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Do People Drive Mares in Foal?

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funnybunny

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Have a question for people who are into performance and driving:

If a driving horse is a mare, if she is bred, is she ever driven while in foal or are they put in "retirement" until the foal is born and weaned.

If they she is still driven, how long? If they are in foal, do you still ground drive her for practice or just give them a complete rest?

It would seem hard work would make a mare have danger of slipping a foal. Am I wrong?

Thanks for your opinions.
 

Jill

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I think a lot of it has to do with how in shape she is and what she's used to. I've driven my pregnant mares basically as long as they fit between the shafts IF they were used to the level of work to begin with.
 

wade3504

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At one of the shows I go to, people would drive their pregnant mares. The one, was 8 months pregnant at the one show we were at and she did fine and ended up having her foal with no problems.

Amanda
 

rabbitsfizz

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I do feel strongly about broodmares being shown, basically because I feel all the stress and strain of showing, not to mention the lengths some will go to to "condition" and animal, really can't be good for them.

Same for foals.

So I tend to only ask a horse to do one job at a time, although I will and have used a stallion that was also showing, but he was not running out with the mares.

I do feel, however, that driving for pleasure is another thing altogether, and just as people will continue to ride a horse that is in foal, then driving, light work, no real strain, cannot be bad for the mare.

A mare kept in acceptable condition is less likely to have problems giving birth than a mare left to get fat and soft, as well. A lot depends on the individual animal, I had one mare who literally baulked at the gate and required I dismount and walk her back, when she was four months in foal, I had another who was happy to perform light duties as long as she fitted in the shafts.

"Listen to your animal" would be my advise.
 

Dr. Pam

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Jane, I agree--listen to your horse. I continue to drive my mares as long as they are comfortable. They like to drive, they like the attention. Echo, my National Champion Park and Pleasure driving mare, has been to Nationals twice while pregnant. She thrives on showing, and doesn't show her pregnancies. In fact, she went Top 10 in open Sr. Halter both years. This spring we were loading in the early hours of the morning for a driving Play Day, and she (at 9 1/2 months pregnant) wouldn't leave us alone. She loaded herself in the trailer. I told Patty if she could fit in a cart she could go. OMG. Have you ever seen a horse smile? She won high point VSE at the show. Can every horse do that? no.

I worked through all of my pregnancies, and rode and drove horses the whole time. Do I recommend learning to ride when you're pregnant? no. But I firmly believe horses and people can continue to do the physical activities they enjoy and are in shape for, as long as it's medically sound.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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I drove my mare all last fall while she was pregnant. I bred her at the end of June and she came back into heat so I assumed she hadn't caught. Since she was open I drove her cross country (she would work up a light sweat each day) regardless of the weather. We had fun (she clearly LOVED going out) and only stopped when the snow cam and got too deep in October. She presented me a lovely colt this year with no problems at all.
 

Miniv

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If the mare has been driven regularly.......was used to it, driving wouldn't be a problem (as long as she fit between the shafts comfortably!)

HOWEVER, my problem would be taking her to SHOWS........ For me, it wouldn't be worth the risk of having her possibly picking up a "bug" that could compromise the pregnancy, plus there is the added stress.
 

funnybunny

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Thank you so much for taking the time to answer about the mares.

I do not have a driving mini ---YET---- but I'd like to have one. I did not know what the situation would be with a mare. If I did get a mare and she did get in foal, I had wondered what to do.

Just had wondered if getting a gelding would be better although I do love the little girls!

Thanks again.
 

Katiean

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I had a big horse mare that was about 6 mo preg and my brother took her out riding. Knowing how stupid this mare was when he came to a bridge over a cannel he got off to lead her across. As they got to the middle of the bridge the mare freaked and she went over the edge of the bridge hitting her belly on the edge of the bridge. The filly was born normally and no damage unless you want to count her IQ. I have a friend that trained her mare to drive while pregnant. It won't hurt.
 

maestoso

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I agree with Jill.

In fact, my feeling is that a mare SHOULD continue their regular work. Stopping work suddenly is just as bad as starting suddenly. I also have shown pregnant mares before with no problems, it depends on the mare.
 
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Sanny

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We know someone from our area that took a mare to a show we were at a few weeks ago, showed her in several classes on Saturday from halter to driving and the mare placed/did well in some good sized classes, next morning they got up to feed and found the mare with a newborn foal.


the mare was sharing her stall with another horse at the show so the poor mare didn't even have privacy giving birth, but the mare appeared just fine and the baby was healthy and up and nursing well and the stall mate was keeping her distance.

They had no idea the mare was pregnant and didn't have any reason to consider or suspect she was pregnant, as far as they knew she had not been exposed to a stallion at all and as a matter of fact they had been working her more and had cut her feed because she had put on a bit of a belly recently. Funniest thing to me was in a halter class the day before having the foal and one of the judges walked past the mare and said "that's quite a bag to" the owner who was handling her and the owner had no idea what he meant by the remark or what (or who) it was directed at.

The mare was obviously too thin once she had the foal but they were going to be supplementing her feed as much as possible to keep her weight and energy up and hopefully get more weight on her. I can't imagine not knowing a horse was in foal but I guess every horse is different and every situation is different.

We will have more details about it in the Journal in the Area VI column.
 
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