Katie Hennessy

Breeding Trouble With your Mare

Are you having trouble getting your mare bred? There are several reasons this could be happening. First, we have to look at overall health of the mare with regards to age, body weight, heat cycle and previous pregnancies. A mare should be a body condition 5/9 to breed. With proper nutrition she can maintain her body weight to support herself and the growing fetus.

If you are wanting to breed early in the year, you will need to utilize artificial lighting starting in November or December to start cycling. It will take 60 full days of increased light to return your mare to her estrous cycle. If you are waiting for the natural breeding season, then plan for mid April.  It is important to remember that some mares don’t show typical “heat” signs so careful observation is important. 

A Breeding Soundness Exam is also a good idea, especially with mares that have had previous pregnancies or have had difficulty getting pregnant. This includes a full external and internal examination.  Ultrasound examination of the mare’s reproductive tract will be performed to rule out any physical abnormalities that may impair the mare’s ability to become pregnant or carry a foal to term. These include, cysts within the uterus, excess fluid in the uterus, tumors, abnormal ovaries etc. 

Your veterinarian may also perform a uterine culture or biopsy to determine if there is any inflammation, infection or scarring within the uterus. Mares that have an infection can be treated with a uterine lavage combined with antibiotics.

Now is the time to start preparing your mare for breeding to maximize the chances of having a foal next year.

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