It is now the beginning of the Chinese New Year; the year of the Green Wooden Horse. What better way to start this new year than with images of the birth of a new horse into this world.

Mystic

Mystic

To celebrate the year to come I have decided to share with you the images I took of my Registered Irish Draft mare Silver foaling down her daughter Mystic in 2007. This sequence of images were taken over the 35 minutes that it took Silver to give birth to her filly foal Mystic.

The Calm Before the Storm

The calm before the storm

It was about 6am with the smell of rain in the air when I went up the field to see how Silver was doing. Even lying down she seemed restless and colicky so I knew the time had come and she would be giving birth very soon.

Her waters break with a gush of fluid

Her waters break with a gush of fluid

Next the white bubble of the amniotic membrane & hooves start to show

Next the white bubble of the amniotic membrane & hooves start to show

Silver lies down again, pushing so you can see the foals nose coming out on top of the 2 front legs

Silver lies down again, pushing so you can see the foals nose coming out on top of the 2 front legs

She pushes with all her strength lifting her head to help with the contractions

She pushes with all her strength lifting her head to help with the contractions

She stands again with the foals head partly out

She stands again with the foals head partly out

Here you can see the foals 2 front legs protruding as Silver adjusts herself for the next push

Here you can see the foals 2 front legs protruding as Silver adjusts herself for the next push

Down again, she pushes out the foals shoulders

Down again, she pushes out the foals shoulders

Pushing again the foals abdomen comes out, at the same time breaking the placenta from across her nose as she is pushed out along the ground.

Pushing again the foals abdomen comes out, at the same time breaking the placenta from across her nose as she is pushed out along the ground.

Silver takes a breather munching some grass while the foals back legs are still inside.

Silver takes a breather munching some grass while the foals back legs are still inside.

Then Mystic starts to raise her head for the first time.

Then Mystic starts to raise her head for the first time.

Silver grabs at grass for energy as the foal brakes out of more of it's placenta.

Silver grabs at grass for energy as the foal brakes out of more of it’s placenta.

Exhausted Silver looks back nickering

Exhausted Silver looks back nickering

She keeps nickering encouragement

She keeps nickering encouragement

Silver stays still munching grass while Mystic's hind legs are still inside the birth canal

Silver stays still munching grass while Mystic’s hind legs are still inside the birth canal

The Foal & Mare get a first good look at each other & Mystic makes her first mumbling nickering sound

The Foal & Mare get a first good look at each other & Mystic makes her first mumbling nickering sound

Mystic shakes her head & moves a front leg braking more of the placenta sack

Mystic shakes her head & moves a front leg braking more of the placenta sack

Both front legs are free & she tries to free up her back legs.

Both front legs are free & she tries to free up her back legs.

Mystic now sitting up & using her neck to hold up her head for the first time

Mystic now sitting up & using her neck to hold up her head for the first time

Finally the hind legs have slid out so only the umbilical cord attaches mare to foal

Finally the hind legs have slid out so only the umbilical cord attaches mare to foal

Mystic starts making an attempt to stand

Mystic starts making an attempt to stand

They are still attached but greet each other nickering

They are still attached but greet each other nickering

Mystic pauses to rest from the trauma of being born while Silver also rests eating more grass

Mystic pauses to rest from the trauma of being born while Silver also rests eating more grass

Silver makes a move to stand

Silver makes a move to stand

She grabs one last mouth full of energy giving grass

She grabs one last mouth full of energy giving grass

Mystic waits for her Mother to break the umbilical cord

Mystic waits for her Mother to break the umbilical cord

With a great heave she gets up

With a great heave she gets up

Slowly gently she steps sideways breaking her last physical attachment to her foal

Slowly gently she steps sideways breaking her last physical attachment to her foal

As she turns they are finally disconnected

As she turns they are finally disconnected

Silver immediately starts cleaning her wet new baby

Silver immediately starts cleaning her wet new baby

Licking stimulates the foal to try and stand as well as dry her off

Licking stimulates the foal to try and stand as well as dry her off

The Mare also nibbles & bites to encourage standing

The Mare also nibbles & bites to encourage standing

She grabs mouth fulls of grass between cleaning & stimulating the foal for her own energy, while Mystic struggles to find how wobbly legs work

She grabs mouth fulls of grass between cleaning & stimulating the foal for her own energy, while Mystic struggles to find how wobbly legs work

Nuzzling & nipping the foal while the placenta still hangs on.

Nuzzling & nipping the foal the placenta still hangs on.

The mare nibbles the foals knees encouraging it to make the effort to stand

The mare nibbles the foals knees encouraging it to make the effort to stand

The Placenta finally drops out

The Placenta finally drops out

Mystic making a real try at standing

Mystic making a real try at standing

Oh so nearly there

Oh so nearly there

Sadly at this stage the rain starts pouring down so I must stop taking photographs and try to get foal up and under shelter with the mare.

The next day the sun was shining

The next day the sun was shining

Weeks old & already the grey color coming in around Mystic's eyes

Weeks old & already the grey color coming in around Mystic’s eyes

Mystic loved to gallop

Mystic loved to gallop

Months old and still galloping about

Months old & still galloping about

The older she got the more her chestnut faded into grey

The older she got the more her birth chestnut faded into grey

6 months old and it's weaning time

6 months old & it’s weaning time

Bodacious, the cat shepherd, arrives on the scene and starts his farming duties

Bodacious, the cat shepherd, arrives on the scene & starts his farming duties

At 4 years old Mytsic was taking us for wonderful drives around the countryside

At 4 years old Mystic was taking us for wonderful drives around the countryside

We even did test driving for tree work, but Mystic likes moving forward & you need a horse who stands stone still for tree work

We even did test driving for tree work, but Mystic likes moving forward & you need a horse who stands stone still for tree work

Mystic is now a big grey RID Mare now not a hint of the chestnut color she was born with bigger than her Mother Standing at 16.3 hands

Mystic is now a big grey RID mare now, not a hint of the chestnut color she was born with, bigger than her Mother standing at 16.3 hands

3 Responses to The Year of the Horse: Happy Chinese New Year

  1. Dawn says:

    How lovely, and what a wonderful way to begin the Year of the Horse! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. Annette Witte says:

    Wonderful photo story, where is Silver now ?

    • suzanna says:

      Sadly Silver is with us no more. She had to be put down as she was in loads of pain due to an old injury. It was a very very sad day.

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