With the birth of my first foal I realized that all of my riding experience and training have not fully prepared me for this moment. It seemed that even 4H, of all things, was even lacking when it came to my breeding and foaling knowledge.
Being my typical self, hell-bent on learning as much as possible, I realized that I learned the extremes and the laid backs when it comes to foaling.
- When you go to breed your mare make sure to pencil out all of the costs. This includes but is not limited too; stud application fee, stud fee, shipping semen, the vet charge for AI, vet charge for hormone injections, vet charge for board, and then take all the AI portions and multiply it by 3 because it could potentially take that many tried to get your mare pregnant like mine did. Oh and don’t forget the anti-abortion medicine and the near birth shots as well.
- Before you even breed your mare get your point vet who will oversee every step. Write dates on your calendar for abortion medicine administration and when you need to do your 45 day and 90 day pregnancy checks as well as when to give your mare her pre birth shots.
- Understand where the foaling is going to happen. What barn, who is accepting the responsibility and where your vet plans to be on the foaling date.
- Ask around, if your vet doesn’t do a foaling class for first time horse parents, he/she will know of one that does or of a class at the local community college. Education is the best tool.
- Understand your horses previous history with foaling; they usually stay consistently on the same time frames for when they will have their baby.
- If your horse has already had a baby without complications prior to this foal, you’ll have good chances of another clean delivery.
- Have a friend with you on foal watch. You never know when you will need a helping hand or someone to call for help while you assist.
- Make sure when the foal starts to come that the sack isn’t red: if it I this is Code Red. Get that baby out of there and stat!
- Understand that it can take as few as 18 minutes from lay down, deliver, up and nursing.
- Take the placenta out of the stall so that it’s out if the way. Using a horse wash it off and then fill it up. You are searching for holes in the placenta. There may be a few tears from it being stepped on. If you see a hole, where a chunk of the placenta is missing, immediately call a vet. It means that it is still inside your mare and could be horrifically infected.
Foaling myth: Long gestations and significantly overdue foals will most likely be colts. “It takes longer to cook the wingding!”