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Good Intentions Can Be a Dangerous Thing...

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  • Good Intentions Can Be a Dangerous Thing...

    I got a call from my largest breeding client this a.m. asking me to call someone she knows who's maiden mare just had her first foal. Apparently they are the sort of folks who read everything but apparently did not soak in the important stuff. They grabbed their clippers and plastic bags (not joking) and sacked out the poor little foal and played with it for two hours...and it still had not nursed. When she found this out, she told them to stop and work on getting it to nurse (no kidding!) and then called me to ask if I would also call her and give her some pointers...as well as be reinforcements to what she had suggested. She was very concerned also. Apparently the exhausted foal had given up and was laying down sleeping not yet having nursed.

    So I did...I made some suggestions on how to assist the foal to get in the correct position, how to have someone hold the poor bewildered mare, and another trick to help guide the foal to a teat gently. I tried as forcefully as I could to suggest that they had DAYS yet to imprint the foal and that nursing was far far far more important as well as having a vet out to check IgG at 12 hours. Trying to describe to them how to milk out the mare and bottle feed the foal was a bit much to do over the phone but I was planning on heading up there if they did not get the foal nursing soon.

    I heard back from her about half an hour later that the foal had nursed for five minutes after they focused on what I told them to do. Thank God! Poor baby. Poor Mare. I have not heard back since then so I'm hoping all is well.

    Then they said that the mare seemed to be a bit painful. I asked them if they had Banamine on hand to give her...even the paste...and I was told no but they have bute paste...UGH... So I then suggested that it was past time to get their vets involved and get some Banamine and care for the mare as soon as possible. Don't know what they did...

    I am all for folks wanting to experience birth and go for it if they feel up to the challenge and all that but this whole situation just gives me the heebiejeebies... I am still in a state of disbelief that they didn't even let the foal nurse before "imprinting" it...and a maiden mare to boot. UGH!

  • #2

    I have no words.

    *The Quietman ~ Irish Approved Gr.1 Stallion
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    • #3
      Wow, things could have gone very south in this situation - what is even scarier to ponder is the fact that there are people out there who do this without 'friends' who can step in and help. Seriously, what did they do with the placenta while they were 'sacking out' the foal? Hopefully she didn't retain it and is just having normal post-parturition pain


      • Original Poster

        Originally posted by goodmorning View Post
        Wow, things could have gone very south in this situation - what is even scarier to ponder is the fact that there are people out there who do this without 'friends' who can step in and help. Seriously, what did they do with the placenta while they were 'sacking out' the foal? Hopefully she didn't retain it and is just having normal post-parturition pain
        I know...and that is why I told them to quick mucking around and get the vet out. I should not be amazed after some of the stories I've heard but this one is right out of a Parelli nightmare or something.


        • #5

          None of the imprinting books discuss *trivial* things like nursing, don't you know the priorities, lol.

          People never cease to amaze me. We had a new boarder where I am out the other day, old pro fox hunter horse and rider. This horse wouldn't cross a little creek in their turnout and the owner made the BO build a special bridge for him. What friggin' fox hunter won't cross a creek I ask you??!! Sorry, I digress....point is, common sense is not an inborn trait in all individuals, and sadly some never learn it either.
          Celtic Pride Farm
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          • #6
            Saw something in The Horse Q&A that was similar. Women bred mare, then had foal, foal died of tetanus after developing patent urachus. The emailed in question to The Horse was "What can we have done to prevent tetanus? Should we have dipped the naval in something or should we have vaccinated the foal? When should we vaccinate?"

            Obviously, even though they had 11 months of leeway, they didn't even read any foaling books and know that yes, you do dip the navel in iodine or chlorhexadine and that the mare should be vaccinated about 5 weeks before birth so that the foal has antibodies. Sheesh!
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            • #7
              OMG, reading this just makes me ill. That poor mare and foal.

              You know, I was a first timer with my maiden mare and of course read all the books. But dang, I was smart enough to know I was not experienced and took my mare to a great breeding farm to foal out. First priority was to be sure foal was okay, treat navel, let baby get up and nurse, poop and be sure mom passes placenta all in one piece. Watch for a while longer, then say good night/good morning. I did some small measures of imprinting, but not right after birth.


              • #8
                And we've found that the first few minutes makes absolutely no difference to the foal, they don't remember it anyway. Handling in the next few days is much more effective and even then don't overdo it. I think foals with attitudes are those who have been "tortured" excessively - ours turn out fabulous with very light daily handling and lots of time to be a foal.

                Bless the people for their being conscientious but yes, a little scary!
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                • #9
                  I've never been a fan of imprinting! I'm there, I observe, I step in when needed then I leave mom and baby to bond!
                  Boy, I want to smack those people! I have images of an exhausted mare and foal being smacked with plastic bags! Being ignorant is bad enough, but that's just downright stupid!
                  Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
                  Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

                  Originally posted by mbm
                  forward is like love - you can never have enough


                  • #10
                    There should be a "law" that makes mare owners complete a "foaling/common sense" certification course before they are allowed to have a foal!!! Yikes!! It's enough to curl your hair. The good news is the foal has survived IN SPITE of them!
                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Reiter View Post
                      I've never been a fan of imprinting! I'm there, I observe, I step in when needed then I leave mom and baby to bond!
                      Boy, I want to smack those people! I have images of an exhausted mare and foal being smacked with plastic bags! Being ignorant is bad enough, but that's just downright stupid!

                      Same here. We made sure mom and baby were good, she got banamine and he got his umbilical dipped, we made sure he nursed and then everyone went to bed. I stayed awake watching them on the foaling camera just in case there were any issues. The next day we all spent time with him. He's the most "in your pocket and afraid of nothing" colt! That whole western based crap of rubbing bags and sacking out is insane.
                      Cloverfox Stables


                      • #12
                        Poor mare and baby Hope that they're both okay.
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                        • #13
                          So sad... poor little baby and poor Mom. Good for you to stand up and try to help them.


                          • #14
                            Scary stuff!

                            I don't want to toot my own horn (well, maybe I do) but... we had a llama give birth unexpectedly -- didn't even know she was pregnant! I called the local vet that has a ruminant practice and got on the internet for cria-specific stuff. But as time passed I was able to tell everyone: baby is standing, baby has nursed, I've treated the navel stump, dam has passed placenta, haven't seen baby poop so is an enema called for? (Incidentally, it wasn't -- meconium impaction is much more rare in crias so I was told to wait and check for any sign of straining.) I just figured, how different could it be in terms of things to watch for? You wouldn't believe how SURPRISED everyone was that a llama newbie had those basic things covered... thank god for my horse experience!

                            I don't even start taking pictures (though it's nice if someone else is there to take them) without the "checklist" having been accomplished. How could someone find out all those imprinting details and miss the necessities of life? If my foal is sick or worse, it won't really matter that he's not afraid of clippers, will it?
                            Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                            • #15
                              This foal will probably be one of those over handled spoiled ones who rears up on top of you, and they will think it is cute... poor baby! I have heard of some using clippers on the foal in the first 30 minutes - give the thing a break!

                              I don't imprint. I handle the foal when necessary and then leave them be. I spend about 5 minutes twice a day petting/touching/being with the foal. Mine live out 24/7 with a run in. When the mares come up to eat, I pet baby some but when they want to leave and nurse - I let them. Mine are all friendly and curious but not overbearing! When they are weaned we do a little more work.
                              Visit my website @ http://hihorsefarm.tripod.com (PONIES!)
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                              • #16
                                The most amazing part of the whole thing is that their foal will probably grow to be a lovely healthy horse.

                                Those of us who try to do everything right and take all the right precautions and call the vet are the ones who deal with the losses.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Jessica...you are so right...ignorance seems to prevail more often than it should.

                                  I spoke to my friend tonight (the one who called me at first) and she asked me if I'd spoken to her and all that. She said that when the lady first called her all she could talk about what how well the imprinting had gone and that the mare (who is a bit spooky) had allowed them to do it and "helped" with it. OMG! Poor exhausted and bewildered mare...GOD...they are lucky she did not reject the foal!

                                  Last my friend heard from her she was going to the vet to pick up Banamine (yeh!) for the mare and that the foal was doing OK despite their stupidity.

                                  Today must be one of the those days for stuff like this...I had a call from someone who wanted to breed a Shire draft mare to my Col. Spanish stallion to get something smaller and because she liked his color. Then she wanted me to lower my stud fee so she could afford it. I refused of course and she haughtily told me she could find local stallions for less. I suggested she buy a horse instead of breeding an unregistered grade horse considering the horrible market right now for that sort of horse to begin with. UGH...


                                  • #18
                                    I'm glad to hear that they got the banamine!! Poor mare - I can only imagine what she must be thinking!! I'm crossing my fingers and toes that everything is starting to look up for them both today.


                                    • #19
                                      If you have a good mare, there should be nooo need to "sack out" and imprint and all of that. The foal learns everything from his mother. If the mother is great with human handling, then the foal will see that and copy cat her. If the mother is a total cow, or fearful of humans, etc, the foal can learn to be that way, too. In those cases it's important to get in there, and not leave the foal to it's own devices.

                                      Or, just don't breed a mare who's got issues. Personality plus.