Riding mare after foal is born? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-22-2010, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
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Location: Arizona
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Riding mare after foal is born?

Hi all,

I have a mare that is due to foal around August or September. I was under the impression that at some point when the foal is strong enough, I would be able to ride my mare and either pony the foal (if I can get it properly halter broke) or at the very least, let it tag along when I ride the mare. But I was talking to a friend who thought that wasn't a good idea because the foal wouldn't be strong enough, or it would be bad for it's growth???

At what point can I ride my mare after the foal is born? I would sure hate to not be able to ride her until after the baby is weaned. (I am just thinking leisurely trail rides off the property, for maybe an hour or two). What do you think? I guess I thought a little exercise would be okay for it because they are herd animals and born to follow the herd?
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-22-2010, 05:53 AM
Green Broke
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Location: North Carolina
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i started riding the mare again 4 days after the birth. but those weren't hard rides. about 2 weeks after the foal was born we started kicking it in on our trail rides. such as really long rides with lots of galloping and he happily kept up. now he is 6 weeks old and we take trail rides through neighborhoods and around ponds. sparta still isn't really lead trained so i can't pony him as foals sometimes get those random spurts of energy where the go flying in one direction. and i didn't want that to happen and him on a lead rope and me yank him to the ground when he reaches the end of it. so i let him walk beside her. even through the neighborhoods. you just have to be careful as the foals get really nosey about stuff. so you have to make sure you keep them in check lol

Baby, Sparta, Carmen, Henry, Hooch, Mercedes, Butterscotch
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-22-2010, 07:54 AM
Green Broke
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Just use good judgement. Remember you are bringing the mother back into work, slowly, and that the foal will need to nurse.

This wasn't a problem for T, we rode in the arena and Walka followed his momma. He was a nosey little bugger and I didn't want to alarm his momma by taking him out on the trail until we had a bit more handle on things. He would let me know when he needed to nurse. It was a gradual process, like everything.

I will caution you however of stepping it up too soon for both mare and foal. An experienced horsewoman in my club, who should have known better, took a foal on a long trail ride. When we finally stopped for lunch and a rest , that foal was showing signs of exhaustion. We spoke with her and were able to convince her to take a shorter route back to the trailers with another rider for the foals sake. Was it's first outing! Sometmes people get too comfortable with what they think they know.

Glad you're asking for input, and I'm sure you'll get more.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, "Oh crap, she's up!".
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-22-2010, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! I don't want to jump her right back into hard riding or anything at all like that. I just hate to think that I couldn't climb back on the mare at all until the foal is weaned. I bought her as a riding horse, and she just happens to have come pregnant! I am really excited about the foal, I just want to be able to "play" with my mare a bit too.

I do have another riding horse, so I can take my gelding out on "real" trail rides. It sounds like the biggest concern is keeping the baby out of mischief and following the mare (and keeping it short). So we'll see how it goes. I bought the book on imprinting and it has lots of good info on halter breaking, but as this is my first foal, I'm not sure how successful I will be at getting the little guy/girl halter broke right away.

Right now I am still riding my mare, and I am guesstimating she is about 6 1/2 months along. I hope to ride her on easy rides until she gets so big that I feel sorry for her. But right now she seems to be coping and enjoying our little outings. Everyone seems to feel that light riding is good for them, so I am hoping to do that until she tells me otherwise.

She is my brand-new riding horse, so I would like to enjoy her as much as I can, even though she is in foal. After the foal is born, I actually thought it might be easier on the mare, so long as the baby is able to keep up. I don't have an arena or pasture, so our only riding opportunities are neighborhood dirt roads and the national forest about 1/2 mile down the road. So that is why I am talking about trail rides.......it's the only place I have to ride! But we can go out for 10 or 20 minutes and come right back, so I will just play it by ear. Right now the baby isn't even born, but I am just trying to think ahead. Thanks for letting me ramble!
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-22-2010, 03:58 PM
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I rode my mares approximately one month after they foaled. The three babies ( 2 out of my Mustang mare & 1 out of my Arab. mare) would follow along beautifully. I also took the dogs along and it was like a big play day out in the desert. But my baby out of my TB mare, would never follow his Mama no matter how far we got from him. He had his own agenda and still does to this day. So, I immediately taught him to lead and pony.

Like others have said. Take it slow and don't go to far to start. They need to build up their strenght and endurance, but it's great for the bones and muscles. Especially if you don't have large pastures/turnouts for them to run around in.
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-22-2010, 06:26 PM
Green Broke
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As long as you keep riding your horse during her pregnancy, there's no reason why you can't almost immediately continue riding her.

I broke my filly to halter by tying her to my mare and going for a ride. I know we usually don't consider that good procedure these days, but my grandpa insisted and I was only 14 and what the heck, it worked out just fine! She fought a little for a ride or two and was perfectly halter broke within a couple days and I've never had an issue with her since.

As a note, you do not necessarily have to take baby with you everywhere. Yes, it's necessary probably for the first few weeks, but if you have another horse, most foals will bond with the other horses as well and actually become accustomed to mom leaving. After my filly was about a month old, I just left her home with my gelding and she didn't care a wit about it. I'd obviously never leave for long, she was still drinking milk, but it didn't phase her since Playboy practically adopted her anyway.

I would personally never ride with a loose foal unless it was on my own fenced property. And even then, you'd be amazed. I had Zena and Zierra out loose in the barnyard and something spooked Zierra, and she decided she needed to be with PLAYBOY. She tried to jump a barbed wire fence to get to him, caught her nose and sports a nice ugly black scar on the front of her nose now. Foals get more and more mischevious and by a couple months old, they're thinking with their OWN brains and WAY less concerned about mom.

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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