Ask the Vet – How long can you ride a pregnant mare?

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DAN: “How long can you ride
a mare who is pregnant? LYDIA GRAY: Oh. This was the first
time we got this. And I think it’s a
really good question. The rule of thumb that seems to
be out there in the industry, there’s not really,
although you should involve your veterinarian,
there’s not really a hard and fast
veterinary rule for this. But the industry seems
to think that somewhere in the six to eight month realm
is where you should maybe– DAN: Stop. LYDIA GRAY: –stop. Yeah. And we should probably back up
and say the gestation period for horses is 11 months,
around the 340 days. DAN: So about halfway through. LYDIA GRAY: Yeah, a little bit
more than halfway, you can go. But it sometimes just
depends on the mare herself. She’ll either tell you– I found one quote. “The two mares I rode while
preggo told me to take a hike around seven months.” [LAUGHTER] Very clearly said, I’m done. And it has to do with the
hormones for one thing. But also, just
physically, the saddle doesn’t fit where it’s
supposed to anymore. It’s getting pushed up. So that’s uncomfortable. They might be affected by
weight and weight shifts. And so they’re losing
their balance and agility. And people talk about
lost the ability to canter after six or seven months. DAN: Because of
having to round up. LYDIA GRAY: Can’t get the legs. But collection is gone, bending. I mean, it’s not comfortable. It’s not doable anymore. DAN: So it depends, also, on
what discipline you’re doing– LYDIA GRAY: It does. DAN: –what level
riding you’re doing. LYDIA GRAY: It does. Yep. I did find a couple of
veterinary references. One was during the fifth and
10th months of pregnancy, the mares are
endocrinologically– you didn’t think I was going to
be able to say that, did you? DAN: Happy morning on that one. Good job. LYDIA GRAY: Susceptible
to abortion owing to hormonal deficiencies– what that means is,
in those months, the source of the hormones that
keep the horse pregnant switch. So that’s not a time to stress
the mare, overheat the mare. So traveling– there’s people
who compete pregnant mares. And I have to think
twice about that. Because it’s not so much
the physical exertion that concerns me,
it’s that they’re being exposed to other horses. DAN: Oh, yeah,
that’s a good point. LYDIA GRAY: You might
have your mare vaccinated. Let’s hope. But the other
horses might not be. And exposing your pregnant
mare to other horses of unknown status is a
little, to me, it’s risky. DAN: Yeah. To your point, you don’t know
what all the other horses at the show are doing or not. LYDIA GRAY: There’s ways to go
to shows and not use a stall and have your own water and not
graze and not mingle and reduce your exposure, horse’s exposure. But I think it’s a
decision that everybody has to make for
themselves and what’s more important to them in
this mare’s life at the time. DAN: So roughly six
to eight months, but listen to your
horse and see where her performance level is going. And if you start to see
some dwindling performance, maybe it’s time to
call it a break. LYDIA GRAY: And definitely
keep your vet in the loop. And they might have
specific recommendations for time and things
to watch for. And I do know there was
one reference to it’s probably not a good idea to
get your mare overheated. DAN: Yeah. I mean, I don’t like to
work out that much anyway. So I would be, like,
day one, do not. [LAUGHTER]

 

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