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Breeding a champion

Guarding Cat Book Cover Guarding Cat
(The McKenna Curse Book 5)
by Patricia Rosemoor
Mystery & Thrillers, Romance
Dangerous Love Publishing
Pub Date 7 Jul 2020

Horse trainer Aidan McKenna has the ability to glimpse into the future. So when the dreams begin—searing, erotic dreams about his new partner, Cat Clarke—he knows the dangers of ever falling in love again. Aidan and the beautiful horse breeder had staked everything on their racing venture. But when Cat's missing stable manager turns up dead, it becomes clear they have more to lose than races. Aidan knows he has to find a way to defeat the curse to save the woman of his dreams.

Cat owns a horse breeding farm. Now I knew very little about this aspect of horses so I researched it. I found an article in the Horse magazine which was informative of how a large breeding facility operates.

What they are attempting to do is to provide a controlled environment for the breeding. Artificial insemination is not used, so they use live stallions for the breeding. It is a high cost business. As well as the controller- to keep track of ins and outs, there is the agronomist whose job it is to produce pastures that are both balanced in their nutrients and palatable to the horses. There are the vet and their technician, who take bloods, ultrasounds and check on the health and ovulation of the mares. Including palpating/ultrasounding mares for breeding soundness and estrous cycle timing; using that information to plan breedings; checking for pregnancies and problems; administering treatments; and monitoring stallion fertility. They also handle preventative care such as plasma administration for foals; deworming; vaccinations; and caring for sick animals; confirming ejaculation occurred; evaluating sperm motility via dismount semen samples after every breeding; and evaluating sperm morphology (physical shape).  Mares will undergo uterine bacterial culturing prior to the breeding season. This allows time to treat any infection present and avoids “wasted” breedings. Mares are also cultured if they don’t get pregnant on the first cycle; the samples are evaluated at the farm, as are foals’ immunoglobulin levels. Amazingly technical and complicated work to ensure a successful pregnancy that will produce a foal that can win races and then – if male – earn lots of dosh at stud.

Then there is the barn manager who looks after the mares and foals general care; and marketing – of the stallions and facilities available; plus someone for all the following roles: assistant controller; stallion administrator; certified public accountant; farm manager; seeding of pastures; projects coordinator; landscape architect; director of bloodstock services; insurance; sales coordinator; and transport.

So compared to all these staff we can see that Cat’s farm is very small ‘fry’.

This story is a romance with horses, mystery and suspense, and some murder thrown in for good luck. We are not privy to the police side of things, but we do have a horse whisperer from Ireland, who also has second sight, who needs to get his colt to race and win well so that he can be used for stud – at exorbitant charges.

 Quite an insight into also just how many staff there are at a race course to look after the horses all of whom have a separate job – grooming; stall work; walking a ‘hot’ horse after racing; riding a horse to train him and so on. No wonder it costs so much to race horses! And to buy a Thoroughbred horse.

All the English classics are for three-year-olds, and are designed to establish which horses are the best of that generation, so they can then be bred from. As breeding has become more commercialised, with powerful studs such as Darley and the mighty Coolmore in Ireland, so racing has in some respects become secondary, a means to the end of producing commercial stallions. According to the Guardian newspaper, 2009 :

A really good stud could impregnate least 100 mares a year; the owner of each mare is likely to pay around £75,000 for the privilege; he thus stands to make at least £7.5m a year. He could cover 400 mares if the owners wanted to work him really hard.  And this happens for around 20 years!

Sea and Sand earned  $250,000 per mare! – or pregnancy in 2009. This is Uncle Mo- in 2017: The champion American juvenile of 2010, he has established himself as the dominant stallion of his generation.

His first two-year-olds earned $3,675,294 in 2015, a record figure for a North American first-crop sire that eclipsed the previous benchmark of $2.8 million set by Tapit in 2009. 

The most expensive stud – Galileo – in 2008 was reputed to earn over $600,000 per pregnancy!

So 4 stars for learning about thoroughbreds..

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Woo Woo crimes

Do You Hear What I Hear?: Book Cover Do You Hear What I Hear?:
A Detective Shelley Caldwell "Hot Christmas" (A Detective Shelley Caldwell story Book 5)
Patricia Rosemoor
Dangerous Love Publishing
(13 Nov. 2017)
Novella

The song “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was written as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis in the middle of the Cold War with Russia. Now Christmas is around the corner and live-in lovers Detective Shelley Caldwell and Jake DeAtley are in a cold war of their own. Shelley has all wonderful memories of Christmas, while Jake, born of a mother turned vampire while pregnant with him, has none. They’ve come to a compromise that she can decorate “her half” of every room, but there can be no Christmas tree. Then a case of hit-and-run leaves a dead body and a magical Christmas tree. With her woo-woo instincts ablaze, Shelley can’t resist bringing home the tree, heating up the war with Jake. There is more to the tree than either knows. Will it bring them back together or push them farther apart. Shelley and Jake met in the novel “Hot Case,” deepened their relationship in “Hot Trick,” and appeared in short stories “Hot Corpse” and “Hot Song.” Each case has a different paranormal/urban fantasy bent and villain. And a little much needed humor.

This author specialises in romance so her foray into crime fiction is an aberration, but a good one, and she should continue this series in my opinion.

I started this series with the last book rather than the first as part of my Xmas reading but rdalised I wanted to find out the history between Shelley and Silke her twin and how Shelley met Jake so needed to go back to book 1 and others.

But then found out that I had a problem – Patricia Rosemoor has written over 90 books (and counting) and the detective series is not one of her most recognised and thus it was tricky to track down the book I was looking for. I did find it eventually luckily.

What we find out from the first book is that Shelley is a Sensitive and thus can sense ‘woo woo’ as she puts it in the course of her work. She finds that many of her crime scenes have non-human creatures involved and also that Jake is not quite human either! Silke involves herself in the magic world and gets herself into a lot of trouble as a result and takes her ‘woo woo’ aspects and attributes much more seriously than Shelley. But over time and crime scenes Shelley gets less sceptical and more understanding.

The series contains the following novels:

Hot Case; Hot Trick; Hot Tales; and Hot Corpse.

But Rosemoor now uses the ‘Hot’ pre-noun for another series, which could be confusing…

I shall read some of Rosemoor’s other books at some time, but I read the entire crime series and enjoyed it.

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