Just for Fun!
A collection of Humor for your Amusement



Mares & Foaling!

 

The Miniature horse mare's secret code of honor is as old as the breed itself and is ultimately the breed's best kept secret.

No Miniature horse mare shall ever produce a foal before it's time. ("It's time" being determined by the following factors):

1. No foal shall be born until total chaos has been reached by all involved. Your house must be a wreck, your family hungry and desperate for clean clothes, and your social life non-existent.

2. Mid-wives must reach the babbling fool status before you foal out. Bloodshot eyes, tangled hair and the inability to form a sentence mean your getting close.

3. For every bell, beeper, camera or whistle they attach to you, foaling must be delayed by at least one day for each item.

4. Vet check, add a day, internal add three. If you hear the words, "She's nowhere near ready. You'll be fine while I'm away for the weekend." Wait 12 to 16 hours and pop that baby out!

5.Owner stress must be at an all time high! If you are in the care of someone else, ten to fifteen phone calls a day is a sign you're getting close. When you hear the words "I can't take it anymore!" wait three days and produce a foal.

6.You must keep this waiting game interesting. False alarms are necessary! Little teasers such as looking at your stomach, pushing your food around in the bowl and then walking away from it are always good for a rise. Be creative and find new things to do to keep the adrenaline pumping in those who wait.

7. The honor of all Miniatures is now in your hands. Use this time to avenge all of your stable mates. Think about your friend who had to wear that silly costume in front of those people. Hang onto that baby for another day. OH, they made him do tricks too! Three more days seems fair. Late feedings, the dreaded diet, bad haircuts, those awful wormings can also be avenged at this time.

8. If you have fulfilled all of the above and are still not sure when to have this foal, listen to the weather forecast on the radio that has been so generously provided by those who wait. Severe storm warning is what you're waiting for. In the heart of the storm jump into action! The power could go out and you could have the last laugh. You have a good chance of those who wait missing the whole thing while searching for a flashlight that works!

9.Make the most of your interrupted nights. Beg for food each time someone comes into the stable to check you. Your stable mates will love you as the extra goodies fall their way too.

10. Remember, this code of honor was designed to remind man of how truly special miniature horses are. Do your best to reward those who wait with a beautiful filly to carry on the miniature horse mare code of honor for the next generation of those who wait!

~~ Fighting Foaling Frenzy & Surviving Foaling Season ~~
By Kellie S. Sharpe

'Tis the season for the foaling! It's April, (or it will be anyway) so many mares have already had their babies and proud owners are shooting roll after roll of film so they'll have plenty of photographs to brag on. Your own mare is entering her nineteenth month of pregnancy (you and your vet may disagree on this point, but who has to live with her?) and you anticipate appearance of the new arrival almost any time. Whether this is your first or you haven't had a foal in a while, hopefully this article will help you get keep yourself together.

When you bred your mare last spring (or the spring before - whenever) foaling seemed too far in the future to even think about. You knew you mare was pregnant so you treated her like an expectant mother. Then you began to wonder if you needed to have the vet check her because she just didn't "look" pregnant. You waited. Finally you began to notice she was getting a little fuller in the middle, and lying down to sleep more. She laid her ears back when you tightened the girth. She developed a taste for Krispy Kreme doughnuts and frozen enchiladas. Now she threatens to call her lawyer at the sight of a saddle. She's definitely pregnant and you're absolutely certain she's going to foal sometime in this decade. Where has the time gone?

As the time draws closer, preparing a foaling kit is a very good idea. Besides having all the necessities organized and in one place when needed, it gives the owner something to do while waiting. A foaling kit can be as simple as a bottle of iodine in a bucket, or as elaborate as your imagination can make it. If this is your first attempt at putting together a foaling kit, I'd like to offer a few suggestions.

For the first-time expectant human, I recommend taking a day off work to prepare your foaling kit. Plan a nice outing, and ask a friend to go along. You'll have several stops to make, and you'll enjoy the company. You can treat yourselves to a nice lunch, and think up baby names. Make a careful list of what you'll need the night before - write very clearly because you're likely to be overcome by excitement and you don't want to have to decipher your own handwriting when shopping for something vital.

The first thing you need is something to organize and store your foaling kit in. Experienced "parents" have had success with items such as a Hefty Bag, or one of those nice five-gallon buckets with lids like some brands of vitamins come in. If this is your first, don't try to cram everything you need in one of those type containers. Buy one of those nice new plastic tack trunks. They're big enough to hold everything you'll need, plus you can use them afterward for other things. Anticipating this, be sure and drive the truck when you go "foaling kit shopping".

With your container ready, it's time to start putting in the necessities. I recommend starting with the following: 2 large bags Chips Ahoy cookies, 2 2lb. bags M&Ms, 1 large bag potato chips (your favorite), a bag of large marshmallows, your local Domino's Pizza phone number, portable phone (for calling Domino's), five- and ten-dollar bills and loose change (for paying Domino's) and several 3 liter bottles of Diet Coke (you have to watch your sugar intake at a time like this)*. It's perfectly all right to store all these items in your container; your mare will foal during an unexpected blizzard so it will be cold enough to keep these items without fear of spoilage. "But I live in Florida!" you say. Doesn't matter. Expect a crowd of surly citrus growers at your barn on the night of the blessed event. All of Florida will be under six inches of snow and they'll hold you responsible.

Now that the important items have been packed away, let's get to the things your mare will need. First, a tail wrap. Vetrap or a plain track bandage will do nicely. Some people will tell you the purpose of wrapping a mare's tail is to keep it out of the way during foaling, and to help keep it a little cleaner. I suppose there's some validity to that. Mostly the purpose of wrapping her tail is to give the owner something to do. Wrapping tails is a particularly good distraction for owners, because you can check them every thirty seconds. One note of warning: after you've checked the wrap the first 100 times, it's a good idea to start standing pretty far to the side when checking it. You mare may feel the need to give you what she may feel is a well-deserved kick. Please understand how she feels. Mares do not realize they cannot foal on their own, that they must have your help.

Back to the items that should be in your foaling kit. Several towels are a good idea. Clean ones, please. In fact, some "expectant parents" find it's best to just buy four or five new ones. That way, the newborn has his own towels and won't ever have to share with anyone else. And no one else will ever have to share with him. Some people take a certain comfort in knowing that. The famous (or infamous) bottle of iodine cannot be left out. A large bottle of iodine can be purchased at your local tack shop. As for the wide-mouthed jar, like a baby food jar, to dip the navel stump: forget it. If you think for one moment you are going to get iodine on that baby's belly and not get any on yourself, you are living in a dream world! Besides, it's such fun when people say, " My gosh, what happened to your hand? And your arm? And your FACE!", to be able to grin and reply, "Oh, nothing. My mare had a foal the other night and I spilled a little iodine.". They'll be interested, so you'll launch into a dissertation on foaling which will make them faint after about two hours. A flashlight is a must. You don't want to turn on the barn lights and cause the baby to jump back in if he's been peeking out and considering making an appearance. Besides, without a flashlight you might stumble in the dark barn and fall and knock yourself unconscious and miss everything. Buy extra batteries.

Your local tack shop will probably have foaling announcements. They usually come in packages of twelve, with envelopes. Buy two. You can spend the waiting time addressing the envelopes and filling in all the information except the date and whether it is a colt or filly. If you cannot find foaling announcements, just pick up a couple of packs of baby announcements at your local Hallmark shop. Be sure and cross out "boy" and "girl", and write in "colt" or "filly". Otherwise, it startles a recipient to find out you've had a 95 lb. baby. Be sure to get a big pink or blue bow for your mailbox. (What's really fun is if you have two mares that foal within a month or two of each other, and you get a colt and a filly. It startles passing motorists to see a pink bow on your mailbox only a short time after seeing a blue one.) Be careful with "It's A Boy" or "It's A Girl" balloons in the barn. Some mares are firmly convinced balloons are aliens that have come to earth to round up all the mares and take them to some strange planet where they'll become school horses for spoiled six-year- olds.

Don't forget a baby halter. They come in pink and blue, and have a little strap hanging from the bottom, theoretically for ease of catching the newborn. Don't be misled by this strap. Its actual purpose is so the newborn can drag you around the pasture. Which color should you buy? That's easy; buy one of each. Keep the color you need, and give the other one to a friend who may not be as well prepared as you when their mare foals.

Write down your vet's phone number in a conspicuous place - such as on the inside wall of your barn with a can of Day-Glo spray paint. I don't care how long you've had his or her number memorized, you will forget it. It's important to be able to reach your vet in case of emergency, such as getting up and down repeatedly after contractions begin, and nothing happening, or obvious abdominal distress unrelated to foaling. If you experience either of these symptoms, call your vet immediately. Your farrier's number is not really necessary - few mares feel the sudden need for shoes right after foaling. Of course, if she feels very strongly about shoes, I would certainly recommend giving her whatever she wants.

It is always helpful to know the signs that foaling is imminent. Any good book on horse care will include this information, or your vet will be more than happy to discuss it with you. Basically, when you see a hoof emerge from under the mare's tail, you can be pretty sure foaling is very close. There are other signs, such as the worst rainstorm in fifty years blowing up at 8 pm, or an unexpected visit from relatives you haven't seen in twenty years, but the hoof test is really the only 100% reliable one I've found. The "waxing over" thing is okay - if your mare's udder is a little waxy, you can assume she will foal sometime in the next month or so. That should narrow it down a bit for you, anyway. Your mare's personality is a good indicator of how easy or difficult the birth will be. If she is a timid, nervous mare who shys at everything, she will foal quickly and easily with no problems. If she's a sturdy, no-nonsense honest mare who'll take you through a mine field and never blink at the explosions, the foal will be born upside down and sideways.

Please resist the urge to grab the foal's front legs and yank it out to find out what it is. Also, resist the impulse to shove it back in and ask the mare to work on it a little longer. Foals in the process of being born may not look like your mental picture of a brand-new baby, especially if you've never seen one. Their ears are wet and folded back against their heads, and they have an expression on their faces which seems to say "I have absolutely no idea what is happening to me, but when I get myself together, I'm sure I won't like it." When the foal is completely out, try to refrain from gathering it in your arms and running to the house with it to raise it yourself. It's a major temptation, I know, but pretty soon it's going to realize how hungry it is and it's going to want a meal. Then what are you going to do? Better to leave it with its mother, at least for six months or so. Then it's yours forever.

Friends and family are going to want to come over to see the new arrival. If you can get them to wait a day or so, your mare will really appreciate it. Having a baby is strenuous business, and she needs a little time to get herself together. Besides, the baby needs some time to get his eyes working. He may not recognize someone he's already met if he didn't see them well. Waiting a day or two before allowing visitors also gives you time to clean up the gruesome remains of the event. Empty pizza boxes, cookie and M&M bags and cola bottles scattered throughout the barn detract from the professional image you work so hard to maintain.

So your long-awaited baby is on the ground (or standing up). Congratulations! What are you going to do with it? Do you remember saying nineteen months ago when you first bred your mare, "I can always sell the baby and get my stud fee back, at least."? Okay, so write the ad. What are you waiting for? Write it now, and maybe you can sell it by weaning time.

Oh, what the heck. You can always decide about selling it later. In fact, it's such a nice baby! Did you remember to call the stallion owners and tell them it had been born? No? Then take a good long look at it so you can describe it exactly. Be sure and look closely at its perfect head, and shoulder angle. That stallion sure did cross well with your mare, didn't he? In fact, maybe the stallion owner would be willing to make you a deal on a repeat breeding! Why not! After all, you've got your foaling kit container and you survived foaling once! Go for it!

* One word of warning: When Domino's arrives with your pizza, don't take your eyes off the mare for a minute while paying for it. Many unsuspecting owners have blithely tripped outside to get their pizza and returned to the barn five minutes later to find the mare smirking and the foal standing and enjoying his first meal. Besides being disappointed that you missed the whole thing, you'll forget about your pizza and the dogs will get it. Then you'll have to call Domino's again and wait another thirty minutes!


 

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