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Care of the Normal Pregnant Mare

By: Dr. Sylvia Bedford-Guaus

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Breeding a mare can represent a large economic and even emotional investment. Once the mare is pregnant our goal is to provide the best care for her so that eleven months later, she can deliver a healthy foal.

A pregnant mare is considered normal when there is no medical reason to think that she is prone to complications during pregnancy or delivery. If a mare is reasonably young, that is less than 20 year of age, and healthy, or there is no history of problems in previous gestations, this is a pretty good assumption. Therefore, with few exceptions, a pregnant mare should be managed and treated as any other horse in the farm:

  • She should follow her routine exercise schedule and be allowed plenty of turnout.

  • She should be fed a balanced diet consisting of good quality roughage and grain as needed.

  • She should have access to plenty of fresh clean water.

  • With few exceptions, she should be on the same vaccination and deworming schedule as the other horses in the farm.

  • She should continue to have routine teeth and foot care.

    A pregnant mare SHOULD NOT:

  • Be stall bound.

  • Be overfed just because she is pregnant.

  • Be restricted from access to water.

  • Be vaccinated or dewormed without consulting a veterinarian.

    Exercise

  • A healthy mare in early pregnancy can follow her routine exercise and competition schedule. Mares may compete and even jump fences up to 6-8 months into their pregnancy as long as there are no sudden changes in their level of competition.

  • It is usually recommended that you gradually decrease your mare's hard work at around 7-9 months of pregnancy, depending on her physical condition and disposition.

  • The most important thing to remember is that your mare's routine should not be changed drastically just because she is pregnant. For example, an idle or light-working broodmare should not be suddenly submitted to strenuous training/exercise, or vice-versa, just as any other horse.

  • Whether in a light, moderate or hard work schedule, all pregnant mares should be allowed plenty of turnout for voluntary exercise, preferably in pasture, throughout pregnancy.


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