2 Weeks before Foaling
You will notice that your mare's appetite will possibly drop a little, as the space available in her belly will be reduced, causing her to feel full more quickly. Regularly give her smaller portion sizes and choose concentrate or a balancer suitable for mares in foal.
Worm your mare two weeks before the due date, to avoid your foal getting a worm infection via its mother's milk.
Has your mare been Caslicked? Then have her opened up a few weeks before the anticipated foaling date. Discuss with your veterinarian when this should be done.
Remove your mare's horseshoes, to prevent unnecessary injury to the foal.
How will you know when foaling is about to happen?
You will of course be incredibly excited to know the foaling date. There are a number of signs to suggest when this is imminent, but you should not overly fixate on these symptoms. This is usually how things go, but your mare may just be different. The main thing is that you monitor your mare closely. You are the one who knows her best and will notice the smallest of changes.
Common signs to look out for are:
- Two to four weeks before foaling, the udders will start to fill up.
- Two to three weeks before, the abdominal muscles will relax, as can be seen from her flanks which will appear to have sagged a little.
- Seven to ten days before, the muscles around the tail base will relax. Where your horse used to have a ‘rounded’ behind, it will look more flattened now, caused by a slight shift of the tail bone.
- Four to six days before foaling, you will notice the teats of the udder filling up.
- When a golden-yellow coating appears on the udders, foaling will be imminent. This is called waxing and usually happens one or two days before foaling.
- About 24 hours before, wax or milk will drop down from the udder.
If you know an experienced breeder in the local area, then ask if it is OK to phone them when foaling starts. It is wise to have someone on hand during foaling who has experienced this before.
Peace and quiet
A mare will want to have as much peace and quiet around her as possible during foaling. If there are other horses around, you can opt to create a stall using some wooden panels in the stables. Avoid crowding her by continually physically watching her yourself, but look through a peephole or hang up a camera instead.
Mares will usually delay foaling until they are by themselves. If you are constantly watching her and then leave her for a minute or two, it will be sod's law that foaling will have happened during your absence!