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How old can mares still have foals?

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  • How old can mares still have foals?

    I know that this probably varies widely depending on the individual mare, but on average, how old can you expect a warmblood broodmare to be producing foals? I have two 1999 mares, both of which are on their 6th pregnancies. Realistically, how many more foals should I hope to get from them?
    www.saraalberni.com

  • #2
    My oldest mare is 20 and I plan on taking a very hard look at her this spring to see what her condition is like post-foaling then take it from there. I was told her dam, produced without problems until 23. But Ive also heard of mares shutting down in their late teens. So I would assume you could at the very least expect 4-5 more foals from your girls.
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    • #3
      IMO, there really is no predicting. One mare may keep chugging along into her 20s and another may acquire problems that prevent pregnancies at a much younger age. When I started breeding a longtime breeder who was a tremendous source of information to me told me that she felt anything over 6 foals for a mare was above average. That one could pretty well hope for 6, but that more than that was gravy. I have one mare that had to be "retired" from breeding back to riding after 2 foals. On the other and, my first broodmare had 13 foals in her life and my Rubinstein I mare (a 1994 model) is working on foal #9.

      I think one secret to longevity in production is to keep them bred after a certain age and number of pregnancies. Time off in older mares can be a problem.
      Mary Lou
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      https://www.facebook.com/HomeAgainFarmHanoverians

      Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique

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      • #4
        My big girl is coming 18 yrs old & pregnant with #14. It should be #15 but I didn't breed her for a 2010 foal. I was REALLY lucky that she caught on one dose of frozen for another Rotspon for 2011. I took a big chance by not breeding her last year.
        I plan to breed her back as long as she is healthy. I'm having to do more to keep her weight up, feeding the best feeds/hay & also using supplements to ensure she or foal aren't pulled down. So far she looks fat & wonderfully shiny.
        I've also heard of mares foaling up to the low to mid 20's.
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        • #5
          I retired my foundation mare after she had her 17th foal at age 25. She's still bopping around the fields today, at age 30.

          Her daughter, age 20, is working on foal #15 for 2010.

          I don't want to jinx myself, but I want to toss out this "theory" for the sake of discussion:

          I often wonder if conformation might have something to do with a broodmare's career longevity. My mares (all are closely related) are all very big-bodied and, perhaps even more importantly, most are pretty long-backed, too. They seem to pop out their produce like it's nothing. In all the many, many times I watched her give birth, I only saw my old mare break into a sweat one time, which was also the only time she was visibly in labor for more than half an hour. That time, it took five hours before the foal arrived, after many lie-down, get-up efforts on her part. I was almost certain she was repositioning the foal. I came so close, so many times, to calling the vet, but you couldn't have said she was in distress at the time. Just sweating (when she'd never sweated before). She had six or seven foals after that but never again did she sweat over it (literally or figuratively!).
          Sportponies Unlimited
          Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by wehrlegirl View Post
            My oldest mare is 20 and I plan on taking a very hard look at her this spring to see what her condition is like post-foaling then take it from there. I was told her dam, produced without problems until 23. But Ive also heard of mares shutting down in their late teens. So I would assume you could at the very least expect 4-5 more foals from your girls.
            I think 20-23 is pretty reasonable. Some people will get an extra year or two and do embryo transfer. On a really great mare, they may do a few ETs those last couple of years.
            My mare is 18 yo and in great condition. I sure hope I get a few mor babies out of her, she's been a great producer for me. I've kept her best filly so far, a yearling, to eventually take her place as a broodmare. Her filly has a better sire than her momma so hopefully, I'm improving my breeding program as well.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pwynnnorman View Post
              I retired my foundation mare after she had her 17th foal at age 25. She's still bopping around the fields today, at age 30.

              Her daughter, age 20, is working on foal #15 for 2010.

              I don't want to jinx myself, but I want to toss out this "theory" for the sake of discussion:

              I often wonder if conformation might have something to do with a broodmare's career longevity. My mares (all are closely related) are all very big-bodied and, perhaps even more importantly, most are pretty long-backed, too. They seem to pop out their produce like it's nothing. In all the many, many times I watched her give birth, I only saw my old mare break into a sweat one time, which was also the only time she was visibly in labor for more than half an hour. That time, it took five hours before the foal arrived, after many lie-down, get-up efforts on her part. I was almost certain she was repositioning the foal. I came so close, so many times, to calling the vet, but you couldn't have said she was in distress at the time. Just sweating (when she'd never sweated before). She had six or seven foals after that but never again did she sweat over it (literally or figuratively!).


              I think you probably have an excellent idea there. I tend to allow for a slightly longer back when I'm looking at broodies as well as liking a deep, wide bodied mare. Some of the old QH breeders from way back bred mares for foaling ease among other things. The King Ranch in Tx culled mares out of their breeding program on several issues....they had to be quick about getting in foal, to have no difficulty maintaining a pregnancy and to foal out easily. They were first of all cattle breeders and they carried these ideas over from that background. I think that we are, sometimes, perpetuating difficult foaling mares when we go high tech despite a multitude of problems with the mare just to get that one last foal...if the mare has lots of problems I think there's a good chance her daughters will as well. And if she spits one out every year with little apparent effort, milks well and is an attentive mom that disciplines her offspring...she's gold in my book...and her daughters will likely do the same.
              Colored Cowhorse Ranch
              www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
              Northern NV

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Forte View Post
                I know that this probably varies widely depending on the individual mare, but on average, how old can you expect a warmblood broodmare to be producing foals? I have two 1999 mares, both of which are on their 6th pregnancies. Realistically, how many more foals should I hope to get from them?

                I've known of several that foaled at 27 and 28...they were supported with regumate but settled and foaled without problems. I think the oldest of mine was 25 or maybe 26 (can't remember exactly). I do find (and have read a number of articles/comments from breeders) that once past about 17 or 18 years of age it is best, as long as they maintain their weight and condition, for them to be pregnant every year...that giving an older mare a year off may end her broodmare career or, at best, make it more difficult to get her in foal again. There are a number of QH and Paint mares that have had 12-15 foals and a few that have gone beyond that. Excellent care, excellent conformation for breeding and a calm, happy mare seems to be the trick.
                Colored Cowhorse Ranch
                www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
                Northern NV

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                • #9
                  My old mare had her first foal at 16 (after retiring from competition) and had her last foal at 24. She had one year off after foal #1 and one between foals 5 & 6

                  Last year (at 25) she got in foal three times but always reabsorbed. ET would be a possibility but with four nice daughters, it makes more sense just to let her be the weanling granny.
                  The rebel in the grey shirt

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                  • #10
                    depends on the mare...from my experience with old mares (and I have had old mares as I like old bloodines) most of mine had their last foal between 21 and 22. Either they would not get in foal or their repro condition at that point prevented any more breedings.
                    Providence Farm
                    http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

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