AMHA, AMHR & ASPC MINIATURE HORSES/PONIES
Northwest Ohio ~ USA
BLESSED ARE THE BROODMARES...
Interesting insight from my notebooks and references on embryos/foals/foaling to satisfy your curiosity on breeding equine.
Special breeders poem written/copy righted by Rose Main one night while watching a group of mare on mare cam. Several mares had halter alarms going off multiple time therefore, I was awaked so many time I came up with this poem while waiting on mares. Enjoy!
WHAT HAPPENS IN ELEVEN (11) MONTHS BETWEEN BREEDING AND FOALING?
Have you ever wondered how that small embryo develops into a fetus and finally emerges as a living, breathing entity?
Here are a few interesting facts...
During the early days in the uterus, the embryo is a restless little entity. It moves throughout the uterine lumen until about day 16 of gestation when the embryo finally attaches. This is a time of specialized changes, when the foal's different body systems formed. Note by day 21-23, eyes, mouth and most of body organs have begun to form. Detectable heart beat by day 24. The embryo is already recognizable as a horse/pony about 40 days after conception. After 40 days, the embryo is now referred to as a fetus. By day 50, mini foals are about 1 1/2" long and at 60 days their mouth, head and limbs move regularly and now a mini sized fetus is about 3 1/2" in length. By month 8, fetus is positioned in uterus head facing mares spine and ears toward mares tail and on its back. The fetus's circulatory system is adapted to receiving oxygen from the placenta of course, and only during the last months of gestation, the fetal lungs begin to mature preparing for sudden change to breathing after being born. The offspring remains a fetus until delivery, becoming a foal upon birth at the end of gestation, approximately 335-360 days, approximately 320 for mini mares (11 months).
Most of above photos courtesy of hired vets, now I utilize my own system to aid me with determining our mares to be in foal!
HERES AN INTERESTING SUBJECT...MOTHER NATURE PROTECTING MOTHER NATURE!
DECIDUOUS HOOF CAPSULES...OR BETTER KNOWN AS FOAL SLIPPERS
Ugly yes, but these foal slippers protect fetus mother's uterus and birth canal from sharp edges on hooves during the pregnancy and birth. This is because foals are born with fully developed hooves to protect them in nature from predator's. These slippers are like rubber fingers or short tentacles that come off naturally as the foal stands. Mother Nature is truly a blessing from every angle.
Cute version of foal slippers..lol
Or does it? Labor is divided into 3 parts, stage 1, 2 & 3. Be careful to not intrude to soon, during stage 1 labor because most of what's happening occurs within the uterus as the foal positions itself for delivery. If the dam feels threatened, perhaps sensing predators or bad weather, she is able to delay labor at this point for hours and even days. We currently use mare cams and foaling alarms to assist us when the time is just right. Restlessness is a real signal to watch for foaling to begin. We also know the mares has developed an utter, her perineal area has become relaxed and of course, dam is at the right number of days! Usually I am very aware of stall behavior of mare and preparing to get to mare barn quietly.
STAGE 2 - ACTIVE LABOR
Stage 1 ends when the mare's water breaks. My heart beats usually a little faster until I see a white bag with one front foot, the second inches behind with nose starting to immerge between the legs. Never do I want to see a red bag immerge because premature placental separation or "red bag" is occurring. At this point I must act very quickly to save the foal. The foal is now unable to receive oxygen from the mare and needs to be born quickly. This doesn't usually occur commonly, we have had 7 out of 156 foals and saved 6 out of the 7 red bags ever born on the farm.
STAGE 3 - MARE CLEANS
The beauty of nature is that if all goes well, labor for a mare usually only last about 30 minutes. During stage 3, the passage of the placenta should occur shortly after birth, approximately 1 hr. no more than 3hrs. so it not considered retained. The foal should have stood, nursed and starting to explore life. It always pleases me to hear them whinny the first time! My heart melts!
MARES DUE IN FEB/MAR/APRIL ON OUR FARM ARE "POODLE" CLIPPED TO PREPARE FOR FOALING.
This allows the foal to find the utter without excessive hair getting stuck on their milk whiskers. Also, it allows us to clean mares easier and to cover the mares when they come into foal heat without shaving the entire mare. We like to allow our mares & foals daily exercise, when weather permits, so we don't want to totally body clip at this point.
NAME I GAVE TO EARLY EXPECTING MARE CLIP JOBS...
Pager & camera view at our stables