We have recently entered the arena of Friesian breeders, and it has been a slow but careful path. As I repeatedly committed to memory all my materials I had acquired to increase my knowledge about the expectant mare, and what to do before, during, and after, parturition, I soon learned that I needed more examples provided along with the education I was receiving, and decided this would be helpful to all small breeders expecting home births. So, after much observation, and research, I decided to fulfill that need here.
The purpose of this page is to provide a form of "chronology" of indications so that the first-time Friesian breeder(and horse breeder) has an idea of what to look for and what to expect. My subject at hand was my maiden mare Seaske, who had an uneventful pregnancy and dropped her foal very close to the time of my hopeful expectation.
Day 293 - Seaske's belly is becoming pronounced - 6-15-07
Day 320 - Seaske is beginning to show a bit of muscle/ligament softening on the tailhead. She never had the soft, non-resisting tailhead - 7-12-07
Day 320 - Belly has begun a small drop, a bit more swollen, but not much different from 30 days earlier. This is about as deep as she ever got!
Day 319 - first milk to test, it is clear, a bit yellowish, and somewhat sticky.
Day 320 - vulva appears to be relaxing somewhat, but not that noticeably different from my other, unbred mare. As I compared later, she now looks like this, so she has begun to relax.
Day 319 - began checking udder appearance. The udder never changed from this general appearance. I did not see the changes others have observed (more swelling and firming up with nipples strongly filled. There was also no cleavage between the teats towards the tail end) and she did not wax.
Day 320 - the milk has already changed a bit, is now a bit more opaque, and yellowish, also sticky.
Day 321 - the milk is now more opaque, but not thick, still quite watery.
Day 322 evening - the milk had changed quickly, and we figured the foal was arriving within maybe 2 - 4 days.
This is the delivered, 100% intact placenta. It has not been inverted, right now it is inside-out. The opening the foal came through is quite definite.
I am pointing to the main uterine horn, where the foal developed.
I am pointing to the uterine horn that was not utilized. It is more shriveled and smaller.
I am holding open the hole through which delivery proceeded.
I am pointing out here the "cervical stars" which indicate the amniotic sac and placenta opened at the cervix, where we want it to open!
The remainder of the umbilicus, the "lifeline" of the developing foal.
Day 323 - 5:00 a.m., Seaske produced a healthy colt, after about 45 minutes of labor. Yiska b'shem Elmassian was born.
With this experience I learned a lot, from the research in books and on the internet, and directly from the vet that made the post-delivery checks. I also learned a lot about myself.
As we continue to move forward in this new direction with our horses, I will be updating this page as I have more to present. For now, I hope it helps those looking for tips on when to prepare for that all-important arrival!