Oh Baby! Kentucky Horse Owner Discovers Five Mares Impregnated by ‘Mystery Horse’

by | 04.24.2013 | 8:58am

Bourbon County horse owner Marilyn Montavon has several unexpected new additions to her band of Thoroughbreds this spring, and she's trying to solve the mystery of how exactly this happened.

Last week, two new foals were born on her farm, a healthy colt and filly. The new arrivals came as quite a shock to Montavon, since she hadn't bred either of the mares, nor did she have any stallions on her farm.

Upon closer inspection she noticed another newcomer out in the field with the mares – a 3-year-old colt she hadn't seen before. Obviously, the colt had been very busy, because there were at least five other mares that were pregnant.

“I think somebody just figured they didn't want to send the horse to the (slaughterhouse) and they thought, ‘Oh, here's a field full of horses. He'll get lost in the herd,'” Montavon told the Lexington Herald-Leader.

As to the question of why Montavon didn't notice this colt earlier – since a mare's gestation period is 11 months – she said that she “doesn't go out onto her 50 acres everyday to personally check on her herd.”

A friend who helps her out and tends to the horses daily didn't notice the colt, dubbed “Mystery Man”, until Montavon pointed him out.

Read more in the Lexington Herald-Leader

  • old horse lover

    Really looking after your herd when a stallion has been with them for a year mares are prenant and you don’t notice.

  • HappyHarriet

    WOW. I hope this woman doesn’t have kids. If she does, in a few years we’ll be hearing from her again – things like “I didn’t know my son Johnny sold drugs at school” or “My 13 year old daughter, Sally? She’s seven months pregnant?” How did THAT happen”?

  • Marley2

    How do you miss an extra horse for over a year???

    • No kidding!!!! I see my horses every day and one thing I always do is count heads. Someone could be missing.

  • Ida Lee

    For a minute there, I thought Bernardini got loose…

    • swiss305

      He’s fertile but TIRED.

  • Really!!! You have to be kidding. I don’t care how big your pasture is. An extra horse, especially a colt out with mares for at least 11 months. She must not check on her horses. I personally put my hands on every horse on my farm daily just to make sure they are okay.

    • Roisin

      I agree. One needs to check the herd on a daily basis. Also, how does one know what shape fences are in unless they are checked. Sounds like the operation is a bit loose !!!

      • Even if she only checked once a week or once a month she should have realized there was an extra horse at some point.

  • circusticket

    I’m surprised at the response. You’re all criticizing her for being negligent. But you really don’t know. If horses have what they need, forage, exercise and social contact, they do a good job of taking care of themselves and can be very healthy. Imagine that, babies born without the interference of a vet! Maybe all of you interfere too much.

    • Really? You need to at the very least count heads. One could be sick or dead or missing. She is negligent. She had a stallion in her herd for a year and didn’t even know it.

      • circusticket

        She has a friend tend to the horses daily. The friend probably doesn’t have a good eye for stallions or pregnant mares, but then again, she wasn’t looking for pregnant mares. Why would she? And the owner deserves all this criticism? There is not enough information to judge her so harshly, but everyone loves to point fingers. We also don’t know her situation (financial, health, etc).

        • The friend should be able to count. It’s not the friend’s fault.

          • circusticket

            Perhaps the friend is a lonely 60 year old woman of frail health who loves horses and is helping the owner, who might be struggling financially (not uncommon nowadays). Perhaps the friend has arthritis and can’t get around well. Oh, never mind, maybe you’re right. She should get rid of the horses and maybe they’ll end up on a truck to Canada.

          • I’m not blaming her for not spending money and for not seeing her horses every day, but over the course of 11 months she should at least count heads regularly. If it is too much effort to do that perhaps she needs some help. Now she has MORE horses to take care of. You do not have to go all the way out in the field to count. It’s very easy to feed some inexpensive horse treats once a day so that the horses will come up to the fence. And if I had a friend who was helping me I would ask THEM to count heads. Lots of things can happen. Horses can get injured, colic, get sick, get loose, get caught in fences.

          • nu-fan

            Maureen: You are using common sense. Others don’t know the meaning of that term. It doesn’t do much of any good to try to reason with them. But, I can see why you are aggravated by this situation. I am too. Nothing ticks me off more than irresponsible people, especially when the lives of others, including animals, are at stake.

          • Thanks. The other thing is, if you have horses a great part of the enjoyment is looking at them and watching them graze and play, even if you don’t ride or interact in other ways. I don’t get it.

          • Roisin

            Yes, I agree. I love to be around them. They all have different personalities. Also, it is a stress buster for me.

          • MyBigRed

            Me too !! I love pulling up to my barn & hear my horses whinny to me. In my opinion, that is the most beautiful sound ! I enjoy spending time with them & yes it is a wonderful way to beat the stress in life :)

          • indyone

            So true.

          • MyBigRed

            Yes, I agree. Where I live, people get horses & put them in a fenced area, without feed or hay. They argue, the mustangs live like that & they survive….well, mustangs are wild. Horses have been domesticated & rely on humans to care for them.

          • And mustangs are free to roam and FIND food and water. You have wonder why people like that even want horses, or any other animal.

          • fallbrook

            A lonely 60 year old! I’m in my late 50’s still ride , clean my own stalls and I would not consider myself frail or lonely. and I can count. You must be very young or a male . Most of my friends are around the same age and older still handling horses and none of us are frail!

          • I didn’t want to say anything, as some people ARE old at 60. I will be 62 in June, and I trim horses’ feet for a living, haul and stack my own hay, take care of my 11 horses, and am currently saddle breaking on TB filly and broke another a couple years ago. I gallop my race horses myself. Clearly circus ticket is young!

          • Convene

            Hey Maureen – some people are old at 20! Some were born that way! I think the things you (and I) do keep old age away – are why we can laugh at folks who think we’re oldies! Remember: we’re also goodies!

          • That is true! This is really turning out to be the best time of my life, and I can remember when I was 18 and thought I’d better get all my riding in before I hit 40 and was too old!!!

          • indyone

            Good for you!! Happy to read this! Horses can keep you young!

          • That is the truth. If only there were no mirrors I would completely believe I’m not a day over 34.

          • Roisin

            Amen to that. One gets frail sitting around doing next to nothing !

          • MyBigRed

            I’m in my mid 50’s & I feed & clean up my 2 horses every day after work. I call the Vet 2 times a year & the Blacksmith 6 times a year just to be sure my horses are healthy & their feet are trimmed . No, I don’t have much money, but my horses come first!! It is called being a responsible horse owner.

          • indyone

            Probably a male. They seem to believe that a woman loses all “usefulness” after about age 40 but believe that they are handsome, strong, virile, and exciting until about age 90.

          • LOL!! I’m guessing girl in her 20’s.

          • nu-fan

            Good luck with that argument! Is the owner’s brain not working as well?

          • Convene

            60? Heck I’m almost 70 and am not too old to go check horses on a 50-acre farm! Just kidding; I know what you mean!
            As for the truck to Canada part … Sadly, that part is potentially true – and I’m NOT being facetious about that!

          • indyone

            You write as if 60 years old is decrepit and hardly able to care for themselves much less count horses.

        • nu-fan

          Youj simply do not ask a “friend” who is not responsible enough to know better. I don’t care what the owner’s situation is/was. She owns the horses. She is responsible for making certain that the horses are taken care of properly. Even I, a novice with horses, would know to check on these horses on a regular basis by taking counts, checking health or for injuries, making certain that the pasture is secure with fences not needing to be mended as well as gates closed/locked. What kind of a “friend” does this owner have that doesn’t notice a new colt out there? Enough of enabling people who are either dim-witted or irresponsible!

      • @ least the colt (stallion) didn’t go to the slaughter house or starve to death…Some of u folks love to bust other peoples chops…Lighten Up!!!…

    • BansheeBreeze

      You apparently have never owned a horse in your life if you think you can just dump a bunch of mares in a field and expect them to be healthy. I would be VERY curious to see the condition of these horses coming out of a winter with no supplemental food. You don’t dump some horses in a field and do literally nothing with them for a year.

  • Beachy

    I take it Mystery Man doesn’t have a lip tattoo?

    Whoever “dumped him” probably took no notice that he was going in a pasture with a bunch of mares; to him or her it was just a nice pasture and the other horses looked well-cared-for.

    I am very sorry about Snuggles…the “dumper” tried to save Mystery Man but it resulted in one of Ms. Montavon’s mares being euthanized, due to a dead foal inside her that they believed would be too difficult to remove.

    I understand the desire to save, but dumping is not the answer.

    I also think everyone here should cease to be hard on Ms. Montavon; she is trying to play what she’s been dealt, and some of it(AT LEAST the death of Snuggles) is obviously not easy.

    It seems she found a home for Mystery Man and I also hope she can find homes for all the foals. Big prayers…

    • Roisin

      She needs the prayers plus some more practical help. The other side of this story is the person or persons who owned “Mystry Man”. They did not bother to geld him and just dumped him on someones propery with a lot of mares, then walked away. This behavior is abomnable and inexcusable. As for the pro slaughter people who cite the dumping of horses as a sure fire sign of the “desperate need” for horse salughter in many states , I say people who dump animals will continue to do so no matter how available slaughter is because that is how they operate…. no sense of responsibility.

      • I was curious about her age after previous comments. If you click the link for the newspaper article, up in the story above, you can see she is not ancient or in a wheel chair. You can also see part of her farm, which appears to have good visibility. I don’t think it would hurt her to walk out of the house and count the horses.

  • Crystal

    that is absurd! This woman is the worst type of horse owner to have. She did not see her horses everyday, nor for over 11 months did she notice an additional horse on her 50 acres, nevermind mares getting prego belly? So you didn’t vaccinate your horses with yearly rounds, have their teeth done, or deworm them. Well kudos to you for being an “hands on” owner… Marilyn- sell your horses and buy a turtle.. he may not wonder off so fast you loose track of him.

  • LL

    Hope you will let us know if they find out any more about “Mystery Man”

  • BansheeBreeze

    So these mares weren’t handled at all whatsoever in a YEAR!?! No vet care, no worming, no farrier work. No checking to see if they were missing a leg. Just left to fend for themselves without somebody so much as being able to notice another horse?! This is just mind blowing. Guess where all those babies are going to end up too……

    • old horse lover

      Just a thought if they didn’t notice an extra stallion and pregnant mares would they have noticed a missing one who had to be put down from a toxic dead foal insider if she laid down and died?

    • Convene

      If they weren’t handled in over a year, whoever does the breaking and training is in for rollicking good time! Someone should tell her horses are much easier to break when they’ve learned to trust and welcome people and the wacky things they do!

  • Thunderrun

    Regardless of the situation or how it happened, Ms. Montavon IS responsible for HER horses. Even though she has someone helping her, it is up to her to oversee her herd. If she doesn’t have the time to do routine inspections, or doesn’t want to take the time, then perhaps she should consider another hobby…… maybe knitting.

  • fallbrook

    And those mares didn’t injure him!


  • Don Reed

    The explanation for this mystery can be found in the short story, “Pigs Is Pigs,” by Ellis Butler, in the Oxford book of Humerous Prose.

  • Don Reed

    Any day now, the Octomom will issue a similar statement.

  • WT

    Aside from not noticing the colt, how do you not notice mares that are close to term? They get huge! And 50 acres is not that big. I sit in the middle of about that many acres and can see every horse and cow around me. And no one noticed the squealing and “activity” that must have been going on? This story is too far-fetched for me.

  • Convene

    Good thing no one slipped and broke something during all that time! Or got caught in something (Wind can blow some surprising things into the fields) … or got sick … SOMEONE responsible has to check ’em at least daily or one could be lying out there for days and days. ‘Scuse me but I think this is appalling.

  • Maybe everyone should read the full story…..before they jump to conclusions


  • What? She doesn’t “visit the horses every day”? Who does? Are her horses feral? Who feeds them? What kind of a woman is this? Shivers down the spine.

  • mike g rutherford

    OH OH, That women is pulling your leg! Vets are are over rated, unless you really need one. My mares in Texas all foal outside & I lost one foal in 15 years. My KY mares know they are on well-fair!

  • Tonto

    This happens with cows- the midnight baby daddy usually goes back home at daylight yes, an 1800 lb bull can clear a 5 foot fence at a trot. Horses are usually more tightly controlled.

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