Everybody’s favourite sight to see: a field full of mares and foals. Even the toughest men can’t hold back a little “aww” when going past a bunch of adorable little foals. But sometimes, it can be a bit of a challenge to get a mare pregnant.
There’s many factors influencing the heat and pregnancy of a mare:
- Age: the older the mare, the more difficult it is for her to get pregnant
- The combination of mare and stallion
- The fertility of the stallion
- Management during the pregnancy: the condition of the mare, the cycle and the ideal living environment
- Stress: stress can play a role during and after insemination in whether the mare will actually get pregnant or even early embryonic death.
- Last but not least: the type of sperm: The quality and effectiveness can be different per seed, but also depends on whether it is fresh, cooled or frozen sperm.
How can you create the ideal conditions and environment for your horsey mother-to-be?
- Ensure good hygiene in the stable
- Enough contact with other horses
- Enough daily movement
- And, just to be sure, we’re saying it again: as little stress as possible. You can for example make sure your horse won’t get stressed by having a set routine and regularity.
Vitamins and minerals can also help positively influence the fertility of your mare. They stimulate the fertility or ensure that the mares cycle starts early. A few examples are:
- Beta-carotene: Improves the heat and lowers the chance of early embryonic death.
- Vitamin E: A deficiency of vitamin E can lead to infertility or in a later state to malformation of the foal.
- Selenium: Important for the immune function of mare and (unborn foal) – selenium is transferred to the fetus through the placenta and is also a component of the mare’s milk after birth.
- Folic acid: pregnant horses can’t store as much folic acid and are thus more susceptible to deficiency. Folic acid is important for proteins and blood cells and a deficiency in the mare can also have immense effects on the embryo.
Tip! Pavo Fertile
contains, among other things, the before mentioned substances and can support your horse during insemination and pregnancy. The supplement is therefore fantastic for when you’re planning to breed your mare!
Ok, so my horse has lots of routine and regularity, gets out to move around with her horse friends and gets all the needed supplements. What else can I do to ensure a pregnancy?
Check if your mare is getting the right feed – you could even have a specialist come and analyse everything, if you want to be 100% sure that you’re feeding the best possible composition. Grass contains all ideal nutrients for pregnant mare, but roughage often contains much less vitamins and minerals. It also contains less vitamin E than grass, and as we said before, vitamin E is important for a pregnant mare. Many mares only have access to grass late in the season and the grassland may then not always be sufficient to meet their feed requirements. Feeding only dried roughage is therefore not sufficient and will result in a deficiency of vitamin E, which in turn increases the risk that the placenta will be retained.
Did you know that… roughage is great for horses that are too fat or horses of sturdier breeds.
In the last three months of the pregnancy, the needs to a mare change dramatically. The foal is having an immense growth spurt in the womb, which makes the mare product more of the needed nutrients. Deficiencies in certain nutrients can cause a disposition for leg problems such as OC or OCD. You can feed Pavo PodoLac for the vitamins, minerals and elements necessary for a good development and growth.
If your mare has a few kilos too much on her body, it could also have negative influences on the bone growth of the foal. But watch out! Never put a pregnant mare on a strict diet! Make sure that she moves and exercises a little more, but it goes without saying that this should be adjusted to her condition. But it is crucial that you are not putting her on a diet and in the process potentially depriving her of the nutrients she and her foal need so much.
But… can I still ride my mare?
The first months you can normally ride your mare, as long as there are no complications. In the last few months, it’s mostly advised against doing so. She might start struggling with her stamina and flexibility, finding it harder to carry you and getting stiffer in her movements. Keep a close eye on your horse and make sure to read her signals well, but you should not suddenly stop exercising her out of the blue. Make sure she is in good shape - After all, a good physical condition is a prerogative for an easy foaling process – but don’t challenge her any more than needed.