The first step in raising a healthy foal is to have a healthy mare.
If the mare is not in good health her reproductive system is unlikely to perform optimally. Age should also be considered. 2-3% of younger mares are problem breeders, while 20-25% of older mares (13yrs +) are problem breeders. In general, a mare’s fertility decreases after she is 12 to 13 years of age.
When considering breeding a young mare it is advisable to choose one that is physically mature enough to handle the demands of pregnancy and lactation without compromising her own or her potential foal’s well-being. The young mare must be fed appropriately to meet both her growth and pregnancy needs.
A mare should carry enough flesh to cover her ribs and have a
relatively flat topline when viewed from the rear. Excessive fat seen as
deposits of fat around the tail-head, a cresty neck and having difficulty
feeling the ribs with moderate finger-tip pressure should be avoided if
Pay attention to the mare’s vaccination and deworming schedules, teeth and feet.
Before breeding, a mare should be up to date on essential
influenza and tetanus vaccinations. Mares must be on a regular effective
de-worming schedule also any dental problems should be corrected and annual
floating should be completed so that the mare can make the most of her diet and not need stressful
dental procedures during late pregnancy.
Routine foot trimming should also be
up to date.
The average equine pregnancy lasts for 340 days.
Pregnancy length can range from 310 to 374 days. In general, mares will foal when they are ready and this is not necessarily when they are calculated to be ‘due’.
The estimated foaling date can be calculated from the following: Estimated foaling date = the date of the last covering plus one year minus 25 days. Example: If a mare was covered on 1 May 2015 she is due to foal on 5 April 2016.
Your mare should be settled in the location where she will give birth at least a month before her due date, to eliminate the stress caused by transportation during late-stage pregnancy. If her foaling area significantly separates her from any stall buddies, begin “weaning” them away from each other a
couple of months before the due date, also to prevent stress.