When a new mare is set to arrive at the GOW Equine Stud, there are a few things that have to be done before she can join our herd. Boarding a mare at stud is when a pregnant mare arrives at a stud farm to have her foal, which is referred to as foaling down.
We start off by ensuring that all the mare’s vaccinations are up to date. Vaccinations which need to be done or checked before a mare arrives at a stud to foal down are EHV (Equine Herpes Virus), and Flu & Tetanus. Generally these vaccinations are done annually with most horses to ensure the control of such viruses amongst the horsey world.
To check up on any diseases that may be present, we insist on blood tests which are taken prior to arrival of the mare. These help us rule out infectious diseases such as Strangles, which is a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract of horses, causing enlargement of the lymph nodes in the throat, which may impair breathing; and Herpes which can cause respiratory problems, abortion in pregnant mares and, in rare cases, neurological problems leading to paralysis. So all in all not something you want on your farm or near your horses!
Both vaccinations and blood tests are crucial and need to be confirmed as negative before a mare arrives at a new stud because it ensures both the mare and foal in utero are protected but also that any livestock already currently boarding on the stud are also protected.
Lastly, it is also important to ensure the mare is fully up to date with a worming programme before she travels and arrives at a stud. Deworming horses ensures protection against a host of pesky critters that can cause havoc on a horses gut and general well-being. They are also very easily spread between animals.
We advise that a mare should arrive to board around 6 to 8 weeks prior to her foaling down date. This is important for a few reason, all ensuring the best pregnancy!
- Arriving several weeks before giving birth allows the mare to settle in to new surroundings and help build up an immunity to any contaminations on the new farm. This is important because when a mare is in foal she is unable to pass any white blood cells or antibodies from her bloodstream to the foal. The immunity she builds up is only passed into her milk, which the new foal can drink to build up its own strong and healthy defences. If she does not have enough time to build up this immunity, not only is she weaker and at risk, but her foal will never be able to develop those immunities on its own.
- During gestation the foal matures very late in pregnancy. It is important that the mare is as settled as she can be to ensure she is giving the most support to the foal in utero. Her stress levels should be kept to a minimum and it is not advised to transport mares very close to her foaling date. If the mare enjoys her new surroundings, likes her comfy stable, and gets to know the other horses and people on the farm, she will feel safe and calm during those last crucial developmental months.
- Arriving on stud 6 to 8 weeks prior to foaling is also vital for the handlers which will be assisting the mare during the birth. The handlers can get to know the mare and her temperament so foaling can be made as easy as possible for her. Likewise the mare can build trust with her handlers and get to know them when she may rely on them the most during foaling.
On a stud farm like GOW Equine, there is a dedicated and knowledgeable team of people who know just what to do in any situation. They are ready for the problems which inevitably come with these big animals, they can handle just about anything! Most importantly they know how to put the mare and her foal at ease, ensuring a smooth and comfortable pregnancy and birth.
Want to know more? Give us a call today, its breeding season and we are loving it!