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How to Help Your Horse Give Birth

Updated on June 4, 2012

A Mare and Foal

Foal just born.
Foal just born. | Source


If your mare is expecting you should have a foaling plan in place. You should talk to your vet and ask questions. You should watch videos of horses giving birth to see what is normal and what in not normal in the birthing process.

Your vet might even have an emergency plan for you encase he cannot be there for the birth.

Most foals are born with no problems so don’t panic just be prepared if something goes wrong.

Normal but Large Foal Delivery

Preparing for Your New Born Cult

When it's getting close to your horse to give birth. You should get prepared a few days ahead of time.

It is best for the birthing place to be in a barn or stall if possible. Too, protect the mare from the outside elements and predators. It would make things more comfortable for your horse and you.

You should clean the stall thoroughly. You should clean the entire stall including the walls and gates with a strong disinfectant.

Clean out the old bedding or hay. Cover the ground with lime. Hay is the best bedding for giving birth for horses. Hay does not stick to the foal like sawdust. Sawdust is not good for the foals breathing.

Minimize the risk of the mare lying on the foal by removing any unnecessary stuff from the stall.

Signs Your Horse is in Labor

Your mares belly begins to get lower a month before giving birth.

2 weeks before giving birth the mares belly gets shiny and full of milk.

Within a few days of giving birth, the (pelvic bone) sink in around the tail. This is because the muscles are relaxing.

You will see secretion of the teats this is called waxing this can last several hours 24 to 36 hours.

The mare’s behavior will change. Sometimes pacing or wanting distance between you and her. Sometimes stand in a corner.

Clean your mares belly and nipples with warm water and the birthing area with chlorhexidine.

Give your horse some privacy if your horse seems ready to give birth. Keep checking on her every 15 or 20 minutes. Do not hover over your horse. Give her as much privacy as possible. Getting involved will cause your horse to get upset.

Your horse will give birth either lying down or standing up depending on how she feels.

You will see her water sack emerge. This is when you should be timing her labor. If her foal is not delivered within 20 to 30 minutes, she will need your help to deliver her foal.

When the foal is in the right position, a whitish membrane will appear first. You will then see the foal's feet with head tucked in between with one leg looking longer than the other this is normal. The reason is the hips will slip through the birthing canal easier.

Once the shoulders come out the rest of the foal should easily follow.

Problems Delivering Because the Foal is Large

If the birthing process appears to be normal like described above but the foal is taking too long to come out. You need to scrub up your arms and hands with bacterial soap. You should have called the vet at this point.

Now you may just have to give the foal a good tug by pulling the front legs. If she does not deliver then you will have to reach up into her vagina to feel the position of the foal.

One Foot Missing: This problem is easy to fix. Just push the leg in toward the vagina that appeared at the same time pulling the leg out of the vagina that didn’t appear.

Foals Nose Appears at Birth but No Feet: This is not a good position because the foal is normally dead. If this is the case push foal back up into the uterus far enough to pull the foal's feet through the birth canal than pull the foal out.

Red Sack Delivery Act Fast


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    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 

      6 years ago from Mumbai

      This was an informative hub. I do not own a horse, but horses are my favorite animals :)

    • jennzie profile image


      7 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Very nice hub! I love horses. Right now it's only a dream of mine to be the owner of at least one horse.

    • Ron Hawkster profile image

      Ron Hawkster 

      7 years ago from United States of America

      This hub has motivated me to start looking into buying a horse. Anyone knows where to find a good used horse?

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 

      7 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      This is an amazing hub from a horse lover!

    • profile image

      Anu ,Sadaf , Mahaboob subhahan 

      7 years ago

      We like so much horses

    • clairemy profile image


      7 years ago

      Good Information. Oh, how wonderful it would have been to see our foals born, but every time the mares waited til after we had checked...sometimes only 2 mins,we were lucky we always had healthy births!! Mares do like their privacy, I think its an ancient instinct.


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