Please learn from my tragic foaling experience

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Well-Known Member
Mar 12, 2006
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Suffield, CT
If your mare is on Mare stare, MAKE SURE YOU CAN HEAR THE TELEPHONE!!!

We lost a foal this morning because it didn't get out of the sack. I was in the garage for 15 minutes while the farrier was trimming my big horse, and the mare took the opportunity to foal. Several people were watching on Marestare and tried to call, but I had not brought the phone with me into the garage and could not hear it ring. So the foal died and a lot of people on MareStare witnessed something I would not wish on my worst enemy. I can only imagine their frustration and horror, and if any of them are reading this, I offer my sincere apologies. Also to Heather and the whole Mare Stare crew - this is just what they strive to avoid and I screwed up. I also owe the Slobody's of Sawmill River Farm a huge apology because they had entrusted this wonderful mare to us, and we failed her horribly. I am consumed with guilt over this.

I want to add a further message for anyone who might be thinking about getting into breeding minis. This was our 4th try over 2 years and we are now 0 for 4. So far we have one mare that didn't settle (bred to outside stallion), one that was confirmed in foal (bred to another expensive outside stallion) and had a false pregnancy, one bred to our own stallion who aborted in March with a horrible dystocia (breech), a retained placenta and ended up in the hospital for several days. And then this one, which we bought for insurance in case the other mare aborted or something. Sox (Vermilyea Farms Exotic Exposure) is a proven mare with 4 gorgeous foals on the gound). Between the vet fees and the breeding fees alone we have spent thousands of dollars. Now I am sure there are some out there who say WE should not have gotten into breeding, and you may be right. But I do think our mares and stallion could produce foals with the potential to be assets to the breed - if they ever get a chance. You are welcome to flog me for my horrible mistake this morning, but please don't bash my horses until you at least look at what we have. (See website link below)

The questions (I almost forgot): I took some milk from the mare this morning and froze it in case anyone might need colostrum but wonder if it is too late now (< 12 hours after foaling) to get and freeze some more? And is there anything else I can do with this mare that might help someone else?

BTW, she was seen by my vet, passed the placenta WITH the foal, and seems to be settling down after a few hours of anxiety and unease.
Please dont beat yourself up like that!! We are all just human and things happen. My heart just breaks for you. Im so sorry you guys have had such a hard time. But please dont be so hard on yourself. It could happen to any of us!
Oh no, I am so sorry!!! That is such a tragedy for all involved! Don't beat yourself up too much however, as that can happen to anybody. These mares can foal so fast it's amazing and if you aren't right there, you can miss the whole thing.

I have both a camera AND a Equipage/Breeder Alert. Both together can prevent just what happened to you. Again, I am so very sorry.
What a heartbreaking loss! I am so sorry. Don't beat yourself up over it though. I am so glad you are sharing your mistake so it won't happen to someone else. We have one of those bells that rings outside here when the phone rings so we can hear it when we are outside even if we don't have the phone with us.
Please be kind to yourself. These things happen. I am so very sorry for your lose. Don't give up your passion, things will work out. You will have those precious little ones in the future, just hang in there,

Sending hugs and prayers,


You know how sorry we are that Sox lost her foal and that you had to go through this awful situation. You, Gary, and Sox have been in our thoughts all day. You most certainly do not owe us an apology. Things happen, and even the large scale breeders make mistakes. I can't tell you how many times we have walked out of the barn after a tragic birth and wanted to throw in the towel. We have also had a few times where a loss could have been prevented. Its hard, I know. You are a great friend and have been an avid supporter of our farm and breeding program.

Stay Strong and Don't give up!!! Stick to your goal of being a premiere pinto breeder. You have put together a nice little herd, and you have so much vision and enthusiasm for them. You have our support!

We are just a phone call away if you need us!

Oh, I am so sorry!!! Words... useless sometimes.

I keep telling my co-workers about how hard it can be to get a live foal...I am so worried now. Worried more than ever.

Thank you for the warning. It will make the rest of us hyper-vigilant and probably save a foal.

I am so sorry for your loss. You are so kind to think of others and offer the milk. DOnt beat yourself up. I hope the mare is doing well.
I am so sorry for your loss. Please, you are only human, forgive yourself. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control. Sending you hugs and prayers.
Do not beat yourself up, these things happen all of the time.

You said the placenta and the foal were born together? Chances are the foal was already dead. My guess is that the placenta released early and the foal would have been dead even if you had been there.

I had a similar experience last year. I had been watching this mare for weeks. She was doing nothing but standing in the corner. I went to my computer and was there for about 15 minutes. During that time the mare foaled and when I checked the camera, there was a dead buckskin filly in the stall. She too was born with the placenta and the cord still atached to the foal, but this foal's head was out of the sack. My vet believes that the foal was already dead with an early placental release.

He said that when a foal is born with the placenta still attached and the foal and placenta are already out of the mare, that most times the placenta released early and there would have been nothing that I or anyone else could do.

On a good note, this same mare had a healthy colt this year. AND, she acted more like she was in labor this time and gave me plenty of notice.

So, I am very sorry your had such a rotten year, but do not beat yourself up, it was not your fault!!
You certainly will not find me throwing the first stone. The world of miniature horses is fraught with anxiety.

Like Becky, I have the cameras AND Breeder Alerts. The combination has saved me MANY times.

But just like you I have lost foals. It is heartbreaking. I have been there waiting nearly a year and then nothing.

You have my sincere sympathy. I do know just how you feel and I am sorry.
All I can say is how very sorry I am
...and to anyone that THINKS it can't happen to them...Well sadly it can. It seems to be a crap shoot and YES we can increase the odds with foal alert-cameras-mare stare and all the folks watching but sadly it happens. Do not give up on YOUR dream to produce and have awesome minis-your on the right track but have just had a bad start. Mourn the little ones lost but DO NOT give up on your dream.
I am sorry for your loss and I agree with all the others, please don't beat yourself up. These minis are hard but when you do get a little one it is worth the heartbreak. I am sure we have all had our losses no matter how hard we try to do everything right!

I am so glad you shared your own tragic experience. The cord on this foal (also buckskin, but a colt) was also still attached and the vet broke it when he was here. He didn't mention the significance of the placenta and foal coming out together, but your theory would explain a lot. This mare had also been doing nothing except standing in the corner of her stall "holding up the wall". Or eating.

You have made my day a very tiny bit brighter. Thank you so much for sharing.
I am so deeply sorry for your loss. But if the foal was still born, It could be God's way of sparing you from witnessing the loss.

Please don't lose focus on your dream, maybe this was not meant to be your year for some unexplained reason. I hope your pain and grief will pass soon.

Sending hugs and prayers your way for you and your family.
Oh no! My heart aches for you! I know how painful it is and I wish I had words to soothe your hurt. Listen, ALL we can do is our best! No one is perfect no matter how hard we try so please take it easy on yourself. Foalings happen FAST, within minutes!

{{{{{Hugs}}}}} I'm so sorry!
I know how you feel. I lost a mare and foal last year. It is hard not to blame yourself. You have to give yourself a break. Forgive yourself. I still cry over loosing my girl. It's so hard even with all the technology to be there at that exact moment.

God bless and and prayers for your heavy heart.
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Oh no, my heart breaks for you. I am so terribly sorry for you loss. As awful as it may have been for those watching, it may have ingrained into people's minds to see first hand, just how important it is to try to be there when a mini mare foals. We all know that, or most of us do, but to see one die because of it, is a sight they will likely never forget, and it will definately have been a learning experience for anyone, beginner or seasoned breeder. HUGS to you.

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