Recent Updates

Welcome to Foal Patrol Season 5! Check in here for our latest mare and foal updates and season announcements.

Merriebelle Stable proudly offered Arravale18 for auction

September 10th, 2019

Season 1 update: At the Keeneland September sale, Merriebelle Stable proudly offered the American Pharoah colt out of the champion mare Arravale, a Canadian Horse of the Year with over $1.1 million in career earnings, for auction. The colt, Hip #236, was sold to Akira Katayama for $200,000. 

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Photo courtesy of Merriebelle Stable

Arravale and Arravale'18 update

March 7th, 2019

Chelsey Hintze from Chanteclaire Farm sent some updates on Arravale. She is currently in France, Merriebelle is breeding her to Siyouni. Not sure yet if she will return to the USA to foal, or if she will remain at our farm in Ireland. This will be determined.

Arravale'18, the yearling is great, growing like a weed. We will not name him, as he will be available for public auction this fall. The colts and fillies have been separated at the yearling barn already, so he's learning all about being a "teenage" boy. He spends most of his days sleeping all morning, and then tearing around rough housing all afternoon. Living his best life for sure!

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Photo courtesy of Chanteclaire Farm

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Photo courtesy of Chanteclaire Farm

This Will Make You Laugh!

August 24th, 2018

Arravale18 is having some fun here with his pasture-mate Owl Moon.

He's Going Strong!

August 13th, 2018

Arravale18 is phased by nothing!  You'll see in this video, his recent surgery has had no impact on his attitude!!  Gotta love that boy!!

Arravale18 - Nothing Keeps Him Down!

August 6th, 2018


Below is an article Chelsey has shared with us that helps explain Arravale18's procedure.

Angular Limb Deformities in Young Horses

By Kentucky Equine Research Staff

When one or more of a foal’s limbs has the appearance of being bent sideways or rotated, the condition is known as an angular limb deformity. A number of foals exhibit this problem, which sometimes self-corrects in mild cases as the foal grows. More significant deformities can be treated during the foal’s early months of life, leading to a resolution of the deformity and a better chance for an athletic future when the horse matures.

Angular limb deformities can take the form of a lateral or medial deviation of the limb. The angulation can arise in association with uneven elongation from the growth plate (physis) or alternatively can be involved in abnormalities of the cuboidal bones of the carpus and tarsus. Most commonly the problems are associated with uneven physeal growth and involve the physes of the distal radius, metacarpus and metatarsus, or tibia, in that order. When a deviation results in the lower part of the limb bending out (lateral), it is termed valgus, while a deviation to the inside (medial) is termed varus. The total nomenclature for angular deformities is derived by combining the name of the involved joint or the joint immediately distal to the affected growth plate and the type of deviation. For example, a lateral deviation of the distal limb due to an affected distal radial growth plate or abnormal cuboidal bones of the carpus would be termed carpal valgus.

The etiology of angular limb deformities is complex and thought to be multifactorial. The two main categories of factors include perinatal and developmental. Perinatal factors are usually involved when a foal is born with an angular limb deformity, whereas foals that are normal at birth but develop an angular limb deformity are more likely to suffer from one or more of the developmental factors.

Some degree of carpal valgus is thought to be a normal deformity in the young foal, and most of these correct naturally. There have been no nutritional factors consistently associated with this disease. In managing these cases, one must first realize that depending on the location there is a typical growth curve for each of the physes. In the carpus, the growth plate stays open for two years and there is a diminishing rate of lengthening that continues for over a year. On the other hand, when the deformity involves the fetlock, the time available for manipulation of the growth curve is much lower. All effective elongation in the physis at the distal metacarpus or metatarsus ceases around three months of age.

When an angular limb deformity involves the bones in the joint, such as the carpus or tarsus, this needs to be recognized radiographically and is treated with braces or casts to maintain the limb in alignment while the cuboidal bones ossify. This problem occurs relatively infrequently. When it does, it is often associated with a premature foal or a hypothyroid foal.

The more common situation of growth imbalance is associated with the physis, and management depends on the location. In the fetlock, it is generally considered an emergency and periosteal stripping is done at one to two months. The ideal time is one month and it should be done by two months. At three months, the amount of correction that can be attained is much lower and the blemish following periosteal elevation is more obvious. With carpal valgus, there is much more time for manipulation, and periosteal strippings between two and six months are quite common. The principle of periosteal stripping is to transect the periosteum (which acts as a normal restraining device to physeal lengthening on that side) and allow a speeding up of cartilage growth in the physis (hence, lengthening) on that side. It is generally a simple, complication-free procedure. If the problem is not diagnosed until it is too late to obtain sufficient benefit from periosteal stripping, a more drastic option is stapling or screw and wire fixation of the physis. The principle here is to halt growth on the fastest growing side to allow continued growth on the opposite side of the physis and straightening of the limb.

It is important to consult with your veterinarian regarding the best treatment and management options for foals with angular limb deformities. All foals cannot be considered the same in regard to conservative or surgical treatment. Breed differences, age of the foal, and location and severity of the angular limb deformity all impact the decision for the best therapy.