Can You Ride a Pregnant Mare? That depends on several factors. Most importantly, your mare’s fitness level before she becomes pregnant must be taken into account.
If she was fit before pregnancy, then a little exercise shouldn’t cause too much strain. On the contrary, if she’s not in great shape you may want to start building her up again gradually rather than placing too much strain on her.
The first 30 to 45 days
In the first 30 to 45 days of a mare’s pregnancy, her body is prepping for labor. Her hormones are working in concert to create the conditions for successful delivery, making her more responsive to care and monitoring from you.
However, your mare may still be vulnerable to stress. That is why it is essential that you ride in a controlled manner.
Maintain her comfort and avoid overheating or overexerting herself in the early stages of her pregnancy.
Furthermore, it is recommended that you consult with an equine veterinarian at all times during pregnancy to monitor her health and development.
During this period, she should also be fed a balanced diet of hay and forage to provide enough energy for her growing foal. Furthermore, deworming her is important to prevent worms that could damage the uterus and lead to abortion.
A healthy pregnant mare will produce a healthy foal. She should also be monitored regularly for twins (25-35% of all conceptions) and infections in her uterus.
The second 60 to 90 days
Riding a pregnant mare during her second 60 to 90 days of gestation can be beneficial, but it should be done slowly and with gentleness, according to Aime Johnson, associate professor of theriogenology at Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. She advises against riding her to high body temperatures which could be detrimental for the fetus.
At this stage of her pregnancy, her uterus will expand in preparation for delivery. To ensure a safe delivery environment for your horse during these last few weeks of gestation, check on them frequently and prepare an area with straw for her to lay down in. Providing comfort during this time can also be important during this transition period.
Once your mare has delivered a healthy foal, you can resume riding and competing as usual. Be sure to monitor her condition closely throughout each stage of gestation and consult with your veterinarian as needed.
The third 90 to 120 days
Riding a pregnant mare during her third 90 to 120 day gestation is possible, but you should carefully assess her physical and temperamental capabilities before exercising her as usual.
Pregnant mares must circulate a lot of blood and fluid to support their growing foal, which may cause edema (fluid accumulation) in the lower legs and belly; however, this usually resolves itself within a few weeks after birth.
Furthermore, pregnancy can make a horse highly sensitive to environmental changes. If she becomes anxious or stressed while riding, this could result in miscarriage or other serious issues.
Robertshaw maintains that it’s still beneficial to keep pregnant mares somewhat fit. “Having her around every day and having more hands-on contact is better for her than just turning her out or coming in once a day for feeding,” he explained.
The fourth 120 to 180 days
Pregnant mares’ bodies circulate an abundance of blood and fluid to support their fetus, leading to edema (fluid accumulation) in the lower legs and belly that typically resolves within a few weeks after delivery.
Veterinarians usually advise against strenuous exercise for your mare during this time. This can be challenging to accomplish, particularly in hot weather.
Some people still ride their pregnant mares. They believe that a physically fit mare will give birth to an ideal foal.
Maintaining your mare’s weight throughout her pregnancy is ideal, and regular exercise will help her remain fit. Turnout and socialising with other horses are other great benefits of keeping her fit during this time.
Chris is a passionate learner and writer. When he’s not working on his blog or learning something new, he’s a full-time systems administrator and father of two beautiful girls. Chris loves spending time with his family, reading, writing, and playing hockey.