Managing Moms-to-Be

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Your mare is safely in foal and healthy, and you’ve got months before she foals. Follow these tips and guidelines to keep your expectant equine in top shape.

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Exercise wisely. When it comes to pregnant mares, vets’ advice for exercise is similar to what doctors tell pregnant women: Keep it consistent. Work your mare as you normally would, but avoid unusually strenuous exercise. If she’s been idle, don’t start a program now. By her fifth month of pregnancy, avoid activities that require a lot of effort and athletic maneuvering. Two months before her due date, put her on maternity leave—riding will probably be cumbersome at that point.

Schedule a 5-month check. Have your mare checked at the 5-month mark to make sure she’s still in foal.

Vaccinate. Make sure your mare is vaccinated against rhinopneumonitis (equine herpes virus) at 5, 7, and 9 months of gestation.

Test fescue. Fescue grass can be affected by a type of fungus that can cause problems with pregnancy. Before turning your mare out on fescue pasture, check with your county extension agent for testing.

Deworm on schedule. Maintain your regular deworming program.

Check her pearly whites. Once she reaches the 5-month mark, schedule her for routine dentistry. She can handle sedatives at that point.

Do your homework. Take advantage of the months ahead to read and research foaling. It’ll give you something to do while you wait, and you’ll feel prepared for the big event.