Friday, April 16, 2010


Part 1

The cobwebs were forced from my head by the adrenaline released by my recognition of the meaning of the ringing phone. Grabbing for it I asked an urgent, "What?" There was no time for more words, I needed to know what the situation was with my mare. I wanted to hear Dave's voice....... not mine.

Dave's response, "You need to get out here. There's a foal on the ground." There was urgency in Dave's voice but not desperation. That meant he wasn't alarmed but he needed help. Dave doesn't have the experience to do much for the mare without instruction still I asked about Solidare's condition.

The mare and foal looked ok. Solidare was still down. She was laying with her bad leg underneath her. Everything else I would have to find out for myself.

Springing to my feet, I couldn't get ready fast enough. I was wishing I'd laid down with all of my clothes on instead of being only half dressed. It seemed like each piece of clothing took on a life of its own not wanting to cooperate as I tried to put myself together. The whole process couldn't have taken long but to me it felt like forever. I wanted to already be with my mare and I was just heading out the door.

Running to the barn seemed like a better option now. There was no secretive mare to disturb. I nearly tripped over my own feet shaking my head at my clumsiness as I imagined landing on my face and further delaying my arrival at Solidare's side. I tried to think about my feet instead of the urgency I felt.

The sprint to my barn is farther than my asthma will allow. I made it as far as the hay barn before I had to come to a walk. Wheezing my way towards the far barn, I realized the only sound I heard was me.

The silence in the barn yard was staggering. Normally this time of the morning every horse in the place would be sending a morning greeting wanting to be fed, yet not a sound was to be heard. There was not a nicker, a rustle, the fall of a foot, a chomp of teeth on wood walls......... nothing. If I didn't know better I would have thought there wasn't a horse on the place.

Something magical happens when a mare is giving birth...........the entire herd goes quiet....... waiting............wanting to hear the precious sounds of new life. It's one of the things Dave uses to tell him the mare is "getting close." He knows the herd will know before any of we humans and they will stand at attention........... listening for the outcome.

Normally it is the first call of the mare to her new foal that will arouse a response from the other horses. The new foal will be greeted in quiet but joyful chorus. Then the silence resumes as the herd listens intently for the response of the foal and any other clues of what's going on.

On this morning the silence of the horses really struck me. Usually I am the one already at the foaling stall. Something about the walk this morning brought new perspective to me. My alarm was soothed a little by the silence.

The horses know when something is wrong. I remember the night Vee went into labor with the twins. You could have cut that silence with a knife. I was running around frantic to find a vet and the herd seemed to have a sense of the urgency. This silence with Solidare didn't have that kind of tension that comes when things could be going horribly wrong.

I greeted Dave at the door of the foaling stall. He was standing there looking in, watching the mare and foal. I glanced over the half door to see that Solidare looked calm and relatively comfortable. The nearly dry foal was laying right in front of her.

Still I didn't trust without looking for myself. I needed to check the pool of material I could see laying behind the mare underneath her tail. I needed to know status before I called the vet.

Carefully I entered the stall through the little side door. I carried a bucket with me to put the afterbirth in. Then I reached carefully for Solidare's tail. Lifting it ever so carefully to see if there were any signs the mare's uterus was protruding from her vagina. Was the placenta the only thing there outside the mare?

Every thing looked normal. Without the pressure of the foal inside the mare, the lining of the vagina was no longer exposed. There were no external signs of the uterus but I couldn't believe it. After all the worry and stress I had to lift the mass laying beneath the mare's tail to see it was what it was supposed to be. Then and only then could I believe we had probably dodged a bullet.

I immediately called the vet to give him the status on the mare. We talked briefly about the jeopardy of Solidare laying with her bad leg underneath her. If at all possible we needed to roll her with her legs underneath her. Otherwise there was an even greater risk of a torsion now because of the "looseness" caused by the vacany left by the foal inside the mare.

Symptoms for a torsion would manifest similar to those for colic. Colic is also a possibility in the post parturition mare. The vet suggested if I had bran to make a mash to help insure that didn't happen. A hot bran mash is always part of my after care for foaling mares but we'd have to get Solidare to her feet before I could go cook.

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

The First Hours after Foaling

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  1. So far so good ! Is that the foal in the picture?

  2. Fernvalley, sorry, I forgot to put that in there. This pic is indeed Solidare's new baby........and Dave's little totsies off in the left upper corner. LOL

  3. Oh, I'm so glad the foaling is over and successful! Now to get Solidare up and healing.

  4. Oh, wow! Baby, baby, baby!!!! She is fine, right? Right?????

  5. That's a very pretty little foal. So glad that Solidare had a normal delivery.

  6. Pretty little baby, MiKael! Congrats.

    Just picked up a new sale authority mare here...14 years old, not sure if she's harboring a foal in that bulging middle or not (hoping for no miscarriage while at the corrals!)

  7. What a baby! So glad this part is over!Congrats to everyone! Whew! I don't think I could've stood one more day!

  8. wow... .mazeltov as we say :)
    well done