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Foaling out alone: Any words of wisdom?

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  • Foaling out alone: Any words of wisdom?

    First of all, this is all Val's (Anissa's mare) fault

    Watching her got me thinking... in the middle of the night. Yeah. Insomnia. When I get thinking in the middle of the night, it is seldom about butterflies and rainbows. I dreamed of redbag deliveries. Ugh.

    Anyways.

    I am going to be foaling out two mares this year, alone.

    Well, not 100% alone, obviously if things go horribly wrong, I'll call a neighbour and he'll come to help (I actually have three neighbours that could help One experienced with calves and horses, one with race horses and one with goats!).

    I am actually a good candidate to foal out alone, might I add. I am the type of person who gets increasingly efficient and quiet when the stress level rises. I am not concerned with panicking at all. I know I won't. I'll do my best, and when it's over, I'll break into tears if need be, but not during the situation!

    In light of all this, any words of wisdom from other solitary midwifes? Do you have a different foaling kit than those who foal out with help?

    I'll be using a baby monitor, a camera and milk testing to pinpoint the foaling... Yeah right, I know.

    Edited to add: Both my mares foaling this year are experienced broodmares, thankfully, no maidens! One is due with her 4th, the other with her 6th! One is due in three weeks, the other one is only due in June, so I can focus on one mare at a time too.
    www.EquusMagnificus.ca
    Breeding & Sales
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  • #2
    you will be FINE!!! Granted I STILL get nervous - the butterflies stop fluttering as soon as it looks like it is close and all the "worst case scenarios" go through my mind, but once it actually starts happening you go into "baby" mode and all is fine. Just breathe! Really!!!

    Some things that I have on hand - I have a large Rubbermaid tub outside the door of the stall. It has towels, a box of gloves, a box of trash bags (large), baby bottles (with nipples that I've cut larger holes in), a basic first aid type kit (gauze, vet wrap, etc), novalsan, and some baling twine off a hay bale. I also have a smaller kit that has enemas, a VERY SHARP knife (that is comfortable in my hand), a pair of sharp scissors, ivermectin, thermometer, more basic first aid stuff, a small "cup" that I can pour the novalsan into to dip the cord etc. There is more but I am blanking. pretty much anything that I might EVER need is in one of those two boxes so I don't have to ever go further than the stall door to grab something in an emergency. I keep the boxes fully stacked and the supplies in there do NOT get used for anything but foaling. My vet laughs that I have more stuff in my foaling kit than he does in his truck (not true but you get the drift). The ONLY thing that I don't have in the kit (and only because I don't have a fridge right there) are the meds like oxytocin, banamine, etc.

    The most important thing though is when I leave the house to go attend the birth, I grab my home phone and my cell phone. BOTH phones have ALL of my vet's numbers in them (there are 3 vets in the practice, I have the office number, all three vet's cell and home phones programed into the phone). They are well aware that I will call all numbers until I get one and they are fine with that. I don't hesitate to call either - if there is a problem that I suspect I call right that second and tell them. I also will call when I have a mare looking close to give them a head's up that I have a mare that is close to foaling so they know they might get that late night call. My vets know me and know I don't panic so if I call with a problem they don't wait (thank God!).

    I have numbers of others that can help (Joe, some other horse friends in the area etc) but really I am COMPLETELY ALONE. My vets are the closest to me - they are 20 mins or so and speeding could make it slightly faster. My neighbors are "city" folk that moved to the country and while they like to "look" at the horses they know nothing about them - don't see either of them willing to put their arm in my mare's vagina! LOL.

    The sharp knife and scissors by the way are in case of a red bag - you need something sharp to cut through.
    Emerald Acres standing the ATA, Trakehner Verband, sBs, RPSI, and ISR/OLD NA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!

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    • #3
      this book is invaluable
      http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...+hayes+foaling

      My main words of wisdom (?)
      Your mare can correct many MINOR malpresentations without your help. Don't be to quick to help. All the pulling in the world will not help if the position is wrong.

      If you really think you have a problem call the vet and then try to stand the mare on a hill with her front end higher than her rear. The foal might slip back in, giving it more room to sort itself out
      I wasn't always a Smurf
      Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
        this book is invaluable
        http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...+hayes+foaling

        My main words of wisdom (?)
        Your mare can correct many MINOR malpresentations without your help. Don't be to quick to help. All the pulling in the world will not help if the position is wrong.

        If you really think you have a problem call the vet and then try to stand the mare on a hill with her front end higher than her rear. The foal might slip back in, giving it more room to sort itself out
        YES! and because I am in FL and basically flat land.... it does NOT have to be a steep hill nor a big hill! I have a slight incline to the paddocks and that works for me, but you can "make" a hill of your own by building up dirt etc (and just leave it like that) if necessary. I did have a pony mare 2 years ago (a saint who is an expert broodie) who's foal was coming upside down. The PONY would stand up, lie down and roll etc and repositioned the foal herself before I could do much (I called the vet LOL).
        Emerald Acres standing the ATA, Trakehner Verband, sBs, RPSI, and ISR/OLD NA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by carolprudm View Post
          this book is invaluable
          http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...+hayes+foaling


          If you really think you have a problem call the vet and then try to stand the mare on a hill with her front end higher than her rear. The foal might slip back in, giving it more room to sort itself out
          Great book. I think you mean stand the mare down hill, this lets the foal slide forward, and also gives your arm more room for positioning the foal.

          I use the ARS foaling kit, it has everything. I also have a vest with pockets that I have stallside and put on when they get close. I put things like palpation sleeves, lube, and enemas in it, so I don't have to leave the stall as much. Also, my horses are stabled on the property of an equine hospital, which is very convenient.

          Good luck, I'm sure you will be fine
          Holland Brook Sporthorses
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          • Original Poster

            #6
            I have Blessed Are The Broodmares, The Complete Foaling Manual and The Complete Book of Foaling.

            And! I've got a hill, a real one!

            I am very much let nature follow its course, so I am not of the mentality to jump in unless the mare seems distressed. And yes, my vet will be on speed dial!!

            Thanks for the words of encouragement. I know I shouldn't be thinking in the middle of the night, it's a recipe for disaster!
            www.EquusMagnificus.ca
            Breeding & Sales
            Facebook | YouTube

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kealea31 View Post
              Great book. I think you mean stand the mare down hill, this lets the foal slide forward, and also gives your arm more room for positioning the

              OOPS, yes,I was thinking backwards!
              Thank you for knowing what I really meant
              I wasn't always a Smurf
              Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
              "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
              The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

              Comment


              • #8
                In addition to everything already mentioned have a way of keeping time (such as your cell phone). I note what time her water breaks and various progress milestones after. It gives me a guide for intervening when necessary. For example I recently has a mare stand in the corner and nicked at herself with no intention of laying down or pushing after her water broke. I give them 5 minutes to go down before I enter the stall and check on the foal's position. Time goes by at strange rates when you are edgy and waiting so I like to double check myself.

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                • #9
                  I have everything in a large Rubbermaid container too. I also draw up Banamine in a syringe and have it ready to go. I needed it fast last year when my mare prolapsed her uterus and was in a lot of pain. Keep your cell phone well charged. For me, having a Bluetooth earpiece that works with my cell is invaluable so I can talk to my vet when my hands are full...such as they were last year when I was holding the mare's uterus in my hands to protect it.

                  I reread my foaling books every season and review again before each birth how to correct a dystocia depending on what type you have.

                  Other things I have on hand off the top of my head include:
                  -sterile lube and lots of it
                  -foal resuscitator
                  -sterile surgical scissors
                  -rags, towels and flat bed sheet
                  -regular hand gloves in addition to OB gloves
                  -EZ milker (milk pump and catchment bottle) kinda expensive device but so much easier and faster if you have to milk a mare quickly
                  -12cc or larger syringe to squirt colostrum in mouth if the foal won't suck on teat or bottle
                  -colostrum replacement with antibodies just in case
                  -string in case umbilical stump won't stop bleeding
                  -extra vet wrap
                  -sedative (for mare if necessary)
                  -nasal bulb to clear mucus out of nose if necessary
                  -baby enema (last year was the first time I had to give a foal an enema)
                  Altamont Sport Horses
                  Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                  Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                  Birmingham, AL

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                  • #10
                    Foaling mares alone isn't as heart wrenching as you may think. Be prepared and have a good foaling kit on hand and at the ready. Have your Vet notified in advance that you may be calling and keep anyone that you may need to call to come quickly updated as to the status of things.

                    Mares foal all the time. We just hang around to see if she needs help.
                    Randee Beckman ~Otteridge Farm, LLC (http://on.fb.me/1iJEqvR)~ Marketing Manager - The Clothes Horse & Jennifer Oliver Equine Insurance Specialist

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                    • #11
                      You'll do just fine!

                      I second having more than one phone available.

                      I usually end up foaling my mares out alone. We used to board about 20 miles from the nearest vet, one year the farm owner was out of town and sure enough my mare started foaling with serious issues. It was also my first year in a new town (pop 70) far from home. The only other person within 2 miles was a family that had just moved in the weekend before. Here I was at 3am pounding on their door to get them to come help me reposition the foal and get her out. Stunned, but willing, the husband came and gave me a hand and in the end everything worked out fine.

                      It was teh only time out of many that I foaled alone and actually needed help.

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