Pregnancy is a fragile and delicate condition, even for mares. Like pregnant women, they must be managed and cared for. They have independent feelings and each pregnancy can be different for each mare. This article gives knowledge on how to know the time and stage where you must stop riding pregnant mares. Signs can be recognized when your mare is feeling uncomfortable and uneasy. Physical activities mares can do before pregnancy might be difficult during pregnancy.
Pros and Cons of Riding a Pregnant Mare
There is an advantage when riding a pregnant mare which occurs in the early period of pregnancy. The estrus cycle stops, it lessens the mood swings. She can focus better on the activity or task given at the moment. The mare can experience quick advancement in competition levels. To breed a mare at a young age is an advantage if she is excellent with her career. The generation next to her will be established to have the same bloodline.
The negative attributes usually come in the late period of the pregnancy. This is in the seventh or eighth month. Since the mare is beginning to have physical discomfort, she can no longer accept as many tasks as before. There might be difficulty in bending. The change in her body can also lead to different and painful pressure points. The extra weight from the foal makes her adjust the balance and coordination. Adding a person on her back will only cause more discomfort. Simple exercises with a lot of straight movements and walk breaks will be easier and helpful.
Since the foal grows more in the last trimester, the abdomen of the mare will be at its largest. Riding activities must reduce. But a large pasture and space to move around are essential. Continuous movement reduces fluid retention and will aid in circulation.
In the last 6 weeks before the mare gives birth, strenuous activities are not encouraged.
Allow the mare to only do what she feels comfortable doing on her own.
The important consideration for a pregnant mare and the unborn foal is their health. Health must not be put at risk for riding activities. Strenuous exercises and activities are not harmful to the first stage of pregnancy. Mares should keep a healthy weight and they must do regular exercise. Healthy mares who exercise will most likely have an easier birth. Doing regular exercise keeps them healthy than to stand around and become fat.
Stress triggers early pregnancy loss. Riding a mare to the point she gets overheated can be dangerous. It is better not to push her too hard during the first two months. Overexposure to high temperatures and humidity puts the horse in danger. If the pregnant mare becomes dehydrated and exhausted, it is a threat to the fetus.
Transportation can also cause stress. During the first two months of gestation, it is advisable to not transport the mare if not essential.
Most mare owners believe that riding a pregnant one can be harmful and may even cause abortion. If the mare is healthy and has no pregnancy loss or abortion history, worry not and enjoy a ride. The mare can have a normal workout, jump, and compete. But high-level exercises especially during summertime is not good. It is not encouraged during the first 30 days of pregnancy. Regular riding is not an issue during that period.
In general, pregnant mares suffer more serious consequences from diseases than other horses. The more infections, the higher the possibility of abortion. Some are difficult to treat because of medications that put the fetus in danger.
Vaccination. Since infectious diseases trigger an abortion, maintain regular vaccination. Repeat most vaccines five weeks before foaling to protect the foal. Add rhinopneumonitis immunization at five, seven, and nine months of pregnancy. This could help reduce the risk of abortion from respiratory disease.
Dental Care. Maintaining their teeth helps avoid infection and discomfort. It allows them to eat more efficiently and maintain weight. Their teeth can be checked and treated before pregnancy.
Exercise. Mares that are not riding horses should stay in a large space with good pasture and shelter. Having enough space to walk around will help them become fit. Riding mares that are pregnant can continue to be ridden at the same level. The workload must be minimized.
Nutrition. The unborn foal is two times in size during the last 3 months of gestation. Thus, mares’ need for energy, protein, and trace minerals is increasing. Energy and protein level must increase by 10% per month during pregnancy. Pregnant and lactating mares drink more water than usual. Allow them to drink plenty of freshwaters.
In What Period Should I Stop Riding A Mare?
A lot of people consider riding a mare safe for the first six to eight months of pregnancy. Since the foal does most of its growth in the last trimester, lessen activities at this period. The mare’s abdomen will be at its largest during the last trimester. The placenta, amniotic fluid, and her growing foal takes the place. This might be uncomfortable affecting her balance and coordination when doing speed work. She will be less agile and can naturally slip, making it difficult for her to get up.
How long to keep riding your mare depends on your discipline and the kind of competition you are doing. Be sensitive and use common sense in what you ask a mare to do. Be aware that in the final three months, her body changes a lot. Keeping them fit during pregnancy makes giving birth easier. It can be healthy for her but considerations must be taken during the final stages of pregnancy. Fast work and jumping might cause a problem if you continue to make her compete in the last part of gestation. The weight of the fetus might cause a uterine torsion. It can happen if the mare is carrying it low and continues to do active work like jumping. If the uterus flips over, a twist in the cervix and connective support structures might occur. Consult a veterinarian before, during, and after your mare becomes pregnant. Assure the mare’s health and the foal to come by doing so.
In the early and mid-gestation period, the fetus in the mare grows slow. The fetus can grow a pound or more per day during the last three months. Fit and healthy young mare is able to do strenuous works. They can compete for generally seven months of their pregnancy. If your mare has a history of abortion, keeping them from doing speed work is advisable. Monitoring and consultation with a veterinarian are best. This is to ensure the health of the mare and the unborn foal.
I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!