It’s the dream of many horse owners – they want to breed their favorite mare and have her deliver a foal that’s just like her. It feels like the easiest way to ensure that a horse you love can remain with you after it’s no longer there.
And there’s some wisdom to that, surely. A horse you know and can count on – especially one that you’ve raised from the ground up – can be a real asset to any equestrian. The question is: are you ready to handle a pregnant mare?
If you hesitate even the least, then you need to consider the possibility that you’re not quite ready yet for a new foal the natural way.
Pregnant horses aren’t necessarily the neediest of animals. But you do need to ramp up the amount of attention you pay to them. In fact, even though you may not end up doing a whole lot different for them, you will need to be looking at them frequently – especially as they come close to delivery.
Basically, you need to ensure that the mare in question is looking and acting normally. Ensure that there is plenty of fresh and clean water. Give them plenty of food. Remember that they are eating for two! You need to know your horse well because it’s likely to signal any distress in ways that you’re only going to pick up if you’re familiar with them and their habits in the first place. Are they eating less? Avoiding the rest of the herd? Unusually skittish? Lethargic?
With some horses, you can let them weather the off behavior – give them a day and see what gives. With a pregnant mare, you need to address the issue right away, and the best way to do that is to have a trusted and quality equine veterinarian come for a visit.
That’s really the second thing you need to successfully handle a pregnant horse – maintain a relationship with a vet who can help you through any difficult times. If you switch vets a lot – if you don’t trust the one that you see regularly, then consider postponing breeding until you’ve got someone that you’re comfortable calling at any time of the day or night.
And remember, there are plenty of ways to bring new horses into your herd and fields. As attractive as breeding a beloved mare can be, you have to be sure that you are ready for it.