Flicka's mare stare thread

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JFNM miniatures

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Bag was even bigger this morning. But one side of it is bigger than the other... is that normal ?
Had a very quiet night. She slept laying down sternal for a while, grazed down her stall... Maybe I missed a good butt rub or two because her tail was a mess this morning. No more elastic to hold her braid, hairs at the base all over the place. :)
 

JFNM miniatures

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Tonight's report (day 322):
Flicka tested a tiny bit lower for pH than yesterday. There was a very faint orange coloring in the pink. I'd say it must have been between 8.0 and 7.9. TH calcium was higher. It's looking a lot more like 1000 than first day of test (day 320).

Bag was the same as this morning, if not bigger. Did not get to take a decent picture. Flicka was fidgety and wanted to go back to her stall to eat. I was able to get belly pics though ! If that's not dropping, then I don't know what it is ! I don't think it is completely dropped, but it looks very close to that V !

I'm getting nervously excited... a big mix of emotions ! Happy, anxious, worried and thrilled ! 🙂🙃😁😦🤨🧐


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Taz

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She's close. It's insane how worried and excited you can be at the same time. Are you still sleeping or have you started watching all night?
 

JFNM miniatures

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She's close. It's insane how worried and excited you can be at the same time. Are you still sleeping or have you started watching all night?
Sorry Taz,
Just saw this. I was at the barn when you sent it for...guess what... Foal watch 🙂
The last few nights I slept and woke up every 1- 2 hours to check on her. But last night, she was VERY uncomfortable, so I decided to watch her closer. I turned on the monitor, she was just standing in the middle of her stall alert. She usually eats away her hay for half the night.

At first, I thought she might just be alert because she heard me come in. But about ten minutes later, saw her biting her sides, switching her tail, pacing her stall. No need to say, my eyes glued to the screen.

She laid down and rolled, which she hasn't done in a long time. I heard her whinny, it sounded to be from pain...

Just when things were getting interesting, my dog went into a barking frenzy that made her jump back to her feet.

An hour later, she laid down again, after eating a little bit and peeing. She laid down sternal, turned to side. Came back sternal, laid back to side etc... Breathing was labored. Once more, just when things looked interesting, one of the horses made a loud noise in his (or her) stall. She jumped back to her feet. 😒

Rest of the night was uneventful, she ate etc... at 3 am I closed my eyes to sleep some until 6 am when I take care of the horses.

I believe she may have been attempting to position the foal... But from now on, I'll be definitely staying up to watch her.
 

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Day 323 update:
Wasn't able to test milk. Not a single drop would come out. If nothing happens tonight, I'll have to try the warm cloth trick again tomorrow.

Here's a belly pic from this pm. This the result of all that rolling she did last night. ;)

I'm hoping tonight. Pray that all goes well. I'm terribly nervous, now. I know in the end it will be worth it, but still! 😟

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Nope. Nothing.
Neighbors decided to shoot several bullets around 10 pm, but he was on his lawn, so quite close. Spooked the whole barn, and sent my dog wild. 😠

I guess Flicka decided it wasn't a good time to have a foal... and maybe she was right.
 
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JFNM miniatures

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Maybe tonight 🤞
Neighbors 😒
I really hope so!!!! I was a bit discouraged this morning.... But I did take some time today to catch on some sleep... Felt so good ! 😊

I sure hope this mare will foal by the book. But if she doesn't, I've been taking notes, so I'll know her pattern for next time. :)
 

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Ok... Flicka has been tricking me for three nights in a row into thinking she might be starting first stage labor. She would eat a bit, then she'd become restless, look at her flanks and bite them, switch her tail, lay down both sternal and on the side, look at her flanks, have labored breathing etc... Only to rise back to her feet and stand up, although staying alert and restless. Then, she'd go back to eating, as though all was normal etc...

This is what she did last night. By 4am, I was so fed up with seeing her do that, I just turned in and SLEPT.

I'm starting to think we might still be ways off from foaling. You know, that stage that everyone goes through when they're like "It's never gonna happen. She'll be pregnant for another thousand years."

But still. Except that the pH is testing to high yet (stays between 8.0 and 7.8), she is showing ALMOST all the signs of imminent labor, save for no wax on teats and a bag not quite ready yet (although much bigger than a few days ago).

So I have a question for all of you. I'd like to know what is your experience of first stage labor and what signs the mare was giving you, or not giving you. Was it by the book, or not ? Did your mare test pH or not ? Etc...

Please don't think I'm being whiny... I just need some encouragement. Thank you.
 

elizabeth.conder

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Ok... Flicka has been tricking me for three nights in a row into thinking she might be starting first stage labor. She would eat a bit, then she'd become restless, look at her flanks and bite them, switch her tail, lay down both sternal and on the side, look at her flanks, have labored breathing etc... Only to rise back to her feet and stand up, although staying alert and restless. Then, she'd go back to eating, as though all was normal etc...

This is what she did last night. By 4am, I was so fed up with seeing her do that, I just turned in and SLEPT.

I'm starting to think we might still be ways off from foaling. You know, that stage that everyone goes through when they're like "It's never gonna happen. She'll be pregnant for another thousand years."

But still. Except that the pH is testing to high yet (stays between 8.0 and 7.8), she is showing ALMOST all the signs of imminent labor, save for no wax on teats and a bag not quite ready yet (although much bigger than a few days ago).

So I have a question for all of you. I'd like to know what is your experience of first stage labor and what signs the mare was giving you, or not giving you. Was it by the book, or not ? Did your mare test pH or not ? Etc...

Please don't think I'm being whiny... I just need some encouragement. Thank you.
You’re not being whinny at all! It’s an exhausting time that only people that go through it understand. I totally understand! Many of the foalings I’ve seen were pretty by the book. And although ph is high, it can drop very fast. I’ve seen multiple drop and foal in a matter of 12-24 hrs. One even went from 7.8 to foaling 3 hrs later. This is the hardest stretch because you are so close. I will tell you, I don’t stay up all night till they get closer. I do a check every hr or two but I have help watching in between. When the ph drops then we have eyes on 24/7. That’s why I ph test often. It really won’t harm the colostrum production and it gives me a good idea of what I’m looking at. But the ph WILL drop before foaling. It’s just a matter of how long before. For instance, when my mares are at that full udder high ph stage, I check ph at 8 am, 12 pm, 5 pm, 8/9 pm and then 12/1. Depending on the last check, I may change it a bit. If they are still testing 7.8+ at midnight than I will likely wait till 2:30ish to actually check physically. Still checking frequently on camera. Then another check 2/3 hrs later. But that’s just me. And I have help watching cameras so she’s not really going that long between checks. The last several weeks/days are so exhausted. My fear was getting so exhausted by the days leading up to the actual foaling that I missed the actual foaling.

question, does she belly lift when you check her udder? Look for that if she’s not. That’s another sign of getting close. What is her milk like at this point?
 

JFNM miniatures

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You’re not being whinny at all! It’s an exhausting time that only people that go through it understand. I totally understand! Many of the foalings I’ve seen were pretty by the book. And although ph is high, it can drop very fast. I’ve seen multiple drop and foal in a matter of 12-24 hrs. One even went from 7.8 to foaling 3 hrs later. This is the hardest stretch because you are so close. I will tell you, I don’t stay up all night till they get closer. I do a check every hr or two but I have help watching in between. When the ph drops then we have eyes on 24/7. That’s why I ph test often. It really won’t harm the colostrum production and it gives me a good idea of what I’m looking at. But the ph WILL drop before foaling. It’s just a matter of how long before. For instance, when my mares are at that full udder high ph stage, I check ph at 8 am, 12 pm, 5 pm, 8/9 pm and then 12/1. Depending on the last check, I may change it a bit. If they are still testing 7.8+ at midnight than I will likely wait till 2:30ish to actually check physically. Still checking frequently on camera. Then another check 2/3 hrs later. But that’s just me. And I have help watching cameras so she’s not really going that long between checks. The last several weeks/days are so exhausted. My fear was getting so exhausted by the days leading up to the actual foaling that I missed the actual foaling.

question, does she belly lift when you check her udder? Look for that if she’s not. That’s another sign of getting close. What is her milk like at this point?
Thank you so much for your help and good words, elizabeth.conder !!
You are so right. Only people who are going through this know how it feels. I did the mistake of telling someone who has never experienced foaling or having pregnant mare, and she told me I was worrying too much. It's a good friend of mine, and I know she was concerned about me, but she didn't seem to understand why I take the pain of watching my mare so closely, and why I insist to do all I can to be present. I agree with her, I've got to focus on the best part of it, which will be once I have a healthy foal on the ground. But still.

To answer your questions...
1. Unfortunately, I can't hook up my cam to Mare Watchers, but I will definitely invest in another cam that I can broadcast for any future foalings ! I really see now how helpful it is to have people watching with you around the clock.

2. I don't mind taking milk from her. So far, I try to test morning and evenings. I'll try to make so time to test at least at noon. I don't know if it's a good idea to test her at midnight. So far, I was trying to disturb her the least possible at night... Any thoughts on that ? Are your mares disturbed by it ?

3. Her milk was clear amber color so far, but I noticed it's turning like .. how can I say... it's whiter/grey, but it looks as though there were dust fine particles... kind of cloudy, but still a little clear. No more amber color though.

4. I haven't noticed if her belly would lift or not... I didn't know that could be a sign... I'll check later for sure !

And again, thank you for all your help. I'm so glad I found this supportive community. Makes me feel so much better to be with people who know what it is like to be going though this.
 

elizabeth.conder

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Don’t worry about Marewatchers, I’m talking more do you have anyone that can just come and watch for you a bit so you can rest? A few hrs of undisturbed sleep really helps.

Mine are pretty undisturbed by me coming to check. The thing is, I keep them on a kind of schedule where they get used to me coming at certain times of the night. They kinda learn to expect it. But I modify it based on checks. Like last year, I had a maiden what we knew we knew was close. The day she foaled I checked her at 5ish when I put her up. Then I checked her at 8 because I wanted to switch time just a hit so we had a long break between that check and midnight. Sure enough, she foaled at 9:15. And then another mare I had last year. I checked her at 10, 12, and 2. Then I had someone who could watch for a couple of hrs so I slept till 4 when I was going to check her again, but that friend told me to wait 5 minutes because she was suspicious, sure enough she was laboring and foaled shortly after. So before a check you can watch 5/10 minutes and make sure they are not doing anything suspicious.

The change in milk is good! Any chance you’re willing to taste it lol? That’s another way to check progression. The belly lift will not tell you that she’s going to foal in however many hrs. But it’s a change that happens when they instinctively start lifting to allow the foal to nurse. And that doesn’t occur till they are close. Mine start it a 2/3 days before foaling but some do it for longer before. I just find it useful to use as many signs as possible lol.
 

Taz

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Not whinny at all, been there done that. This is the absolutely worst part. You're tired and don't know what her pattern is. I'm not as much help as elizabeth.conder but what she's doing seems normal to me. From the way her milk looks I'd say she's really close but, who knows. This probably won't help at all but both my mares had lots of practice runs. Izzy (3 years ago and this year) would look in labor even to the point of laying down and having a couple of contractions then getting up and eating like it never happened. I think she did that for almost 2 weeks before she did it for real. When she really went into labor she was more intense in her behavior and it lasted longer before she started pushing. Tilly (last year) had one prerun where she looked textbook for 1/2 hour then nothing happened. About 3 days before she foaled she started standing and breathing hard for a bit every night and then when she foaled she started that way but instead of going back to eating she lay down and kept breathing hard, stood up for a bit, lay down on the other side, stood up switched sides and then started to push. I'm 300 ft max from my house to the stalls and they both had them before I got there and I ran. Nap as often as you can, I find lots of chocolate helps.
 

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Don’t worry about Marewatchers, I’m talking more do you have anyone that can just come and watch for you a bit so you can rest? A few hrs of undisturbed sleep really helps.

Mine are pretty undisturbed by me coming to check. The thing is, I keep them on a kind of schedule where they get used to me coming at certain times of the night. They kinda learn to expect it. But I modify it based on checks. Like last year, I had a maiden what we knew we knew was close. The day she foaled I checked her at 5ish when I put her up. Then I checked her at 8 because I wanted to switch time just a hit so we had a long break between that check and midnight. Sure enough, she foaled at 9:15. And then another mare I had last year. I checked her at 10, 12, and 2. Then I had someone who could watch for a couple of hrs so I slept till 4 when I was going to check her again, but that friend told me to wait 5 minutes because she was suspicious, sure enough she was laboring and foaled shortly after. So before a check you can watch 5/10 minutes and make sure they are not doing anything suspicious.

The change in milk is good! Any chance you’re willing to taste it lol? That’s another way to check progression. The belly lift will not tell you that she’s going to foal in however many hrs. But it’s a change that happens when they instinctively start lifting to allow the foal to nurse. And that doesn’t occur till they are close. Mine start it a 2/3 days before foaling but some do it for longer before. I just find it useful to use as many signs as possible lol.
Well, I do have good news about foal watch... my brother agreed to come with me and take turns watching and sleeping. Besides, I'm already feeling better by the fact someone will be on site with me if something happens and I need help.

I was just reading about milk changes in milk, since you reminded me that was a good sign to look at. Seems that most mares will foal in around 2-3 days when that change comes. But we'll see. I think I'll try tasting it to see if it's sweet. LOL.

Really interesting about the belly lift. I'd also like to have as many signs as possible, but it's hard for me since this is the first time I'm going through this, so thanks for telling me !
 

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Not whinny at all, been there done that. This is the absolutely worst part. You're tired and don't know what her pattern is. I'm not as much help as elizabeth.conder but what she's doing seems normal to me. From the way her milk looks I'd say she's really close but, who knows. This probably won't help at all but both my mares had lots of practice runs. Izzy (3 years ago and this year) would look in labor even to the point of laying down and having a couple of contractions then getting up and eating like it never happened. I think she did that for almost 2 weeks before she did it for real. When she really went into labor she was more intense in her behavior and it lasted longer before she started pushing. Tilly (last year) had one prerun where she looked textbook for 1/2 hour then nothing happened. About 3 days before she foaled she started standing and breathing hard for a bit every night and then when she foaled she started that way but instead of going back to eating she lay down and kept breathing hard, stood up for a bit, lay down on the other side, stood up switched sides and then started to push. I'm 300 ft max from my house to the stalls and they both had them before I got there and I ran. Nap as often as you can, I find lots of chocolate helps.
Taz, this is helpful! Flicka was really faking it of having contractions and like you it lasted 30-40 minutes ! I had texted home to let them know we might be getting into something serious... But out of the blue, she just stood up and resumed eating her meal.:rolleyes: So now I know I'm not alone ! :) And yes, I've been napping as often as I can.

Thank you very much for taking the time to share your insight and experience !
 
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elizabeth.conder

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Well, I do have good news about foal watch... my brother agreed to come with me and take turns watching and sleeping. Besides, I'm already feeling better by the fact someone will be on site with me if something happens and I need help.

I was just reading about milk changes in milk, since you reminded me that was a good sign to look at. Seems that most mares will foal in around 2-3 days when that change comes. But we'll see. I think I'll try tasting it to see if it's sweet. LOL.

Really interesting about the belly lift. I'd also like to have as many signs as possible, but it's hard for me since this is the first time I'm going through this, so thanks for telling me !
That’s great! Between allowing you some more sleep and just having company I bet it will help a lot! You are doing great! I know it’s hard! But you’re almost there and a healthy mare and foal is 100% worth it. And that’s why breeders keep on breeding. The wait is excruciating but the reward is worth it!
 
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