|A Guide to Caring for Your Pregnant Mare|
For Horse Sitters who are caring for pregnant mares and “expectant” horse owners, here are some tips to consider before the new arrival!
This time of year, many horse owners may be anxiously awaiting the arrival of a new foal. During this time, your pregnant mare is going to need some extra-special care to ensure a smooth, safe delivery and a healthy mom and baby. Here are some of the most important horse care tips to keep in mind when waiting for your new foal to arrive.
Since your pregnant mare is essentially eating for two, you’ll need to pay close attention to her diet to make sure the added nutritional needs of her foal are met. However, most mares won’t need to stock up on calories until about 8 or 9 months into their pregnancy, which is when the foal’s growth really starts to skyrocket. At this point, mom may need around 20% more calories, as well as increased protein and calcium, to support the baby’s rapid weight gain.
In addition, pregnant mares should not be given access to fescue hay or grass , as these can contain a toxic fungus that has been linked with complications during and after your mare’s pregnancy and foaling.
It’s important to check in with your vet to make sure that your mare has all the necessary vaccinations at the right time. As a general rule, broodmares should receive EHV-1 vaccines at months 5, 7, and 9 of her pregnancy to protect against equine herpes virus. In addition, she should have her regular boosters about one month before the foal is due to help keep the baby protected from preventable diseases. Also during this last month of gestation, talk to your vet about deworming your mare.
During pregnancy, light to moderate exercise is beneficial for your mare, unless your vet has told you otherwise. Typically, unless she has an injury, moderate exercise is recommended for broodmares. In the later stages of gestation, switch to light hand-walking or even grazing in a paddock to keep your mare active.
If, at any point, you’re unsure of whether or not a particular exercise is suitable for your mare, be sure to check in with your vet.
If you plan to foal at a different location, make arrangements to transport your mare at least 30 days prior to her due date to help minimize stress and give her a chance to settle in. Ideally, she won’t have to travel very far. If possible, try to plan your trip to avoid heavy traffic, and make sure your thoroughly disinfect your trailer before loading your horse.
As foaling approaches, there are some things you’ll need to do to prepare for a safe and smooth delivery:
If everything goes smoothly, you’ll want to have your vet out at least within the first 24 hours after your foal is born to make sure mom and baby are healthy and happy!
Article by Gabrielle Pastorek is a freelance writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. her creative works can be found in Blue Monday Review, Blotterature, Dappled Things, and others. When not writing, she enjoys spending time with her Appaloosa, Lucy.
Find more info at: www.gabriellepastorek.com