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Breeding Horses/foaling and the older maiden mare

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Question
sierra 2/26/2013
sierra 2/26/2013  
i have a ~14yr old QTR sorrel maiden mare that i rescued aug 5 2012. right away i knew she was in foal, but when she was bred is a mystery as i bailed her off a staging lot where she was headed to canada to have been destined burger king burger.! vet palpate check stated ~3 more months in the middle of october, making roughly mid january her poss foaling date. well, its the middle of march now and still no foal. she is big as a barn! she has had a bag for about month now and full bag past two weeks. but the udder themselves dont feel totally engorged. ok, for the question finally, when do i start to REALLY worry? she has a ravenous appetite, makes lots pasture apples and could fuel the town with her gas. can the foal get too big? i heard mare determines size of foal and shouldnt have one bigger than she can handle. first time with a mare and foaling if u couldnt tell!  is there anything i can do to get the ball rolling? long easy lead around the pasture? etc. any help or reassurance greatly appreciated. this is sierra feb 26, 2 weeks ago

Answer
Dear Becky,

Hmm...yup, looks preggers to me.  Without knowing breeding dates, your vet could only make a best guess. Mares can carry and deliver a healthy foal anywhere from 320 to 365 days. MOST mares average about 345 days. Since you don't know when she was bred, there's little point in worrying too much as long as she is eating normally. Foals being too big is a pretty rare occurrence.  Take a breath, your You are going to have to guess on this one, but I can help you with knowing when time is close. The two most dependable changes in a pregnant mare that the average owner can read easily is what I call "the stickies and jello butt".  For the "stickies" milk a little milk out if your mare (use a warm wet wash cloth and clean her...it will get her used to having her teats handled and it's nice if you ever have a need to milk her)milk out a little milk into your palm. Early on it will be clear and thin and if you pinch the milk in you palm between your fingers it is watery. Usually 24-48 hours before foaling the milk will change color and become more yellowish or white and the texture will become sticky. But my favorite is "jello butt".  The hormones progesterone and relaxin work to soften the muscles and ligaments as foaling comes closer causing the tail head to sink and the mare's belly to look more "V"  shaped. In the last 24-48 hours they develop what I call "jello butt". The muscles of the hind quarters feel like a bowl of loose jello.  Go pat her on the rump several times a day.  When you feel jello butt, start keeping an eye on her because time is near. Also in that last 24-48 hours her vulva will lengthen noticeably. Send me a photo of your grandchild when she foals ;=)

Good Luck,

Lynne Curtis Gudes
"Common sense isn't."

Breeding Horses

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Lynne Curtis Gudes

Expertise

Breeding, foaling, behavior, imprinting and common medical issues arising from foaling. Also stallion handling.

Experience

I have been involved in horses for approximately 45 years. I showed hunters, jumpers and stock horses. In the 80's I was licensed as a trainer on the race track. I have run broodmare operations, delivered foals and taught everything from what to feed and which end the shoes go on to advanced jumping. I tend to be impatient with owners who think their horses prefer to be locked up in confined spaces. Even my show and race horses rarely spent more than only the night before an event in a stall...the rest of the time they had room to run. In 1974 I rode a Quarter Horse Stallion and a Thoroughbred Mare solo from Minneapolis to San Francisco.

Organizations
Mensa

Publications
"The Long Ride" Published in Women Sports Magazine March of 1975 an article regarding the author's cross country horseback ride from Minnesota to California. "A Horse is a Horse,of Course" An article regarding investigating horse incidents and the Equine Liability Act for investigators and attorneys. published in The Legal Investigator, February 2004 "Investigating Animal Cases:" A chapter written at the request of the editors for a professional textbook entitled Advanced Forensic Civil Investigations published by Lawyers and Judges Publishing June, 1997 "Murder by Another Name:" An article published in The John Cook Fraud Report, December 1994 regarding the intentional killing of horses for greed and insurance fraud. "The Responsibilities of Horse Owners in Rural Communities:" A paper presented before the Regional Seminar of the National Association of Legal Investigators in November 1987 at Phoenix, Arizona. "The Old Gray Mare is Worth $10,000,000 Now." A professional paper on the investigation of cases involving bloodstock and racetracks presented before the National Conference of the National Association of Legal Investigators in Washington, D.C., June 1986.

Education/Credentials
approximately 3 years of confined college....no degree. Advanced degree from the university of experience :>)

Awards and Honors
Recipient of the 1st place Anthony M. Golec Editor-Publisher Award 2004

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