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Mare Foaling Kit: What You Need for a Horse Birth

A complete and well-stocked foaling kit should contain the following items:
  • A flashlight with new batteries. Spare batteries are also a good idea. This flashlight does not have to be large.

  • Several large towels, as well as a few hand towels. The smaller towels are used to grasp the foal’s legs during foaling if you need to assist the mare by pulling, and the larger towels are used to dry and clean the newborn foal.
  • Tail wrapping material for the mare’s tail, prior to foaling.

  • Several pairs of latex or rubber gloves, preferably sterile. These will be used if you need to insert your hand and arm into the birth canal to help the mare during foaling.

  • Betadine or Nolvasan iodine solution. This is used both to cleanse the mare before foaling, and to paint the foal’s umbilicus after birth.
  • At least two prepared commercial enemas. These are for use on the foal if it has difficulty passing stool after birth. While you should consult your vet prior to administering an enema to the foal, having them in the kit is convenient if the vet approves their use.

  • Clean, sharp scissors. These have many uses, such as piercing the thick placental sac around the foal, cutting the umbilical cord, or snipping suture material used to tie the cord.

  • Clamps or hemostats to control bleeding if the umbilical cord breaks prematurely.

  • A large, thick garbage bag for the placenta. The veterinarian may wish to examine the placenta to make sure it is complete and no fragments remain in the mare’s uterus to cause problems later on.

  • A clean bucket for washing your hands, arms, the foal and mare, and soap for your hands and arms.

  • A sterile lubricant, such as a sealed container of Vaseline or KY Jelly.

  • Suture thread or sterilized fishing line to tie off broken blood vessels or the umbilical cord.

  • Roll cotton. This is used along with a bucket of warm water and iodine solution to cleanse the mare’s vulva prior to foaling, and to wash her udders. Be sure to rinse thoroughly, because soap can irritate the delicate tissues of the vulva. The taste of iodine or soap can also discourage the foal from nursing.

  • A watch or small clock, also with fresh batteries, to keep track of foaling time.

This foaling kit should be complete well before your mare is due to foal, and should be kept handy in the mare’s stable. A large plastic box with a tightly-fitting lid is an ideal container for the foaling kit. The box can be left in the stable and its contents will remain clean and dry until it is needed.

Read the next horse breeding article on Horse Breeding Questions.
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