Breeding / Reproduction
Breeding a foal is a decision that requires careful planning and should never be taken lightly. The first question to seriously consider is: Why do you want to breed a foal? Unfortunately, even with the best intentions and hopes, many breeders worldwide are simply contributing to the horse overpopluation reflected by the large number of horses that are ‘unwanted’ or considered ‘wastage’ of the various horse industries.
Breeding your own horses is an option many horse owners aim to try at some stage. Most owners have a mare that they want to breed from. However, very few owners decide to manage and educate a stallion with the prospect of using him as a sire. This article answers many frequently asked questions that relate to both the mare owner and the future stallion owner.
Series: Managing your Broodmare
In the last issue we discussed the mare’s oestrous cycle and highlighted issues to consider when preparing your broodmare for the coming breeding season. This month’s article describes the most common cause of infertility – mating induced endometritis.
Every breeding season, there are a multitude of articles written focusing on the health and wellbeing of the foal, but what about the mare? As Dr Katelyn McNicol from WestVETS Animal Hospital and Equine Reproduction Centre explains, there are just as many potential health concerns surrounding the mare post-foaling, some of which can be rapidly fatal. My mare has just foaled, do I need to call a vet?
Having a foal on the way is very exciting and, although most foalings go ahead without a hitch, it is vital to be able to recognise a problem early. It is important to understand the normal foaling process, recognise problems and know when to contact your veterinarian for assistance. This could mean the difference between saving the mare and foal, or losing one or both.
Gelding; the fastest way to loose two stone that you, or indeed your colt, will never put back on! The list of jokes associated with this common procedure is long and varies from a ‘Dad-joke’ level to the utterly unprintable.
New research shows that, as well as performance, the dam line influences gestation length and the filly to colt ratio. The findings could help breeders choose and better manage their broodmares. Many horse breeders place great importance on the stallion when establishing a breeding line, but often, it is the maternal lineage or dam line that plays a crucial role. While other studies have shown the influence of the dam’s line on the offspring’s performance in racing and other sports, there had been no research into how it affects the reproductive traits of mares.
The time leading up to the highly anticipated arrival of a new foal can be very exciting, but may also be a cause for anxiety. Whether this is your first foal or whether you have bred many foals, it is important to be aware of the care your mare needs during her pregnancy to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible.
Here at Horses & People Magazine HQ, we've had several foals due this year with the first one arriving a little earlier than expected. On Monday 14th September at a perfectly civilised, couldn't-be-planned-any-better time of the day, Standardbred mare Mia started foaling and we were on-hand to witness this beautiful event. Follow Mia and Lindy's rapid progress through this textbook birth from waters breaking at 9:04am, foal on the ground at 9:13am and standing by 9:34am.
Whilst some will argue over the best timing or weaning method, the question horse owners are asking is why wean at all? Is it really necessary to intervene in what is a normally occurring and natural process? And, what might happen if you didn’t wean that foal? Horses and People’s Editor, Cristina Wilkins, talks with breeder and equitation science researcher Dr Amanda Warren-Smith about her experience allowing broodmares and foals to stay together in their family group, and the reasons she chooses not to wean.