Friday, May 1, 2009

Foaling and Showing Rolled into One - Day 3

Because Dare is a maiden mare the bonding experience is really important. I have always expected she would be a great mother because her mother, Solidare, has always been a terrific mom.

Dare didn't disappoint me, she immediately turned to the foal and began sniffing. From there she moved on to licking. I had Jessica stay out of the stall and Dave and I backed off as well letting Dare spend some one on one time with her baby.

I stayed in the stall just to be safe, monitoring her behavior. I know from experience that things can turn quickly with horses. They can look one minute like all is fine and the next the sh*t hits the fan. I wasn't taking any chances with this new foal.

Jessica went outside and began taking pictures with her cell phone. That reminded me that my camera was in the house so I sent Dave to retrieve it. Then when Jessica asked what she could do to help, I turned my cam over to her. You can thank her for the pictures, she took a zillion of them I swear.

I set about cleaning the stall while Dare continued to lick and nuzzle her foal. I grabbed the foal's legs to move it around so I could get all of the wet straw out. Dare was fine as long as she could keep her eyes peeled on the foal. She didn't seem to mind my presence at all, or my handling of her foal.

Dave and Jessica were bugging me wanting to know the gender of this foal. It was still in the sack and I hadn't looked because I didn't want to disturb the mare. Finally I got tired of them badgering me to know and I tore the sack and lifted up the tail.

It was too dark in the stall to really see what was underneath that tail. There really wasn't much light anywhere else in the stall so I felt with my fingers. I hit the edge of what I thought was the vulva and I said "It's a filly." Then I went back to work cleaning the soggy stall listening to Dave tell me how he always knew it was a filly and all the usual banter that follows along with that.

Anyone who knows me knows I always check my foals about three times to determine their sex. If it's a filly, I check multiple times because I can't believe it. If it's a colt, I check multiple times because I don't want to believe it. That's just the way it is, I am a multiple bum checker for sure. I would check again later, or as least that's what I kept saying.

After the stall was cleaned, I got the iodine out and dunked the foal's navel. The burn of the iodine caused a major reaction, the first signs of the foal wanting to rise. Dare wasn't sure if she was ready for her foal to stand, she began talking frantically but her foal could have cared less.

Once the foal got the idea to rise it wasn't long before the foal was standing. I couldn't get over the strength of this little creature. In less than 30 minutes, this baby was standing up pretty darn solid on all four feet. There were no attempts to take a step, just standing there processing what it felt like to be on those long legs.

We made jokes about fillies being smarter than colts. Fillies always seem to be the early risers here. The colts sometimes can take hours to figure out how to work their legs. Then they tend to suck on walls and people long before they get anywhere near the milk bar. As we laughed about all the usual colt antics, this foal began looking for a snack and was actually headed in the right direction.

All this time Jessica was snapping pictures. Each time the foal would reach for the udder, the flash would go off and the foal would retreat. I had to tell Jess she needed to hold up on the nursing shots until this baby horse figured out how to do it. I didn't want the camera's flash teaching the foal to stay away from that location.

Once the camera issue was settled it didn't take long until the foal had figured out how to nurse. Dare was so good through all of this. Unlike many maiden mares she was ok with the foal getting behind her. She stood quietly instead of turning around tracking every move. That make it much easier for the foal to figure out how to nurse.

Once the foal had a full tummy, Dare laid down for the first time since the foaling. I knew she must be exhausted. She'd had a dreadful week with very little sleep yet she didn't lay down until her baby laid down to take a brief nap.

I took this as a cue to go back to the house. I got the cam back up and fixed the mare a nice hot bran mash. I also went into the chat to get ideas on how to deal with the placenta. By this time there was no progress in the mare passing the darn thing. I knew I needed weight but hadn't a clue how to go about attaching that weight. Methods I'd tried in the past hadn't worked well.

The people in the chat room were most helpful. Someone suggest using a wet dish towel. Another suggested using baling twine to tie that towel to the umbilical cord.

As it turns out this method to add weight worked very well. Once I tied the towel to the umbilical cord I had no problems with it slipping off. It seemed to be just the right amount of weight, about the same as the sack would have been. The only question at this point was Dare having enough contractions to shed the placenta.

I had oxytocin on hand but I didn't want to give it to the mare if I didn't have to. I hate to cause mares to have anymore contractions than necessary. They're already so worn out after giving birth, I feel bad making them have even more cramping. So I decided to give Dare a couple more hours to pass the placenta on her own. I went back to bed setting my alarm to check on Dare and her foal in exactly two hours.

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

Day 3 cont

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. Poor Dare, that's a lot of work. Hope the weight thing helped, I'm with you I wouldn't want to cause any more cramping either. The foal is just adorable and smart too.

  2. what a good mommy! Babies are so precious.

  3. What a sweet, sweet foal! Just precious.

    Congrats to Dare for being such a wonderful first time mother.

    So glad and relieved that everything went well. Anxiously waiting the rest of the story ......

  4. You cracked me up when you said you are a multiple bum checker. You sound so much like my friend who breeds Arabians. She's been breeding two or more foals every year since I've known her, and every year she frets over the possibility of getting a colt. She wants fillies and nothing but fillies. However, I have to keep reminding her that her Grand Champion is a gelding.

  5. What a gorgeous foal!!! Good job Dare! Each one is as exciting as the one before!!

  6. I'm so far behind in ready your blog MiKael, but I've just read back all that I missed and all I can say is WOW! So much has happened in the fortnight or so that I haven't been watching, congrats on the beautiful foal, glad to hear mum and bub are doing well!!!