Is Your Broodmare Nutritionally Ready to Foal?
Foaling time is exciting, but also a time to rethink your mare’s nutrition.
By: Triple Crown Insider- Terra Mitzel
For many equine owners, spring is an exciting time. After months (sometimes years) of planning, their dream baby is about to be born. What color will the foal be? Will it be a colt or filly? Will the registered name I want already be taken? While these are all fun, important questions, a better one we should be asking is, “Does my mare have the right nutrition to properly help her baby develop?”
I, myself, am anxiously waiting for the beginning of April as that is when my horse is due to foal. I did an embryo transfer from my barrel racing mare to a surrogate mare, so I could continue to compete. This process is expensive, stressful, and never guaranteed. Here we are, 10 months later, preparing for our vision to come to fruition.
Don’t overfeed, offer the right nutrition
My first thought after my vet called and said the surrogate mare accepted the embryo was, “I have to start pumping her with Triple Crown Growth!” After much research, I realized I was that stereotypical mare owner that wanted to overfeed my mare with all of the grain and nutrients that I thought were necessary. Although it is important to make sure your mare has the proper nutrition to carry the foal, it is just as important that she isn’t over fed.
During the first two trimesters, a mare does not necessarily need added calories in her diet. She does, however, need to be fed her essential vitamins and minerals as well as good quality forage hay/pasture. During the first 7 months of my mares’ pregnancy, I had her on 1 lb of Triple Crown 30%Ration Balancer along with 24/7 pasture. She looked great, and her body score was between a 5 and 6 (see Triple Crown Body Scoring Table). Every week (okay…everyday) I would examine her and be sure my feeding program was right for her and no adjustments were needed.
Horse nutrition for the third trimester
Coming into the third trimester is the most crucial time for a mare and her foal. This is when the baby fully develops and grows the most (roughly 1 pound per day). Therefore, a mare will require more energy, which equals more food. Continuing to have high-quality forage, fresh water, and either a complete vitamin and mineral supplement or grain is very important. Every week you should continue to give your mare a body score to see if your feeding program is fit for her. Mares should be a fleshy 5 or 6 on the spectrum. Again, it is just as important to not overfeed your mare as it is to underfeed. Carrying the extra weight of a foal is already added weight that your mare must accommodate for, so unnecessary weight on top of that can be uncomfortable and hard on her joints.
As month 8 came around, I started to add Triple Crown Senior to her diet. I began with an additional 2 pounds on top of the 1 pound of Ration Balancer every day along with leafy, green alfalfa mixed hay. I would continue to give her a body score to be sure she was where she needed to be.
Now we are coming into month 10 (wow!) of her pregnancy and she is up to 4 pounds of TC Senior and 1 pound of TC Ration Balancer a day. She still has a body score of about a 6 and looks great. She is comfortable and still enjoys kicking up her heels with the other horses (adds about 10 notches to my anxiety levels). I will continue to feed her 1 pound of Ration Balancer and 4 pounds of Senior until her body score tells me we need to change.
Can’t wait to meet my little foal
As April approaches, I think of how quickly this process flew by. I look back on the day I decided I was going to breed my mare to the one and only Slick By Design, the day my vet told me she was pregnant, and finally to the day my surrogate took the foreign embryo. It has been a long, rewarding journey, and I cannot wait until I get to meet my little dream baby.
With the help of Triple Crown, I am confident my mare has the nutrients she needs, not only for herself, but the baby.
About the Author:
My name is Terra Mitzel and I currently live in Hudson, WI. My passion is barrel racing with my 8-year-old Quarter Horse mare, Frenchmans Chici Bug AKA Paris. We travel to many barrel races throughout the Midwest and a goal of ours this year is to get our WPRA permit. My plan is to raise the baby and train him/her to be my next barrel racing mount! I have had my horses on Triple Crown 30% for the past four years and I cannot say enough great things about their products. The shine, feel, and look is enough proof to show the quality in the feed. When I am not riding, I am busy working as a program buyer for Minnetronix Medical and exploring the outdoors.