Monday, June 25, 2012


Sunday June 24 2012

'Twas not a dark and stormy night, but a late afternoon for a mare weeks overdue.

In all my years around horses, I've never witnessed a foal being born. Carol called me this evening, "Mirage is having her baby now!"

Judy and I rushed over, and…. waited.

The mare laid down and got up, laid down, rolled, got up, paced, laid down and strained and rested and strained and rolled… I started getting a little nervous. Was she supposed to be rolling?? (yes) How long was this supposed to take? What if something went wrong? We live out in the boonies - it's not like a vet can get out here short of a few hours.

When the mare's water broke, we knew it shouldn't be long now. But we waited… and waited… She'd lay there, strain, lay there, sit and look at her belly, lay some more, get up, go right back down, lay there, sit and look at her belly… for HOURS it seemed.

Finally, we could see the foal sack starting to emerge, but that stage seemed to take forever, too, with the mare getting up and down a more few times.

Eventually we could make out a hoof inside the sack, then another slightly behind the first (the correct presentation), but even that stage seemed to take forever, with the mare getting up and down a few more times again.

Then she laid down, and then came the final heaving, but not much more of the foal progressed into the world… and then the foal sack broke. Not good.

Carol was already there, had her hands on the one leg… but she could no longer find the other leg. The clock was ticking - if the foal didn't get out soon, he'd suffocate. Finally she found the leg and started pulling when the mare contracted… but the foal still wasn't moving, and now it was getting a little more urgent. Judy and I jumped in, each of us grabbing a foal leg, while Carol pulled the sack off the baby's nose, and when the mare pushed, we three humans pulled for all we were worth... and out slid the first 3/4 (the widest part) of the baby.

His tongue was hanging out of his mouth, and he looked… limp… well, dead...

and then he blinked an eye.

LJ Owyhee Quartzite was one Big-A** live foal. When I say he was big, I mean he was born with giraffe legs! I don't see how that thing fit in the mare much less came out of her.

No time to waste in this new world - within five minutes he was working on standing up.

That was enough horse birthing for me - too stressful!

check out the bottom of the foal feet when they're born!

The night report from Carol was that he made it up and nursed, and the mare passed the afterbirth.

Carol's photo of The Big Q on his first day on earth.

And all is well on the crick in Owyhee.


  1. Great Photos and narrative. I was getting stressed reading it and I'm glad it all came out ok. I've not seen many foals, but that one's legs surely do look especially long.

  2. Awww, how absolutely adorable!! Love it!!

  3. Now you know what I go through every year- and why I camp out with the mare- just in case. Normal birthing is about 45 minutes from the water breaking. Any longer than that and I start worrying!
    This looks like a big healthy foal.
    I did a post on the first flight of the fledgling Raven today.

  4. How cool is that!!? God wanted you there to help that little guy get out of Mama. Bet you didn't expect to be a necessary partner in the birth.

    The foal looks adorable and BIG!

  5. big foal! Glad everyone was on hand to help!

  6. He is beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing the big day.

  7. How exciting! You just know that I was waiting to see if you looked for and photographed the foal slippers!!

    How awesome!! You did!!

    Do you remember the post I did on Yalla's foal slippers when I watched her birth?

    Such a fascinating thin to lucky you were!!


  8. that photo of him trying to stand up really shows how huge he is. i hope he's healthy after being so crunched for so long. what a beautiful mare too.

  9. I got tears in my eyes reading this and seeing those amazing photos. I'm not religious, but this makes me pretty sure something is right in the universe! Wonderful post! Thank you!

  10. Khid is an uncle! :) Mirage (the dam) and Khid are full brother/sister. She is so beautiful, and what a gorgeous huge foal! Congratulations to all who birthed the baby!

  11. That is the coooolest post ever!!!! He's beautiful and I love the last photo of baby with his mom. I was there when my filly was born (2 yrs old on July 4th). I had my eyes glued to my mare for 24 hours and it was worth it! My fiance pulled her out because he was stressing and I took the sack off of her face. It was so exciting to see her born.

  12. What a dramatic birth! I'm glad you were able to witness it and share the experience.

  13. Hahaha, he looks SO disgruntled. Love the pics of his feet!!

  14. That is one great blog! Foaling stress is too much for me too! :)

  15. Nice story and pics