There are many different schools of thought on this subject.
Many people believe that the risk is too high, especially when you have spent all this time and money getting you precious mare in foal.
However, if your mare is healthy and has no history of problem pregnancies or pregnancy loss there is no reason why you can’t safely ride even compete on your pregnant mare, often they can even benefit from a little exercise.
Here is a list of considerations you should keep in mind when deciding to ride your pregnant mare:
- During the first 30-45 days from conception, it’s probably wise to not put your mare under any undue stress and it would be best to not exercise or ride her during this period.
This first 6 weeks is a critical window when the embryo is at its most fragile and you want to give your new pregnancy the best possible chance to start. After approximately 45 days when the embryo has implanted you should be good to go, but a quick chat with your vet to make sure they have no concerns is recommended before you hop on.
- Take into consideration your mares fitness level prior to going in foal. If you have been riding/exercising her and keeping her fit, you should have no problems in getting back on and building her fitness levels back up. However, if she has been sitting in the paddock not doing anything for some time before becoming pregnant you might want to devise a gradual fitness program to slowly build her levels up, you don’t want to put too much stress and exertion on her too quickly.
- Avoid stressful situations especially if your mare is a nervous type.
- You can comfortably continue to ride your mare until she is about 8 months into her pregnancy and even compete safely, however after about 6 months you may just want to reduce her workload and slow things down a bit. Watch her closely and adjust her exercise accordingly. As she gets further along her body will start to change and she will get bigger so be aware this may affect how your saddle fits, it can be another sign that it’s time to stop riding.
There are also some benefits from giving you mare a small level of fitness before she foals.
- Fit horses do recover quicker this may help with a healthy delivery.
- Mares as they get bigger tend to stand still a lot more which in some cases can cause swelling in the legs, a little exercise even walking can help reduce this swelling.
Basically, it all comes down to personal choice. If you are concerned or have any questions, a discussion with your vet will help answer any of those questions and help you make a more informed decision.
Written by Selena Phillis