Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Foal Watch with a Very Sneaky Arabian Mare Part 2

Picture courtesy of twosuperstudponies from mare stare

Part 1

It was obvious from the start that the mare was planning on foaling. But it's never a given, a mare can shut down her labor if she feels threatened. The trick was going to be to not interrupt the mare before she had reached the point of no return but still be present if she needed assistance.

By the time I entered the Mare Stare Chatroom, I was greeted by a number of marestare addicts who already had Aana up on their computers. They and others who frequent the message boards had begun the typical bantering that takes place as a mare gets closer to foaling. While others lurked watching the momentum build. The chat was busy and the thread on Aana was rapidly growing with posts of her antics. The tail switching became more and more intense. Throwing her feed tub was causing regular hysterics on both the MB and the chat. Her pacing picked up and it was obvious she was not a happy mare.

I kinda bounced back and forth between the MB and chat wanting to keep up with what was being posted looking for insight into this sneaky mare. I've learned over my months of marestaring that different people see different things and the more clues I had the better. I was going to be prepared to catch this mare in the act of foaling.

The experienced breeders in the chat understood the necessity of not interrupting this mare but it was still hard for all of us to sit there and watch, waiting for the right moment. Some on the MB even criticized the fact that no one was in the stall making it obvious they didn't understand the situation and probably hadn't read the thread they were posting to.

The hardest part was the way the cam is set up in the stall. Because our stalls have half walls that are open to the outdoors on two sides, where the camera can be set to avoid the glare that comes in are limited resulting in a couple of blind spots in the stall. Fortunately the darn blind spots are against those outside walls where a mare wouldn't feel safe to foal. But Aana did manage to move around enough and change positions enough to make it difficult to see the exactly what she was doing.

I thought the mare would wait until after dark. She had always foaled in the evening after dinner but before midnight. We even joked some about tasks that needed to be finished before the mare could foal. One of those things was Dave had pizza in the oven and I hadn't had lunch. But Aana wasn't interested in our schedules for her. I think the low alert was triggered before the cheesy bread was done.

I was watching for her water to break because I knew she couldn't shut her labor off once she had reached that threshold. I thought I saw that happen but she was turned away from the camera so I couldn't actually see the fluid flowing from her. At best it was an educated guess. She got up and went and smelled the spot where she had laid and that was my clue.

I had seen a number of mares do the same thing on MareStare. With those mares I knew for sure their waters had broken because they had laid with their vulva's towards the camera. I had seen the fluid. It had been curious to me that each mare had gone over and smelled the fluid.

So now watching Aana do the same thing I was pretty sure she was past the point she could stop her labor. I left my computer and headed the 500 feet to my barn. Aana was not happy to hear me coming and jumped up. As I got to the stall I saw her turn away from me pinning her ears tightly to her head and gesturing for me to go away. Protruding from the back of her were two white feet.

The Arabian mare turned so fast, I didn't get a chance to check the position of the feet. I backed off out of her sight and watched her immediately lay down. I crept around to a spot I could see to check the foal's position. There was something odd about the look of those feet and I felt I had to go in for a closer look.

The mare jumped to her feet again. I just couldn't get an idea of what seemed off to me, so I followed the mare around and grabbed at a foot pushing it downward. It moved just like it was supposed to so I backed off and left the stall. Aana immediately laid down again and with one strong push ejected the foal up to its hocks.

To be continued..........

Part 3

You can see some of her previous foals on our website, Rising Rainbow Arabians .


  1. MiKael - I read the thread on MareStare, starting with the labor and continuing past the birth. I was on the edge of my seat, even though the event had happened the day before.

    I find reading the account here also fascinating. Congratulations on the new arrival.

  2. What a great mare. I love it when they are so competent. Luckily most of mine are like that.

    I have just been watching the cam and the little snot (your saying LOL) is pawing at the feedpan!!!! He sure is a cutie.

    Enjoy him and your other baby.