Healthy Broodmares Can Raise Foals Every Year

For the Love of Horses

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“Is it advisable to breed a mare year after year?”
Most horse breeders continue to breed their mares every year because foals pay the bills.
Yet, there are some who consider that stressful even harmful to the mare, claimed Dr. Katherine Joos, equine reproductive specialist.
“I find no reason not to breed a mare back year after year,” said Dr. Joos of Gainesville, Texas.
“That is as long as the mare is able to maintain a healthy weight while nursing a foal,” she clarified.
Whether a mare carries a foal every year or every other year does not affect the foal’s quality, the veterinarian insisted.
“In my experience, mares tend to cycle more consistently and normally when bred every year,” Dr. Joos said.
Therefore, with no uterine trauma or other health problem, she prefers that a mare be bred to carry every year.
“In fact, I recommend that embryo donor mares carry a foal every three to four years,” Dr. Joos said. “It helps them maintain normal cervical function.”
In that regard, the American Association of Equine Practitioners leader recommended embryo transfers for old mares. “It is easier on a 20-year-old mare than carrying a foal,” she said.
“At this age, likelihood the mare develops placental insufficiency is much higher,” said Dr. Joos from North Texas Equine Veterinary Service.
However, many mares carry foals into their twenties with no problems.
“In my opinion, it is more important to consider the overall health of the mare,” Dr. Joos continued. “That’s more important rather than just her age when deciding whether or not to allow her to carry a foal.”

CUTLINE

Dr. Katherine Joo, equine veterinarian, said, “I find no reason not to breed mares back year after year.”

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