A Filly is Born

Figured I might want to scratch down the events that unfolded last night, so buckle up because it’s a bit of a ride.

First, it actually started off fairly quiet, as I tagged along to pick up our broodmare and new colt (born April 26th) from the vet clinic. (Mare was considered slightly high risk, so we figured it would be better to have the vet assist this foaling out of caution.)

We loaded up and headed back without too much fuss, arriving back at the barn around 8 p.m.

That’s when things got interesting.

See, we had been keeping a close eye on our last-to-foal mare pretty much all day. Classic signs grabbed our attention that afternoon: dripping milk, white wax as it dried, loose/jelly-like backside, elongated and slightly swollen vulva, extremely dropped stomach, some edema and just slightly stocking up in her back legs.

By 8:30 p.m., once we had unloaded the broodmare and her colt and got them settled in their stall, we were asking each other if we should stay and keep and eye on this last mare … just in case.

Ultimately we did, and thank goodness we did.

This mare was now 20 days past her “due date,” which is roughly 340 days for the average horse.

On par with all of our other mares and their foals this year (they went about 20 days over too), this foal was *massive* – and that’s putting it lightly.

About 2.5 hours later, at 11:15 p.m. and with three of us chatting outside the stall (and not quietly either), the mare’s water broke. By this time she was already laying down and in a good position for us to monitor from the stall door.

For those keeping count at home, she was in stage 1 labor for about 3 hours by that point. Completely normal and a-ok. Textbook, even, with the foal presenting well (one front foot in front of the other with sole of hoof pointing down and head tucked up near its knees).

Good foal presentation; good position to monitor mare’s progress too.

Then things started going to the sidebars in a textbook.

Progress was made, but slowly. This mare was hardly pushing in the first half of stage 2, with making just enough progress to push out the front legs and the tip of the nose after 10 minutes.

Then she started giving up – panic took the place of her usually cool attitude.

Gloves on, I quietly entered her stall and crouched down at her backside, taking hold of the two legs poking out and applying a gentle traction in the direction of her hocks.

After a minute of this, she started to almost frantically panic, attempting to get up to no avail. (This was extra scary, as she was pretty much sitting on the foal’s front legs, nearly driving them into the stall floor.)

Eventually, at the risk of tearing something in the mare, I started pulling on the foal in an attempt to free the shoulders that were still stuck inside the mare. By some luck, this was timed perfectly with the mare’s frantic struggles pushing just enough to help reduce any internal injury.

By 30 minutes of stage 2 labor, the foal was out (back legs still in the mare) and the mare was taking a much needed rest. Vet was called shortly after delivery due to concerns over cervical tearing, but thankfully this was just an extra graphic-looking placenta covering the foal’s back legs (still in mare at this point).

Foal was in a sternal position, breathing well, and making small attempts to stand within 10 minutes. Mare stood by 15 minutes, severing the umbilical cord and releasing the whole placenta immediately upon standing. (This took care of stage 3 labor in record time, thank goodness.)

Foal, sexed as a filly, stood with 30 minutes, passed meconium and nursed within an hour of birth, thereby reaching all her required milestones. (Stand within an hour, nurse within 2 hours, and pass meconium/first poo by three hours.)

Mare was given a small dose of banamine for pain/cramping, and foal’s umbilical stump was dipped with an iodine tincture before we left them for the night.

A massive filly at 10hh (mare 16hh, stallion 16.3hh)

*For those wondering about her size, estimated height is 10hh and weight is 125 (via weight/height tape). IgG was over 2000.

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