Last updated on January 4, 2024
How to Keep Your Broodmare Healthy Throughout the Breeding Process
Much like for human mothers, pregnancy can be physically taxing on broodmares. The gestation period for horses is roughly a year (320-380 days) so it is vital to the mare and foal’s well-being that the mama horse is in prime health before being bred. Starting the breeding process (or continuing it) may seem daunting. We put together a few ways to ensure your broodmare is in tip-top condition, which hopefully will mean strong, healthy foals.
Get Your Broodmare Started on Animal Element BEFORE You Breed
If your broodmare isn’t on Animal Element yet, DO IT NOW! We recommend both Foundation Daily Detox and NuTrack Digestive Support. The combination of these two supplements helps keep the body running exactly how it’s supposed to and allows for optimal nutrition absorption. The longer she is on these supplements, the more benefits you’ll see. Not just in the mare but also in her foals.
Animal Element advocate Holly Alegria runs a Harland line breeding program in Casa Grande, Arizona. She attributes the health and size of her colts, and how easily her mares breed and hold their pregnancies, to the fact that they’ve all been on FDD and NuTrack for years. She’s also noticed that her broodmares stay content during pregnancy, even right before foaling. Holly’s top advice for anyone getting ready to breed or wanting to improve their program is to “definitely get your horses on those [FDD and NuTrack] before you breed because it does help!”
Read more about how Holly uses Animal Element on her property here.
Adjust Feed Amount as Necessary
If your broodmare is on the thinner side (a body condition score of under 5), she will need to put on weight before being bred to make impregnation easier. According to the Department of Animal & Food Sciences at UK Martin-Gatton, “mares with BCS below 5 (moderate) have lower conception rates, require more cycles per conception, and cycle later in the year than mares with condition scores of 5 or higher. Many mares with BCS below 5 will get pregnant, but it may require more work and happen later in the year than desired.” (Fox Valley Equine Practice has a great BCS visual.) On the opposite side of the spectrum, there doesn’t seem to be any reproduction advantage to a mare who has a BCS of 7 or higher. 
During gestation, the mare will provide nutrition to the developing foal by using the additional nutrients from her increased feedstuff. However, if she’s not eating enough to sustain her AND the foal, nutrients will be leached from her body and given to the fetus. This can cause deficiencies and health issues in the dam.
Fun fact: foals are born at up to 60% of their mature height! That’s a big baby that needs a LOT of nutrition before and after birth.  FDD and NuTrack will help the mare’s body use all the nutrients available to her, and cleanse her body of toxins acquired through environment or feed. They also add important vitamins and minerals necessary for complete health.
To read more about how this works, check out this blog.
Stay on Top of Other Health Maintenance
For the mare to reach her top condition, it’s important to pay attention to other health issues besides weight/feed. It’s recommended to stay on top of vaccinations, as the mother can pass on those antibodies to the foal in utero. This will bolster the foal’s immune system until they can be vaccinated themselves.  Staying with your deworming schedule will make sure that vital nutrients aren’t being robbed from the mother and foal. Likewise, keeping up with dental care will make sure that the mare can eat without any issues or pain. Paying attention to hoof health also improves the overall health and comfort of the broodmare.
Holly agrees. “If you’re not doing the proper setup with hooves and everything else, you can’t fix everything with supplements,” she warns. “If you’re gonna breed….really set that broodmare up to give you the best quality foal you can.”
Animal Element Can Help With Broodmare Health
At the core of it all, you want your broodmare to be in her best health before breeding, not just during pregnancy and lactation. Foundation Daily Detox and NuTrack Digestive Support are the best supplements for providing vitamins and minerals. And they also aid the body in all of its functions and improve nutrient absorption. FDD flushes the system of toxins and heavy metals, and NuTrack improves gut health. Togethtere they allow your horse to get the most out of their feed.
Getting your broodmare on both of these supplements before breeding begins will improve the chances of having a healthy, uncomplicated pregnancy that produces a strong, vibrant foal. You can order FDD and NuTrack straight off our website or contact your local AE dealer to place an order! Don’t forget to take before and after photos…we love to see them!
All content is meant for informational purposes only. Please consult your veterinarian. Proudly written for Animal Element by the team at FaithHanan.com
1-2. Lawrence, Laurie, and Fernanda Camargo, “Feeding the Broodmare: 4 Easy Steps.” University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton Department of Animal & Food Sciences. https://afs.ca.uky.edu/content/feeding-broodmare-four-easy-steps
3. “Proactive Care Tips for Broodmares.” Equus, June 20, 2023. https://equusmagazine.com/horse-care/breeding/proactive-care-tips-for-broodmares/