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Ok, does this sound like a good plan? * UPDATED PLAN!

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  • Ok, does this sound like a good plan? * UPDATED PLAN!

    So my plan for breeding my mare through ET has fallen apart and I'm now looking at a viable solution to still have a baby from her.

    The plan would be:
    June 2013: Inseminate. Keep her working and showing
    November 2013: National Dressage Championship Final. Show there on the 5 year old FEI class and then turn her out, keeping her in light work.
    May 2014: She would have the foal. Wait 6 weeks and then start bringing her back to work.
    November 2014: Wean the foal
    February/March 2015: Start showing mare again.

    Does this seem feasible? The good part is I would only loose one year of showing her.

    Also, another question. Can the pregnancy affect the mare's quality as a dressage horse or will she have the same physical ability as before carrying the baby?
    Last edited by SCMSL; Dec. 2, 2012, 08:05 PM.

  • #2
    Reading your plan makes me smile. Sure, if the mare cooperates, that all sounds perfect. However, remember, mare is a four letter word. Worst case scenario, you begin attempting to breed in June. You inseminate, check, but she isn't in foal. Okay, so you attempt again a week later, check again 14 days later, and now you are into July. Maybe she is in foal and now your plan is a little behind schedule. Of course, maybe she isn't and now you are in serious head scratching to figure out why she isn't. Maybe she doesn't get in foal until, say, August. In the meantime you have had an interruption to your training schedule every couple of weeks, or more more often, you have invested $$$$, she is in foal now, but oh oh, do you want to haul her off the property and risk this now rather expensive embryo? Now she doesn't have the foal until July 2014, it is a late baby, weaned late, and your schedule is completely on its ear. It happens, so if you breed and mentally lock yourself into a schedule, be flexible. There are about a million things that can send the perfect breeding scenario askew, and I outlined just one.
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses


    • #3
      well... fwiw, my mare was bred in june and she is just now starting to really look pregnant.... she is off work due to an injury, but if i were still riding her i would probably be easing back now based on how she looks.... and as for the rest - your plan is kind of what i am figuring for bringing my mare back to work

      so i think your place looks great

      oh and my mare took first try - altho my timing was tight because she came into heat a day earlier than i thought....

      good luck!


      • #4
        Personally a bit like Clints comment when they are in foal I would not personally ride them or put any pressure on them at all. The 2.5k plus 1k vet bill and time (which is also money) is why I have that opinion. Plus you must add in will your mare like being separated from its foal at such an early age. Some mares are great and others love their foals I am not talking about the ones who will not let you near the foal just the ones that always keep an eye out and will have a very major moment if separated and that is just the mare. You do have a good plan but just be prepared to have it change due to the mare & foal bond. I might add there is nothing worse than seeing a foal trying to get to its mother ... I would be seriously concerned about injury to the foal.


        • #5
          I think Loloita and Clint raise some good points - mare may not get pregnant 1st try, and separating mare and foal at 2 weeks ??? sounds a bit early and risky for several reasons.
          However, if your mare does get in foal next spring/summer, she may be still happily rideable in November, if she has been kept in a consistent routine. Usually young pregnant mares can be ridden happily up to 5 or 6 months gestation.
          Hope things go well for you. Whether you start riding your mare 1 month or 4 months post foaling, she should be in great shape 2 months post weaning.
          Sunny Days Hanoverians


          • Original Poster

            mare may not get pregnant 1st try, and separating mare and foal at 2 weeks ?
            Fortunately I'm in a small facility now and the indoor arena usually has only one to two horses working simultaneous. So (and I still need to talk to the owner) there shouldn't be any problem in having the baby trotting around while we do our work.

            In regard to the mare not getting in foal first try, as long as she's in foal before September, its fine by me. The only risk is if she foals in August as the summers here are quite harsh.


            • #7
              ... the best laid plans.... I'm with Clint and had to smile a little reading about your timeline. The first part of your plan sounds somewhat reasonable provided the mare gets pregnant right away. Then I wasn't sure which FEI Young Horse Finals you were talking about - the ones I'm familiar with take place in August? In any event, how much traveling is involved to get to this competition? Not sure I would want to subject a mare that's 3- to 5 months pregnant to all this stress plus all the new bugs at the competition itself.

              Then we get to the mare delivering a healthy foal the following May (or June) and you wanting to start riding her within 2 weeks of parturition..... That's where I have my biggest concern because it takes roughly 30 days for the mare's intestines and inner organs to go back to their original place and during that time they are at a much higher risk for colic. Also, a 2-week old foal NEEDS his/her mother! I cannot stress that enough. I wouldn't have the heart to subject such a young horse to the stress of being separated from and not having access to his dam. Can you say "ulcers"?

              I think in the end you need to realize that sometimes you can't have your cake and eat it, too. Decide what's more important to you - competing or breeding - and then dedicate yourself to that project.

              Good luck!
              Siegi Belz
              2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
              Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


              • Original Poster

                Then I wasn't sure which FEI Young Horse Finals you were talking about - the ones I'm familiar with take place in August?
                We have a Final for Young Horse's which consists of the same tests as FEI tests. The tests are then sent to FEI and the results are recorded there.

                That's where I have my biggest concern because it takes roughly 30 days for the mare's intestines and inner organs to go back to their original place and during that time they are at a much higher risk for colic.
                Ok, I didn't know that. And that's why I posted my master plan here
                What about some lunging, just so I can put her in the correct head carriage so she starts working her back? Would that be bad?

                I wouldn't be separating them either (that sounds crazy to me and would never do it!). The baby would just follow mom along and trot around in the arena while we did our thing.


                • #9
                  I feel you are concentrating too much on the mare's performance and yourself and not the mental well being of the mare and foal. Foals NEED their mothers to be mothers.....

                  Think very carefully about how you would feel if the mare point blank refused to follow your plan. If she aborts. If the foal is compromised. If you lose her and/or the foal. If she isn't the same mare when back in work. If she tears and needs a long layup. How about she has a baby after the Finals? Why is it so important for her to have one Right Now? I would save up for the ET again and go that route as it is the best of all worlds.
                  Visit us on Facebook!


                  • #10
                    There was (is????) an FEI rule about showing mares in foal. They have to be less than 120 days in foal - but I am going back to a rule that was in place in the mid 1990's - it may have changed since then.

                    And my .02 cents on your plan is to do an ET rather than trying to micromanage conception, gestation, foaling and then adding competition back into the mix so quickly. Even the best behaved riding mare can be a tad besotted with her offspring and make riding more than exciting...ask me how I know.

                    If you want an FEI young horse to show - let her focus on that. If you want a brooodmare, let her be a broodmare and let her behavior dictate when she is ready to go back to work.
                    Watermark Farm
                    Watermark Farm Facebook Fan Page
                    You Tube Channel


                    • #11
                      I had one mare who we rode with her foal at her side. It's not always a wise idea, especially when baby is only two weeks old! Baby runs under mama's feet, gets in the way and could get hurt, and mama often can't concentrate on real work because she is still obsessed with every step baby takes. It seems that after baby is a few months (not weeks) old, it gets safer. Baby will explore the arena and the two of them aren't obsessed with each other.

                      I also think that asking a mare to carry a rider and work only two weeks out from foaling is a baaaad idea - her body needs a lot more time to recover than that!


                      • #12
                        If you value the foal you will do whatever you need to do to insure that foal is healthy and safe by protecting him and his dam. If the mare's performance is more important then concentrate on that and do not breed her. Do one or the other, not both half assed.
                        McDowell Racing Stables

                        Home Away From Home


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by SCMSL View Post
                          We have a Final for Young Horse's which consists of the same tests as FEI tests. The tests are then sent to FEI and the results are recorded there.

                          Ok, I didn't know that. And that's why I posted my master plan here
                          What about some lunging, just so I can put her in the correct head carriage so she starts working her back? Would that be bad?

                          I wouldn't be separating them either (that sounds crazy to me and would never do it!). The baby would just follow mom along and trot around in the arena while we did our thing.
                          A two-week old foal is not physically strong enough to follow its dam going round and round for minutes, but it will try to do so until it collapses. At two weeks both, mare and foal will seem joined at the hip unless they're in a very non-threatening environment. The other thing nobody has really mentioned is that some mares become overly protective of their offspring, especially when the foal is that young and it's their first, and you may encounter what - to you - would seem aggressive behavior when trying to tack up the mare, etc.

                          Do you mind me asking why you want to breed your mare?
                          Siegi Belz
                          2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                          Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.


                          • #14
                            I have bred mares and kept them in work for up to 6 months post breeding. However, I would never have had them in heavy enough work to do the 5 year old FEI test at a major competition while pregnant.

                            I have started mares back to work while they still had a foal at side. However, they were never ridden until the foal was at least 3 months old. We kept the foal in a stall between stalls with other mares and their foals. The foal did not feel alone and was safe from over exercising. The mare was mentally ready for brief breaks from baby.

                            One last thought. Mares can damage their SI joint in foaling. If that happens, that mare will need special help (chiropractic, sometimes acupuncture) and will need a much slower approach to work in order to strengthen her back. Trying to cut short that gradual strengthening can result in permanent damage that will limit the mare's performance longevity.

                            I agree with those who say that it is better to make a choice. Either breed, with your entire concern on safety and time for both mare and foal, or keep the mare in training, concentrate on performance and breed her later when there is no time table that might jeopardize either mare or foal.
                            Last edited by Home Again Farm; Dec. 2, 2012, 02:49 PM.
                            Mary Lou


                            Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique


                            • #15
                              I would never have had them in heavy enough work to do the 5 year old FEI test at a major competition while pregnant.
                              This. There are also some mares, even if they have been in work, that suddenly find work under saddle very exhausting even in the early stages of pregnancy.

                              I completely understand the enthusiasm to breed a mare that is proving to be competitive in the young horse classes. But if it were me, I'd try embryo transfer to satisfy the craving to see her offspring sooner rather than later.
                              "No matter how cynical I get its just not enough to keep up." Lily Tomlin


                              • #16
                                I would wait another year, save your money up, and do an embryo transfer next year. The showing while pregnant wouldn't be such an issue, but it sounds as if you're not ready to let her have the time off she needs to recover from the delivery and be a mom.

                                Recovering from giving birth is a slow process. Having her chased around by a young foal with developing bones and joints could injure the foal. Lactation burns a HUGE number of calories. Being pregnant itself isn't so hard on the mares in general but nursing that foal is another thing entirely. All of those are reasons to leave the mare alone while she's trying to raise a baby. If you can't give her that time off, don't breed or save up till you can do an ET.
                                The rebel in the grey shirt


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thank you for your comment rodawn.

                                  This is what it is, a plan. I understand a lot of things can go wrong, but then again, you don't have to breed to have unexpected stuff showing up.

                                  I decided to post my plan here in the hopes you guys would take a look and tell me the flaws so I can rearrange it.

                                  The mare is a fantastic young horse, who thrives on these tests. She'll probably go up to PSG but won't be a GP horse. I want to have a baby from her in 2013/14 so I have enough time to train her up to PSG while the foal grows, and when he/she's 3, decide on which one to keep.

                                  So my priority is breeding her next year. But if I can get her to compete at the Finals, that would be great as it would contribute to increase the value of the foal.

                                  The 5 year old test is actually not that hard for her. She's 4 now and can do all the exercises required (we ask her to do one about once a week, when we feel she's up for it). She's very balanced and finds it all very easy.

                                  The mare (and foal, when it arrives) are obviously my priority and I would never put any of them at risk so my plans would work. But there is nothing wrong with trying to have it all, is there?

                                  I've shown my share of horse on FEI Young Horse Classes, so I'm fairly experienced with it. Breeding, not so much... as I said, I'm just trying to figure out how this would be feasible.


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I am planing on doing the 5 year old tests, but I'll leave the 6 year old tests out. I thinks thats absolutely unrealistic.

                                    We would wean the foal around October/November 2014, when the mare is 6. Assuming she would be in light work for a couple of months before then, we would be able to pick it up and have her compete at whatever level she's up to in 2015, as a 7 year old.

                                    The foal would be 3 as the mare turns 8. I think at 8 you have a pretty clear idea if a horse has what it takes to make it to GP.

                                    I love training young horses, but as soon as they peak I try to sell them. If she peaks at PSG, then I'll have a fresh new prospect ready to start. And because the mare will be on pasture boarding for almost a year, what I'll save on training and competition boarding will pay for the foal's boarding plus regular worming, farrier and vet visits until he's three - Competition boarding and training are that expensive.

                                    Again, a lot of things can go wrong with the foal and accidents happen that may require veterinary care. But hey, my mare can get injured too so I usually don't add that kind of stuff in until it actually happens.


                                    • #19

                                      I see two primary concerns. I will try to stick to your original question. 1st Starting to breed a maiden mare in June is too late. I would start much earlier, maybe early May. This accomplishes a few things. 1st you don't have to deal with the heat of the summer, which can create problems. 2nd, it allows you to let your mare settle before increasing your work schedule, all while having her stay less then 6 months pregnant.

                                      The other concern I have is interrupting a young 4/5 year old in her training. These years are so important in the training of an upper level sport horse. Also, hips are opened and rotated for birth. It will take some time to strengthen her topline again.

                                      In Germany it is customary to breed young sport mares at 3, start them under saddle, then return to training 4 months post partuation. Sport mares do not carry foals, that is what ET is for. Mares can't do it all. You frankly would be better off buying a foal. About 4k plus for embryo transfer, plus stud fee of about 1.5k, plus care for mare, foaling, registration and inspection. An ET foal will cost you about 7k all said an done if everything goes to plan. Save up an additional 3k and go buy a good foal.


                                      P.S. please do not consider training your mare with a 2 week old foal at her side. In addition to it not being fair, your foal could break its sesmoid bones while trying to keep up with her Mom.
                                      Sparling Rock Holsteiners


                                      • #20
                                        This sounds like this is your first foal?
                                        If it is you may be in for quite a surprise on how demanding raising a foal can be....even a healthy one. Carrying a foal puts a lot of weight on the hind end of a mare. I have had mares develop tendon issues in the last few months of gestation. You may end up with a mare that needs to be rested for a significant amount of time after the foaling...meaning no strenuous work beyond turnout. New moms can many times become aggressive during the first few months. Other posters mentioned this I believe...there is no way to tell how she will be until it happens. I breed mostly by ET, which you mentioned is no longer a option. That is unfortunate. I prefer not to risk my best mares in a pregnancy...soo many things can and do go wrong...very quickly. Good luck to you!