Breeding horses is not an easy task. You have to understand every aspect of the horse’s actions. You should also have an idea on how to breed them. This includes understanding horse gestation and foaling. Remember that as a horse breeder, you must be aware of the process involved in gestation. Having a wide knowledge in this area will help you raise and breed healthy foals.
The following are some of the things that you should know about horse gestation and foaling:
- Know the gestation period of horses. The gestation period for horses usually takes eleven to twelve months or approximately 340 days. If you want to know the exact due date of your mare, you can attempt to calculate it. Do this by subtracting 25 days from the first day you bred your mare. Other factors can affect the foaling of a mare. This includes weather, mare’s age and breeding history.
- Study the signs of foaling. If the mare’s abdomen is starting to point at its lowest area, then it is a sign that she is about to give birth. Enlargement of the vulva can also be a sign that the mare is about to give birth. You should also look at the dropping down of your mare’s hip and tail muscles, because this is also a sign. Enlargement of the veins around her belly signals that the mare is about to give birth. If you found most of these symptoms, then you should expect the foal to be born within a few days.
- Know how to prepare your mare’s stall. Remember that the area where the mare will give birth is a very important consideration. This will ensure that the mare will not acquire any infections during the foaling. You should prepare the birthing stall at least a week before the due date. To do this, you should disinfect the stall. You should also make sure that the bedding would make the mare comfortable. Use straws to prevent irritation. The straws will also prevent suffocation of your mare.
- Know if the foal is in the right position. You should understand the right position of the foal. This will help you determine if the mare is giving birth properly. Check if the first things that you will see are two front hooves. You should also be able to see a nose tucked between the hooves. If this is what you saw, then the foal is in the right position. Remember that the mare usually rests twice during birth. If you found no movement for more than ten minutes, then pull the foal with the next contraction gently. Make sure that you will stop when the contraction ceases. You will know if the mare is not giving birth properly if the foal presents only one foot. If more than two feet are present, then it is also a sign that you should call a vet.
- Understand that delivery usually takes 30 minutes. If the mare is having a hard time pushing, you must call a veterinarian. If the delivery is taking more than 35 minutes to finish, then it is also the right time to call a vet. You may also help the mare by pulling the foal. Make sure to pull the foal by grabbing the front legs towards the heels of the mare.
These things will help you understand horse gestation and foaling. After giving birth, make sure to give the newborn foal and the mare some privacy time together.