:45 - Maiden mares--Worming

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Partial Transcript: Col. Sager, uh, would you, uh, draw us a picture of worming this mare during her first year of broodmare life, uh.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses how to establish a worming program for broodmares and the effectiveness of various worming methods. He talks about some of the fetus abnormalities he has observed over the years, but attributes them to inbreeding rather than, say, the wormers that a mare was taking during her pregnancy. He also recalls the older methods of worming that were practiced on the farm before he became resident veterinarian and before the current medications were available.

Keywords: Bot flies; Bot fly eggs; Bots; Broodmares; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Congenital abnormalities; Deworming drugs; Dr. Ed Caslick; Egg counts; Fecal examinations; Fecal runs; Internal parasites; Organic phosphates; Parasite larvae; Parasitic program; Paste wormers; Worming

Subjects: Domestic animals--Parasites; Foals; Genetic disorders; Horses--Care; Horses--Health; Inbreeding

00:32:27 - Maiden mares--Congenital anomalies

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Partial Transcript: Uh, do you think that there are any other drugs that come to your mind, uh, that would, uh, make a congenital anomaly in the fetus of a mare?

Segment Synopsis: Sager continues discussing fetal abnormalities and again suggests that it is often genetics rather than particular drugs that cause them. He expresses concern for the broodmare's, and thus foal's, nutrition above all else.

Keywords: "Bute"; Congenital abnormalities; Phenylbutazone

Subjects: Fetus--Development; Fetus--Nutrition; Genetic disorders; Pregnancy--Nutritional aspects

00:35:44 - Maiden mares--Steroids

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Partial Transcript: And when this mare comes in can you determine whether she's had steroids or not?

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses how to handle broodmares who have received steroids during their time on the track. He advocates for a patient approach, i.e., the mares should not be bred until the steroids work their way out of the mare's system with time. He also discusses how to handle owners who are anxious to breed their mares sooner rather than later.

Keywords: Arthur B. (Bull) Hancock Jr; Broodmares; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.)

Subjects: Hormones; Horses--Breeding; Mares; Stallions; Steroids; Veterinarian and client

00:42:19 - Maiden mares--Early abortions and loss rates

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Partial Transcript: Uh, I'm wondering, if, if, uh, we're not getting an increased number of early abortions in these mares that have--their pregnancy has been induced by the use of------(??)?

Segment Synopsis: Sager raises the question of whether inducing mares into early heat is correlated with an increased number of early abortions. They discuss breeding horses according to "nature" versus "synthetically." Sager tells a story about one anomalous year when most of his mares got pregnant and most of those foals survived.

Keywords: Broodmares; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Early abortions; Early heat; Equine abortions; Heat periods; Live foal percentage; Loss rates

Subjects: Front Royal Remount Depot (Front Royal, Va.); Horses--Breeding

00:46:04 - Maiden mares--Vaccines / Nutrition

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Partial Transcript: And in thirty days we give them a second shot.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses the effectiveness of tetanus vaccines and then spends some time talking about nutrition for broodmares.

Keywords: Feed schedules; Feeding; Grain; Hay; Mineral supplements; Pellets; Weight

Subjects: Animal feeding; Horses--Health; Pregnancy--Nutritional aspects; Tetanus; Vaccination of animals; Veterinary vaccines

00:50:32 - Maiden mares--Horseshoeing

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Partial Transcript: Now what about the blacksmith work routine on this mare?

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses how he approaches the horseshoeing of broodmares on the farm, stating that he generally avoids it.

Keywords: Broodmares; Farriers

Subjects: Hoofs--Care and hygiene; Horseshoers; Horseshoes

00:51:58 - Maiden mares--Skin diseases

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Partial Transcript: Col. Sager most of these horses coming from the track have a good chance of having skin disease of one type of another.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses how he handles skin diseases in horses, though he says this is rare at Claiborne Farm. He also discusses a term for a certain skin disease that he says is unique to Virginia, surfeit. The interviewers chime in with another term, "weather beaten."

Keywords: "Race-track itch"; "Weather beaten"; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Surfeit

Subjects: Blood--Examination; Broodmares; Front Royal Remount Depot (Front Royal, Va.); Horses--Care; Horses--Health; Isopropyl alcohol; Ringworm; Skin--Diseases--Diagnosis; Virginia

00:57:45 - Maiden mares--Copulation

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Partial Transcript: If this maiden mare by the first of April was showing in to veterinary examination but did not show to the teaser would you breed her on that, uh, period?

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses knowing when to breed a mare, even if they refuse to show to the teaser horse. He discusses the vaginal irritation and discharge that many maiden mares experience and the breeding decisions that should be made with this in mind.

Keywords: "Double"; Broodmares; Heat periods; Live cover; Maiden mares; Stallions; Teasers; Vaginal discharge; Vaginal irritation

Subjects: Horses--Breeding; Sexual behavior in animals

01:00:40 - Maiden mares--Tetanus vaccines

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Partial Transcript: Now one other thing that you may know I want to ask you about, tetanus toxoid.

Segment Synopsis: Sager briefly discusses tetanus vaccines again, specifically for mares and foals.

Keywords: Broodmares; Tetanus toxoid

Subjects: Foals; Tetanus; Vaccination of animals; Veterinary vaccines

01:02:34 - Maiden mares--Travel and transportation

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Partial Transcript: Now--(coughs)--in this maiden mare that gets in foal and is, uh, along, uh, this time next year and you want to move her to another state to breed her, how long, uh, should you move her prior to her foaling date with any degree of safety that the trip won't, uh, won't be of injury or of harm to her?

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses whether maiden and brood mares can and/or should be transported during their pregnancy prior to foaling.

Keywords: Broodmares; Maiden mares; Transportation

Subjects: Horses--Care

01:05:20 - "Masculine" versus "effeminate" mares

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Partial Transcript: I've got one other thing before you get into that. I was wondering, have you noticed anything, a lot of people talk about a "masculine" mare making a better race horse but perhaps not as good a broodmare. Have you noticed anything one way or the other?

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses his opinion that "masculine" mares, in terms of body build, don't make as good broodmares as they do race mares. He talks about whether and how this observation affects his advice to buyers. He also talks about hesitating to definitively say whether or not a mare will be able to foal, and the difference between "knowledge" and "intuition" in such matters.

Keywords: "Effeminate" mares; "Masculine" mares; Bill Caslick; Broodmares; Intuition; Knowledge; Princequillo (Race horse)

Subjects: Conception; Foals; Horse owners; Horses--Breeding

01:13:23 - Cycle of good and bad years on race horse farms

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Partial Transcript: Now Col.--(coughs)--Col. Sager, talking about Bull, I want to go back to one of his friends and one of your friends and my friends, Moody ----- ?? made this statement.

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses the cyclical nature of "good," or winning, and "bad" years at race horse farms.

Keywords: Arthur B. (Bull) Hancock, Jr.; Bull Hancock; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.)

Subjects: Horse farms--Kentucky; Horses--Breeding

01:17:54 - Horse urination

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Partial Transcript: Col. Sager, uh, I wanted you to, um, put in your words if you could for me, the position that horses take in urinating.

Segment Synopsis: Sager and the interviewers talk about horse urination as compared to human urination. Sager tells a childhood story about a man "who was noted for having the largest penis in the community," as well as a humorous anecdote about a woman's mare urinating.

Keywords: Old wives tales

Subjects: Bladder; Fillies; Foals; Horses; Mares; Penis; Stallions; Urination

01:25:38 - Overall philosophy as resident equine veterinarian / Richard Hancock

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Partial Transcript: Uh, what do you think is the most important function, uh, you have as a practicing equine resident veterinarian for that farm?

Segment Synopsis: Sager discusses his role as resident equine veterinarian at Claiborne Farm. He talks about Hancock's philosophy of preventive medicine. Sager also talks about Hancock's attitude and philosophy towards his employees.

Keywords: Arthur B. (Bull) Hancock, Jr.; Bull Hancock; Claiborne Farm (Paris, Ky.); Equine veterinarians; Resident veterinarians; Richard Hancock

Subjects: Horses--Health; Medicine, Preventive; Veterinarians