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"Flaccid baby"

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  • "Flaccid baby"

    For lack of better explanation.

    A filly was born today at the farm where I board. I haven't seen too many 6h old foals, but I was kind of shocked...

    The baby is huge. Mom is average size. Needless to say the poor filly is all crooked. Her legs tremble to try and stay up, and she needs help from a groomer to go down.

    The care manager says she'll stay in for about a week and then off they go to the mare paddock, where they will be together with 5 other mares about to foal.

    Is it normal for a foal to be born this fragile? Instinct tells me to get some sort of casting for her legs to try and get them straighter, and to keep them in for as long as it takes for the fillies bones to strengthen up... Am I crazy?

    Not that I can do anything, and its actually none of my business, but I am always trying to learn...

  • #2
    Not enough information there to give you a real answer, sorry. My last foal could get up by herself right away but could not/would not lie down for about 10 hours. I had to flop her down after she nursed every time.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • Original Poster

      Ok, so main things that would concern me should the foal be mine:
      - Front right leg is turned to the outside (about 30º)
      - Hind fetlocks hit the ground, so she basically walks on her fetlocks instead of her hooves.

      Again, I am not in any way criticizing anyone, just trying to learn if this is normal.


      • #4
        A photo would be needed for anyone to be able to answer you question. You should probably not be posting photos of other people foals so there is not much anyone can tell you.

        Sometimes foals can look alarming to people who haven't seen many.. There are some problems that require intervention and some that work themselves out in time.

        If the "care manager" is experienced and the vet has been out to see the foal, I wouldn't worry, but follow along and see how the foal progresses! It will be a good learning experience.


        • #5
          A lot of "huge" foals at 6 hours of age have alarming looking leg angles. Most will straighten out on their own. Here is an example:
          Heartrageous at 12 hours old
          Heartrageous at 3 months
          Fox Haven Farm, Inc.
          Home of 2002 JC Registered stallion Artrageous

          Artrageous has his own Facebook page!


          • #6
            depends on the severity of the crookedness. usually it straightens on its own over time, other times there needs to be splinting at the joint to equalize the growth plate growth.

            as far as down behind (lax tendons), my colt had this at birth. he could still get up and walk around, but it looked like he had elf feet. the best thing for this is exercise, to strengthen and eventually tighten the tendon up. my colt got special glue on shoes that had a heel extension to force the hoof to the ground. had those for about a month. now he is perfectly straight, tight, and gorgeous.

            good luck with the baby!


            • #7

              Again – we do not know all of the details – but I can tell you about “windswept” foals. They are born with their legs appearing crooked and lose. Often the back fetlocks are down.

              Most of the time – the foals straighten right out on their own, with little intervention. A couple of days to gain strength, and then go out in a field would be the usual protocol.

              Here is my horse (I was not the breeder) who was born windswept. She was also described as HUGE at birth. at one day old

              And here she is again at two weeks old

              And at Four months

              And as a Yearling

              and as a Two Year Old

              Her legs straighted out just fine without any intervention. She is now a sound rising 6 year old who is ridden 6 days a week, jumping etc no problems.
              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


              • Original Poster

                Thnaks everybody for showing me pics of your horses and telling me your stories. Foxhavenfarm, that foal looks exactly like the filly I was talking about, or at least his (hers?) hind legs do.

                I plan on getting a foal from my mare eventually, either by breeding her directly or doing an ET. I guess I just got a reality check on ET, and about choosing an appropriate mare for this (as in VERY big!).


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                  Thnaks everybody for showing me pics of your horses and telling me your stories. Foxhavenfarm, that foal looks exactly like the filly I was talking about, or at least his (hers?) hind legs do.

                  I plan on getting a foal from my mare eventually, either by breeding her directly or doing an ET. I guess I just got a reality check on ET, and about choosing an appropriate mare for this (as in VERY big!).
                  It isn't even remotely that simple. In fact draft mares are unacceptable as their milk isn't suitable for a non-draft foal. They produce huge amounts of "skim" milk as opposed to the richer milk a non-draft foal requires.
                  McDowell Racing Stables

                  Home Away From Home


                  • Original Poster

                    A draft mare wouldn't be an option anyway as there are non available. But something more I've learned today, so thank you


                    • #11
                      The point is, even huge mares can have contracted foals. There is no way to choose wisely and eliminate all risks. Adequate nutrition before, during and after foaling is probably the best thing you can do for the mare and foal but even that provides no guarantees. The foals pictured above and the foal you saw are examples of the best things that can go wrong because at least those things tend to fix themselves and the foal never looks back.
                      McDowell Racing Stables

                      Home Away From Home