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Breeding Horses/Possibly pregnant mare

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Mare and filly
Mare and filly  
QUESTION: I just purchased a mare this week and her 6 month old filly this week.  We were told that the mare has a hay belly but the way she's carrying (very low) I'm afraid she may be pregnant.  She had her yearling stud colt in the same pasture as her up until 2 weeks ago.  Even the owner of the place of where we board thinks she's pregnant.  Is it possible for her to get pregnant so soon after dialing?  She foaled in April.

I'm kind of at a loss since I've only dealt with geldings and I don't know if a son/mother is safe to breed.  Any advice would be helpful.  Wasn't expecting a vet visit until later this month for teeth floating.

ANSWER: Hi Stephanie,

Yes, a mare will come into heat around 7-10 days after foaling and can get pregnant at that time.  A lot of breeders will breed their mares on what is called the "foal heat" in order to keep having foals in the early spring.

I wouldn't consider it a good thing to have a son breed to mother.  It's inbreeding as in any other species of animal.  I'm not saying you would end up with a deformed foal or anything like that but if there are defects in the line, that is the perfect opportunity for them to show up.

I looked at the picture you sent...wow... she does look heavy.  And that would be an awfully big belly for only 6 months pregnant.  Do you know if she has had a lot of foals in her life?  Sometimes mares will have what we call a broken down belly if they have foaled a lot.

I'd say your best bet is to have the vet palp her when he comes out.  Waiting until later in the month isn't going to hurt a thing.

Best of luck!
Sandy

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Sandy,

I truly appreciate your response and advise.

I didn't think imbreeding would ever be good either.  I called the previous owner and he said "well the stud colt didn't drop so she was safe", but when we first looked at the horses my husband had noticed that the stud had indeed dropped one.  I think I've been lied to just so that they are out of their hands but thats okay both horses will be taken care of.  

I believe she foaled four or five times and I don't think she had much of a break between foals.  She obviously didn't between this foal and the yearling.  I'm not sure about the others.  

If it's broken down belly is there any recommended course of action that we should take to help her get in better shape if the vet confirms that she's not pregnant (fingers crossed).

I truly appreciate your assistance.

Kindly,

Stephanie

Answer
I may have confused you when I said her big belly could be due to having so many foals and being broken down.  What I meant is:  Her belly could be so big at only 6 months pregnant due to being broken down by multiple pregnancies.

From what you're telling me about her previous foaling history, this very well could be why her belly is so big.

With each pregnancy, her stomach muscles are going to break down more and more, and she will begin to show pregnancies quite early on.

Once she stops having foals and is being put through regular exercise, she should bounce right back into shape.

Hopefully she does just have a big hay belly :)

Breeding Horses

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Sandy Sargent

Expertise

Breeding issues of both the mare and stallion (live cover), stallion handling, pregnancy of the mare, signs of impending foaling, foaling complications (dystocia), post-partum care of the mare and foal.

Experience

Breeding, raising, training and showing of Appaloosas and American Miniature horses for 16 years. Barn/breeding manager of a large Appaloosa race farm for 6 years.

Organizations
Member in good standing with: ApHC (Appaloosa Horse Club) AMHA (American Miniature Horse Association) AMHR ( American Miniature Horse Registry) FHANA ( Friesian Horse Associaton of North America)

Education/Credentials
Veterinary assistant for 4 years. I have attended numerous educational seminars on equine reproduction.
Currently employed as a Humane Law Enforcement officer.

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