Tips for handling dystocias
Presentations that may need your intervention....or a nearby vet.
6. One hind foot coming under chest (Dog-sitting position)
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Instead of the normal two front feet and a nose, there will be 3 front feet and a nose. The first thing you have to do is figure out which leg is the back leg. Put hand in and feel for hocks or run hand down foal’s front legs to find chest.
Once you find the back foot, put two fingers behind pastern/ankle try to LIFT HOOF over pelvic rim while your helper pushes foal back. As soon as you feel any movement or release, slide your hand with palm upwards and catch the sharp hoof tip as it falls, protecting the mare’s uterus
 7. Forelegs over head/ears
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Foal will be coming out, except for that the hooves will be on top of the nose instead of the nose on top of the hooves. Lube well and go in with your palm towards the center
Once you locate the knees, which will be hooked over the ears, gently lift legs from head into normal position
D. Presentations to CALL THE VET
In the following presentations, while waiting for the vet to arrive, walk the mare slowly around the stall. A mare can’t push and walk at the same time. Have your trailer hooked up, deeply bedded and ready to haul her in.    
1. Full Breech (Backwards with no legs coming)
You will see a tail and a butt and no legs, emergency! 
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After scrubbing and lubing, palpate your mare. Remember in some cases the mare's water will not have broken yet. After feeling around it will be apparent why if you have the rear end of the foal plugging the cervix and pelvic opening. 
Get your mare standing. Sometimes mares will not cooperate, however, if the mare stands, the foal and all of the mare's weight tends to pull away from the cervix and pelvic opening.
Tear the placental sac covering the foal’s rump as it protrudes through the cervix as in the case of a red bag delivery. The hindquarters of the foal will be pressed tightly against the cervical opening like a stopper and very little water may be released even when the placenta is torn.
Now picture your foal in your head. Pass your hand through the hole made in the placenta and you should feel the smooth, amniotic sac containing the foal. You should feel the tail. While you can try to manipulate baby through the amniotic sac you ca also rupture the sac to actually be touching baby and have baby’s butt in your hand. IF you rupture the sac at this stage, be prepared to move quickly and smoothly through the following steps.
Follow the butt down to the legs.  You should be able to determine how baby is standing or laying -- in this presentation many times baby will be in the same position as the mother.
Now you have 2 legs in the birth canal.  Once the body of the foal enters the vagina, its blood supply will most likely be shut off. This is due to the umbilical cord being flattened by the pressure of the foal's body against the wall of the vagina. In this presentation the foal's head will be immersed in amniotic fluid in the uterus. Once the umbilical cord is pinched off, no oxygen will get to the body. If the delivery is not quick, brain damage is of immediate concern and, of course, the life of the foal and also the mare was at risk. 
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Grab the rear legs and pull forcefully as the mare contracts. Once in the feet back position, the foal should be delivered easily pulling with the mare’s contractions.
2. Upside Down Breech (backwards & upside down)
It will look like a full breech, but with the tail on the bottom
3. Back (spine) of foal first, also called transverse
Mare will be pushing…nothing coming, you stick your hand in, and hit a solid wall of foal, the foal’s back.
4. All 4 feet coming at same time, another transverse


CREDITS:  This compilation of information is from personal experiences of some of the members here on LB, and from several well-written articles found at the following websites:
BIG Thanks to Beth at IAm Ranch for allowing us to use information provided on their website at
Foaling Kit  -    30 Days before Foaling  -  Post Foaling
BIG Thank you to Maryanne Cerullo of Miniature Ventures for the use of her articles at http://www.miniature...sourcepage.html
Basic Foaling   The RH Factor Foal  Red Bag Birth   The Septic Foal -plus more
and we’d also like to mention a number of fine articles can also be found at the Scott Creek Farm website at under Horse Health Articles.
Dystocia  -  Premature Foals  -  Breach Foals

I'm sure there are many other fine articles out there to help prepare for the birth of your foal, and hopefully, others will share sites where these can be found. If you have a article that
you would like to share with us please email and we'll get it approved and published here for others to read and learn from.

Thank you for reading. Lil Beginnings Admin.

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