Tag Archives: marestare

I ASSISTED IN THE LIVE BIRTH OF A MINI-DONKEY!! Well, not really, but I watched…

OK, I know this is another post about foaling…

But, I kinda got caught up in the moment!

You see, this morning I was minding my own business when all of a sudden…


Here I was, sitting at my computer checking what needed to be done and making sure my work chores were situated before starting in on my blog.  Le de dah.  Dum de Dum.

And then, when I wasn’t expecting any commotion, I received a comment on the Horse and Man comment board.  Again, I wasn’t expecting anything so I opened it to read as I normally do.

This comment mentioned that the author had been watching Marestare and happened to click on a live camera that had an interesting sounding barn name ( “Asstec Acres Mini Donkeys”) and that when she went to the site, the camera was focused on a mini-donkey who seemed to be about to deliver.

Well, having foaled out a bunch of mares, I was skeptical.  They always seem to be ‘ready to foal’ but they really aren’t until certain things happen.  So, as I finished reading the comment, I wasn’t sold that this was actually happening right then.

However, I decided to click on the barn cam, just to be sure.   OMG!  It was happening!!  I’ve seen lots of mares who were minutes away from foaling and this looked just like that!  I was glued, gripped, white-knuckle watching!  Yup, she was up and down, her tail was in that ‘ouch this hurts’ position.  Her stomach was heaving and the poor girl was standing as if she was about to deliver an elephant.

Game On!

It is at this point that you commit yourself to either watch – no matter what happens – or not watch and miss out.

I chose to watch.  I had to.

I knew nothing about this farm, this jenny or this impending baby… I knew nothing about the sire or the pregnancy or if she was maiden or anything like that.  I was watching a strange-to-me donkey who was in the throws of what millions of donkeys have gone through since donkeys began.  This little donk and I had something in common.  We both wanted her to be OK and for the baby to be OK.  And even though I could only see her, not interact –  and I was only one person watching – I knew that any other human watching was probably thinking along the lines of what I was thinking.

Through this entire process I was chatting to myself and commenting to no one!  I felt so alone as I was witnessing these incredible moments because there was no one around to share.

So, I’m sharing with all of you!


*This photo journal is not based on any reality other than my thoughts at the time.  I still know nothing about this particular birth or the people involved.  I’m just sharing as if you had been here with me during the process.  If you had been with me, you would have been subjected to this running commentary.

All the photos are screen grabs from the actual event as it was unfolding.  I simple captured the images from the Marestare camera and saved them to my desktop.

This is the first image I saw... Tail out, donk in pain, stomach heaving... THIS WAS HAPPENING!

I took this photo because the neighbor donkey decided this was all too much and had retreated into her stall...

As I'm yelling (in my head) that this donk is READY, luckily a human arrives. Always a good vision on Marestare... Note the neighbor has come out again.

Human Mom sees what is happening and realizes that this donkey mom needs some help...

Donk wants comfort from HM but is not ready to push more. HM must be anxious because she knows part of baby is visible and she just wants to get it out!

Donk lays down and HM continues to try to help with this big? baby... I have no idea what is wrong at this point and I'm worried. Is she maiden? Is the baby huge? Does this happen with all mini-donks?

Donk stands up again but HM has her hands on the baby and doesn't want to let go so she travels on her knees around the stall with Momma-to-be

Here we have THE WAITING GAME. Mom and Baby are taking a breather. Neighbor donk has left again.

Oy, little donk flops down with her tail right at the door so HM has to open the stall door to get into position.

Human Mom grabs again and is very intent as donk stretches her legs straight outward and looks back at her stomach

Now I'm stressed. HM is so intent on delivering this baby NOW that she has put herself in an awkward position to pull on that baby and maneuver it out of whatever situation has gotten him stuck. It looks very odd to me but I know HM wouldn't have put herself there unless it was the best position to get the baby out.

HM is obviously pulling and donk is obviously pushing and I think I see baby coming out!

Yes! Baby is out! I can see the entire sack and a dark form inside. Donk puts her head down and looks exhausted and relieved!

This was so sweet, I had to take a capture. It is HM patting donk and I'm sure she was saying what I've said, "You did great! You are a very good girl!"

HM goes about drying the baby, stimulating it and making sure it responds correctly

This looked like HM took the baby's face in her hands and said, "Hi Baby!, Welcome!"

HM checks Momma donk's parts to make sure all is good

HM leaves and I expect donk and baby to get to know each other. Note neighbor coming out again...

More wipedown and neighbor looks on.

Helper enters with something - probably betadine for the umbilicus.

Vigorous baby rubdown as Momma donk recovers herself

Mamma and baby sniff

Baby climbs on Mamma

HM leaves and neighbor watches her go (hoping for a treat?)

HM retrieves placenta so the vet can make sure it is all there and healthy

(I had gone away from my computer and when I came back moments later...) Huh? Where did they go? Neighbor is looking at something...

Oh, OK. HM is cleaning up. The birthing process is messy. (hay bale appears in neighbor stall)

After the stall is clean, HM spreads fresh bedding

HM carries baby back in. Hay bale stack is larger in neighbor stall.

Mamma donk walks in on her own - a good sign

Neighbor says hello to baby

Sign on door is up! A BOY! He is almost standing!

HM kisses them both and waves "seeya" as she leaves them to figure out nursing

The nursing begins as HM looks on. Neighbor retreats again.

HM goes about her day - cleaning neighbor's stall while mom and baby keep working at the nursing thing...

Neighbor peeks out as cute little, healthy baby boy donk stands in his new world just 27 minutes after arriving!

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

April Drop in the Bucket Fund:

THE HEARTBREAK KIDS – Nurse Mare Foals.?So sad. Born to be thrown away.  But there are people who rescue these fine foals.  To learn all about the Bucket Fund and to donate towards the care of The Heartbreak Kids, please click on the photo (photo credit, Trish Lowe)

Click here to learn about/donate to our April Bucket Fund, the Heartbreak kids!



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HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

MARESTARE: Addiction. Horse Heroin

OK, there I said it…  I’m addicted to MareStare.

Do you know of this service?  If not, I’ll introduce you to the drug special website where mare and foal lovers everywhere unite to watch total strangers’ horses deliver.

Yup.  At any one time, I can be a voyeur into a foaling stall of any farm participating in Marestare – for free!


This is one of those ideas like ‘bottled’ water.   Once you hear about it, you smack your forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

I don’t know the actual story of who developed Marestare, but I can tell you the evolution.

First there were personal surveillance cameras for homes.  From that concept came the idea of putting a camera in the barn and wiring it to your house so you could watch your animals who were sick or foaling.  (They also started putting cameras into horse trailers with monitor in the cabs.)

Then wireless was invented.  This changed EVERYTHING!  Now the images could be spread anywhere there was Internet.

Thus begot Marestare.

Some very wise people set up a server(s) to accommodate the barn surveillance cameras they were selling so that the owners could watch inside the house or on the road.

But, AHA!  Some of those people wanted their friends to watch their horses for them – or they wanted to watch the happenings remotely.  And then the explosion happened.

Marestare turned into a huge website portal where anyone could peek at the goings-on in any stall registered to be publicly online.


If you have never been on Marestare, I kinda feel the need to warn you that it is like seasonal crack.  And, the season in right NOW.

For example, the website has a calendar of all the babies due or foaling at any one time.  You can check it out and watch a mare in labor, see deliveries, watch the first nurse… it is intoxicating for a person (like me) who loves the baby process!

I know that I am not the only one because the site is growing like one of those black 4th of July worms.  You know what I mean?  It looks like just a tiny black hockey puck but once you put a match to it, the thing grows like some foaming crazy worm.

Anyway, the site is going gangbusters.


Marestare calendar - click to enlarge


If you go to the site, you will not only see the birthing calendars, you will see forums, events, logo’d items you could purchase, the community, all the active cams with the barn names attached, any FB pages available per barn…  It is huge and if you are into that kind of thing – addicting.


But, sometimes you are a witness to very sad events.  Tragedy struck  this week.

There is a very successful Mini farm who has several mares foaling right now.  Some ‘Aunties’ on a certain forum were monitoring one mare who was in labor.

The birth didn’t go well.  The umbilicus was twisted (or something) and the foal lost air and broke an artery while in the process of being born.

He was alive but like a floppy doll.  But the perplecing thing was that he had a huge appetite.   This sweet, rag-doll foal had a voracious will to live and his wonderful owners were by his side non-stop, feeding him, turning him, wiping him – doing everything he needed.  Over the ensuing three days, he gained some strength and through message boards, we viewers learned that the vets wanted to give him a bit of time to determine the actual damage.

We watched and watched and wrote and communicated as this human/equine all encompassing event unfolded.

From the outside looking in – literally – we viewers were gripped and offering anything we could from our armchairs.  Prayers, candles, cheers, support, advise, vigils, salt over the shoulder… we tried everything.

And it seemed as if it was working!  The colt was named Will (as in the Will to survive) and he continued to drink and grow strong enough to lift himself to his sternum.  We had hope.

But, sadly, this morning, I opened the site and discovered the palpable sadness.  The Aunties had been informed that little Will had too much damage to recover enough to have a good quality of life.

So, they helped him pass as his dam looked on.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the many, many houses watching within this huge internet village.  I was very sad.


Of all the times I have watched Marestare, this was the first time things didn’t turn out OK.

Most often when I watch Marestare, I learn something new.  And, for sure I learn that we are not alone and there is tremendous love and support out there for those who are in the throws of Mother Nature’s gift of foals.

For me, it is totally worth it to watch Marestare no matter what happens.  I love feeling the exhilaration from owners when they hold up signs to the camera exclaiming “A COLT” or “FILLY” to let all the onlookers rejoice in their joy!

Watching a new life and nature’s design is the best!  Hooray for the broodmares!  I’ll be tuning in throughout the season!

This is the current marestare camera for BHFER. I'll probably be glued here very soon!


I know there are many Aunties who want to remember Will in some way so we have set up a horsey “trust fund” in Will’s name for our April Bucket Fund, Nurse Mare Foals.

Click this link to help THE HEARTBREAK KIDS  (rescued Nurse Mare Foals)  in the name of Will.

So far, donations in Will’s name to help the Heartbreak Kids have amounted to:

school fundraising ideas

Bucket Fund donations today will honor little Will's determination and our hope...


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!