At this point you may not have made up your mind whether to opt for the hassle free option of foaling at a stud or experiencing the full drama and the sleepless nights of a home birth

We take you through what is involved.

Foaling at Home

In Labour. You will sense when labour has started by your mare's restlessness. She will start pacing round her box. She may peer at or kick her stomach, and lift her tail.

Birth. Lasting between 20 minutes and half an hour and the following is what takes place:

1.Breaking of the waters - call the vet if nothing else happens after 15 minutes.
2.The amnion - a balloon-like bag - will appear. Normally this is broken by the foal's front feet. If it doesn't tear normally break it and clear the foal's nostrils.
3. Appearance of the foal's front feet - call the vet if any other part of the body comes out first.
4. Head, shoulders and rib cage and last of all the hindlegs. If the mare is struggling - ribcage and shoulders can cause problems - hold the foal's front legs above the fetlocks and gently pull it down towards the mares hocks as she pushes.
5. The umbilical cord should break naturally, turning white as the blood ceases to flow.Treat the stump with antiseptic. If it breaks early whilst still red pinch the stump to stop it bleeding and treat with antiseptic.


1. Expulsion of the afterbirth. A retained or incomplete afterbirth may lead to a dangerous infection in the mare. So when it's finally expelled lay it out and inspect it thoroughly. If there are any holes other than the one out of which the foal emerged or the bag seems incomplete call the vet.
2. Cleansing. When the foal starts to suckle you know the mare has cleansed - cleansing can take as long as six hours. At this point leave the pair in peace but remain vigilent until the foal has passed his first droppings and can lie down and get up again on his own.
3. The next day ask the vet to do a check and give the foal his anti-tetanus injection.

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