Breeding Explained

Greenacres Stud



The Workload for Mares
Before the town and cities grew to dominate our environment, agricultural communities relied on the working horse for a whole range of activities. A break from work to give birth to a foal was seen as an expensive luxury and the foal could be seen trailing behind its mother in the fields .

Carry on the Same as Usual Prior to Foaling.


The advice for horses is carry on as usual prior to foaling until the body tells you otherwise. The foal is a relatively small burden until the final stages of pregnancy. When the mare starts to develop the characteristic dropped belly and swinging movement she is ready to slow down.


Before they were domesticated and in the wild horses experienced a long steady low impact type of activity with no aerobic exertion like galloping or high impact activity like jumping. So don't put to much stress on your in-foal mare. The mare's centre of gravity shifts backwards to the rear of the body and more strain is placed on the body as the mare grows in weight. Additional stress is placed on joints, ligaments and tendons so increasing the risk of injury. In the final week before foaling the mare's pelvic ligaments start to relax in preparation for the birth. At this point she is prone to injury and not suitable for riding.

1. After Birth. A return to gentle activity after the foal is born is advised provided both mother and foal are in good health and they should be turned out for as long as possible if the weather is suitable. Many mares lose condition quickly if they are not fed and cared for appropriately. Lactating takes a lot out of a mare. If she is coping well you can work a mare but allow her to remain in sight of her un-weaned foal so that the foal avoids upset or risk of an injury. Getting your mare gently back into shape should be preceded by a check up of her back and pelvis which have undergone a lot of strain during pregnancy.

2. Food & Nutrition. Avoid feeding your mare a nutritionally rich feed as soon as she becomes pregnant. Broodmares require very little extra until the last three months before foaling. If a mare gets too fat she may be at risk of getting laminitis. Stud feeds are nutritionally balanced for both your mare and her foal until weaning. Cutting back on stud feed because your mare is overweight may induce a vitamin or mineral deficiency in both the mare and her foal unless remedied by the addition of a suitable supplement. In most cases it's a good idea to keep the hard feed going until weaning. Thoroughbred foals can gain up to 1kg of body weight everyday. Providing the necessary milk takes it out of a mare. However, the requirements of native ponies is a lot less. After weaning the mare may return to her normal diet.


     Index Page The Decisions Covering Mare Workload Foaling






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