For horse lovers, there's no sight more beautiful than a wobbly foal, finding its precarious footing aside the proud and protective dam. Successful pregnancies don't usually happen by chance, though, so if you're yearning for a yearling, get started soon, so your mare is fully prepared to begin breeding around May or June.
1. Begin With a Veterinarian
Your mare should have a complete checkup before being introduced to a stallion, including a reproductive exam. She'll need to be a healthy weight and strong enough to endure the pregnancy, to avoid complications associated with orthopedic conditions common to horses. She'll also need to be tested for a number of issues, from insulin resistance to infectious and sexually transmitted diseases.
2. Prepare the Breeding Area
To get your mare in the mood, she should be exposed to as much natural lighting in spring as possible. This will wake her body up from winter stagnation, when horses don't typically breed. Add lighting in her stall, too, and make sure it's warm and comfortable. Being a long day-breeder, your mare should begin to perk up at the signs of the upcoming season. Don't bathe her excessively now, though, as you want her natural scent attracting the promising stallion you'll be introducing her to.
3. Track Your Mare's Ovulation
Mares are most apt to breed towards the end of their ovulation period, meaning you need to know what's going on with her body, in order to know the best time for the stallion to make his entrance. Most mares will let you know they're in heat by their behavior, including urinating much more than usual, becoming hyperactive, giving rise to her tail, and mimicking the positions of breeding.
4. Inspect the Health of the Stallion
Unless you're mating your mare with another of your own horses, it's best to have a health history of the stallion coming to play. Especially if he's making the rounds at other stables, there is a risk of transmissible conditions, including worms, viruses, and other threats. The stallion, too, should be a healthy weight, to avoid injuries, most especially if your mare isn't too big.
5. Play Cupid!
Once the days are longer and your mare is physically ready, you shouldn't have much more to do than leave her alone with the stallion, although some supervision is necessary to ensure the male doesn't become too aggressive. The pair will know what to do, with your level of involvement being limited to overseeing safety, if necessary. Keep records of all events, so you're best able to predict the outcomes and inform your veterinarian of a potential pregnancy. Once she's with foal, you'll have different nutritional and exercise needs to keep up with.
6. Consider Artificial Insemination If Natural Methods Aren't Successful
Breeding horses can be a complicated, sometimes frustrating process. If you're not having any luck, talk to your veterinarian about artificial insemination, which has fairly high success rates. You still might be able to choose your stallion, but the entire ordeal will be less like an old-fashioned Western movie and more like a clinical arrangement. Still, you should end up with the foal you're set on.
7. Keep Your Vet Involved In the Process
At all stages and irrespective of methods, keep your pet care provider in the know. It's important that they be ready for anything along the way and that you have a place to run to if needed, where they are fully apprised of your mare's state.
Welcoming a foal into your life is nearly as precious an occasion as having a human baby, but for some horse lovers, the events are equal. Leave nothing to chance and start early, so your mare is in optimal health and you have everything in her life just right.Share