Equestrian Health

Baby Horses...Are You Prepared For Delivery

Baby horses! Ready or not here they come... let`s be ready.

You have researched your breeding stallion, organized your horse mating, studied the gestation period of horses and learned what to expect during horse pregnancy.

Now, a new focus. Think about what will happen during the foal birth, expulsion of the horse placenta, and foal nursing, just for starters.

Foal Health

Recognizing mare behaviour when foaling labour begins is not difficult if you know the signs. The difficult part is being present for the event as most mares foaling will wait until they think that they are alone and all is quiet. Yes, mares have the ability to delay the labor process if they feel threatened or uncomfortable in their surroundings.

A very important aspect to remember is safety for you and your mare foaling. Do not assume that she will maintain her normal demeanor just prior to, or after she has given birth. If your mare is a maiden be especially mindful of the protective attitude that she may develop. There are also occasions when the mare will be aggressive or inattentive to her newborn baby horse.

Though each horse birth is its own unique experience, to ensure optimal health of the mare and foal a standard protocol should be followed. Understanding the proper stages of foal birth and the time allotment for each stage is critical.

In the foal birth section we will break down the process in order of normal events and how long they should take. Mobility, foal nursing, and the significance of equine colostrum is another area to be studied.

If all goes as nature intended there is little for you to do but be present, and if possible perform a few small tasks to help the process.

However, there can be issues during and after the birthing process that need your attention and you must know when to call your horse veterinarian if your mare and/or foal is in trouble.

Arming yourself with knowledge of possible situations or horse health problems, and how to handle these issues will be very useful. Awareness and having a plan of action prepared, just in case, will help you react to a situation in a calm and timely manner. An unproductive reaction, or no reaction at all can mean the difference between life and death.

Foal Health

The job of raising baby horses should fall mostly to the mares. The mare will be the sole source of nutrition, protection, and socialization for the foal`s first few months. As owners, however, it is our responsibility to provide good daily horse care by keeping a healthy surrounding, proper diet, and equine medical care available to our broodmares and their babies.

As is the natural progression, all too soon they are growing up and you will be weaning your foal. Though there is much to consider, please remember to enjoy this very special time with your horses and appreciate the experience!

Baby Horses...Are You Prepared For Delivery