How Long Does It Take A Horse To Give Birth? (Solved)

How long does it take for a mare to give birth?

  • First, the gestation period for mares is around 340 days +/- ~14 days. It is important to keep accurate records of how long individual mares carry, as they will tend to be the same every year. I will bring mares up to the barn for close watch at three weeks out, or at 326 days. As for detecting the onset of labor, it will depend on the mare.

How long are horses in labor for?

The foal is usually born after 12 to 18 minutes of heavy labor. Maiden mares (mares foaling for the first time) are more likely to take about an hour to expel the fetus. Handlers should be ready to assist if it goes much longer than an hour. Mature mares in labor for more than 30 to 45 minutes may also need assistance.

Do horses give birth during the day?

Most mares prefer to give birth close to or soon after midnight when it is dark and quiet. I know this has been true with my horses. However, it’s not the case for every birth; some mares may wait till the morning, and others may give birth at any time of the day.

How soon after giving birth can a horses get pregnant?

Most mares come into heat about a week after foaling, but this can happen as early as 5 or as long as 14 days following parturition. This first cycle is known as foal heat, and many breeders take this opportunity to breed the mare in order to keep her on schedule for the following year.

Do horses feel pain during childbirth?

But while they may keep their pain more private, it’s known that many animals show some signs of pain and distress. During labor, horses sometimes sweat, llamas and alpacas bellow or hum in a way similar to when they are injured, and many animals become more aggressive.

Should you help a horse give birth?

Foal should stand and nurse within two hours of birth. If the foal has not nursed within 3 hours, call your veterinarian. The foal may be weak and in need of assistance or medical attention. Foal should pass meconium (the first sticky, dark stool) within 12 hours after birth.

How do you know when a horse is about to give birth?

The visual signs of a mare’s readiness to foal are:

  • Udder distension begins 2-6 weeks prior to foaling.
  • Relaxation of the muscles of the croup 7-19 days prior to foaling; relaxation around the tail head, buttocks, and lips of the vulva.
  • Teat nipples fill 4-6 days prior to foaling.
  • Waxing of the teats 2-4 days before.

Why do horses lick their newborns?

She may lick him to remove any remnants of membrane that remain and to help dry his coat. New mothers tend to be protective of their foals and they may be very aggressive toward other horses.

How often can a horse have a baby?

Horses are mammals, and like all mammals, give birth to live offspring who are nourished for the first part of their life by their mother’s milk. A mare (a female horse) can only produce one foal per year.

How often do mares breed?

Mares typically cycle regularly between April and early September. For a few months on either side of that, the ovaries are in the process of either gearing up for spring or slowing down for winter and may produce one or multiple follicles at irregular times.

How soon can you breed a mare after she foals?

Simply put, foal heat is the first heat cycle a mare goes through after foaling and a manager’s first opportunity to breed her. It typically occurs six to 12 days after foaling. Mares can ovulate as early as seven days and as late as two weeks post-foaling.

Do horses eat their afterbirth?

Horses do not typically consume the placenta after birth. They evolved as a nomadic species and if permitted to do so, move the foal well away from the placenta and birth fluids which might attract predators.

Which animal gives birth only once in lifetime?

For some, of course, it’s normal to only have one or a couple offspring in a lifetime. But swamp wallabies, small hopping marsupials found throughout eastern Australia, are far outside the norm: New research suggests that most adult females are always pregnant.

How many bones break during delivery?

There were 35 cases of bone injuries giving an incidence of 1 per 1,000 live births. Clavicle was the commonest bone fractured (45.7%) followed by humerus (20%), femur (14.3%) and depressed skull fracture (11.4%) in the order of frequency.

How Long It Takes a Horse to Give Birth- the Foaling Process

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation. Thank you in advance for your assistance — I much appreciate it! Several years ago, when my first mare went into labor, I was curious as to how long it took horses to give birth. Knowing how long a mare should take to birth her foal is crucial because you may need to contact a veterinarian if there are any issues during the delivery. After the water breaks, it takes around 15–25 minutes for a horse to give birth.

In general, if a horse takes more than 30 minutes to birth or more than three hours to discharge the placenta, you should consult a veterinarian immediately.

Some people mistake symptoms of labor, so it’s critical to understand what’s going on with the horse, recognize the signs of labor, and realize when things aren’t going as planned during the birth.

How long are horses in labor for?

Any links on this page that direct you to things on Amazon are affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I will receive a compensation from In advance, thank you very much for your assistance; I appreciate it greatly. Several years ago, when my first mare went into labor, I was curious about the length of time horses took to give birth. Knowing how long a mare should take to birth her foal is crucial because you may need to contact a veterinarian if there are any issues during the delivery process.

She should then release the placenta between 30 minutes and three hours later.

The question is, how can one tell when there is labor?

What time of day do horses give birth?

I had heard the expression “the foal selects the day, but the mare chooses the hour,” but it had never made any sense to me until I started looking into the foaling schedules of different breeds of horses. One intriguing thing about horses that I learnt is that they have some influence over the time of year in which they give birth. One of the most bizarre things I’ve discovered about horses is their capacity to control the time it takes for them to birth their calves. So, is there a specific time of day that the majority of horses like to work?

  • I know this to be true since it has been true with my horses.
  • Horses have survived in the wild for thousands of years because they have depended on their instincts.
  • According to the notion, by giving birth at night, the mare minimizes the likelihood that predators would attack them while they are in their vulnerable posture.
  • Although it may appear fair that horses choose to give birth at night for their own protection, there may be another explanation, melatonin, explaining this preference.
  • Melatonin has a variety of functions in animals, including acting as an anti-inflammatory.
  • Additionally, the importance of melatonin is linked to other factors connected with horse pregnancy.
  • Melatonin levels that are appropriate for the foal’s age also contribute to the foal’s healthy circadian rhythm.

Rather than using a white light source to create melatonin when your mare is giving birth in her stall at night, you should instead use a low-intensity red light source to help her sleep. Here are six items that a horse stall should have, including a strong light source.

Do horses give birth lying down?

After hearing the expression “the foal selects the day, but the mare chooses the hour,” it never made any sense to me until I started looking into the foaling schedules of horses, which I did in depth. The idea that horses have some control over the timing of their birth is an intriguing truth I learnt about them. Undoubtedly, one of the oddest things I’ve discovered about horses is that they can control the time it takes them to provide a product. Consequently, is there a specific time of day when the majority of horses like to work?

  1. That is something I’ve experienced firsthand with my horses.
  2. Horses have survived in the wild for thousands of years because they have depended on their instincts to keep them healthy and strong.
  3. By giving birth at night, the mare, according to popular belief, minimizes the likelihood that predators will prey on them while they are in their vulnerable state of mind.
  4. Horses could prefer to give birth at night for a variety of reasons, including safety, but there may also be another factor at play: melatonin production.
  5. It also has anti-inflammatory properties in animals, among other things.
  6. Besides being connected with equine pregnancy, melatonin is also important for other reasons.
  7. Melatonin levels that are appropriate for the foal’s age also aid in maintaining the foal’s healthy circadian rhythm.
  8. Use a low-intensity red light source to create melatonin rather than a white light source if your mare gives birth in her stall throughout the night.

Can a horse stop labor?

I’ve heard of a couple instances in which a horse seemed to have stopped working on purpose. According to reports, the mare had indications of labor many days before giving birth to the foal. So, is such a scenario even conceivable, let alone safe for the mare? Although a horse cannot stop labor forever, if they are upset during the start of early labor, they can cause it to be delayed for many hours or even days, depending on the circumstances. This method, on the other hand, is not encouraged and may be detrimental to the health of the mare or foal.

At no point should they be bothered in any manner throughout this period.

If a mare feels threatened or determines that the timing and location for delivery are not optimal, she may seek to halt the labor for a short period of time to protect herself. When riding a pregnant horse, it’s important to keep this information in mind as well.

What is it called when a horse gives birth?

Due to the fact that we are talking about horse birthing terminology, it’s worth noting that the term “foal” is more commonly used than the terms “labor,” “delivery,” and other similar terms to refer to the birth of a newborn horse. In a similar vein, the terms “in labor” and “delivered” are replaced with the terms “foaling” and “foaled,” respectively. “In foal” refers to a pregnant mare who is about to give birth.

Do horses make noises during birth?

Horses appear to be more at ease when it comes to childbirth as compared to humans. According to research, there is no substantial presence of adrenaline or stress hormones in mares when they are in the process of foaling. While giving birth, a mare emits strains and grunts, but otherwise makes very little noise at all. Typically, when the foal is born, she will demonstrate her appreciation by nickering gently and kissing the newborn’s face. Her behaviors imply that, unlike giving birth to a human child, giving birth to a horse’s child is not unpleasant the majority of the time.

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As with many other animals, once a foal is born, the mare does not demonstrate a considerable care for its well-being, with the exception of sometimes calling the foal back if it wanders off.


In most cases, yes, it is possible to ride a pregnant horse. However, keep in mind that horses are individuals, and some horses endure pregnancy far better than others. Consult your veterinarian if you have any concerns about whether or not your pregnant mare is safe to ride. However, the general belief is that a human may ride a pregnant horse for the most of the time she is pregnant. Here is an article on the subject that you might find useful: Riding a Pregnant Horse (Mare): What to Do and What Not to Do

Horse Behavior at Foaling Time – Extension Horses

Horses’ behavioral characteristics related with parturition (the birth process) have a long evolutionary history that goes back thousands of years. The underlying notion is that horses have evolved behavioral techniques to ensure their survival in their environment. Predators are more likely to attack a mother and her kids during the birthing process because both the dam and her young are in a vulnerable position. The mare takes precautions to ensure their protection during the birthing process.

Pre-Parturient Mare Behavior

It is usually accepted that mares will give birth after an 11-month gestation, however this is very varied. A range of 315 to 387 days has been reported in studies, with an average gestational age of around 341 days. There is evidence to suggest that smaller breeds have shorter gestation durations than larger ones. Ponies, for example, had a gestation period of 336 days, according to one research. The date of foaling may be established by using a calendar to estimate the length of gestation and by looking for physical symptoms of impending gestation, such as a bloated udder, swelling of the vulva, waxing of the teats, and teat secretions, among other things.

Udder Growth and Development Foaling BehaviorMares like to be alone when they are foaling.

Mares are more likely to give birth at night. One research, for example, found that nearly 80 percent of foals were delivered between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. one morning. The phases of parturition are categorized into three categories:

  • Labor, ejection of the fetus, and passage of the afterbirth are all stages of pregnancy.

Mares grow agitated during the initial stage of pregnancy and foaling. They will not eat, and they may pace or wander in circles, glance back at their flank, or flick their tails to indicate that they are bored. Some mares have a habit of lying down and getting back up. Some people refuse to drink water. For older mares, this phase of restlessness is typically shorter. This is the most time-consuming period of the pregnancy, and it can last anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours. The mares may adopt a straddling or crouching stance as the labor continues, and they may urinate more often.

  • The second stage of parturition, which includes the ejection of the fetus and the actual birth, lasts less time than the first stage.
  • If the mare is upset, she may have a temporary halt in the birthing process.
  • When contractions begin, the mare may be standing or lying down, but she will most likely be resting on her side for the duration of the delivery.
  • It is normal for the foal to be delivered after 12 to 18 minutes of intense labor.
  • It is recommended that handlers be prepared to help if the process takes more than an hour.
  • Immediately following the birth of the foal, the mare will continue to lie on her side for an additional 15 to 20 minutes.
  • If a mare is disturbed at this time, she may rise early and break the umbilical chord, resulting in death.

Also keep in mind that a typically gentle mare is likely to become apprehensive and protective during the first few hours after giving birth, which should be anticipated.

The passage of the afterbirth is the final stage of the pregnancy.

During this time, the link between the dam and foal is forming, and it is important to pay attention.

The washing is most likely also a component of the early bonding phase, and it is generally accompanied by vocalizations from the mare as well as a thorough visual and olfactory assessment of the foal.

Imprinting is the term used to describe the process through which a baby learns to know its mother.

Typically, the mare begins by licking the top of her head, and by the time she reaches the back, she is able to aid the standing process by nuzzling the reins.

Afterbirth Mares may recognize their foals within a few hours of their birth. The key distinguishing characteristic is the odor. It is generally the mare’s scenting of the foal’s rear that provides the most certain identification.

Craig Wood, University of Kentucky

  • Horse Parturition, Pregnancy Management, and Care of the Newborn Foal are all covered in this course.

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How Long Are Female Horses Pregnant?

Photographs courtesy of IJupiterimages/ Images Your mare – female horse – is entering her 11th month of pregnancy with her four-legged foal. If you or someone you know has gone through a long human pregnancy, you will understand and feel compassion for her. Horses have an average gestational period of 335 to 342 days, which is approximately 11 months.

Variations in Gestation Length

You shouldn’t be alarmed if your pregnant mare reaches the one-year mark without giving birth; 360 days, or slightly shy of one year, is still within the usual gestation length for horses. A preterm birth that happens a few weeks before her 11-month due date will not often be considered premature as long as she is healthy and the pregnancy has proceeded normally, says your veterinarian.

Deciding to Breed

It is important not to take breeding decisions carelessly. Make certain that both your mare and the stallion you choose have good characteristics. To determine when your horse is “in heat,” which is when she is receptive to the stallion or likely to become pregnant through artificial insemination, you’ll need to keep track of her reproductive cycles. If something goes wrong during the pregnancy or birth, you stand to lose time, money, and the lives of the mare and the kid.

Factors That Can Affect Gestation Length

In part because of seasonal factors, if you breed your mare during the months of February, March, or April such that she would be due in January through March of the following year, the odds are that she will carry her foal for approximately one week longer than if you breed her later in the year. References Resources Photographic Credits Writer Karen S. Johnson’s bio Karen S. Johnson is a marketing expert with more than 30 years of experience who specializes in business and equestrian issues.

Many of her writings have appeared in trade and business media, such as the Houston Chronicle, and she continues to write.

She graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor of Science in speech.

The Birth of a Foal: What We Look For and What We Do

Throughout the time that we are waiting for our mare, My Special Girl, to give birth to her foal on the liveNew Bolton Center Foal Cam, we would like to describe what may occur during the foaling process. A mare’s gestation time is one of the most variable in the horse’s reproductive system, ranging from 10 12 to 13 months and making it difficult to predict when she will give birth. The typical gestation period is around 11 months. My Special Girl is expected on March 14, when the foal reaches the 340th gestational day of her pregnancy.

  1. According to the clinical symptoms, most likely not.
  2. Although it is uncommon for a mare to give birth to a foal without showing any visible indicators, it may happen, and they will be prepared when she is ready to give birth to this particular baby.
  3. It is typical for some mares to experience mild, periodic discomfort during the day or night, which often corresponds with the movement of the foal.
  4. There are three phases of parturition (giving birth) that occur at the moment of conception: Stage 1 refers to the time of uterine contractions that precedes the onset of foetal development.
  5. Horses exhibiting the following behaviors during stage-one labor: restlessness in the stall, going up and down, sweating; curling of the upper lip; pawing; weight shifting; picking up of the hind legs; tail swishing; frequent urine and feces; and pawing.
  6. Beginning with the rupture of the chorioallantois, often known as ‘water breaking’ in humans, stage 2 is characterized by a rapid increase in body temperature.
  7. To show properly, the foal should have two front legs (one slightly in front of the other) with his or her nose lying in between them, about at the level of the foal’s knees.

The foal is propelled forward by uterine contractions and strong abdominal contractions.

The passing of the fetal membranes is the third stage.

When the mares are experiencing uterine contractions, they will frequently express some degree of discomfort.

In addition to mammary gland growth and teat fullness, we check for waxing (crystallized colostrum) on the teats, dripping/streaming milk from the teats, and relaxation of the muscles around the pelvic area in the newborn.

Prepare the mare’s tail by wrapping it during the first step of the process.

Observing and evaluating the foal’s position and presentation: In order to determine whether or not the water has broken, we look at the foal’s posture and presentation.

If the mare or foal is abnormal, we obtain a sample of the fetal fluids for study.

When the foal is delivered, we will examine its posture and presentation before allowing the mare to proceed to the second stage of her development process.

During she pushes, we apply moderate pressure to the foal’s back.

The vulva will be opened as soon as the nose begins to emerge and any fetal membranes that are covering the nose will be removed so that the foal’s breathing will not be obstructed in any way.

The shoulders of the foal are the broadest sections of the foal that can go through the pelvis, therefore after they pass through the pelvis, we may withdraw our grip and the foal will typically be delivered.

It is necessary to examine the foal’s heart rate to confirm that it is breathing on its own and to determine its degree of activity.

It is important to see if the foal is holding its own head up and how sensitive it is to different stimuli.

We should anticipate to hear some crackles and damp sounds at the beginning, but they should fade fast after that.

– We collect a sample of blood from the foal’s umbilical cord to be analyzed later.

For evident congenital issues such as limb contracture (flexion) that may make it difficult for the foal to stand up, we search for them immediately.

If the quality of the colostrum is poor, we can administer a supplement.

In order to strengthen the relationship with her foal, the mare would lick and nuzzle him.

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Some mares stand up soon after the foal is delivered, while others lie down for a length of time after the foal is born.

After the foal is delivered and the fetal membranes are passed, some mares will exhibit signs of pain while uterine contractions persist in the mare.

It is expected that the foal will make many efforts to stand.

It is quite rare for a foal to sustain an injury during this phase, especially if it is being monitored.

We want the foal to conserve energy while it learns to suckle from its mother.

It’s always fascinating to see a foal learn how to locate the mammary gland and suckle from it.

Some will begin to nurse on their own legs, on the wall, or on various body parts of the mare, while others may suckle on the ground.

Some seasoned mares are ready to position themselves for the foal, however other mares require a bit more time to become acclimated to the foal as it learns to synchronize its suckle and tongue curl movements.

It is common to watch mares move around and occasionally lift a rear leg and’squeal’ when they are in good spirits. During this procedure, the mare will frequently nicker to the foal and nuzzle or lick the foal on the face.

What to Expect When Your Mare is Expecting

The basics of equine reproduction and horse pregnancy include mating, the horse gestation period, and foaling, to name a few concepts. A mare (a female horse) may only give birth to one foal every calendar year. It is possible for a mare to start producing afoalat when she is 18 months old, but it is healthier if the mare is at least four years old since she will have grown to her maximum size by then. After her twenties, a mare may continue to have offspring into her thirties again. Despite the fact that horses may mate and give birth without the assistance of a veterinarian, many issues can be avoided by having the stallion assessed before breeding and the mare checked and cared for appropriately during the pregnancy.

Average Gestation Period

When it comes to horses, the gestation period is normally between 330 and 345 days, or 11 months. A breeder’s ability to recognize if a mare is more likely to foal earlier or later than the norm is essential for success in the breeding industry. Ponies have a shorter gestation time than horses, which is typical. A natural environment is one in which the stallion will breed the mare throughout the summer months, and the foals will be born the following year, often during the spring and early summer months.

Mastiff mares are classified as seasonally polyestrous, which indicates that they go into heat (estrus) and are receptive to a stallion at regular intervals during the spring and summer.

Breeders that seek to modify the reproductive cycle in order to have foals born earlier in the year (as is routinely done in the Thoroughbred racehorse industry) will employ artificial illumination to replicate the longer days of spring and summer, rather than natural lighting.

This enables mares to be mated earlier in the year, resulting in a foal being born sooner the following year.

Checking For Pregnancy

Mares may not display any obvious indicators of pregnancy during the first three months of their pregnancy, other from the absence of an estrus cycle. After about two weeks have passed since the breeding event, an ultrasound can be used to confirm the pregnancy. Two to three months after conception, blood and urine tests can be performed to confirm the pregnancy. If the mare is six weeks into her pregnancy, a veterinarian may be able to personally feel the little embryo in her uterus via rectal palpation.

Horse twins are extremely unusual, yet they have the potential to cause the mare to miscarry.

As a result, it is frequently suggested to “pinch off” one embryo at a time.

It is not uncommon for a mare to miscarry her pregnancy, and it is advised to repeat an ultrasound, blood, or urine test after around three months.

Things like observing how a mare shakes her head, the look in her eyes, or the way a needle moves when held over her belly are not reliable indicators of whether or not she is in foal.

Later Stages of Gestation

By the time the foal is three months old, it will be growing swiftly and beginning to resemble a miniature horse. After around six months, the mare may begin to show signs of pregnancy. Mares that have already given birth may exhibit signs of an enlarged stomach sooner than a virgin mare. With each passing month, the mare’s belly will continue to swell in anticipation of the foal’s due date in the spring of 2019. The mare’s udder will begin to grow and begin to produce sticky yellowish fluid around two weeks before the due date of the baby.

  1. If the yellowish fluid is allowed to ferment, it will transform into the first milk or colostrum.
  2. It is possible that her stomach will appear to lower as the foal aligns itself for delivery.
  3. The mare will look restless shortly before giving birth, and she may paw the ground and examine her flanks (similar tocolic symptoms).
  4. The mare may lie down and rise up several times, but she will give birth while lying down on the ground.
  5. At this point, the foal is usually born within a few minutes of being born.
  6. The mare or foal may sustain an injury or develop another problem during the birthing process, and this will require expert assistance.
  7. If you have any reason to believe your pet is unwell, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Foaling Mare & Newborn: Preparing for a Safe & Successful Foal Delivery

MAKE A DONATION TO THE FOALING MARE AND NEWBORNI If your mare has made it through 11 months of pregnancy, you’re practically finished with your work. Despite the fact that they are monumental events, labor and delivery are often straightforward. Everyone involved in the process should make every attempt to be there during foaling. In the majority of circumstances, you will only need to act as a neutral observer. Mares appear to prefer to give birth at night in the seclusion of their own homes, and they appear to have some influence over the timing of their delivery.

  • In the event of an emergency, it is a good idea to keep your veterinarian’s phone number handy.
  • In the past, horses have given birth in the open range, and this is still considered an appropriate practice today.
  • An open grassy area is more likely to be cleaner than a stall, and it provides a healthy atmosphere with plenty of space for foaling to take place.
  • Many owners, on the other hand, choose to confine the mare in order to monitor her growth.
  • In the event that it is practicable, the stall should be equipped with sufficient bedding and a floor that can be easily washed and sanitized.
  • Small wood particles might adhere to a wet infant or mare’s skin, thus straw (especially wheat straw) is preferred to shavings.
  • THE TIME HAS COUNTED DOWN Mares give out signs when they are about to give birth to a calf.

Some mares may exhibit all of the indications as if they were clockwork, while others may exhibit virtually none.

In addition, the muscles of the vulva and croup begin to relax.

The teats get engorged four to six days prior to foaling.

The mare gets nervous and restless as a result of this.

A woman may kick at her stomach or pace, lie down and get up, examine or gnaw at her flanks, or sweat if she is uncomfortable.

Most of the time, this is the initial stage of labor (however, be aware that colic remains a possibility; if such behavior is prolonged for more than an hour or two without progress towards foaling, contact your veterinarian).

It is normally preferable to leave the mare to foal on her own, unsupported and undisturbed.

What you can do is the following: Preparation is key.

Keep a watch or a clock on hand so that you can keep track of the time throughout each stage of labor.

When the mare is in labor, the watch will assist you in keeping proper track of her progress.

When you see that the mare is in the initial stage of labor, cover her tail in a clean towel.

Wash the mare’s udder, vulva, and hindquarters thoroughly with mild soap and water after each wash.

Make sure you have enough bedding.

They assist the owner in forecasting when the mare will foal since abrupt rises in calcium are related with the onset of foaling in the mare.

Even in a routine birth, the mare may rise up, lie down, and roll multiple times in an attempt to position the foal for delivery in the most optimal position.

The fetal membranes (allantois) may become apparent at the mare’s vulva during the course of the pregnancy.

It is possible to mistake the rupture of the allantoic membrane and the surge of placental fluids with the act of urinating.

This phase progresses at a reasonably fast pace.

Please contact your veterinarian as soon as possible if there is no substantial progress within 10 to 15 minutes after the membranes breach.

The normal presentation of the foal is similar to that of a diving posture, with the front feet first, one slightly ahead of the other, hooves down, followed by the snout, head, neck, shoulders, and hindquarters in a tightly spaced pattern.

If you feel that your horse’s delivery position has shifted from its typical position, contact your equine practitioner.

If at any point during stage two you notice red/maroon membranes covering the foal as it emerges from the vagina, the placenta must be pulled open as soon as possible to prevent the newborn from becoming ill.

The normal membranes that cover a foal are white or yellow in color and transparent in appearance.

The majority of placentas are passed within 1-3 hours after the foal’s birth.

A retained placenta can result in major complications, such as extensive infection and laminitis in the fetus.

Check to see if the foal is breathing after it has broken through the skin.

If it hasn’t broken yet during birth, it will most likely break when the mare or foal gets to its feet.

The rope should be gripped tightly on each side of the targeted break location, then twisted and tugged to separate it manually if necessary (never cut the cord).

If bleeding continues after cord severance, pressure can be applied to the stump for several minutes by pressing it with the thumb and index finger of both hands.

It is rare for foals to lose enough blood to become anemic, and there is a substantial risk of enclosing bacteria in the umbilical stump if the wound is sutured up after it has healed.

Allow them to spend time together without being interrupted.

When it comes to naval dipping, diluted (1:4) chlorhexadine solutions are favored over powerful iodine solutions.

Continue to keep an eye on the mother and foal over the following 24 hours.

Foal is bright and alert as it adjusts to its new environment.

The mare is non-aggressive, interested, and welcoming of her young.

A foal should be withdrawn from the mare and reintroduced with the mare under control in such a situation.

· Within two hours of birth, the foal should be able to stand and feed.

It is possible that the foal is weak and in need of help or medical treatment.

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If this is not the case, an enema may be required.

Mares should be bright and attentive at all times.

Once the placenta has been discharged, it should be examined to ensure that it is still in good condition, particularly around the points of the horns.

If you feel that the mare has retained a portion of the placenta, contact your veterinarian for further evaluation.

If you suspect that something is wrong, you should check the mare’s temperature and other vital signs on a regular basis throughout the first 24 hours.


Colostrum, the mare’s first milk, has a high concentration of antibodies.

In order for a foal to absorb the antibodies, it must be given colostrum during the first eight to twelve hours of life after birth.

If a mare looks to be leaking an excessive amount of milk before to giving birth, get her examined by a veterinarian immediately.

However, depending on your veterinarian’s suggestion, the mare may be milked and the colostrum stored so that it may be given to the foal as soon as possible following birth.

The foal is at greater danger of infection if it does not have access to it.

Additionally, the serum of the foal can be analyzed between 18 and 24 hours of age to determine IgG antibody levels.

When the foal is eight hours old, it can be tested to see if it has a deficiency in IgG, and if so, it can be given a supplement to make up for it.

It is recommended that your veterinarian initiate therapy for Failure of Passive Transfer (FPT) if the IgG level is insufficient.

· As soon as you feel there is a problem during the foaling process (for example, a foal that is not in the typical birth position), contact your veterinarian immediately.

It is important to remember that a timely birth is critical to the health of the newborn foal.

Backwards presentation (also known as “Red Bag Delivery”) may be an exception to this rule, because the foal can die if not delivered quickly enough.

Mishandling a mare’s reproductive tract, injuring the foal, and premature separation of the umbilical cord, all of which can result in the foal losing oxygen.

You shouldn’t be overly concerned if the baby’s pasterns and fetlocks are swollen or distended for the first few days of life.

Nonetheless, if you see severe deviations in the limbs or any other physical difficulties, or if the disease persists, you should visit your veterinarian.

A FINAL COMMENT In order for the mare to deliver and care for her young, nature has devised a highly effective system.

In order to obtain additional information, consult with your veterinarian. Ben Espy, DVM, DACT, is a contributing author to this article.

How Long Is a Horse Pregnant?

How long does it take a horse to become pregnant? Well, the quick answer is 10 to 12 months, or around 326 to 354 days, depending on your perspective (although there have been cases where gestation for a mare has gone as long as 365 to 370 days). The majority of mares only give birth to one foal per pregnancy, while twins do occur on rare occasion. If you’re thinking of breeding your horse, there’s a lot more information you should be aware of. Mares are polyestrous on a seasonal basis. Put another way, it indicates that the mare behaves somewhat similarly to a cat in that she will go through numerous cycles throughout a specific season.

This is assumed to be an evolutionary trait to guarantee that the mare gives birth at the most favorable time of year, which is believed to be in the springtime.

The Mare’s Cycle is Key

A thorough understanding of a mare’s life cycle is essential for managing mares in general, and it is absolutely essential for designing a successful breeding program. Due to the fact that mares are seasonally polyestrous, the mare will respond to light stimulation. This implies that when the amount of daylight increases, her cycles will begin to begin by reducing melatonin levels. The following are crucial dates to keep in mind for horse breeders:

  • In the United States, the Summer Solstice is celebrated on June 21, which is the longest day of the year and the apex of the natural mating season. During the Fall Equinox, which occurs on September 21, when there is equal daylight and darkness, and the mares are shutting off as the season changes, Horses are in their deepest anestrus on December 21, which is the shortest day of the year and the shortest day of the year. The mares are in Spring Transition 1 during the time of the Spring Equinox, which occurs on March 21 when there is equal light and dark.

These are, of course, estimates based on current information. When it comes to the commencement of cyclicity, temperature can also play a role because it is thought to be regulated in part by a neurotransmitter that is also involved in prolactin release. The lowering of opioid inhibition of the gonadal axis may also have a role in the initiation of the breeding season, according to certain theories. Normal horse cycles are said to begin around the Summer Solstice, which coincides with the start of the natural mating season.

Those mares that are bred early in the year (typically during the first quarter) will often carry their foal for a longer period of time than anticipated.

2 In addition to these considerations, whether the foal is a colt or a filly is another aspect that may influence a mare’s gestational duration.

Body weight can also have an impact on gestation times; mares that are thinner have a tendency to bear their offspring for a longer amount of time than mares who are heavier.

Due to this, the mare will go into heat earlier in the year, which will result in the foal being born earlier in the year, which is typically a benefit for the owners and managers of performing breeds.

Gestation Stages

During their pregnancy, mares go through three trimesters, which are called trimesters. The first trimester begins with conception and is usually completed within two weeks of confirmation. 3 It is critical to have the mare examined by a veterinarian during the first trimester in order to safeguard her and her foal’s health throughout the whole pregnancy. When the foal is roughly 25 days old, the veterinarian can do an ultrasound to identify the foal’s heartbeat and establish that the foal is still alive.

  1. If twins are discovered, the veterinarian may inquire as to whether the owner or management would be interested in having the second embryo removed in order to offer the surviving embryo a greater chance of survival.
  2. A horse-like appearance may be recognized in the foal at three months by ultrasound testing; important characteristics can be identified, and the gender of the foal can be confirmed.
  3. 3 In this period, the mare can begin receiving deworming and vaccination treatments.
  4. The mare will begin to exhibit her abilities after six months.
  5. At this point, it is necessary to increase the number of veterinarian visits once more.
  6. As the mare approaches her due date, it is critical to maintain a pleasant and stress-free environment for her, avoiding any dramatic changes that might cause her to become worried.

Leading Up to Foaling

On average, the day of foaling should occur between days 326 and 354 of the calendar year. There are test kits available that some breeders use to assist them anticipate the day of foaling. These can be particularly beneficial if it is the mare’s first foal and the mare’s foaling procedure is unknown. 2 When it comes to the days leading up to delivery, the mare is likely to display signals that her body is preparing for childbirth. Her udder is likely to appear large, and she may even be dripping milk.

To ensure the mare’s comfort, a big stall with plenty of straw, fresh water, and hay should be supplied.

It is possible that she will get up and down a couple of times, but she will give birth while laying down.

2,3The amniotic sac will most likely be the first portion to be seen, followed by the head and legs of the developing baby. Once the amniotic sac is seen, it is usually just a matter of minutes until the horse is delivered. 3

Labor and Delivery

Generally speaking, foaling day should occur between days 326 and 354 of the countdown. When it comes to predicting foaling day, there are test kits available that some breeders utilize. These kits can be particularly beneficial if this is the mare’s first foal and the mare’s foaling procedure is unknown. 2 The mare is likely to display indications of her body preparing to give birth in the days leading up to delivery. In addition to seeming full, she may also be dripping milk. In preparation for the foal’s birth, her tummy will seem lower than it did a few weeks earlier.

She may likely paw the ground and look restless as she approaches the point of giving birth.

It is most likely that the amniotic sac will be the first visible portion, followed by the head and legs of the baby.


Emergency Situations

The development of the amniotic sac as a “red bag” during the second stage of labor is one of the more prevalent complications during pregnancy and childbirth. The amnion (also known as the amniotic sac) is the first item to appear during a normal foaling. It is a white membrane that surrounds the foal. When the placenta separates from the uterine wall prematurely, blood will collect within the amnion, giving it a deep crimson look. This is an uncommon occurrence, but it does occur. This is a life-threatening emergency that might result in the foal’s death if not addressed immediately.

  1. 1 Eilts, B., et al., Equine Seasonal Cycle.
  2. How Long Do Female Horses Stay Pregnant?
  3. “How Long Are Female Horses Pregnant?” Animals –, November 21, 2017, accessed October 7, 2018.
  4. The American Association of Equine Practitioners published a statement on October 7, 2018.

About NexGen Pharmaceuticals

NexGen Pharmaceuticals is an industry-leading veterinary compounding pharmacy that provides sterile and non-sterile compounding services to veterinarians in the United States and Canada. NexGen, in contrast to other veterinary compounding pharmacies, concentrates on pharmaceuticals that are difficult to locate, are no longer accessible owing to manufacturer discontinuance, or have not yet been commercially released for veterinary purposes, but which nonetheless fill an essential need for our clients.

It is also urged that our pharmacists establish excellent working connections with our veterinarians in order to provide better treatment for our animal patients.

Disclaimer The material provided in this blog post is of a general nature, and it is intended to be used solely as a source of information.

Neither is the information intended to serve as medical advice or diagnosis for specific health problems, nor is it intended to be used in making an assessment of the risks and benefits of using a particular medication.

The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) has not examined the information and assertions provided, and the FDA has not authorized the drugs for use in diagnosing, curing, or preventing illness in humans.

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