What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Foaling, Mare Just Foaled, Mare & Foal Seem OK, What to Do?


Your mare has foaled. Everything seems all right, but you are not sure what is normal.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • For a routine post-partum examination of foal, mare and placentae.

your role


What To Do

When in doubt, do nothing other than provide the basics. Provide good protection and privacy, away from other animals and the elements. Unless you are experienced, do not interfere with early bonding. Then quietly monitor the mare and foal.

If any of these milestones do not take place within the proper timeframe, call your vet:

1. Your new foal should be standing in about an hour and should be nursing no later than 2 hours after being born.

2. Your mare should pass her entire placenta within 2-3 hours of foaling. If it is retained beyond 30 minutes but hanging out of her vulva, tie it up to prevent it from dragging.

3. Your mare may demonstrate some minor signs of pain due to uterine cramping, which is normal. However, if your mare exhibits signs of great discomfort, if these signs persist beyond 15 minutes, or if she shows any other sign of distress contact your vet.

4. If you are concerned about no. 2 or no. 3 above, your vet may recommend that you take the mare's temperature to determine whether she has a fever.

What Not To Do

When in doubt, do less rather than more. Do not overzealously interfere if the mare and foal appear normal and healthy.

your vet's role

I always recommend a postpartum/neonatal foal veterinary exam between 8-24 hours after foaling. This allows time for the antibody levels to rise after the foal consumes the antibody-rich first milk, colostrum. Part of the examination is assessing passive transfer of these antibodies.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Is the foal standing and nursing normally?
  • How many hours ago did the mare foal?
  • Do the mare and foal appear normal to you?
  • Has the mare passed her placenta whole?
  • Do you want to schedule a post-partum exam?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • What is the horse's rectal temperature?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP