Mare in Distress While Foaling

​​QUESTION:  After my mares are bred, can I leave the mares and the stallion together until next Spring?  Will I be able to remove one of them to work or will they become really buddy sour?  I have a filly that has been in withe mares, but I am going to breed her to a different stallion.  Will I be able to reintroduce her into the herd?  - Mike

Just the kind of information I am seeking.  Thanks so much for sharing your experience.  We'll see how it goes and take it slow and easy.  Watching.  I won't take anything for granted until we see that there is peace.  Don't think I'll take a chance of leaving the stud in at foaling time, but that's a long way away . . . Thanks again for the experiences. - Mike

​Any buddy sour problems are no different for this herd dynamic than any other.  Training a horse to leave the herd to go with you, the herd alpha, is a matter of working with them to let them know they are safe with you.  Papa stayed with his mares when they were pregnant.  He learned a lot then but life apart from making babies.  It all requires diligence on your part though to make sure all are safe - Kaite

After I bred Jaz to Magnum last year, I left her with him all year, and right up to within 2 weeks of her foaling time.  They were wonderful together, I think that having a mare with him as company helped sooth Magnum.  He was a happy camper.  Jaz told him how to behave - Jan

I never stop learning, but early on I bred Monarch to two older mares and about a month later put him out with a mare group.  All went well for a few days, until I put those two already bred mares into his herd.  He treated them as invaders and clobbered both.  Both had a forced abortion of their fetuses.  One didn't foal at all the next year and the other rebred and foaled in late August of the next year.

I've been told that its a no no to add mares after the initial herd is set.  I've been successful if I remove the stallion, wait a day, at least, then put him back.

Cheryl Palmer said that Dun Roven Chelseas Image would only fight an outside mare if he could still see his mares.  If taken out of sight, he would usually cover a stranger.

During the last few days, two mares were close, across a 30 foot roadway, to Swanky.  Both showed heat.  Neither would tease or stand for our selected stallion.  Both had to be re-teased to Swanky before they would stand for our stallion of choice.  As if they didn't think few spots are desirable???  Once bred in hand, Jocie was content to be in pasture with Ghost.  We tried the same trick with Sundance and she fought, after being quietly bred in hand, like a banshee for a half hour.  We thought she would kill Comanche, but it was too late to intercede.  He survived and they settled down, finally, but he sure had the crap kicked out of him.  Very scary! - Milton

Stallions and mares are just like people - full of their own preferences and personalities.  Neither Howl nor Sunny never cared if the mares in their groups were bred by them or another stud, if the mares had foals at side sired by another stud, or if we randomly added or removed mares in a herd.  The biggest problems we've had has been the mares  - one outside mare was fine in a group of mares, but so possessive of a stud she was with even after settling that she would viciously drive any new mare from the pasture, and two of our mares are very possessive of the stud during breeding, even attacking a top ranking mare and the stud if he showed interest in the other - you'll have to be watchful until you figure out the tendencies of each of your horses. - Megan

Chancy's Hafabuck was pretty aggressive about claiming her stallion for herself.  The other mares got bred, but she wasn't in favor of it.   I've also herd of stallions killing new born foals.  We try to have all mares already foaled that are in a given mare band.  Others may get away with leaving stud in foaling pasture, but in wild mothers go off by themselves to give birth, so we keep studs away from birthing.  - 

WN Eagle tried to kill his son after he was a month old.  He big abcess on his knee broke and Eagle smelled the blood and puss - it turned his loving father into a killing machine - horrible to see.

For much of this stuff we can disagree, but I use the cautious approach and try to stay out of trouble.  Like yesterday, we got away with that and have a young stallion that is pasture breeding, however, one of those dozens of very hard kicks gone wrong and we would be hauling away a horse that had to be put down.  Thankfully we got a reprieve. 

A story, told many times in recent years is that the males kill the young so that the females will be breedable sooner.  Maybe this is a convenient story, but I know lots of men that couldn't reason that far ahead.  To attribute that much reasoning to a male lion, male horse, or other animal is a stretch that I can't believe.  Males will and do kill babies, out of something instinctive.  Some will kill at times and not at other times.  I can't explain, but I don't think their reasoning is that advanced.

I believe that any horse is just an open gate away from the wild.  After observing wild horses whenever I can, I think horses gone berserk can be extremely dangerous.  The old trainer that helped me for eight years, let his stallion out of our stud barn to give him a graze one day.  The apple of Mick's eye took a fe mouthfuls, looked at Mick, jumped on him, grabbed him by the shoulder, picked him up and smashed him onto the ground.  No reason could be determined for this.  The stallion then walked back to his stall.  Mick couldn't work for two weeks.  - Milton

Just my opinion, after your mares are bred and settled, they should be goowith the stallion.  Same for the filly, if she is bred and settled, she should be able to go back with the herd. - Charles

I believe it should be based on the mare; not all mares belong with the stallion for risk of twins.  There are mares who still drop eggs even if they are 28+ days pregnant.  I have one mare that I will never leave with the stallion once bred as she was dropping an egg and 28 days on the other side.  Even my vet said that she should not be pastured with a stallion for risk of twins - Allison

You will have to be careful.  I know friends who had a stallion that badgered the filly/mare that was not pregnant with this foal until she miscarried.  I am sure this is very rare, but it does happen - Belinda

I do not leave my stallions with the mares as I have two stallions and not enough room to give them their own herd space.  However, John always said that the best way to teach a young stallion his manners was to put him in with several settled mares.  He said they  would not take anything off him and he would learn real quick. - Sandy

Amen, Sandy.  Stormy entered his "den" of four mares and felt pretty important.  Now that he has done his duty, he is the bottom of the pecking order and sure knows his place.  He is happy with them and not doing his thing!  Your comment made me smile . . . he learned real quick!  -  Scott