Management of the in-foal mare

Once the pregnant mare is back at home, she will still require:

  • routine daily inspection
  • checking of her teats and perineum (to check for vulval discharge)
  • annual vaccination against influenza and tetanus
  • regular farriery – every 6 – 8 weeks
  • dental care- every 6 -12 months


Worm throughout pregnancy as usual, but it it important to check the wormer is licenced for broodmares. We would also recommend worming during the foaling period, either in the week before or after. Wormers that are safe to use are: Equest, Eqvalan, Strongid P, Panacur,  Panacur guard and Equimax. Please see our advice for worming broodmares and youngstock here, or call the clinic on 01622 813700 and speak to any of our vets for guidance.


  • Influenza and tetanus booster 3-6 weeks before foaling gives the foal maximum protection until 4-6 months of age
  • Equine Herpes Virus (EHV1-4) vaccinations are given in the 5th, 7th and 9th months of gestation. This is highly recommended for broodmares at large studs
  • Rotavirus vaccinations can protect foals from diarrhoea. These are optional vaccinations that are given in the 8th, 9th and 10th months of pregnancy – this is also recommended for broodmares foaling at large studs


The most important part of pregnancy from a nutritional point of view is the last 3 months when the foal is growing most rapidly. During this time the foal will gain 60-65% of his total birth weight.

At 9 months of pregnancy the mare’s energy demands increase by 10%.

At 11 months of pregnancy the mare’s energy demands increase by 20%.

As the foal increases in size, the mare’s appetite will reduce as it takes up more room in her abdomen. This is when concentrates need to be increased to make up the increasing energy requirements and reduced appetite. Energy is also required for colostrum and milk production. If the mare is not fed to meet these demands, she will draw energy from her body reserves which will lead to her losing condition and reducing her fertility for future breeding.

General feeding rules to follow are:

  • Pregnant mares should be maintained at a moderate body condition of (condition score 2.5 – 3)
  • Overweight mares should be put on a weight reduction programme during the first 90 days to reduce the risk of early embryonic death
  • Ad lib forage at all times during pregnancy
  • First 8 months of pregnancy – mares can maintain themselves on good pasture and good quality hay. Minimal supplementary feed needed. If pasture is particularly poor then a broodmare ration can be fed
  • Last 3 months supplement with a stud mix. This has increased energy and protein content, and is supplemented with vitamins and minerals. This can also be fed throughout lactation.


This depends on many factors such as the size, age, condition and fitness of the mare and the weight of the rider. Strenuous exercise should be discontinued from the 6th month of gestation. The brood mare should be turned out each day.

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