Every successful breeding starts with a healthy mare and proper guidance from your equine veterinarian. Proper nutrition, deworming, exercise and vaccinations will help ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Winter Care of the Broodmare

Keeping mares healthy throughout pregnancy is important for the delivery of healthy, happy foals. For owners waiting for the spring foaling season, it’s crucial to remember to take extra care of these mares during the cold winter months. Winter care for pregnant mares should focus on maintaining their current body condition. They will no longer have the nutrients in lush grass to supplement their diets, so ensuring that they have adequate, good-quality hay can help them maintain optimum body condition.

You might need to adjust the amount of grain they are given if they are not able to maintain an adequate body condition on a hay-only diet. Also, make sure they have enough clean water. Horses will consume more water if it is kept around 45 degrees F. Your veterinarian can help determine what body condition your mare is in. Keep in mind that pregnant mares will need extra feed during the last trimester.

Additionally, be sure to follow recommended vaccination schedules. The American Association of Equine Practitioners recommends that core and risk based vaccines be given to breeding mares at four to six weeks prior to foaling. All broodmares should be vaccinated against tetanus, eastern and western equine encephalomyelitis (EEE and WEE), West Nile and strangles.