View Full Version : Thoroughbred breeder's - help pls!

13-02-05, 05:07 AM
Are there any breeders out there who have experience in conditioning a lactating TB mare? This is the first TB I have bred from and I have turned myself inside out to get her in a condition that I'm happy with, to no avail. Only have had exp with QH's in the past and never had this problem.

Her foal is now 10 weeks old and growing at an almost bizarre rate, he's HUGE and huger by the day, so she's doing a great job there!

The mare is 17 and this foal, from all accounts, could be her 10th or 11th. She is very healthy within herself, nice shiny coat, regular worming, teeth etc. She delivered the foal in 5 mins flat with no hitches like the true professional she is, (and what a beauty he is too, very happy there!). She is getting 2 hard feeds a day (Breeda/Oats/Cracked corn/Sunflower seeds/Lucerne chaff), and pretty much as much quality hay as she can eat, both Oaten/pasture and Lucerne.

She has NO topline whatsoever and a large hippopotamus tum. Are long time broodies subject to this big tum becoming permanent? I realise that she's not young and that she has certainly done her bit in the breeding department, so maybe this is just a result of these factors? I have actually confided in her that, after only 3 kids, my own topline's not so flash and my tums not as taught as it once was. People in glass houses, you know.

I'd appreciate any ideas, thanks.

13-02-05, 06:26 AM
I have worked on TB studs and have my own 7yo TB mare who is in foal for the second time. It sounds to me like your old girl is doing a fabulous job. After all those foals it is pretty normal for her to have a permanently stretched belly.

If her coat is shiny, she is happy and you know that her worming and teeth are up to date there is not a lot you can do. Her diet sounds pretty good and as long as she is not losing condition feeding such a big foal you are doing well. It is almost impossible to fatten a lactating mare, especially an older TB. Her milk production is at its peak at this stage as well. Poverty lines, prominent wither and a skinny neck are to be expected. As long as she has a bit of filling in her hindquarters (no sticking-out hip bones) and her ribs aren't sticking out. She should be easier to fatten up once the foal is weaned.

13-02-05, 07:41 AM
Thanks Jodie, what you have to say is reassuring.

No, she's not losing any condition at all. She's good & solid in the neck, just has the prominent wither and fallen away along the top. Her hindquarters are angular, but not bony I suppose.

Yeah, she's a good old girl and an unbelievable mother. She also has been helping me do things with the foal!..halter break him etc. She pushes him up and holds him at me where he can't get away..she's amazing. She also tells him off if he acts like an idiot around me, hooning and the like. It's been much appreciated as this is my first foal and her help has been invaluable!

I was originally going to move her on when the foal was weaned as I don't have a lot of room but I have now made her a promise that she has a home for life as I think she really has put in her fair share for us humans. She has raced, been shipped over from NZ, raced some more and then produced at least 10 foals. Her fate as a 17 yr old broodmare doesn't hold a lot of promise if she was sold. I'm no bleeding heart, but I figure that there sometimes comes a time when we've really gotta give something back to the special ones.

Jodie, at the risk appearing ignorant, can I ask how much work/what work did they do with the foals while they were still on their mums at the TB studs where you worked? To date I have only got the halter on, he's pretty good with that.

Thanks again!

13-02-05, 08:48 AM
What a good old girl she is. On studs, after the neo natal stage, often a bit difficult to do much with foals, apart from necessary drenching, feet, etc. I work with the foals alot from as early as possible. Great if you have (as you do) a co-operative mare - makes the job lots easier. The mare helps and the foal is usually quite confident. Makes weaning more comfortable as well.
Re the old dear's condition, sounds like she is putting everything into baby. I have had success with Mitavite's Athlete's Plus for a broodie who was a bit underweight. Lactation uses a helluva lot of calories.
I had one mare who three weeks after delivery looked like a maiden/two year old - she always kept her figure, even after 9 foals. Her daughter on the other hand, looked 14 months pregnant ALL the time. not enough sit-ups maybe.

26-03-05, 07:09 AM
Breed and grow is excellent for conditioning mares and is great for the little ones too. feed as much hay as you can get into her and also feed the breed and grow with lucerne and oatern chaff also. It sounds like she is a good mum and puts it all into her foal. Dont be too concerned as this happens alot with good mums. and yeah keep up the usal worming and teeth thing and should be all good. Another feed that is also good for mums is mitavite breeder but i prefer the breed and grow.

27-03-05, 04:26 PM
Bek, it IS perfectly normal for aged TB mares who have had a few foals, to take on the shape you describe. I read an article about it not so long ago, about breeders OVER feeding their broodies, because they had developed the 'slack backed big bellied' shape, which is actually quite normal.

Bearing in mind that a lactating TB mare with a foal of 8 to 12 weeks old, is working as hard as a racehorse, and using just as many calories. At 12 weeks of age, the mare is at the peak of lactation, and should be fed accordingly. You should be able to feel the ribs of the mare, but not see them, apart from maybe the very top of the ribs, just as a shadow. If she is full in the flanks, and her hindquarter is nice and full, then she is doing well.

My own tb mare is only 7, I weaned her second foal today, he is five months old and already 13.1hh (w/b sire). The mare has a great coat, is bright in the eye, and is nice and full over the rump, however she has a big tummy and her topline isn't as good as when she arrived as a 5yo, but then she is also back in foal, @ 50 or so days now.

What I have found to be really great, is Weightlifter. I've just changed all my horses over to it, from Mitavite Breeda and Economix. I was finding I was needing to feed too much Breeda to keep condition on, both the broodies, and the yearling colt. It just wasn't doing the job it used to do, so at someone's suggestion I changed the colt to Weightlifter, and after 4 weeks, he is a completely different horse. Two weeks ago I put the two broodies on it, as well as my 4yo warmblood mare. They have all put on weight, with the added bonus that I don't need to feed as much chaff, as the weightlifter has lucerne and oaten chaff pre-mixed into it. So I'm actually saving money, and I'm only using a bag and a half a week, as apposed to 2 bags of Breeda a week, plus whatever Economix the 4yo was getting!

My hard fed horses all get good quality native pasture hay ad lib, and they love it, they are all doing really well.

Sounds like you are doing everything right Bek, but if the mare looks at all 'peaky' in the rump from behind (you know, with a prominant spine and flat muscle on either side, sticking out hip bones), then you need to be giving her a bit extra.