Caring for a pregnant broodmare is not complicated, but it does require a bit more work and consideration than caring for any other horse.
Following our step-by-step guide should set your mind at ease if your broodmare has never foaled before, but if it any point you’re concerned about your broodmare or her unborn foal, be sure to contact your equine vet immediately.
1. Grazing and Exercise
Your pregnant mare should be housed in a large paddock for grazing and exercise, as this will become her home for the 8.5 months of pregnancy.
Your broodmare should also have constant access to water, shelter, and adequate fencing.
2. Ensuring Proper Growth of the Foal
If your broodmare is not given the appropriate amount of feed, nutrients, and water, the foal may be aborted owing to dehydration.
However, an overweight mare has a higher change of producing a foal with angular leg deformities, so be sure to give your mare light exercise throughout her pregnancy.
3. Vaccination Schedule of Pregnant Mares
Your pregnant broodmare will need to receive the pneumabort vaccination at 5, 7, and 9 months of pregnancy to prevent abortion from rhino. One month prior to the foal’s birth she should dewormed and receive the 5-way spring, rabies, and West Nile vaccinations. Depending on where you live, your broodmare may also require Potomac fever and botulism vaccinations.
4. Appropriate Nutrition
Her feed should consist of forage and foods rich in protein, minerals, and vitamins and a mare of approximately 15 hands should receive 7kg of high quality roughage per day.
It’s not necessary to keep a keen eye on your pregnant broodmare 24 hours a day, but she should be checked daily to ensure that the pregnancy is running smoothly. Don’t worry; you’ll still have time for slots NZ!
5. Feed Proportions
Horse are best described as ‘trickle-feeders’ and should have access to roughage at all times – feed only enough that your pregnant broodmare will eat and walk away.
Try to avoid feeding your pregnant broodmare in the morning and evenings without her having access to anything throughout the day.
If she doesn’t have easy access to pasture, feed her hay in a small-weave net to stretch the feeding time as much as possible.
6. Give Your Broodmare Attention
You should lunge your pregnant broodmare and groom her to ensure good blood flow and circulation. If your broodmare is used to plenty of affection and attention, she is less likely to be aggressive when her foal is born.
Top tip: handling her teats and her underbelly is a good idea as she will be less likely to prevent her foal from feeding if she is used to the sensation.
7. Birthing Preparations
In the last month of pregnancy, move your pregnant broodmare to a smaller yard where she still has freedom of movement, but is more protected.
Her feed should also be increased at this time, but it is not recommended that you add anything new as this could upset her system leading to colic.
8. The Last Stages of Pregnancy
- 2 weeks before birth: her belly will move from a hanging position to a position filling her flank area
- 1 week before birth: her udder may increase in size
- 4 days before birth: the foal will move into the birthing position
- 24-48 hours before birth: the broodmare’s teats will become waxy, the ‘caps’ may fall off and milk may trickle out
Top tip: you will most likely miss the birth of the foal as it usually takes place in the early hours of the morning between midnight and 5am.
There are a multitude of factors that should be considered when deciding to breed a mare. Some of these decisions may take careful consideration, such as which stallion you should use, while others will probably be quick and easy.
One such decision should be how to take nutritional care of your mare as she transitions from one trimester to another, but this doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Use the following 6 guidelines to keep your mare happy and healthy throughout her pregnancy and she is sure to deliver a nutritionally robust foal.
1. Body Condition Scoring
As the mare’s pregnancy advances she will inevitably gain weight, mostly in her abdomen, however key points of fat deposition should remain similar throughout the duration of her development. Ideally a pregnant mare should maintain a moderate to moderately fleshy body condition throughout pregnancy.
If your mare is displaying a body condition of 6 and above this will only add unnecessary weight to her limbs which could be difficult for some.
2. Provide Adequate Vitamins and Minerals
Your mare will require no special upgrade in calories during the first 7-8 months of her pregnancy, but she will require a sufficient intake of high-quality feed to maintain an adequate body condition.
As such, the primary feedstuff should be high-quality forage such as pasture or hay as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamins and minerals can be delivered through a well-fortified textured or pelleted feed specially formulated for pregnant mares.
3. Don’t Overfeed
A common – albeit well-meaning – mistake amongst mare owners is overfeeding during the first 7-8 months of pregnancy. However this is entirely unnecessary and wasteful – rather use the money saved on online slots Canada – as the foetus does not grow at an even rate during pregnancy and most growth occurs in the final 3 months of pregnancy.
As such, the mare’s nutritional and energy requirements do not increase greatly until then. The most important pregnancy management tips are keeping the mare in a moderate to moderately fleshy body condition and supplying adequate vitamin and mineral nutrition.
4. Rethink Energy Levels in Late Pregnancy
Your mare’s energy requirements increase during the last 3-4 months of pregnancy as the foetus grows and it’s important to provide her with high-quality forage on a free-choice basis to add calories to her diet.
Gauge the necessary feed levels through weekly body condition scoring and remember that as the weight of the foetus and fluids increases, the abdomen will drop and gravity will sometimes cause the flesh to pull tightly around the abdomen, allowing a hint of rib to show.
5. Provide Water and Salt, Avoid Fescue
Your mare – as with all horses – should have free-choice access to fresh water and a salt block or loose salt at all times. However, one type of hay or pasture to avoid at all costs is fescue as it is often infected with an endophyte that causes problems in pregnant mares such as prolonged gestation, a lack of milk, and a trying delivery.
As such, it’s important that all bedding is free of fescue as well.
6. Get an Equine Nutritionist
The basics of feeding a pregnant mare are straightforward, but a situation may arise that will require the help of a professional.
As such, it’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with equine nutritionist in your area should you need one.
So, you have decided you want to breed your mare. Before you start looking for a sire there are many costs to consider.
Some are more obvious than others, but some good planning and a little bit of research will ensure that you are prepared for the costs you may incur.
Getting your Mare to Conceive
Once you have decided to breed with your mare it is time to establish the pregnancy. There are numerous options available and each carry their own associated costs and risks.
If you do not own a stallion you want to breed with, you will need to decide whether you want your mare naturally covered by a stud, or if you are happy with artificial insemination.
If the sire of choice does not belong to you, you will have to pay stud fees. These fees can range from affordable for ‘the horse next door’ to exorbitant depending on the breeding of the sire, and may require you to win big playing the online blackjack Canada has to offer to afford them.
There will be the additional costs associated with getting the mare to the stallion, the travelling, stabling, feed and veterinary costs.
The costs associated with artificial insemination will include the cost of the semen, the veterinary cost of insemination and for every cycle that passes that the mare does not conceive, more money to redo the process.
Artificial insemination is not as reliable due to the viability of the semen after being cooled or frozen.
Once it has been confirmed that your mare is in foal, there will be costs for additional feed for extra nutritional support and veterinary expenses for vaccinations. In general, pregnancy costs are quite low.
Keep in mind that although your mare can now be kept in much the same way as other horses there is the cost of food and boarding for her and eventually her foal to take into consideration.
Foaling and the Years that Follow
Most mares will safely foal without requiring any intervention. However, one must keep in mind the cost of losing the foal should difficulties arise, so you may want to consider having the vet on hand, or sending the mare away to foal.
There will be post-partum care requirement for both mare and foal, starting with a basic check for good health.
Over the next several years you will be paying for annual vaccinations and deworming. Check-ups including dental care and incidental medical expenses. Farrier costs, whether you shoe your horses or not as trimming will be required from time to time.
In the first year of life you should have covered the basics with your foal like lifting the feet and getting used to being tied, but most of its skills will have been left to mom to teach. Now that your foal is old enough you will need to invest in training.
If you yourself are not an experienced horse trainer and you want your horse to be a happy, well-behaved animal it is best to hire a professional. The trainer will get your horse used to the saddle and having a rider on its back. Done properly this will set the stage for year 3 when together you and your horse will need to attend some training to learn and teach stopping, reining and lead changes.
There are many reason to choose to breed instead of purchasing a ready to ride horse. You may be breeding for a specific purpose or as a natural progression in your riding career. Whatever the reason the costs associated with breeding are many and all should be considered before taking this step.
If you’ve ever spent a substantial amount of time with different horses, you will know that each one has a personality of their own, much like humans. The behaviour of a horse can be influenced over time by a variety of factors, such as their upbringing, where they were raised, and how well they are treated.
Despite all this, there are some personality traits and temperaments that are endemic to certain breeds, as any seasoned trainer will tell you. That’s why each breed has different kinds of training, which is often also specialised further for that specific animal and its needs.
This can be apparent if you’re an avid horse enthusiast, or you follow horse racing betting sites – they will all show you the same thing: that different breeds act and behave in ways that other breeds simply do not emulate.
As far as temperament is concerned, there are generally two kinds of breeds: hot-blooded, and cold-blooded. We will discuss both, and which breeds fit into which group.
As you may have guessed, a hot-blooded breed tends to be the kind of horse that is high strung, full of energy, nervous, and often with fiery tempers. These are the kinds of horses that are generally much harder to train, but at the same time, are often some of the best competitors in the racing scene.
Long distance and speed racing are the best attributes of these breeds, which usually make up for the time and patience it takes to train them.
- Thoroughbred: the Thoroughbred is well known across the world as a fast, powerful horse that has dominated race tracks for generations. They’re mostly used for racing, mounted athletics, and jumping, and although they take much longer to train, they also tend to be much more competitive than other breeds.
- Anglo Arabian: A cross between a Thoroughbred and an Arabian that has retained the best traits of both, the Anglo Arabian is not so much a racer as a recreational horse. They are much easier to train, but are highly strung, and overreact in stressful situations.
- Arabian: One of the oldest breeds on record, Arabians have had a lot of influence on many of the world’s modern breeds, especially where genes are concerned. The Arabian is a runner, and enjoys long distance riding like few other horses, but they are easily scared, and their curiosity can sometimes land them in a tight spot.
A cold-blooded breed is the complete opposite to the hot-blooded, and while many of the breeds to share some similar personality traits; they are much easier to train and not as highly strung. Cold-blooded breeds are usually quite tall and muscular, and due to their calm natures and strong stature, they have made popular workhorses in the past.
- Shire: A huge horse that is often seen pulling a carriage, these gentle giants are generally quite docile and hard working. Their patience has made them excellent companions in the past, especially on long journeys through rough country.
- Clydesdale: Another large, taller horse, the Clydesdale has been used as a farm labourer for hundreds of years, and are quite unique due to their intelligence and high spirits. They’re also quite an energetic breed, and can still be found on farms across the world today.
There are many more horse breeds in the world, and while we’ve only covered a few, these breeds are the ones that most people have come across or heard of at least once before, and are favourites for modern day trainers.
The Most Popular Horse Breeds In The World
Horse breeding is almost as old as dog breeding, and it’s something that mankind has been mastering for thousands of years. The first cases of horse breeding can be dated back to past civilisations, especially in the east with the discovery of the Arabian, a breed that is still around today.
Once people had learned just how fast, agile, and strong the Arabian was, they began introducing its genes to other breeds in attempt to make them better.
In today’s era, horse breeding is one of the world’s favourite pastimes, and there are now dozens and dozens of breeds found all over the world.
From the tiny miniature pony to the massive work horse, horse breeding has become as popular as real money slots, and continues to feature in both show horses, racers, entertainers, and even as pets.
We will look at the five most popular breeds in the world and what makes them different to other well-known breeds.
1. The Arabian
The most famous horse breed of them all, the Arabian is considered by many to be the oldest horse breed in existence, first being found in the Middle East thousands of years ago.
It’s speed and endurance was quickly apparent to those that first discovered the breed, and it wasn’t long before the Arabian had made its way around the world.
Even today, the Arabian is a highly prized breed and remains as a dedicated racer among other disciplines.
Some of the most famous horses in history have been of Thoroughbred stock, and it is believed by many to be the most popular horse of today.
With Arabian ancestry, the Thoroughbred was designed to be a machine of speed and strength; a natural racer that would go on to dominate countless tracks throughout racing history.
There is a common misconception that a Thoroughbred is a horse that is pure stock, where it’s actually a breed of horse on its own.
3. Quarter Horse
The Quarter Horse was first bred in the United States, and has gone on to become one of the most popular breeds in the country. With its incredible bursts of speed over short distances, the breed was created for both competition racing and for the harsh trails that pioneers used to travel the country.
Today, the Quarter Horse is used mostly for racing, roping and cutting, and as recreational horses.
4. Paint Horse
A fairly unique breed thanks to its magnificent coat, the Paint is a combination of Pinto colour and western stock. Although many believe that the Paint is a breed of colour, they’re officially designated as a true breed thanks to their pure bloodlines and distinct characteristics.
The Appaloosa was first bred by the Nez Perce tribe in the Pacific North West of America, and are well-known for their gorgeous spotted coats, often with a splash of white paint.
The breed is extremely hardy and strong, and they were used mainly as work and trail horses. Today, they are mostly used for pleasure riding and trails, and remain a popular choice for breeders.
The basics of caring for your horses
When beginning your new obsession of breeding horses, it helps to start with the basics and focusing on the fundamental requirements horses need in order to be healthy. If you focus on these in the beginning instead of trying to produce the top racing horse, you will have happy healthy horses that are better to breed.
So when you take a break from playing Aristocrat pokies online, implement some or our entire guide for caring for your horses.
These are the basics guidelines to follow:
The most basic but important need for horse breeding is ensuring they are housed correctly and safely, this also include stabling you hire form other landowners.
– Natural elements – your horse needs to be securely sheltered against not just cold rainy weather but harsh sun as well
– Run in shelter – if you are lucky enough to have your own land, consider building a run in shelter so the horses can decide when they want to be in the elements. Have a stable with a permanent stall for your horse is also a great option, but remember you will need to spend more time exercising them
– Check for hidden dangers – you should always ensure that the environment your horse moves around in is free from plants that could poison horses or from barbed wire or indentations that could damage their legs.
The nutrition horses need can come from simple grasses, but simple it is not really the word to describe a horse’s digestive system.
– Fresh Food– the food you supply your horse should be fresh, their digestion is sensitive and mouldy hay can cause serious issues
– Fresh water – a horse should have access to clean fresh water
– Extra nutrients – Supplements can be a great way to ensure your horse remains healthy, and sometimes are necessary to ensure your horse gets their full nutrient supply
– Know your poison – make sure that you or your stable hands know what is detrimental to your horse’s health and never gets fed to them
Al lot of people think horse care is all about brushing a horse down, but in reality there is a lot more to monitor and do.
As your horse teeth keep growing you need to make sure they get checked by a vet at least once a year. Letting your horses teeth get in bad shape can affect their overall health and lead to quite a few health issues.
Keep an eye out for bad breath, discomfort when using a bit or undigested hay, to make sure that your horses teeth stay in shape.
A horse’s hooves also grow continuously, so make sure you trim them regularly especially if your horse spends a lot of time in the stable and gets no natural wear and tear.
When grooming your horse, take the time to check for any potential health issues, from their teeth to the hooves. Also check for ticks or any injuries to your horse that can be treated on the spot.
Horses can get suddenly sick, so ensure you keep an eye on their health and make sure to get a trusted and experienced vet to care for them.
As a horse owner you should learn the basics of horse healthcare, like take their vital signs or knowing the symptoms of curtails common illnesses. Make sure to learn about Colic, as is often afflicts horse, and make sure you keep your horses vaccinations up to date.
Not being able to catch your horse when you need to is a very frustrating experience. Chasing it down, or tricking it into letting you approach is not a great way to begin the time you are going to be spending together either.
It really is worth spending a while teaching your horse to be caught safely: after all, not only does having to out-think and out-maneuver a horse that doesn’t want to be caught tax your time and patience, there may be a time that it is vital that you do so quickly, too.
Perhaps a farrier has arrived, or your vet needs to look at your animal -or maybe the race you are wagering on at one of the many Australian betting sites providing instant access is beginning. Whatever the case, you should always be able to catch your horse when you want to!
Rethink Turning Your Horse Out with a Halter On
As a general rule, horses should not be turned out with their halters still on them. However, while you are in the middle of retraining it so that it can be caught quickly and easily, you may want to consider keeping a leather crowned halter on it, even when it is in the pasture.
Horses have been known to entangle themselves when trying to scratch an ear with one of their hind feet, or hooking a halter on a gate and getting hung up that way. Leather halters and those with breakaway crowns are the safer option if either of these situations occur.
Associate Being Caught with Good Things
If you want to consistently be able to catch your horse when you want to, the most important thing you can do is convince it that this action will not always lead to discomfort or work. You can do this by spending time with your horse doing things that do not count as either of these.
Start off by visiting it in the pasture or paddock. Clean up its manure, check the fences -basically do anything but approach the animal. Should your horse eventually approach you, do not reach out to try and catch it. Let it approach, let it sniff at you if it wants to, and then walk away.
Don’t allow your horse to walk away from you -you want to ensure that you are always the final decision maker in any exchange you have with it. Several short visits a day will be more effective than one occasional long one, too.
Watch Your Body Language
When you are approaching your horse, don’t march smartly up to it, full of an obvious intention and definite purpose!
If you do this, it will very likely read your body language correctly and make for the hills! Try softening your body and meandering towards it in a relaxed fashion.
Avoid direct eye contact, and make sure not to approach its head or tail. Using your peripheral vision, make your way towards its neck or shoulder.
Experts from the world of hunters, jumpers, and dressage all agree on following these breeding guidelines in order to maximise your chances of getting the foal you want.
Look Out for the Characteristics of Good Equine Athletes
As punters who enjoy watching the horse racing and accompanying NZ sports betting will know, there are a number of traits that excellent equine athletes all share. These include:
- A supple, powerful forward movement
- A clean and refined throat latch, and a jaw channel that is wide enough for your fist to fit into
- Withers that blend smoothly into the animal’s neck and back, but are also prominent enough to keep a saddle from slipping off
- A deep heart girth
- Feet that are big enough for the horse to be sound, stable, and bear the weight it needs to
- Front legs that are straight
- Hocks that are substantial
- Gaskins that are wide-looking, strong, and well-muscled from the rear and sides
Dominant Stallions are the Best Bet
It is advisable for you to seek out a dominant stallion with a record for always producing offspring that have the qualities you want: competitive foals that are sound, trainable and of good mind. Don’t rule out a stallion who is not perfect, however.
You are neither buying nor riding him, so you won’t be getting a clone. There is something to be said for selecting sires that possibly aren’t that much to look out as well: his strengths may well counterbalance your mare’s weaknesses.
Have a Plan in Place for Evaluating Stallions
You need to make sure you have a practical plan in place for evaluating various stallion prospects, otherwise you are in danger of making a faulty decision during casual or general observation.
Look Beyond Breeding Classes
Don’t make the mistake of fixating on breeding classes or futurities. Performance over the long-term and tractability are more important than good looks as a two- or three-year old stallion, and many futurity and champions on-the-line are never heard from again.
Keep your statistics in perspective as well: if two stallions are able to produce four good offspring each but one bred ten mares and the other bred 80, the question to ask yourself is which is the more consistent producer, and thus the better breeding prospect?
Seek Out Stallion Advertisement
I always advise prospective breeders to keep an eye on advertisements for stallions. This not only narrows the field, it sharpens your eye as well. But do not breed off of a photo, either.
While photos can reveal sickle hocks, or a head you don’t like, clever photography is more than capable of exaggerating an animal’s good qualities and concealing its faults. And no matter how good a photo is, it can’t show you the all-important movement of the animal. This will require your viewing videotapes or seeing the stallion in person.
While these tips will help you on your way, they do not begin to cover everything you need to know before you start your horse breeding journey. Seek out the help of professionals as and where you can until you are more confident that you know what you are doing.
When it comes to breeding horses, it is important to take the emotional aspect of these animals into account as well. Breeding viciousness and laziness out of horses is an accepted fact, but is it rooted in reality, or just a projection of our own emotional states?
While your mare, for example, may seem excited to see your face when you arrive at her stall, does she really have any kind of emotional attachment to you, or does she simply connect your presence to the treats you bring?
With horse racing being as popular as it is thanks to the online betting in Australia and the rest of the world, many punters have started wondering about this aspect of the horse as well -do they enjoy the races, do they know they have won?
A Question for the Ages
The question of whether or not animals have feelings is one that has perplexed both philosophers and animal behaviourists for centuries.
Rene Descartes argued that, since it could not be proven that they had any feelings, animals could and should be treated as automatons, subject to mechanical responses.
A couple of hundred years later, a student of Charles Darwin, a Mr George John Romanes, argued the opposite: he stated the fact of injective knowledge, whereby one could infer what was going on inside someone/something else by a careful observation of their reactions to certain stimuli, and comparing this to one’s own.
The Debate Still Rages On
The debate is far from resolved, and continues up until the present day. Behaviour science, however, is no longer subjective. When studying animal behaviour, scientists observe, quantify, and explain particular aspects of behaviour, and strive to steer clear of any personal interpretations.
Two different people, you see, can view the very same behaviour in their horse, and come up with two entirely different sets of interpretations to explain it, since these will always be based on individual life experiences and views of the world.
There’s the Rub for Behaviour Science
This fact, that outward behaviour is subject to individual perspectives, is both the strength and the shortcoming of behaviour science. Only motivations that are provable can be held as legitimate explanations for behaviour when it comes to science.
But while projecting emotional responses onto animals is mistaken, there is nothing to say that this is what is occurring. You may well be reading the situation perfectly correctly!
The Only Two Provable Drives
Thanks to this nebulousness, ascribing any kind of emotion to horses, or any animals for that matter, is considered to be unscientific, and those who accredit the world of science avoid it at all costs.
Most animals’ action is explained by two basic, provable, drives:
- Survival: to stay alive at any given moment, so doing things that will result in the animal surviving
- Reproduction: to breed and then nurture offspring, so as to ensure the survival of the species
Seeking food, water, shelter, and mates can all be ascribed to either one of these drives, either survival or reproduction.
On the other hand, there are unique behaviours in horses and other animals that seem not to be linked to either of these drives, but are not provable either. Since we neither whinny or nicker, and they have not grasped any human language, however, we must simply rely on our gut-feelings, and make up our own minds as best we can!
The idea of breeding from their own mares has a lot of appeal for horse owners. The chance of producing a foal with qualities like its mother, or even better, has a number of attractions.
Horse owners who enjoy the races bookmakers who provide Australian sports betting make available will be particularly interested in this hobby, hoping to breed the next big winner, but prior knowledge about normal breeding behaviour, what to expect at foaling, and how newborn foals should develop and behave is vital.
It is thus best for novices to seek out professional help when mating and foaling from a stud.
When is Best to Breed?
Mares have a natural breeding season. Increases in daylight hours stimulate receptor centers in the mare’s brain, and this in turn triggers the production of the hormones in charge of reproduction. These initiate the patterns of the regularly spaced oestrus, or heat, periods, which characterise the breeding season each spring.
These oestrus periods will keep occurring throughout the summer, and cease when autumn/fall comes around.
Artificially increasing light, by means of electricity, for example, allows breeders to begin the season earlier if they wish to.
This is a prevalent practice in Thoroughbred studs, since breeders try to ensure that foals are born as close as possible to January 1st. In fact this is such common practice that January 1 is the official birthday of Thoroughbred racehorses!
Should You Breed from Your Mare?
Although breeding horses is commonly not too problematic, it is advisable for novices to think very carefully before putting their mares in foal. Rearing foals is additional work, which requires particular facilities, including different accommodation once it is weaned.
If the mare is a purebred horse, however, there may well be financial benefit from proper breeding. Breeding crossbred horses, however, is unlikely to result in financial gain, and the additional outlay will generally outweigh any potential profit.
Is My Colt Worthy of Becoming a Stallion?
Probably not. Very few colts that have been bred at home are good enough to be used as stallions. There are a lot of excellent stallions available commercially, however, and it is always recommended that one of these is used.
Young colts are also difficult to handle, and usually it is a better idea to geld them as soon as possible.
Both stallions and colts need handling by experts, and it can be not only difficult but dangerous for amateurs to attempt to manage them alone.
Is My Mare the Right Age to Breed?
Mares will frequently continue breeding until late in their lives, and suffer no ill effects as a result.
This is even more true of animals that are regularly bred -it is difficult to get an old mare in foal if she has never undergone the process before.
Fillies reach sexual maturity at about 18 months, and can start foaling as soon as they reach two-years of age. However, you must remember that, at two, they are still growing, and it is possible that pregnancy can hinder their growth.
The ideal age for mares to breed is around four, so that they foal at five-years old, although some are put in foal at three-years old.