Miniature Horse Resource Guide

Return to Resource Guide Index

    Home   -  SALESBOARD

"The perfect horse in miniature"

Join the SmallestHorse Group and help us promote the 30" and under miniature horse.



Disclaimer: The information on this page is to be used as a guideline.  Some information comes from SHG Members, while other information comes from internet sources.  You are advised to always contact your veterinarian regarding any health issuesThe officers and members of the SmallestHorse Group are not responsible for the content.

After Foaling

Submitted by:  Becky Shultz - Redrock Miniature Horses

After the normal delivery, there's a few things that I think everyone who doesn't know should be made aware of.

Obviously towel drying the foal and getting him warm is paramount when the weather is cold. Body temperature is critical to a neonates survival after birth. These little guys sometimes have a hard time regulating their body temperature so we need to help them all we can. We've waited too long to get a live, healthy foal here to lose one to cold weather! And sometimes even during warmer weather, a foals' body temperature can be low. A lethargic foal is at risk of hypothermia, so warmth is critical!

Bed them deep, use heaters/heat lamps if necessary and blanket if necessary. Keep them out of drafts.

Make sure your foal is laying up on his/her sternum after birth. They need to expand their rib cage and lungs to breathe and it's more difficult if they are laying on their side.

Charlotte and I were discussing it last night and I agree with her that foals do best if they get some colostrum right away. If you can milk your mare and give the foal some milk by syringe, it will make a significant difference in his overall functions. He will be brighter, more alert and try harder to get up and find the 'milk bar'! I think their blood sugar isn't too high at birth and that first milk really gives them a boost to get them going!

Not to scare anybody, but I've had more than one foal (and it always seems to be colts) that have had a normal delivery and are laying there seemingly normal when they just suddenly fade. Action is critical in this circumstance!! I don't believe the foal has fainted; I think he's quit breathing or his heart stopped. Stick your finger in their throat to make them gag, up their nose or in their ear. If that doesn't work, rub them vigorously. Pick them up and swing them around by the back legs if necessary. I've brought the ones back that this has happened to, fortunately. I'm not sure if over stimulation is the cause, or a lack of the right stimulation to keep them going. It might even be a lack of blood sugar as in recent years with giving my foals some colostrum soon after birth, I haven't had one of these episodes happen. It's just something that happens sometimes and quick intervention can save the foal.

Submitted by: Charlotte Lupton - Reflections

Just a note on milking the mare and feeding the foal as Becky was telling....Go slow at first! Like she said.

The foal often doesn't have a swallow reflex right at first and if you try to feed them they could aspirate, so just start with dribbles of a few drops into the bottom lip....just to give a taste. This seems to help stimulate the suckle and swallow reflex (those two seem to go together)

I usually give them these few drops within 15-30 minutes after birth. Sometimes before the foal is up.

If Becky and I have a foal that isn't nursing and doesn't seem to have much of a swallow reflex by two hours old, we will start thinking about having the vet out to tube some milk into it. IF there's a good swallow reflex and we can get some milk in we will wait a bit longer.

That first milk is AMAZING! It's like High Octane Jet Fuel to that baby!


Copyright 2000-2010 SmallestHorse Group, All Rights Reserved.