Stable Management: Mare and Foal Care
Helping a mare through pregnancy can be any extremely rewarding experience, but remember that it is also a lot of hard work. If you’ve bred your mare, make sure you can be responsible for this medical condition, as well as the mare and foal. Breeding horses is a great career if you have the time and effort.
A horse’s gestation period is about 11 months. During this time, care and regular checkups from a vet are crucial. Getting educated is a good first step. Learning about what is required for the mare and foal general care is important.
It may be worth your while to investigate vets in your area that specialize in mare and foal care and breeding. Check with your regular vet for recommendations.
Mare and Foal Supplies
As your mare and foal date approaches, make sure to keep a watchful eye. Keep your vet’s number on hand and call whenever the horse goes into labor so that the vet can arrive to help with the birth. In some cases, a vet may not be needed, but if you are inexperienced, or if the birth takes longer than a half hour, you vet should come to help with the birth.
Take a look here for a check list of foaling supplies.
Cleanliness is important. Providing a clean stall with adequate bedding is essential for the mare and foal. Straw is preferred to shavings or sawdust. Shavings and sawdust, while absorbent, will stick to the mare and foal during the foaling process. Horses have been known to fool the most diligent horse owners and foal outside when they, the horse owner, least expects it. Providing a safe secure area is preferred in case there is a complication with the mare and foal that needs to be addressed.
Use a Tail Bandage
It is a great help to wrap your mare’s tail in a bandage. This prevents hairs getting soiled and prevents the foal from being tangled in the long tail hairs. If possible and if the mare and foal allow it, rinse the mare’s hind quarters off and remove the tail bandage.
It is important to keep the mare and foal’s stall clean to prevent disease. Keep fresh straw on hand and be diligent about cleaning the manure and soiled bedding from the stall.
If you see anything unusual going on with the birth, it is best to call you vet right away. This is an excellent foaling checklist.
Talk to your vet about what to expect. It is important to give your mare some private time as they will often foal while you have gone to the bathroom or gone to get a cup of tea.
Afterwards, it is also important to let the mare and foal bond. Instinct will lead a mare to do the proper things for her new baby, and interfering may confuse or anger the horse. Keep your distance, and if you think something may be wrong, call the vet.
You new addition to the family should be walking and nursing from the mare within 20 minutes to half an hour. Remember, this is a very tender time for your mare and foal. Privacy and safety for your mare and foal are paramount. To help establish the bond between mare and foal and to allow the foal to get stronger, keep them in a separate paddock.
Review with your vet regarding foal care and immunization schedule.