How Do You Know If Your Mare Is Pregnant?

Nursing foal

There are a few methods for determining whether or not your mare is pregnant. A female horse's gestation period is roughly eleven months. There may be no apparent indicators that the mare is pregnant during the first few months. If you believe your mare is pregnant, it is critical that she is adequately cared for from the start of her to ensure both her and the foal's health.

How to Tell If Your Mare is In Foal and Why It's Important

Having your mare inspected by a veterinarian, ideally one who specializes in horse reproduction, is the only way to ensure that she is in foal and that the pregnancy is developing appropriately. After the mare has been bred, this should be done 14 to 18 days later.

The veterinarian can tell if the mare is pregnant twins at this point. Re-absorption and spontaneous miscarriages in horses are frequently caused by twin pregnancies. If your mare is carrying twins, one of the embryos can be "pinched off" to allow the second embryo to grow normally. Although it may appear harsh, the advantages must be evaluated against the hazards. A mare's odds of surviving the delivery and delivering healthy twin foals are minimal to none. If both embryos are allowed to mature, neither the mare nor the twins will live.

The mare should be examined at regular intervals as specified by the veterinarian to confirm that she is still in foal and that no uterine infections require treatment. Because the veterinarian can determine whether the pregnancy is proceeding correctly and how far along it is, you should be aware of any potential issues early on.

Care and Feeding for Pregnant Mares

If your mare is in foal, you should find out as soon as possible since her nutrition and care may need to be adjusted somewhat. You must provide your mare with the highest-quality hay or pasture, as well as salt and minerals. You may wish to take the mare and allow her to graze elsewhere if your pasture grass contains fescue. You might want to keep your mare away from any pasture bullies who might hurt her or make the foaling process more difficult for her.

While it's crucial to keep up with vaccinations and dewormings during the pregnancy, these treatments shouldn't be given to your mare for the first two to three months. Some immunizations and control drugs can harm a developing fetus. Your veterinarian is the finest source of information on which drugs are safe to administer to your pregnant mare during her pregnancy.

Yes, having your mare inspected by a veterinarian is costly, but it pales in comparison to the overall expense of raising a foal—or the cost of losing a foal or the mare. Getting another horse by breeding a mare is not inexpensive. Raising a foal, in fact, is one of the most expensive methods to produce another horse!

Improper Assumptions About Pregnancy in Mares

  • Sometimes people feel that nature will take care of things. This doesn't always lead to the best outcome. With proper care early in the pregnancy, potential health problems that could affect the reproductive health of your mare, and the health and life of the foal can be prevented.
  • There are several folk methods and theories to determine whether your mare is carrying a foal or not. But these methods are neither reliable nor accurate.
  • The lack or presence of a heat (estrus) cycle is not a sure indicator of pregnancy either. Some mares will appear to have a heat cycle despite being in foal, because of increased estrogen levels. Other mares may show no obvious signs of a heat cycle, especially during the fall and winter months.
  • Pregnancy is impossible to determine early on, simply by looking at the mare. Some mares, especially those that have not carried a foal before, may not 'show' much at all. Others have a well-sprung barrel that looks like they are in foal all the time. This can be because they’ve had several  before, or it may be because the mare has a that makes her abdomen look distended.
  • Not all mares show obvious signs of being in foal, even late in the pregnancy. While some mares may look fuller and their udders may appear to be full of milk for a few weeks before foaling, others may not. Some will show very evident signs that they are in foal, or about to foal. There have been situations in which an owner had no idea that the mare was in foal, until the foal arrived.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


"Pregnancy Determination In HorsesVeterinary Manual", "Abortion In HorsesVeterinary Manual", "Six Steps To Feeding A Pregnant MareKentucky Equine Research", "Parasite Control During Pregnancy In HorsesVeterinary Manual" ;