If you are new to the business of breeding miniature horses, you may not realize exactly how long you will have to wait for a foal to be born. Miniature horses are not too different from regular-size breeds when it comes to breeding, but you do need to understand breeding basics in order to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery.
Miniature ponies, and all other breeds of horses, typically carry their foals for approximately 11 months. The average miniature horse mare will carry her foal for around 330 days before giving birth. The actual length of pregnancy can vary between 320 days and 380 days.
Your Mare's Pregnancy
Every mare is different, so if you're not sure exactly how long your mare normally carries her foals, you should start watching her for signs of delivery when she's about 300 days from her most recent breeding. Signs of imminent delivery include a full, or bagged up, udder that may be dripping milk. You may also notice her vulva changing in shape and color; a mare who is close to foaling may appear to have an elongated, dark red vulva.
Determining If Your Mare is Pregnant
Your veterinarian will need to provide your mare with prenatal care, so you'll need to contact her as soon as you suspect your mare might be in foal. Your veterinarian will provide you with the most reliable and effective way to tell if your miniature mare is pregnant, either by palpating your mare or by performing an ultrasound on her. If your mare is very early in her pregnancy, your veterinarian may not be able to feel the foal when she palpates her. In this situation, ultrasound may be used to determine pregnancy.
Miniature Horse Pregnancy Concerns
Miniature horses are more likely to miscarry foals or experience delivery problems than larger breeds. It's crucial that your veterinarian is involved in every step of your mare's care. When your mare is close to foaling you need to supervise her constantly, preferably by using a video camera that monitors her at all times, and be especially alert for signs of problems. Signs of problems include significant blood loss, a mare who appears to be straining but who's not making progress at pushing out the foal or a mare who appears to be distressed in any manner.
Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.