Lactating mare full of energy, help?

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Lactating mare full of energy, help?

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  • At what age can I leave the foal at home to go out and ride the mare
  • Helping a lactating mares

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    08-06-2010, 08:25 PM
Green Broke
Lactating mare full of energy, help?

Okay, I guess the title may be a bit confusing, but here is the situation. Izzy, my Foxtrotter mare, gave birth to Zane about 3 weeks ago. I am just starting to ride her again and pony Zane along with us. (She's had about a 2 month hiatus due to the pregnancy. She was huge!)

The problem is, she is so full of energy, is is practically bursting at the seams. Now if it weren't for Zane, I would take her out for some 2-3 hour trail rides and burn the energy right off, but because we are taking Zane with us, we can only go out for maybe 20 minutes or so.

So especially once I turn for home, she is a bit of a fire-breathing dragon. Not horrible, but barely under control and she will hardly walk and Zane can hardly keep up on the way home. If I stop her and make her stand for a minute so he can rest, it just seems to get her more excited. So while she isn't exactly miss-behaving, I am having a hard time ponying the foal and keeping the mare under control at the same time. I am afraid we are a wreck waiting to happen. I tried running her around in the corral today while having Zane tied just outside, to see if I could burn some energy off of her before we rode, but it just seem to make them both upset.

The reason I am putting this in the nutrition section is I am considering cutting out most of her daily 3 lbs of oats. She is also getting 2 lbs. Of Purina Enrich 12 for her vitamins and minerals, and a big quantity of alfalfa hay. I haven't weighed the alfalfa, but I feed her at least twice as much as my geldings. She seems to be at a good weight, not really overweight or underweight.

Should I cut out the oats? Reduce the alfalfa? Try to ride it out and hope for the best? I hear that lactating mares need a lot more calories than they did when they were carrying the foal, so I am a bit hesitant to cut her portions, but if there is anything I could do to calm her down a bit, I am willing to try.

I am not normally a person to try to control a horse's energy level by cutting out feed, that is not my style. I usually just work them more, but with the foal in tow, that is really hard. Any suggestions?

The mare has always been a tad on the "hot" side when not worked regularly, but when she was ridden regularly, she got to be pretty calm. I want to get back to that point somehow, especially since I am ponying the foal.

Am I just stuck, since I can't ride her much with the baby in tow, or am I feeding her too rich? Just ride it out and hope for the best? Give up and wait until baby is older? (I kind of hate to do that.) At what age could I leave the foal at home for a couple of hours to try to ride the mare by herself? Not for a while I am guessing. Help?
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    08-06-2010, 11:01 PM
I would eliminate the oats, though they normally aren't known as a hot feed - but watch her closely to make sure she doesn't start losing weight. She may just be in some serious need of exercise. Does she have room to run where you keep her? Sometimes Dancer just starts running like a fool, with Rain and Mystie right behind her. I almost wish she wouldn't, because I'm trying to get her to gain weight, dangit! Rain doesn't have any trouble keeping up with her, and is still full of it when Dancer runs out of gas.

Back on topic, Izzy should be fine without the oats. Wild horses only get grass and do just fine. If Izzy doesn't settle down and isn't losing weight, you might cut back on the alfalfa or change over to a good grassy hay.
    08-06-2010, 11:11 PM
Was she on oats before the baby? I guess that doesnt matter too much as she was being ridden regularly. I would cut them out if you feel she doesnt need them. I think with oats, you have a 50/50 shot of them making your horse hot. My old horse couldnt handle them. They made him dance. We have several other horses at the barn that eat them and never know any different.

Maybe one of the breeders on here can tell you how long a baby can be walking. I really don't know. Good luck though!
    08-07-2010, 09:44 AM
I would drop the oats and then replace them with beet pulp or rice bran .. I would prob also cut the alfalfa..

Has she ever had alfalfa before ??

How much turn out does she get??
    08-07-2010, 03:35 PM
Beet pulp is great stuff. I don't know what we'd do without it. It's a tad pricey to buy, but you don't have to feed a large amount, so it lasts quite a while. I just wish I could find some w/o molasses - but I just found out it's hard to find that way because the molasses is a by-product of processing the sugar beets. However, we soak ours and drain off the liquid, so they don't get a lot. We found some pelleted beet pulp, and stupidly thought we could feed it straight to the horses - should have read the instructions. Fortunately, we didn't have any trouble, and it's back to soaking for us!
    08-07-2010, 03:43 PM
At 3 weeks I personally would not be riding her yet. For several reasons. That being said. I would suspect that it is more her anxiety about her foal what is making her act this way and not her feed. I would not cut back on feed do to the fact that she is going to needing to produce more and more milk up until the foals is about 3 months old and then the milk will start to decrees in nutrition and amount.
    08-07-2010, 03:49 PM
How long after foaling should one wait to ride?
    08-07-2010, 03:56 PM
I like to give a min if 30 days if the mare is a bit older I tend to wait 35-40 days. This gives their rib cage and muscles a chance to go back to normal after foaling. Plus it give the foal a chance to get some age to him and the mare to really settle in before you go out riding even then just for a short time and usually will stay in the arena and let the foal just follow around as they wish at first.
    08-07-2010, 04:00 PM
Originally Posted by dee    
I would eliminate the oats, though they normally aren't known as a hot feed .
Dee, I agree, I would eliminate the oats - but as one trainer put it to me.. They don't call them "RACE HORSE OATS" for nothing.. they can make them hot.

I love your grulla.... had one as a kid, he was very very special, I just didn't know how rare his color was until I started looking for one. BEAUTIFUL!!!
    08-07-2010, 04:01 PM
Thanks! Rain was foaled 06/28/10. I haven't tried to ride Dancer yet - I'm pretty hefty...well, huge is more the word. (260 - but I'm down from 300+). I wasn't going to try for a while, yet - but daughter was thinking about plunking around in the pen a bit. We may wait another of couple of weeks, then.

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