When Can A Mare Go Back To Work After Foaling?

A mare needs some time to rest and recover post-foaling, but just how long does she need before she can go back into work? Though each mare is different, if the mare was in good physical shape before foaling, she will most likely be able to return to work sooner than a horse who wasn’t fit prior to having her baby, according to a report from the American Quarter Horse Association. Ensuring that the mare isn’t overweight when she’s bred – and when she foals – can speed her return to work.

Dr. Ben Espy says most mares can begin working again six to eight weeks after a complication-free foaling. However, some mares may experience pregnancy-related circulatory side effects, like edema in the legs and belly. This generally resolves in a few weeks after the foal is born. The ability for a mare to move around after foaling is often helpful in alleviating excess fluid.

Even after a normal birth, most mares have some minor vaginal tears, bruising, and abrasions. These issues normally heal within a week and don’t hinder a mare’s return to work. More serious complications like a breech birth or intense bleeding will require longer recovery time.

Any pre-foaling issues should be reassessed before the mare is asked to go back into work, including prior lameness issues. Asking a veterinarian to evaluate the mare’s physical condition and soundness before going back to work is prudent.

When bringing a mare back into work, it’s imperative that the owner or rider pay attention to her hydration. A lactating mare can drink as much as 10 more gallons of water per day than other horses. If the temperatures in which she is asked to work are hot and humid as well, she could require as many as 20 to 30 gallons of water per day to stay hydrated.

Read more at AQHA.

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