Thursday, March 1, 2007

Foaling Season - Time to Watch Arabian Horses - Mares & Foals

As the prime breeding season for Arabian horses and other horses fast approaches, it's also time to see the fruits of last year's breeding season. With the gestation length for the Arabian horse and other horse breeds being give or take 345 days, the foaling season and breeding season go hand in hand. The new foals are arriving as next year's foal crop of horses is being created. It's a hectic time on the Arabian horse or other horse breeding farm.

The most common signs to watch for in the pregnant Arabian horse (mare)

1. Bagging up (development of the udder)
2. Waxing, (droplets formed on the teats)
3. Milk comes in (sticky and white)
4. Relaxation of the muscles in the pelvic area. (mare's vulva elongates)
5. Relaxation of the muscles around the tail head
6. Increased irritability

Some Arabian horses (mares) will show all of these symptoms. Other Arabian horses (mares) will exhibit only part of these symptoms. Many Arabian horses (mares) will exhibit most of these symptoms. Because all Arabian mares (and other horses) are different, it is helpful to keep a record for each mare showing symptoms, when they occurred and specific foaling information for future reference.

The most difficult mare to read may be the maiden mare (horse that has not previously foaled). The maiden horse may show none or all signs of impending foaling. It is common for maiden mares to not get milk before the horse foals.

Many Arabian horses (mares) foal without any assistance, delivering healthy foals. It is the exception to this that puts the lives of both the Arabian horse (mare) and the foal at risk. Foaling in horses is a fast process. Arabian foals (or other foals) are not equipped to spend long periods of time in the birth canal. Anything that impedes progress must be corrected as soon as possible. About 15 minutes would be a reasonable time for the second stage (delivery of foal) in the Arabian horse (mare). Deliveries taking longer require a call to the veterinarian.

Due to the seriousness of complications, Arabian horses (mares) close to delivery should be monitored. Instinct tells the horse to foal in private, so watching can be difficult. Modern technology offers help for the horse (mare) owners and breeding managers of today.

Modern innovations:
1. Transmitter that send alert when the mare lies out flat
2. Milk testers that monitor calcium content to predict foaling
3. Foaling cams linked to monitor in house
4. Websites devoted to monitoring mares on web cams

Arabian horse (mare) or other horse breed owners having foaling cams and a computer can put the two to work. For a nominal fee, web cam streaming service devoted exclusively to watching pregnant mares 24-7 is available. The most popular of these services has an international community of watchers, foaling alerts, chats and forums to assist the Arabian horse breeding farms and the horse community watching mares.

I received emails and phone calls from around the world with my twin foals on web cam at Mare Stare. So after twenty years of sleeping in the barn waiting for my Arabian horses to foal, this year my mares will be on Mare Stare Cams. I'm looking forward to a lot less stressful foaling season with all that extra help. Her foaling date is March 13. She normally foals near her date and has required assistance once. Her first foal was upside down.

For more information on twin horses or the rare Arabian horse twins born on my farm last year. To read about the twins' complete story beginning with their birth starts with Reflections on Foaling Season 2006 - Rare Twin Foals

1 comment:

  1. Hi MiKael

    I only have one baby due here this year, which is just as well as I am getting the six back from Iowa and still have 6 yearlings from last year to sell.

    I will keep checking in on the cam and watch for any developments.

    Hope all is well with you.