After a foal is born, crucial milestones must be met in the first few hours. You need to know when to let nature take its course and when to intervene.
After delivery, the umbilical cord should break on its own when the mare stands. Natural stretching and rupture seals the blood vessels so that there’s little bleeding. Resist the urge to cut the cord, but once it breaks, dip the stump in diluted, mild disinfectant. If the umbilical cord hemorrhages, contact your veterinarian.
Most foals stand up within one hour. Don’t try to help the foal up — just add more bedding to help her get a grip if needed. The foal has to nurse within the first two hours to take in her mother’s antibody-rich colostrum. If you’re near the three-hour mark and that hasn’t happened, check in with your veterinarian.