One of the hardest parts about breeding is the anticipation of getting back in the saddle if your broodmare doubles as your riding mount. But how soon can you ride your mare after foaling? Veterinarians typically recommend a full 6-8 weeks post-partum before resuming work. However, the factors listed below may impact your specific situation.
How Soon Can You Ride a Mare After Foaling- Factors to Consider
Your mare’s post-baby health greatly depends on the actual birthing process, as well as her condition prior to and during pregnancy. Horses’ abdomens will actually decrease back to normal size within a few short weeks of giving birth. However, if there were foaling complications, your mare’s recovery and journey to “normal” may take a bit longer.
Edema normally resolves itself in a few weeks, but some stalled horses may have a longer period of excess fluid retention. More serious issues in foaling such as bleeding or internal organ damage will require veterinarian-advised healing and follow-up instructions. Minor birth-related issues such as bruising, swelling, or slight tears typically heal in a week or two.
Although horses tend to have excellent muscle memory, an owner will need to analyze their mare’s conditioning prior to revisiting work. If your mare was worked consistently and maintained good health, resuming work 6-8 weeks after a standard birth is typical.
Some owners have resumed light work as early as 4 weeks post-partum. However, working or riding any earlier may pose an increased risk for colic. Mares are more susceptible to colon-torsion-colic for a few weeks after birth. Ideally, a mare would be “fit and ready” to foal, making the transition back to work much smoother.
Assuming your mare had a complication-free birth and is conditioned enough to resume work, it is important to analyze your riding facility conditions.
Your mare and foal will not be separated right away. This means you should ensure you are riding in a safe environment for the foal. If you have an extremely “independent” foal and a worrisome mom, it may be best to resume groundwork and wait until weaning for an enjoyable ride.
Some owners opt out of riding entirely until weaning. Going back to work may also serve as a healthy distraction during the weaning process. For some mares, it may help dry up the remaining in milk supply!
Learn more about Foals-and-What-They-Eat
Because there are so many variables when resuming riding, you will have to make the final decision on when to ride again. Riding a mare with a new foal is not an uncommon practice. In fact, some horse shows still host a “Mare and Foal” class! For example, The Dublin Horse Show offers five different divisions under Mare and Foal, including Mare (with “Foal at Foot”)! Be sure to watch your mare for signs of distress, and monitor proper hydration due to increased water consumption during nursing. If you have any questions, seek direction from your veterinarian.
How soon did you return to riding your mare after she foaled? Let us know below, and be sure to share!