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Lori's Library > Breeding and Stallion Management > The Complete Book of Foaling

The Complete Book of Foaling
An Illustrated Guide for the Foaling Attendant

The Complete Book of Foaling     
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Karen E.N. Hayes, DVM, MS
Howell Book House, 1993
ISBN 0876059515

If you have only one book about foaling, let this be it. I used this book to attend my first foaling and, don't laugh, actually had it in the barn with me and referenced it in between stages of labour. It really put my mind at ease to know that, first off things were progressing normally, and secondly that I hadn't forgotten to do any of the things that I was supposed to do at each stage.

The first time I read this book, it kind of scared me. The author is explicit about all the things that can go wrong in a foaling, although thankfully they seldom do. The great thing about the book is that she communicates the information so well, you really know what is going on in each stage and are therefore equipped to deal with problems, which you will quickly recognize as deviations from the norm. I studied this book almost nightly for five months before the big event.

The diagrams in this book are the best I've ever seen. They clearly show the anatomy of the mare with the foal inside, and illustrate the proper direction in which any traction should be applied, and what will happen to the mare if improper forces are used. The diagrams in the section on dystocia clearly show the different types of malpositioning which will result in a delayed labour, how to identify each one, and what to do about it.

The author's opinion is that one of the most important things that a foaling attendant can do is "be there", and there is a great deal of information presented on how to make sure that you are. The methods of monitoring the mare are complete and specific, and if you follow them to the letter you are almost guaranteed to know when your mare will foal. There is no magic formala, just a lot of old-fashioned observation and horse-sense, but she also reviews all of the modern aids for predicting labour, and discusses their advantages and disadvantages.

A highly recommended book. The author has a real gift for taking a complicated subject and making it clearly understandable.

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