|The Foal Watch
Nothing is more rewarding to horse people than watching a special
mare deliver a stunning new foal. However, because most horses
give birth sometime between midnight and daybreak, waiting for
the big event is a venture that requires careful planning and
- 10:00 PM - Gather up sleeping
bag, alarm clock and back issues of your favorite horse
magazine and head for barn where you plan to settle down
for the night.
- 10:01 PM - Return to house
for some popcorn and an ice-cold drink.
- 10:10 PM - Head back to barn.
Your flashlight goes out halfway there but you figure you
can make it by memory. Pat your faithful ranch dog's head
as it pants and slobbers at your side.
- 10:11 PM - You suddenly remember
you have no ranch dog. Run screaming back to the house.
Change flashlight batteries. Change underwear. Return to
- 10:15 PM - Establish foal
watch headquarters in empty stall next to beloved broodmare.
- 10:16 PM - Enter broodmare's
stall for the 5,687th inspection of her vulva and udder.
Broodmare flattens ears for the 5,687th time.
- 10:17 PM - Sigh audibly,
leave stall and head for house. Dial your veterinarian just
to make sure he/she's home.
- 10:19 PM - Return to barn
and squirm into sleeping bag. Set alarm to go off in one
hour and shut off light.
- 10:20 PM - 40,000 sets of
furred feet become active as the entire mouse population
of the county runs wind sprints in the loft.
- 10:25 PM - Sit up when something
with bigger furred feet joins the overhead track meet.
- 10:26 PM - Flick on light
-- listen to the absolute silence.
- 10:27 PM - Flick off light.
- 10:28 PM - Wind sprints resume
and Big Foot seems to be winning.
- 11:18 PM - Finally fall asleep.
- 11:19 PM - Alarm goes off.
- 11:20 PM - Peek through knothole
at broodmare. Mare pins her ears.
- 11:21 PM - Reset alarm and
flick out light.
- 11:22 PM - Flick on light.
Realize that drink was a mistake and head for the house
to "eliminate" the problem.
- 11:25 PM - Resist urge to
- 11:27 PM - Trot back to barn.
Left boot is sucked off in mud hole. Hop three steps before
the foot missing a boot plops into another mud hole.
- 11:28 PM - Return to house
and change one sock.
- 11:29 PM - Walk back out
- 11:30 PM - One last check
of broodmare through knot hole. Her ears are still pinned.
- 11:31 PM - Set alarm to go
off in one hour and turn out the light.
- 11:40 PM - Wake up suddenly
and check knot hole. Mare is lying down!
- 11:41 PM - Enter broodmare
stall complete with Ye Olde Foaling Manual, an armful of
clean rags, iodine and a tetanus shot. Mare breaks wind
and gets up. She looks at you and has the gall to pin her
- 11:45 PM - Return to sleeping
bag. Flick out light.
- 11:52 PM - Shift around and
then remove flake of hay that feels like a boulder from
under your sleeping bag.
- 12:01 AM - Wake up suddenly
because you realize that you can't hear clock. Flick on
light and make sure clock is running. Remove some shavings
from your ear and flick out light.
- 12:29 AM - Fall asleep
- 12:31 AM - Alarm goes off.
- 12:32 AM - Eyes feel like
somebody put sand in them. Stagger to knot hole and view
an extreme close-up of the mare's rear end. No change in
- 12:33 AM - Crawl back to
your sleeping bag. Set alarm and flick out light. Left foot
cramps. Shove foot into bottom of bag and hold for five
- 12:38 AM - Cramp over. Relax
- 12:39 AM - Left foot muscles
again try to turn into a pretzel. Struggle out of sleeping
bag and hobble around stall for another five minutes.
- 12:44 AM - Cramp over. Return
to bag. Right foot starts to twitch.
- 1:10 AM - Fall asleep.
- 1:39 AM - Alarm goes off.
Think you hear something, but your body tells you it must
remain in the sleeping bag for just a few more seconds.
- 6:30 AM - Wake up. Glance
at clock. Attempt to leap from the sleeping bag. Fall into
polyester/fiber fill heap in the shavings. Crawl to knot
hole, peer into broodmare stall and see two sets of pinned