If your mare has been exposed to a stallion, she may have been bred. It is very difficult to accurately determine whether a mare is pregnant just by looking at her, which is why it is always a good idea to call a veterinarian and have your mare professionally checked if you suspect she might be. The good news is that most mares do show definite signs of pregnancy when they are close to delivering.
According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the average equine pregnancy takes between 338 to 343 days from the point of conception. The AAEP also states that the normal length of equine pregnancies is between 320 days and 380 days. The long gestation means that your mare can be pregnant for more than a year after she was initially exposed to the stallion. If you suspect your mare may be pregnant, call your veterinarian to confirm the pregnancy. Your mare needs to receive prenatal care during her pregnancy if you want to increase your chances of producing a healthy foal.
A pregnant mare's stomach will appear slightly bloated even though she is up to date on worming. A mare who is nearing her delivery will often appear to have a larger-than-average belly. In comparison to the belly, the rest of the mare's body should appear proportional and in good weight without excess fat. When birth is imminent, the foal may change position and make your mare's entire stomach visibly change shape or position. Some breeders also claim to be able to see and feel the movements of a late-term foal when observing and grooming the mare's stomach.
Your mare's udder is a good indicator of whether or not she is pregnant. Two to four weeks before your mare foals, you will notice her udder beginning to fill with milk. Your mare's teats should distend and begin to develop a waxy appearance when she is less than a week from foaling. A mare who is very close to foaling may also drip milk from her teats. All of these signs of pregnancy are also signs that your mare is close to delivery.
Your veterinarian can determine that your mare is pregnant by either manually palpating her or performing an ultrasound. These tests will also tell you how far along your mare's pregnancy is. A vet will also be able to sex the unborn foal, and diagnose and treat any difficulties your mare may be having.
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.