Your foaling stall is
all set up--draft-free, well bedded with straw, and dimly lit. Adjacent stalls
are occupied by horses your mare trusts--or are left empty--so she'll feel
secure enough to lie down. Now, you await the birth of your new foal.
Immediately following birth:
- A bright flashlight, for
- Two one-foot-long pieces of
clean cotton string, for tying off your foal's umbilical stump--if and only
if it bleeds excessively.
- Two three-foot-long pieces
of clean cotton string, for tying up the afterbirth (see below).
- Scissors to trim the string.
- A clean squeeze bottle
filled with umbilical-stump disinfectant. I use povidone (Betadine) surgical
solution; some vets prefer a solution of chlorhexidine (Nolvasan). Consult
your vet for his/her preference.
A few hours after foaling:
- A pre-warmed Fleet enema.
(To warm, place it in a water bath that's 95 degrees Fahrenheit, then keep
it in an insulated Thermos bottle or coffee carafe.)
- A woven-plastic feed sack
(which won't weaken when it gets wet) for the afterbirth (see below).
Here's how to handle your
mare's afterbirth (or placenta) for safekeeping.
- Tie it up. A large part of
your mare's placenta will already be exposed by the time she stands (usually
within a half-hour after foaling). You need to tie it up to keep it from
dragging on the ground, where she might slip on it or tear it. To do so, tie
a three-foot length of string around the exposed portion of placenta,
approximately one foot from the ground. Then lift this section until it
meets the placenta just below the bottom of her vulva. Secure the two
sections with a second three-foot length of string.
- Leave the stall. Avoid
pulling on the placenta. Instead, stay out of your mare's stall and minimize
distractions so she will feel secure enough to lie down and push, if the
- Examine it. When your mare
completely drops her placenta (usually within three hours after foaling),
take it to a clean, well-lit area for examination. If you're unsure what to
look for, or you see something that looks questionable, set the placenta in
a clean, woven-plastic feed sack, so your vet can examine it.