When you have a pet horse that you purchased (or were given) as a companion or to learn to ride, you may one day find yourself wanting to breed your beloved horse. If you have no experience breeding a mare, this may seem like a confusing and difficult prospect. However, there are steps that you can take to ensure that your mare is well taken care of before, during, and after birthing a foal. Get to know some of the steps that you should take to properly care for your mare during the breeding process so that your pet horse is healthy at all times.
Take Your Mare To A Horse Vet For A Breeding Soundness Exam
One of the first steps that you will want to take when you are considering breeding your mare is to take it to the horse veterinarian for what is known as a breeding soundness exam. Because your pet horse has never been pregnant or birthed a foal in while in your care, you cannot be sure that she is able to safely do so without an exam.
This is a comprehensive exam that simply lets you know that all of the reproductive organs are intact and healthy and that your mare is healthy enough overall to carry a foal to term. This includes ultrasonography (an ultrasound) and manual palpation and exams of both the internal and external sex organs and genitalia. Your vet will then be able to tell you if your mare is healthy enough to breed or if further testing and examinations are needed.
Plan On Lots Of Ultrasounds
Once you have bred your mare, either through artificial insemination or live cover, you can plan on taking your mare in to see the horse veterinarian for several ultrasounds. Alternatively, if your vet has a portable ultrasound machine, they could also come to you.
Regardless of where you have the ultrasounds performed, there will be several in the early weeks and months of their pregnancy. The first ultrasound will be at about two weeks (14 days) after your mare has been bred. This is simply to determine if your mare is indeed pregnant and can also indicate whether she is pregnant with twins.
If she is indeed pregnant, within about a week you will want to have another ultrasound for your mare. Early miscarriages can occur and the three week check can help determine whether or not the pregnancy is viable. And then the next week, the ultrasound should show a more recognizable fetus and surrounding membrane.
After these initial ultrasounds, there are usually two more ultrasounds about two weeks or a little more apart and then possible every 30 days after that for a few months. Later ultrasounds will be at your and your horse veterinarian's discretion and will depend on any health issues your mare may be experiencing. As the gestational period for a mare is between 11 and 12 months, you will likely not have an ultrasound every month once the pregnancy is established and your mare seems healthy.
Now that you know a bit more about caring for your mare when you plan to breed her, you can be sure that you are providing your pet horse with the best possible care through the whole breeding process. To learn more, contact a horse vet like Edisto Equine Clinic.