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.
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
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
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
She pushes with all her strength lifting her head to help with the contractions
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
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.
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.
Silver grabs at grass for energy as the foal brakes out of more of it’s placenta.
Exhausted Silver looks back nickering
She keeps nickering encouragement
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
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.
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
Mystic starts making an attempt to stand
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
Silver makes a move to stand
She grabs one last mouth full of energy giving grass
Mystic waits for her Mother to break the umbilical cord
With a great heave she gets up
Slowly gently she steps sideways breaking her last physical attachment to her foal
As she turns they are finally disconnected
Silver immediately starts cleaning her wet new baby
Licking stimulates the foal to try and stand as well as dry her off
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
Nuzzling & nipping the foal the placenta still hangs on.
The mare nibbles the foals knees encouraging it to make the effort to stand
The Placenta finally drops out
Mystic making a real try at standing
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
Weeks old & already the grey color coming in around Mystic’s eyes
Mystic loved to gallop
Months old & still galloping about
The older she got the more her birth chestnut faded into grey
6 months old & it’s weaning time
Bodacious, the cat shepherd, arrives on the scene & starts his farming duties
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
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
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