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Riding/showing the pregnant mare

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  • Riding/showing the pregnant mare

    A question that came up in a conversation today...those of you who breed and still ride the mare, how long and how much of a workload is actually appropriate? I get that it would vary amongst horses. The conversation was really about using depo for show mares and someone jokingly mentioned how about just showing a pregnant mare. I recall reading about someone who's mare went to small shows and while she was 4-6 months of so wondered what the risk would be.

    Just curious! TIA!

  • #2
    I can only tell you about my very limited experience... I kept my mare home for the first 3 months but still at her regular workload, then showed her at PSG/I1 when she was 4-5 months pregnant and had no issues.

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    • #3
      I bred my mare the middle of May and showed her through the end of October with no problems. In fact, she was downright lovable in the flat classes. (Which was a nice change... ;-p) I rode her lightly through January, just hacking around bareback. She didn't seem to mind, and the light exercise kept her happy.
      The ninja monkeys are plotting my demise as we speak....

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        I figured the exercise would be a good thing, was wondering if there was health risk associated with going to shows-both stress or exposure to whatever. Thanks for the replies!

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        • #5
          There are several old threads on this. Depending on what you're doing, there's no reason why a mare can't work until they feel like they don't want to. There are many stories of running a slow race and a foal the next day, jumping and heavy with foal. My mare is WAY better pregnant (I think most are) and is so much better to show. Last time she was pregnant I showed 3rd level at 8 months and rode her until 10 or so. They tell you want they want.

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          • #6
            My two cents....

            Many young mares in Europe for example are bred at age three. If they are good enough prospects, they will train up for their mare performance tests not long after they are found to be in foal. Usually 4-6 months along. So, short of it is, they are newly broken and asked to perform in all aspects under saddle while being pregnant. Big stress....no problem.

            Having just had two pregnant mares pass their MPT is Europe very well, I see no issues with keeping them in work. Of course after the MPT we take them out of training and let them carry on so to speak.


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            • #7
              Bumping this up.

              I was considering doing ET next year but some unexpected bills came along and it would be too much of a financial effort. So I'm considering actually breeding my 4 year old next year, and have her carry the foal.

              How would this affect her sporting career?

              The championship finals are around November. If I bred her in June/July, would she still be able to do the 5 year old class (dressage)?

              How soon after delivery is it safe to get her back into work, and how soon would I be able to show her? (Maybe only after weaning?)

              Thanks everybody!
              www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

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              • #8
                For showing, keep your mare vaccinated appropriately and there should be no risk.
                I'm actually not too concerned about her contracting any disease, I assume all horses at the show are appropriately vaccinated as its actually mandatory. I'm more concerned about the stress of a new place and travelling.

                Oh, and thanks for all the other info!
                www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

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                • #9
                  Pregnancy is not a disease. A healthy, fit mare doing what she's properly trained and conditioned to do, used to showing and traveling and well cared for should have no trouble working up until the foal becomes a physical burden on her.
                  Click here before you buy.

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                  • #10
                    And what about lunging? Is it dangerous with a foal running around? (considering I'd be using a round pen).
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by rodawn
                      Start with training/schooling shows so your foal handler can help you "school the foal" on how to wait at the side of the dressage ring while mommy does her test and it won't take long before babe learns mommy always exits the arena and they are reunited. From there you can move on to the bigger shows. Once you attend bigger shows, be aware mommy is always in protective mode so do your warmup away from a bazillion other horses and keep your horses separate from the general horse public.
                      Maybe it's just me, but I've always found this very tacky; mom being shown under saddle while still having a foal at side (whether they are left in the stall or at the sidelines). Thankfully I hardy ever see it being done.

                      I bred my mare in July and did show her full time up until our Medal Finals in October, though at 5 months pregnancy, she was already getting uncomfortable and quite large. It really depends on the mare though, as we've had others that just don't show that early. This particular mare was notorious for blowing up like a house when she was pregnant

                      Dido what rodawn said about making sure your mare is properly vaccinated. Do not count on the other horses at the shows being properly vaccinated. At the end of the day, mandatory means nothing

                      I'm not a fan of starting mares back under saddle right after foaling. Especially for mares that have a large bag, I would assume it would be very uncomfortable. While I know "human" woman do it all the time...they also have access to support bras! I just think a mare goes through a lot of physical changes while being pregnant, and just personally feel they need some time for their bodies to adjust, as well as have some quality time with their foal.
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                      • #12
                        and just personally feel they need some time for their bodies to adjust, as well as have some quality time with their foal.
                        So you wouldn't feel comfortable with having the mare out 23 h a day and having her do a little work for an hour? (starting slowly on the 2nd week post delivery and adjusting the work load as time goes by)

                        I'm just one of those people who just has to have all the info before jumping in, so every opinion and experience is well appreciated!

                        (P.S.: Full plan at http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...ke-a-good-plan )
                        www.facebook.com/lusitanos4sale

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                        • #13
                          I believe they can continue doing whatever they were doing before you bred them up until the 5th or 6th month without a problem usually. I do not agree with riding a mare who is two weeks post partum. I leave them alone through weaning.
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                          • #14
                            Agreed with whats been said about riding pre foaling. I personally see no REASON to put the mare back to work prior to weaning baby. It's a lot of a mare's body, why not just let her be? I'll admit some of my good mares I've hopped on bareback with a halter while they have a foal on them.... but nothing more than walk and maybe a bit of trot. It's also a lot more risk to disease exposure, which I would prefer a baby not have.
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                            • #15
                              I personally see no REASON to put the mare back to work prior to weaning baby
                              Well, if I turn her out for the last 4 months of pregnancy , plus the 6 months of being with the baby, its 10 months off. Its not that easy to bring back a horse after that, they loose all the muscle and working mindset. So if I can start lunging a few weeks after foaling, and keep her in light work until weaning, that would have her physically acceptable when it was time to wean.

                              I am not considering separating the baby from the mother. As I explained in the other post, I'm currently at a small facility and it probably wouldn't be any problem in riding her while the foal runs around in the covered arena.
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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                                Well, if I turn her out for the last 4 months of pregnancy , plus the 6 months of being with the baby, its 10 months off. Its not that easy to bring back a horse after that, they loose all the muscle and working mindset. So if I can start lunging a few weeks after foaling, and keep her in light work until weaning, that would have her physically acceptable when it was time to wean.

                                I am not considering separating the baby from the mother. As I explained in the other post, I'm currently at a small facility and it probably wouldn't be any problem in riding her while the foal runs around in the covered arena.
                                10 months is really not that much time off, in the grand scheme of things. I've known some mares who didn't lose any muscle tone, even after two years of being a broodmare and no work whatsoever (they were the type who never "looked" preggers until 11th month).

                                Like you, I planned to ride/show my (maiden) mare through her early pregnancy, at a level that was easy for her. However, she did not take the first try, and I think the extra stress of working, and trailering, and being separated from her buddy probably didn't help (I don't think it *caused* it, and my vet approved of my plan). On Round 2, I let her be a broodmare: no riding until she scanned in foal, and then only occasional light hacking once a week or so. We were hit with a VERY hot summer, so I really did not want to work her and risk her getting too hot (a cause of early embryo loss). My mare did lose muscle tone...and got fat from good grass and sudden drop in exercise.

                                As the weather cooled off this fall, I've taken her on walks and ponied her lightly (w/t); she enjoys getting out and I don't want her getting too fat. While she was rideable up to 6 months (weather depending), she wasn't fit enough to compete at my desired level, and I wouldn't want to risk the pregnancy anyway (trust me, once you've shelled out $1000+ in vet bills, your competition plans seem much less important!).

                                I haven't decided when to start riding her after she foals, but I don't expect to do much (if anything) until the foal is weaned. I might hop on bareback and toodle around the yard, but a couple years managing broodmares and foals has taught me that maternal instinct is not to be messed with!

                                I wouldn't even attempt to lunge a mare and foal together-- the line sounds way too dangerous, and significant time running in circles can't be good for the youngster. If you're dead-set on conditioning the mare, stick to handwalking; 30 minutes a day of brisk walking will do more than you think.
                                “A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it.”
                                ? Albert Einstein

                                ~AJ~

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                                  So you wouldn't feel comfortable with having the mare out 23 h a day and having her do a little work for an hour? (starting slowly on the 2nd week post delivery and adjusting the work load as time goes by)

                                  I'm just one of those people who just has to have all the info before jumping in, so every opinion and experience is well appreciated!

                                  (P.S.: Full plan at http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...ke-a-good-plan )

                                  Holy cow! Two weeks after I had my baby I was still very sore and torn up. I'd never ask a horse to go back to work that quickly. Let her heal up from having a baby before you put her back into work. They don't call it labor for nothing.

                                  My mare is seven months and is just starting to get a belly. She'd still be doing flat work if she was not healing up from an injury. I hack her down the roads.
                                  The rebel in the grey shirt

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                                    So you wouldn't feel comfortable with having the mare out 23 h a day and having her do a little work for an hour? (starting slowly on the 2nd week post delivery and adjusting the work load as time goes by)
                                    NO, I would not feel comfortable doing that, nor would I ever do that to a mare.

                                    Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                                    Well, if I turn her out for the last 4 months of pregnancy , plus the 6 months of being with the baby, its 10 months off. Its not that easy to bring back a horse after that, they loose all the muscle and working mindset.
                                    Then don't breed her...or do an ET! I'm just giving you my own personal opinion, which is the same as many other well known breeders on this board. You currently have two different threads asking our opinions on this subject, and everybody is telling you not to do it. It's clear you've got your mind made up on what you plan to do, so you have to do what you feel is right for your own program....it just wouldn't be something I do for my own.
                                    www.DaventryEquestrian.com
                                    Home of Oldenburg, Westphalian & RPSI approved pony stallion Goldhills Brandysnap
                                    Also home to Daventry Equine Appraisals & Equine Expert Witness www.EquineAppraisers.com

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                                    • #19
                                      Just my opinion, but, horses in the wild don't stop work when they have a baby and still do the 25 miles a day. Comparing it to a human being pregnant is not the same.

                                      Last foal, 2 1/2 years ago, I got on my mare three weeks after foaling and slowly started riding her. She was showing 3rd 4 months post baby--baby just stayed home with babysitter and had been used to it for awhile. But, she is a very fit horse and used to doing a lot of work and likes it, or she turns into a raging bitch. She was actually gaining so much weight after foaling I cut back on some grain. She is a very known factor with five babies--it's a whole different situation with a horse you don't have a history of breeding for. You need to leave a LOT of wiggle room to see what's best for her and the foal.

                                      I think you do what the mare tells you, but saying absolutes like you can or can't do anything is not legitimate. I am breeding again next year and the timing works well so she'll be 6 month pregnant at championships at 4th/PSG. She's SO much better pregnant, and has such a big barrel she doesn't really even show until 8 months. But, I know her and we've done this twice before.
                                      Last edited by Beentheredonethat; Dec. 2, 2012, 08:59 PM.

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                                      • #20
                                        Dude. If you don't agree, explain your reasoning instead of using a thumbs down. Not helpful.

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