Weanlings: Management and Care of Young Horses

Morgan foals in field

The process of weaning foals and managing young horses after weaning can become a stressful and high maintenance process. With the correct management practices, however, this process can become less daunting and easier on both the horses and owner.

Typically foals are weaned between four and six months of age. Foals of this age are usually becoming more independent, and are consuming more grass and/or grain and hay, relying less on their mother’s milk. Other factors such as the foal’s …

How do I know if my 3 week old foal is getting enough milk from the mare and how soon can I feed it?

If the foal looks healthy, bright and active, then it is probably getting adequate nutrition. 

If a foal is not getting enough, you will notice a lower body condition (less than 4 on a scale of 1 to 9), plus you may see the foal continually trying to nurse. However, remember that a foal normally nurses several times per hour. A typical foal will nurse, maybe play some and then nap.  Upon waking, the foal will stretch, then either interact …

New Reproductive Technologies for Horse Breeding Programs

With the advancement of equine reproductive technologies, horse owners have been given more options in their breeding programs. The following article discusses the logistics of using cooled semen, frozen semen and embryo transfer in order to provide a better understanding of each procedure.  

Advanced reproductive technologies such as cooled semen, frozen semen, embryo transfer and gamete inter fallopian tube transfer (GIFT) have given horse owners choices and freedom. Mares can be bred at home with semen collected from stallions that …

Standing a Stallion to the Public

Standing a stallion can be profitable and rewarding to a stallion owner. The stallion owner can eliminate many potential problems with a thorough understanding of the horse breeding business and by applying principles of organization and management to the breeding farm. The following article addresses stallion selection criteria, labor and facility considerations, breeding fees, personnel, mare care, advertising, communication, and breeding contracts.

Doyle G. Meadows, Professor, Animal Science; John E. Henton, Professor. Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of

Stages of Horse Parturition

Kathy Anderson, Extension Horse Specialist, University of Nebraska

Stage I

Parturition is typically broken down into three stages. Stage I, normally lasting 1 to 4 hours, reflects the initial uterine contractions and final positioning of the foal for delivery. These contractions will make the mare appear nervous and uncomfortable. Typically the mare will exhibit the following behavior.

  1. Appear restless, indicated by frequent interruptions in eating. She may stop chewing feed already in her mouth or she may pace the

Recordkeeping for Horse Breeding Activities

Accurate record keeping is essential in managing a horse breeding program. Records are needed for breeding management, estimating foaling dates, and evaluating breeding performance. The following article discusses the importance of accurate records in a horse breeding program.

David W. Freeman, Oklahoma State University Extension Equine Specialist 

On horse farms, the breeding shed is perhaps the most important place for accurate recordkeeping. Records are needed for breeding management, estimating foaling dates, and evaluating breeding performance. Record evaluation is essential in …

Stallion Breeding Management

Breeding stallions in efficient breeding programs require high maintenance and have certain management needs. This article gives an overview of management needs of breeding stallions. 

David W. Freeman, Oklahoma State University Extension Equine Specialist

Horse breeding enterprises are very diverse. Most people only own broodmares and contract breedings with stallion owners. Stallion owner enterprises range from those with a single stallion that may breed fewer than five mares per year to operations that stand several stallions and breed hundreds of …

The Mare: Breeding Soundness Examination and Reproductive Anatomy

A complete breeding soundness exam of a mare in an equine breeding program is important. The type, number and comprehensiveness of a breeding soundness exam will vary based on each mare. The following article discusses breeding soundness exams in mares.

Equine Section, Department of Animal Sciences, University of Kentucky

A complete breeding soundness examination should be conducted before you purchase a mare for breeding or the breeding season. This exam should include more than just an evaluation of the reproductive …

Understanding Reproductive Physiology and Anatomy of the Mare

A working knowledge of the mare’s reproductive anatomy and physiology is essential in a horse breeding program. This knowledge provides the fundamental basis on which all other principles of horse breeding rest. The following article discusses the reproductive anatomy of the mare and explains the importance of each part.

Steven M. Jones, Extension Horse Specialist, University of Arkansas; Tom R. Troxel Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Horse owners want to breed their mares for numerous reasons. Many owners have a beloved …

Weaning and Management of Weanling Horses

Management of weanlings and the weaning process can be complex and challenging. This article provides recommendations on preparing the foal to be weaned, weaning methods and care and management of the weanling horse.

David W. Freeman, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Equine Specialist

Young, weaned horses below the age of 1 year are called weanlings. During this time of life, the foals have been separated from their dams, are rapidly growing and are receiving training and management practices that have life-long effects. …