Pregnancy is a delicate condition for both humans and animals. If you already have horses, you probably know that a mare(female horse) has a very poor reproductive system. That’s why as an owner, you need to be careful about the most important question “how long are horses pregnant?”
In short, a mare’s pregnancy length is like 10-12 months(326-354 days). You’ve to know a mare’s biology and related information if you want successful breeding. For whatever reason you are breeding your horse, proper attention, care and knowledge will keep your mare out of discomfort. Let’s dig in!
When Is The Ideal Age for Mares Breeding?
When a mare reaches 18 months, she becomes suitable for breeding. But, still, this is early time, so the ideal time for breeding is when the mare will be 4 years old or older. You should avoid breeding at a very early stage as it may cause potential detrimental effects. A mare can get pregnant even in her 20s, so be patient about breeding your gorgeous mare.
What to Do If Your Mare Is Pregnant?
Mare is seasonally polyestrous. So, in simple terms, a mare can be pregnant once a year. In addition, they can carry only one foal(baby horse) in that year. Just like other animals, the horse also has a heat cycle. If you notice that your horse didn’t have the proper heat cycle, then you may think your mare is pregnant!
After one breeding attempt, when the mare still hasn’t conceived, then the mare will go into heat in the next 15-20 days. Mares don’t show any sign of pregnancy during the first 3 months, so confirm with the vet’s help. They can do blood & urine tests plus ultrasound also helps. So, if you think your mare is pregnant, then contact Clarendone Equine to confirm the good news!
How Long Are Horses Pregnant For? (Gestation Stages)
To answer precisely how long horses are pregnant in months, it’ll be 10-11 months. For how long horses are pregnant in days, it’s 320-354 days. For these long horses, pregnancy length a mare can be pregnant once a year.
A mare goes through 3 trimesters in this pregnancy period. The trimesters are described below-
1. First Trimester
The first trimester begins with conceiving and with the help of a vet, you can confirm it within 2 weeks. It’s very important to hire the best vet to check up on your precious mare. Our Clarendone Equine will send our professional skilled staff if you just contact us.
After approximately 26-30 days later, the vet can hear the heartbeat of the foal through ultrasound. They can also confirm if it’s a twin or not. Twins are a very rare case in a mare’s pregnancy.
You may ask the vet to remove the second embryo to keep the remaining one proper way to survive. Within 3 months, the foal begins to get shaped like a mare. Then, the gender of the foal can be detected too.
2. Second Trimester
Around 114 days or 4 months, the foal begins to grow rapidly inside its mom’s tummy. So, the mom horse will need more nutrition and a better environment to stay in. All the vaccination process will be done in this stage too.
3. Third Trimester
226 days or 6 months will be the third trimester of mom horse. Hire the best vet, so they can keep vigilant eyes on the mare. Proper exercise and a better stress-free environment are a must for the mare in this stage. If you train your mare, stop training her for 7 months as the labor time is near. Avoid disturbing your horse and keep her stress-free.
Within 326-354 days, it’s the ideal foaling time. But, if the foal is born before 300 days, it has less chance to survive. A baby horse born within 300-320 needs intensive care to survive. With high maintenance, the foal will be alive, fortunately.
Sometimes, a mare can give birth even after 370 days, but it won’t be a problem. Prolonged pregnancy occurs because of their diet. So, reduce and maintain the diet when the foaling time will be near.
Labor & Delivery
A mare will be restless, paw on the ground and get up & down several times when she’ll get into labor. She’ll give birth while laying down eventually. At first, the amniotic sac will be visible, then the head and legs.
Wrap up the mare’s tail and keep the perineal area clean while laboring. This stage occurs for approximately one hour. Most mares sweat, get nervous and kick their belly at this stage. After the foal comes out, check if it’s breathing properly.
A mare can bear twins in rare cases. In this case, after the vet confirms about the twins, you can ask the vet to remove one embryo. In rare cases, a mare gives birth to two healthy babies, so consult with the vets. Within 2 months or 60 days, even if the twin survives, the mare can have a miscarriage. Or, the foals will bear prematurely.
After the foal is out, the mare will bleed for 15-20 minutes. The blood will go through the umbilical cord. So, the vet shouldn’t cut it right after giving birth. Then, it’s suggested to not approach the mare after two hours of giving birth. During this time, her mother’s instinct is high and she can show aggression toward any human.
Factors That Can Affect Gestation Length
Seasons or temperatures can affect the normal gestation period of the mare. If you breed your horse at an earlier time of year, that’ll be the longest gestation period. If it’s later in the year like summer or spring, the pregnancy length will be shorter.
Weight can also affect the mare’s gestation. Thinner mares tend to have longer gestation whereas chubby mares have shorter periods.
So, these are all the answers to your query “how long are horses pregnant?” A horse can be pregnant for 11 months on average. Keep your mare healthy, safe, in a proper diet, hygienic environment and out of training while she’s pregnant. Then, the mare will give birth to a healthy foal!