Foaling isn’t easy and it doesn’t always go to plan.
We had a maiden mare come to foal earlier this month.
She came with her friend from our clients, who was due a few days before. The friend foaled and then so did the maiden, but we believe before her body was really ready.
The result, a mare in shock and perhaps pain, a newborn foal and no milk. The foal was fit and healthy but still had to be fed. Mum wasn’t mentally or physically able to do that.
She was going to be mean to her foal so we built an ensuite stable to keep them together whilst physically separated. Initially the foal was only allowed with the mare under supervision, allowing the foal to suckle and stimulate milk supply, whilst the mare was on pain killers and medication for milk supply.
The foal was “topped up” with “formula” that she obligingly drank straight from the jug. This coincided with the second “beast from the east” so we had to bandage the foals legs and pop a rug on to keep her warm.
With a lot of patience, particularly from Margaret, we slowly allowed the family to spend more and more time together, slowly building the mare’s confidence and milk supply whilst keeping the foal safe.
The time came to let them properly loose together, we held our breaths but it was fine. We slowly lengthened the time until we felt it was time they could move back in overnight.
We transferred them to a stable with cameras so we could watch from the house. They haven’t looked back and, fingers crossed, all is going well – the mare has enough milk, loves her foal and the foal is doing well.
This was not a straight forward situation and it could have ended in disaster had we not reacted quickly. We never know why this occurs and can only guess, sometimes you wish they could talk. Patience and time spent in the stable with them both has won through and we have got them together, that is the main thing. Let’s hope this filly is a good one!