Breeding an older mare. - The Horse Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-13-2008, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Breeding an older mare.

I plan on breeding my 14 year old mare this August. I'm not sure if she has ever foaled, but she is always in excellent condition. I am not too worried about getting her pregnant, although I do not know if she has ever carried a foal before.

I am, however, planning on breeding my paint mare next season. She will be 18 years old. I have no idea if she has ever been bred. I know she had some sort of western pleasure career and a lot of training. Her vagina seems to be longer and "looser" than my other mare, and a number of young, definitely unbred mares I have had. Could this indicate previous breedings? Also, how big of an opening is too big? It almost seems like it is too long... possibly a wind sucker conformation? In that case, how effective is a caslicks operation?

Secondly, I worry about breeding her at such a late age. Does anyone have experience breeding older mares, or can tell me stories of older mares they have bred and what challenges they faced. I'm leaning towards thinking she isn't a maiden mare, which I'm sure helps at her age.

I have to get her weight normal. I just got her not long ago and she is little thin. So I'm waiting until next season. Its tricky because she needs time to get in good foaling condition, but waiting another year doesn't improve my chances. I will of course have a breeding soundness exam done, I just wanted to know opinions, and hear experiences.
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-13-2008, 07:33 PM
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Maybe you could do a little research into her history and find out if she has any foals on the ground. I think it would be pretty easy if she is registered to look up her progeny record. ?? I would be good to find out if she had any complications, what kind of a mother was she, or if she in fact has not foaled before.

I don't have much experience with older horses breeding. Long ago, we were leasing a mare who was 18-20 (can't remember), and the owner had bred her. She carried and foaled okay, but I think it was a little rough on her. That mare had had foals before also. I know even with our mare in prime health and age, we have to work pretty hard to keep weight on her now that she is nursing.

What factors make you really want to breed this older mare? Show record? Looks? Personality? Just be sure to ask yourself all of those questions before taking that sort of risk. I feel that any pregnancy is a risk, and it seems to get riskier as they age. You can take as many precautions as you can, which can help, but when it comes to it, there are many things out of your control once she is bred.

Hopefully someone on here will have some good info. About breeding older mares for you. Good luck! :) :)
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-13-2008, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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The reason I want to breed her is :

A. She is absolutely gorgeous. Her conformation is perfect.

B. She is still in good health and very ridable (up and down mountains, etc), but she wont be for many more years. I want a baby out of her so that when she is to be retired her baby will be ready to start.

C. I only plan on one baby out of her. If I can't get her bred, I won't force it. Also, I don't plan on breeding her into her 20s or anything like that. I think late teens should generally be the limit unless your horse is extremely long lived and feels and acts like a much younger horse.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-14-2008, 09:13 AM
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As long as she is in good health (moves around well, can lay down, keeps weight on, etc...) and cycling regularly you shouldnt have any problems with her having a foal for you. Growing up my mother had a really nice foundation QH mare... Her last baby was when she was 28 (she lived till she was 36, heat stroke caused us to put her down). We had a vet check her out everytime to make sure all was well. If you arent sure, asking a vet would be in your best interest.


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post #5 of 9 Old 07-15-2008, 02:02 AM
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How about getting a vet out to do a full check on her and getting a professional's opinion on the matter?

I won't be posting my opinion in your thread as I doubt you would appreciate it.

Just see what the vet tells you:)
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-15-2008, 04:23 AM
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I put my old girl in foal at age 21, and she took on the first cycle. As long as the mare has a good health history and is clean (internal vet check) theoretically there should be no problem. Ask your vet about a caslick, long is not too bad, it is when the anus is sunken that problem can arise as poop can enter and contaminate the vagina. My mare had a part caslick as she had a vary bad shelf and she had no problems carrying.

As you said you are getting an internal done by your vet, they will be able to answer all your questions accurately.

Be careful not to have her carrying too much weight, less is better, as you can always fatten them up after conception.

Good luck
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-15-2008, 09:25 PM
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Generally speaking(Not true for all horses) If your mare has foaled before you will generally see scarring around the vagina. This is due to the massive stretching of having a foal. The other sign is once a mare has held milk her udder will hang lower then a maiden mares. The weight of the milk stretches the tissue, and doesn't generally go back to its previous state.

For breeding a older mare, if she is a maiden mare I would definitely err on the side of caution. Make absolutely sure that she is in perfect breeding shape, have the vet come out and double check everything. I would suggest you use a equine reproduction vet, This is a very late age for a mare to have a first baby. So a specialist is definitely a advantage to you verses a general practice vet.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-15-2008, 09:30 PM
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my mares teets hung low and were alot larger then the other mares. My BO said she may have been bred. So you can look and see if her teets hang lower. That may have been a sign that she was previously bred.

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post #9 of 9 Old 07-18-2008, 05:24 AM
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I would caution about breeding an older mare. First of all, if she is a maiden mare, she may not take. If she does take, pregnancy can be very hard on the older mare. She must be in exempliary health to begin with, (vet check a must!) she must have more than adequate food and supplements and even then she may lose weight and have a difficult time. Even if she does not lose weight, as an older mare who is probably a maiden, she could have difficulty giving birth. If all goes well, nursing a foal is hard on the older mare. I am currently working on bringing the weight back up on one of my older mares who has had a foal in the past (this will be her last foal). I had to wean the foal at 3 months, something I don't like to do, but for the dam's health, felt it was necessary. Are you willing to risk all that or worse?
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