How Horse Breeders Use the Smart Halter

“If it wasn’t for NIGHTWATCH®, I wouldn’t have been there in time for the birth of my foal.”

- Erica D. (breeder)


Many horse owners dream of someday breeding their prized mare and raising that foal. There are countless farms and facilities that build their businesses around a successful foaling season. Breeding is a major facet of the equine industry and our team is motivated to continually bring more value to breeders - professional operations and horse owners alike!

Foaling is a distress event and with stage 2 of labor (the critical time between the water breaking and the foal emerging) happening in the matter of 30 minutes or less, it can come and go in the blink of an eye. Researchers have studied broodmares for decades to find correlations between foaling and milk calcium levels, behavior, waxing, or other variables, but every mare is different. Any skilled breeder will tell you that a mare is going to foal when she is ready - and only then. The best thing we can do as caretakers is know that mare's normal biometric and behavior patterns, monitor them closely as parturition approaches, and get to her side as quickly as possible in case she needs assistance.

So how do breeders use the NIGHTWATCH® smart halter™ to monitor their mares? Simply place the smart halter™ on a mare overnight 30 days prior to her due date. This allows time for a learning model to be established well before her activity may begin to change as she prepares for her foal. Then set smart alerts that let you know when her Equine Distress Index® (EDI®) breaches a custom threshold. While you wait, you can review her historical biometrics and behavior each morning and share with your veterinarian if you suspect any complications. Once she is ready for foaling, your care team will be alerted so you can high tail it to her side in case she needs assistance. By being there, you get to intervene immediately if problems arise and you get to enjoy the incomparable experience of being there for the birth of a foal (*cue the tears* ). For 90 days after birth, monitor for any post-foaling complications that could put your mare and foal at risk so they can remain healthy during that critical growth period.

The NIGHTWATCH® team is dedicated to bringing more value to breeders each foaling season. In fact, the 2020 foaling season was a big one for us. With the help of two amazing facilities, we conducted two foaling studies. At Cal Poly Pomona, we collected data on mares using the EDI® as a benchmark to quantify the distress specifically caused by a foaling event. At Scottsdale Equine Reproduction Center, we analyzed biometric data and correlated it with cameras that recorded the exact time of parturition. Both of these studies, along with customers who were successfully alerted to the birth of their foals, served as powerful motivators as we continually refine this device.

Learn more about smart halter™ use on pregnant mares here.