Holding the tail up, "winking" (opening and shutting) the vulva's lips, and varying degrees of squatting and squirting of pee and mucus are all signals indicating the mare is in season. A mare's activity level generally slows down, and she often appears concerned. She may even hide from her own reflection.
The mare in heat will usually avoid other horses and people, although this isn't always the case. She will also likely have a favorite place where she can urinate or defecate, which she will use repeatedly over a short period of time. This spot may be inside the stall area, by a door or window, or under a bed.
Mares in heat are very important to recognize because they are at risk for uterine infections if they don't control their hormones properly. They may also be more likely to develop cancers of the reproductive system later in life. It is best not to stress out a mare when she is in heat, as this may cause her to behave erratically at times.
If you suspect that your horse is in heat, take her temperature. Mares' temperatures typically run about 101 degrees F after ovulation, dropping down to about 95 degrees F before they come into season again.
Restlessness and perspiration in the flanks are the visible symptoms. As the uterine contractions worsen, the mare may become extremely agitated, pacing, walking fence lines, staring at her flanks, kicking at her tummy, and pawing the ground. She may even go up and down multiple times to assist with foal positioning. These symptoms should be taken as a sign that she is in pain and needs help.
Also, if the mare isn't being ridden regularly, then she should be started early so that she has time to recover before her baby is born. The earlier a horse is bred, the higher the chance that she will have a safe and easy delivery. Of course, this only applies to healthy mares who will deliver their babies without problems.
Finally, don't forget to check your local laws regarding when you can ride horses in public places. In some states it is illegal to ride during pregnancy because of the risk of falling out of balance if the horse spooks or takes off suddenly.
The enlarged udder is one of the earliest indicators. The udder normally expands during the last month. The mare's udder may expand at night while she sleeps and contract during the day as she exercises. When the udder remains full all day, foaling is almost certainly imminent. A mature horse will produce about a third more milk when she is near term with a foal than she would if she were breeding for sport alone.
A fat mare is one that is producing more than 10% of her body weight in milk every day. A horse needs energy to breed properly and to raise a baby so she must be fed adequately. If she is not getting enough food, she will put on weight instead of losing it after pregnancy. This is called obesity and it is very dangerous for her health.
Some horses are prone to becoming obese and this problem can be prevented by keeping their feed intake down to less than they need. Other horses are naturally thin and do not need feeding up before breeding. Still others will eat more if you let them have free access to pasture rather than just part of a paddock. Fat mares tend to be lazy and dislike being confined so they will not exercise as much as other horses if they are not allowed to roam free.
It is important to note that a mare does not necessarily become fat because she is breeding- she may simply have more energy to spend than normal horses do after giving birth.
Signs Your Horse Is Pregnant
Despite being in foal, some mares will appear to have a heat cycle. This might be because they've had multiple foals in the past, or it could be because the mare has a hay belly, which causes her abdomen to seem swollen. Even late in the pregnancy, not all mares show clear indicators of being in foal. Many will continue to produce colts for their owners even after they're found to be pregnant.
Mares can come into heat at any time during their pregnancy, although most commonly between 1-3 months after giving birth. A mare's heat cycle is only visible to humans when she is in estrus, so if you want to tell whether or not she is coming into heat, you'll need to check with another horse owner that knows about her reproductive system.
During estrus, a mare will exhibit certain behaviors to attract males. She will raise her tail and swish it from side to side, walk around in a circle, and sniff the air deeply. These are all signs that she is ready to mate. If you see these behaviors displayed by a female horse that you believe to be pregnant, there's a good chance that she is coming into heat. As soon as you notice this, take your female horse to a safe place where other horses aren't present and mount her from behind, placing your hands on her belly to feel the flutters of life inside. This is how you can tell if a mare is pregnant with twins or more.