Preparation for foaling
- Know your mare's due date as she will need to be watched carefully around this time. Take care to get this right because if the mare didn't go into foal the first time, she may have been covered on many occasions. Her last covering date is the one to be used.
- It is important to discover if your mare has had a Caslicks operation. This is where the lips of the vulva have been stitched together at the top to prevent sucking in air. The vulva needs to be opened in advance of foaling, as the mare can tear badly if this is not done. If you are in any doubt as to whether your mare has been stitched, get your vet to check 7-10 days before her due date. She may still need to be opened even if the suture thread has been removed, as the aim of the surgery is to create a healed seal to the top one third/half of the vulva.
- Usually mares will foal at night (an old experienced mare can take delight in foaling when no one is watching), so it may be more practical to have them indoors for ease of observation at night.
- Prepare a large stable with lights that can be lowered. The stable should have a good, deep bed because a foal born without adequate fresh bedding may displace bedding when trying to stand, causing ulcerative wounds on the hocks which are slow to heal. If you have enough bedding, you should be able to drop to your knees on the bed without hurting yourself. The deep bed should extend to the door.
- Have water and towels available and the vet's phone number to hand.
- Apply a tail bandage to the mare when she begins to sweat up.
- Do not crowd the mare because, if disturbed, she can delay foaling for many hours. Observe from a distance if possible.
- CCTV is often used so that mares can be observed with minimal interference.