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Foaling Kit Essentials

No matter where in the world you’re located, you’ll find yourself in need of some basic essentials when it comes to foaling time. Whether you’re the kind of breeder who likes to assist, or let your broodmares do what they do best on their own, you should have a foaling kit well-stocked and ready to go several weeks before your mare’s expected due date. Keep in mind that a normal gestation for a horse is between 320 and 370 days. Having key items on hand well before your mare presents signs of foaling means less scrambling last minute to acquire anything you’ll need… setting you up for success and a healthy mare and foal.

 

Basic Foaling Kit Essentials:

  • Important numbers and contact information – Your vet’s number, after hours numbers, and anyone else whose help you may need should be available in case of emergency.
  • Clean buckets – When you think your mare might be foaling, you’ll want a clean bucket to wash up in. For you, for your mare, and in the event that you need to, the foal. You’ll also want a bucket to hold onto the placenta for further inspection after your mare has foaled.
  • Tail wrap or vet wrap – When your mare’s foaling signs alert you to her labour, you’ll want to wrap up her tail to keep it out of the way. A loose tail can do a lot of damage if it’s wrapped around something or gets in the way. Keep her tail nice and tidy, wrap it up and out of the way.
  • Palpation gloves – In the event that you need to handle the mare or foal to assist in delivery, you want to keep the mare and foal protected from infection.
  • Scissors – Cutting rags, string, twine or even tail, scissors come in handy for a variety of uses.
  • An enema for the foal – Administering an enema to a newborn foal can help dislodge any meconium and assist in getting the bowels active.
  • Towels or rags – Good for cleaning your mare, drying your hands, kneeling on…the list goes on, but there’s always a need for clean towels!
  • Ivory soap – Some breeders choose to wash their mares with a mild soap before foaling, to help eliminate potential risks for infection.
  • An antiseptic treatment for the foals naval – Chlorhexidine is a commonly used and embraced method for keeping the naval clean and fighting off infection.
  • Halter and Leads – You never know if you’ll need to move or reposition your mare. Having a few leads can always be helpful in the event you need to manually move her while she’s preparing for labour.
  • String or Baling Twine – Good for holding back the tail, tying up the placenta up, or tying off the umbilical stump, having some on hand is a good idea.
  • Pen and Paper – Important time intervals and events should be documented closely. A mare labouring too long may need intervention. Record the length of time from breaking of waters, when foal’s nose and feet first protrude through the vulva, until delivery. Any longer than 30 minutes and your vet should be called. Then record time to stand, time to nurse and time that meconium (first faeces) is passed. Most breeders will also record the time that the placenta is passed and check it carefully to ensure that it is intact.
  • Sterile lubricant –KY for the enema, or palpation if recommended by your vet.
  • Charged cell phone – in the event of emergency, you’ll need to call your vet. The cell phone will also double as your clock.
  • Flash Light/Torch and batteries – Since a majority of mares foal in the dark hours of night, be prepared with a flashlight or head lamp. Even if you are blessed with barn lights, you never know when they might go out due to a storm. Also be sure to keep the lights low until your mare starts foaling. They don’t like bright lights at this time and the least interference or distraction is best.

Be prepared! It might prove beneficial to your endeavors.

To make sure the excitement of your mare foaling doesn’t catch you unprepared, have your foaling kit ready with plenty of time to spare. Some people also utilize resources even farther in advance such as foaling cameras, foaling alarms and PH strips to test the mare’s milk. Having colostrum on hand may also prove to be beneficial in the event that you find yourself with a mare not producing milk, or who won’t allow the foal to nurse. Being prepared is the best thing you can do to ensure a smooth foaling. Find out how the Equilume Blue Light Therapy Mask prepares both your mare and foal for optimal foaling.