Last Updated on July 9, 2022
If you’re planning on putting your mare in foal, you will need to know how long is a pony pregnant for. Breeding from a horse or pony is something many horse owners would love to do, but it is important to know all the facts before putting a horse in foal. Let’s find out everything you need to know about how long is a pony pregnant for!
How Long Is A Pony Pregnant?
How long is a pony pregnant for is normally between 330 and 345 days, and most mares give birth around 11 months after the foal was conceived. However, this gestation length is quite variable, and predicting when a mare is going to give birth can be quite difficult.
In the wild, a mare would normally be covered by the stallion in early summer, and give birth 11 months later in late spring. This is the optimum time to rear a newborn foal when food is abundant and the weather is getting warmer.
In domesticated horses, we tend to meddle with these dates somewhat, as many horse breeders prefer to have foals that are born earlier in the year. This means they will ensure that the mare conceives a foal in the mid-spring, to be born in early spring the following year. While there are benefits of this to the horse breeder, it does mean that the gestation period of the mare may be extended.
Luckily, once a mare has had her first foal, she tends to follow the same gestation period for all of her subsequent foals. This means that predicting the date that a mare will give birth gets much easier the more foals she has. It also become easier to spot the signs of foaling in a mare that has had more than one foal.
How Is Pregnancy In Horses Confirmed?
Horses and ponies do not look obviously pregnant until the final trimester of their pregnancy, so it is normally necessary to have an ultrasound scan or blood or urine tests to confirm the pregnancy. These must be carried out on specific dates after the mare has been covered to confirm the pregnancy.
The earliest pregnancy test for horses is an ultrasound scan carried out around 16 days after she was mated or inseminated. This will show that an embryo has started to form, confirming that the mare is pregnant. A second scan is normally carried out two weeks later, which will confirm that the embryo has a heartbeat and will develop into a healthy foal.
Ultrasound scans are also useful to check if the mare has conceived twins. Horses can only carry one foal during a pregnancy, but they do occasionally fall pregnant with twins. This is unlikely to result in the successful birth of two healthy foals, so early identification of twins enables the veterinarian to carry out an early termination of the pregnancy.
If ultrasound scans are not done at this stage, then blood and urine tests can be used to confirm a pregnancy around two to three months after conception. At this stage, it will be possible for your veterinarian to also manually palpate the embryo via a rectal examination.
When pregnancy has been confirmed in your mare, it is then your responsibility to ensure that she receives the best possible care. She does not require any additional nutrition until the latter stages of her pregnancy, but you should discuss her deworming and vaccination requirements with your veterinarian. She can be exercised gently for the first and second trimesters of her pregnancy to help maintain good physical condition.
It will not be obvious that your pony is pregnant for the first two-thirds of her pregnancy, but during the last few months, she will start to develop a distended abdomen. As her foaling date approaches, it is important to look for signs of an impending birth such as ‘bagging up’ of the teats.
So, as we have learned, how long is a pony pregnant for is normally between 330 and 345 days, with most mares giving birth around 11 months after the foal was conceived. Horses and ponies do not look obviously pregnant until the final trimester of their pregnancy, so it is normally necessary to have an ultrasound scan or blood or urine tests to confirm the pregnancy. An ultrasound scan is also useful to check if the mare has conceived twins, and for ensuring that the embryo has a heartbeat and will develop into a healthy foal.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about how long is a pony pregnant! Do you have a pony that is due to have her first foal, and you’re struggling to spot the signs that she is going to give birth? Or maybe you’ve known of a mare that always gave birth much earlier than expected? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!
How Can You Tell If A Pony Is Pregnant?
While many animals - and humans - get a swollen belly when they are pregnant, in horses this is no always very obvious until right at the very end of their pregnancy! If you suspect a pony is pregnant, a veterinarian will be able to confirm the pregnancy by carrying out blood tests and ultrasound scans.
How Do You Know When A Horse Is Ready To Give Birth?
When a horse is ready to give birth, she will appear restless and uncomfortable. She may move herself away from other horses in the herd, and may exhibit mild colic-like symptoms.
How Long Before Birth Do Mares Bag Up?
Most mares start to produce milk around two weeks prior to foaling, although this can be much less in maiden mares. As the birth becomes imminent, the teats will become so full of milk that they feel firm to the touch.
How Long Does It Take For A Pony To Give Birth?
The birthing process in horses is split into three stages. It is during the second stage when the foal is born; this stage starts when the mare's waters break. The second stage of labor in horses normally takes around 15-25 minutes.
Kate Chalmers is a qualified veterinary nurse who has specialized in horse care for the vast majority of her career. She has been around horses since she was a child, starting out riding ponies and helping out at the local stables before going on to college to study Horse Care & Management. She has backed and trained many horses during her lifetime and competed in various equestrian sports at different levels.
After Kate qualified as a veterinary nurse, she provided nursing care to the patients of a large equine veterinary hospital for many years. She then went on to teach horse care and veterinary nursing at one of the top colleges in the country. This has led to an in-depth knowledge of the care needs of horses and their various medical ailments, as well as a life-long passion for educating horse owners on how to provide the best possible care for their four-legged friends.
Kate Chalmers BSc (Hons) CVN, Dip AVN (Equine) Dip HE CVN EVN VN A1 PGCE