The owners of a newborn foal which lost its mother near Hvolsvöllur in South Iceland on Wednesday night turned to social media for help to save it. Their plea was shared 300 times and the move may have saved the foal’s life.
The foal belongs to the couple Guðbjörg Albertsdóttir and Rútur Pálsson, farmers at Skíðsstaðir. Rútur found the dead mare while inspecting his land on Thursday, ruv.is reports.
“And he realized immediately that the mare should have had her foal by now, he had seen signs of that two weeks ago or so. But he didn’t see the foal right away and started to plan a search for it,” Guðbjörg explained.
However, that didn’t prove necessary because Rútur soon spotted the foal and it came running towards him. “So he decided to grab hold of it, lead it to his car and drive it back home to the farm,” Guðbjörg added.
Guðbjörg then posted an emergency message on Facebook, advertising for horse milk. Her post was shared almost 300 times, which resulted in a man contacting the couple, referring them to another man who had a mare whose foal had died 48 hours earlier.
The two were brought together the same day and the foal is now being fostered in Sandgerði. Guðbjörg is hoping for the best. “The mare wasn’t ready to accept it right away but … the foal had been permitted to drink two or three times last night so things are moving along in the right direction.”
Early summer is usually a happy time for horse breeders, watching the arrival of their foals.
The female horse gestates for 11 months. The pregnant mare leaves the herd several hours before giving birth in search of privacy. There are other signs too that the arrival of the foal is approaching. These signs include the mare becoming restless.
Providing there are no complications, the labor lasts around ten to 20 minutes. Normally the foal is born with its front feet first. The mother licks the newborn to clean it and help its blood circulation. Within half an hour of being born, the foal is able to walk with its mother in the field. Good nutrition for the foal during its early months is crucial.
Click here to watch an audio slideshow of a foal being born.