Broodmares are some of the most unique mothers in the entire animal kingdom. The gestation period for these stoic creatures is a long 340 days on average, according to Equimed.com. Equines carry fetuses to term weighing upwards of 100lbs at birth. During that entire time period they support this enormous weight on four of the tiniest legs in existence proportionate to their size. The birthing process itself is one of the most dangerous in the mammalian kingdom due to the length and gangly make-up of a newborn baby. Having twins is almost unheard of and has only happened a handful of times throughout history. It is common practice in breeding management to ensure that mares only bring one foal through to term for the safety of both mom and baby.
Foaling problems occur in less than 1% of births according to TheHorse.com, but when they do occur can be very serious. The size of both mom and baby makes manipulation of the process physically and emotionally strenuous. There is a narrow timeframe to react to an issue and since most mares give birth in the darkest, stillest hours of the night, a heightened level of monitoring must be implemented during those hours. But the reward is worth every trial and tribulation.
When the sun finally pulls up over the lip of the horizon after the long, exhausting night, the darkness is forgotten. Fingers of light filter down the barn aisle through the slotted panels on the front of the stall and fall across the golden straw to welcome the tired, wet, gangly heap of a newborn foal to the world. The mare awakens, still heaving from hours of exertion, and manages to pick her head up to nuzzle her precious gift.
Watch below as the mare caresses her newborn foal.