Mama still nursing four year old...and possibly pregnant?!?!

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Jul 29, 2016
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Hi there!

This is my first post here. I'll start off by saying our vet will be out tomorrow, but I've got a bit of a perplexing situation I wanted to see if anyone had some insight into in the meantime. We've owned horses for years, but got our first minis late last week. Two mares, and two gelding. They were a bit of a rescue situation, but seem to be in good health now. Other than some pictures and their papers I have no history whatsoever. They were in "bad shape" and picked up off of CL by two elderly kindhearted folks a few months back, and sold to us after they were in better shape.

The two girls are mama/daughter. Daughter was born 3/1/12 according to the limited info I have.

The first day they were here I noticed mama was bagged up. Big milk veins, too. I was concerned she may be pregnant until I noticed the four year old was nursing off of her--multiple times a day. Ugh. I thought I'd give them some time to settle and then attempt to wean her, but now I'm not so sure mama isn't pregnant. Starting around 10pm last night, she's been acting like she's having prodromal labor. She's eating and drinking and passing manure normally and not acting like she's in any acute distress. However, she's been kicking at her belly, scrubbing her butt on the wall, and squatting to pee. Her back legs are wet, as well, and as she's white it looks a tiny bit reddish to me. Her vulva is also longer and looser than it was, and her tail looks a bit separated to me. She's yawning and shifting her back end a lot. Temp and respirations are normal.

I know since the four year old is still nursing looking at her bag won't help any, but does it sound like she could be pregnant? She's not huge, but I'm sure nursing a full sized mini (who is about 2 hands taller than her) is pulling her down some. There's some edema in front of her bag too, and I'm not sure if that's still normal after nursing this long.

Should I separate them now? Both mom and daughter freak out if they are apart, and I don't want to stress mom out even more on the off chance she is in foal. Oddly enough, she appears to encourage the nursing, and looks relieved.

She's also squirting and squealing to the geldings. Do pregnant mares even do that? I'd think she was in heat, but the kicking at the belly, scrubbing butt, and yawning aren't anything I've ever seen out of my big girls.

So sorry for the novel!! I will definitely have the vet out tonight if she looks more distressed. Right now she's just happily munching hay. I've just never experienced anything like this before!

Sounds like she's in heat. How long has she been with the 2 geldings and do you know anything about them? when they were gelded and was she with them before they were. Since there is not much history on her there is always a possibility she's pregnant, the vet should be able to help you with that pretty quickly. Yes I would be thinking about a way to wean the daughter although at that age it may be hard to do...well not really hard, what I mean is hard if you have to eventually put them back together because she'll just begin nursing again.
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Thanks so much, you have eased my mind tremendously!! So hopeful it's just a heat and being in a new place. She's been with these geldings for several years, but no idea on when they were gelded. Hopefully the vet will give everyone a clean bill tomorrow and we can start the weaning process.

Thanks again for the reassurance!
The best way to wean them is to put them in separate pens next to each other. The fencing should not allow the filly to reach through and nurse, but they can stand next to each other.

If one of the geldings gets along with the filly real well, put him in with her.

Could you take a picture of mare broadside and from directly behind at mares level. Also a picture of her bag and private area.

We've had mares pregnant and allow a stallion to breed them. Also have had our mares tease to our stallions, so her reaction may not be her coming into heat.

The pictures will give us a idea if she may be pregnant, but also good that you have your vet coming out.
Welcome to the Forum

Ill start by saying "Good on you" for taking in these rescue minis

There is a good chance that she may be pregnant but I also think there is a good chance she may just be in season too. Its hard when you dont know alot of their history and if they had been exposed to a stallion or not.

In the instance that she is pregnant I would be getting her daughter tested too. As a 4yo she would most likely have been in season and if mum was exposed to a stallion , im guessing her daughter was too.

We would love to see some pics if you are able to post them and Id love to hear what your Vet says.

Best of luck with them , Im sure they will do wonderful now in your care
Thank you all again SO much for the helpful replies! I really like the idea of the separate pens--I've actually bred my riding mare this year, and we've just finished construction on a small area to be a weaning paddock for her foal, so it looks like we will be getting some early practice! It's got no climb wire and board fencing, so the filly can't reach through to mama.

I fed them in separate stalls tonight and worked with the filly alone on wearing her halter and leading (she just started halter breaking the day before we got her!) She did great and could still see mom, so I'm hopeful the transition will go well. She gets along well with both geldings so they'll both have company. Mama seems to be doing better tonight, but has some dried brownish discoloration on her back legs, which is concerning to me. I'll be so glad when my vet gets here!

I don't think these guys have had much handling, but they are SO incredibly kind and sweet! I told hubby I wanted 10 more of them, I can already tell they are going to fit wonderfully into our family. I will get pics of mama in the morning when I have better lighting. I tried tonight, and it was a total bust.

Thank you again for the help! I'm going to try and attach a picture of our sweet girls

They are lovely

I have a Pinto mare with white legs and when she is in season her back legs sound as though you are describing , browny spotty colour.

Looking forward to hearing what your vet has to say

They are beautiful!! and yup it's normal you will want 10 more LOL Please let us know what your Vet tells you today.
They are beautiful!! CONGRATULATIONS! The brown crusty stuff on her back legs is from her being in heat and squirting it out/down the way they do.
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Thank you all SO much for your help and kind words!! So sorry for the late response, it's been a crazy 24 hours. Fortunately mama is just in heat, shew. I wouldn't be opposed to a foal in the slightest, but I was super worried about her complete lack of prenatal care.

And yep, brown stuff was just her being in heat. I've never owned such a light colored girl before, so I'd hadn't seen any type of colored discharge. Mama and daughter have been living in separate paddocks for two days now and weaning seems to be going smoothly. Thanks again SO much for the help ????
When i first brought my pinto mini ( as id only has bay horses before) i thought the same thing , so perfectly normal.

Glad to hear the weaning is going to plan

You are very welcome I'm glad to hear your mind is now at ease! Congratulations on the weaning progress you are making.

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