Caring for the Pregnant Mare

Pam Hunter
by Pam Hunter
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Many of us will have pregnant mares to care for over the winter months. The quality of the outcome of the pregnancy - the foal - is determined not just by genetics, but also by the quality of care the mare receives while she is in foal.

In this article you will find information on mare care while she is in foal as well as links to articles, charts, and information related to pregnancy and foaling. To return here just click on your browser's back button.

We generally have one or two mares in foal each year. The mares are usually kept together during the first 1/2 of their pregnancies. As the foal begins to get larger, we separate the mares into individual paddocks for their own safety and the safety of the foal.

In our experience the mares get more withdrawn as the pregnancy advances, more likely to kick the others, and therefore, more likely to be kicked. Additionally, separation allows us to better target feeding programs to each mare's individual needs.

Feed and Water

All horses need access to clean, fresh water at all times. The only time a horse should not be allowed to drink freely is if it is overheated due to exercise or some other circumstance. The average horse drinks about 10 -15 gallons of water a day. Ponies will drink less, hot weather and feed affect the amount of water needed also. Algae, dead bugs or rodents, dirt, feed in the water can all affect the quality and palatability.

Dirty water can lead to colic and other problems. Scrub buckets and troughs with bleach water as needed - be sure to rinse completely. Also, there is evidence that opposum droppings in the water can lead to serious disease. Clean your water buckets and troughs regularly with soapy bleach water and rinse thoroughly.

Mares that are heavy with foal need smaller, more frequent meals than horses that are not. This is due to the fact that they have less room in their abdomens for feed. The way we feed our horses today is not a natural way for horses to eat.

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