//Horses: Breeding and reproduction – Gustavo Mirabal Castro
Horse breeding and reproduction

Horses: Breeding and reproduction – Gustavo Mirabal Castro

Equine breeding and reproduction is a process that involves experience and precision. This process must be carried out by a person with the necessary knowledge. Not anyone can supervise breeding and reproduction.

It is known that these processes take time and have a duration, they also imply details. That is why those who participate in this process have to be highly trained. Otherwise these can cause problems in the lives of horses.

Most best breeding horse Big male horse vs Nice mare

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Breeding and reproduction

The breeding and equine reproduction has been carried out for many centuries. This is done for sports or commercial purposes.

Although we can not fail to mention those who are dedicated to the reproduction of horses either to obtain food or leather products.

Next we are going to tell you what you have to know about the breeding and reproduction of horses. At least general aspects so that nobody deceives you.

Equine color derivated of horse breeding
Equine color derivated of horse breeding

General aspects of horse breeding and reproduction

Equine reproduction has to be supervised just like the breeding process. Since these animals, although in their initial phase they get up and walk, they depend on their mother. And the mare in turn depends on the environment in which it is found. This is where the human comes in as an agent preparing the environment for the mare to give birth in ideal conditions.

On the other hand, the foal requires supervision and help in case he deserves it. Another aspect that should be considered is the appropriate age for the horse to reproduce. Remember that horses enter their mature phase when they turn two.

The ideal age for reproduction in horses is four years old, when they are even more mature and strong. At four years is that the equines reach sexual maturity. Sometimes there are specimens that have the ability to start their reproductive age after 18 months, in full puberty.

While in the case of mares, they must wait for the age indicated to start their breeding process, since it is better to wait for the entire growth process to end.

In practice, horses have or may have prolonged sexuality. In the case of mares, it can be extended to more than 15 years. On the other hand, male specimens can become fertile throughout their lives.

Luis Javier Sánchez Navajas, horse breeding expert, the ideal season to begin the reproduction process is in the spring.

This season can be extended until summer.

“This season is the most indicated, since the females are in a moment of greater receptivity and the segregation of hormones are stimulated with greater ease”, Luis Javier Sánchez

Horse breeding american quarter horse
Horse breeding american quarter horse

In what season do horses breed?

Horses breed at any time of the year. But the time when horses are in heat and/or more prone to reproduction is in the spring.

Mammals and other animals find in this flowering season their ideal moment for reproduction.

One of the elements that make spring the ideal breeding season is the abundance of food. Let us remember that spring is the season in which plants bloom and bear fruit.

In addition the weather in the spring is more benevolent, with pleasant temperatures and rains without excess but without fail.

It is also a season when the production of animal hormones increases. This is because the abundance of light resulting from the inclination of the earth’s axis stimulates photoreceptor cells. This stimulates areas of the brain that increase the production of substances responsible for cell cycles in animals.

Some breeders use this circumstance to artificially manipulate the reproductive cycle.

To do this they make use of artificial light to stimulate the production of necessary hormones. This accelerates or advances the reproductive cycle of the horses to meet the needs of the breeders.

It is important to remember that the maturity of the horses begins at 2 years. But reaching full sexual maturity takes up to 3 to 4 years of age.

El potro con su madre
El potro con su madre

How to improve the possibilities of reproduction?

It is important to consider the biological processes of horses to improve their breeding opportunities. Puberty in horses occurs from:

  • 15 to 24 months for mares
  • 14 to 18 for male horses

It is also important to allow the full sexual development of mares because it is not just an issue that they are able to get pregnant. It is important to consider that the mare is the receptacle of pregnancy and its maturity is a guarantee of a complete development for the colt.

This development will allow the mare to face the moment of delivery and get out of it healthy.

The menstrual cycle of the mares is 21 days. The mare’s zeal cycle is short-lived and is estimated to be 5 days. Therefore, you have to be attentive to the signals so that the ride can be done at the right time.

Veterinarians and experts recommend that the horse mount to the mare at the beginning of the zeal cycle to increase the chances of pregnancy. This is because those early hours correspond to the ovulation cycle.

Specifically some veterinarians point out that mating should occur between the first 10 and 48 hours of heat. By doing this we are high chances of achieving a successful pregnancy.

Horse breed and reproduction
Horse breed and reproduction

Pregnancy care for horse breeding and reproduction

Pregnancy care is one of the keys to successful reproduction.

One of the keys to bringing an equine pregnancy to fruition is food. The diet should be recommended by the veterinarian.

In general, a nutrient-rich and varied diet is recommended to balance its composition.

Nutritional supplements are also recommended to alleviate the potential deficiencies of a controlled diet and ensure the development of the colt.

We must monitor the development of the horse very carefully as the gestation period is variable.

Due to this from the 10th month of gestation, constant monitoring of the mare is recommended.

It is important that people with knowledge and experience monitor how colt development evolves.

Later we will learn a little more about the period of the gestation of the horse and its phases.


Equine reproduction: natural or artificial

Equine breeding and reproduction can be done in t

wo ways: natural or artificial.

When we talk about artificial reproduction we mean insemination. This is widely used especially when it comes to combining genes to create a certain horse.

One of the amazing things in the equine world is the ability to combine races to get a better horse. The horse obtained will have similar characteristics to those of its parents, which is why it is a very serious and delicate work at the same time.

It is recommended that the person in charge of the crossings has a lot of experience, intuition and pulse so that all things go well. Supervision should never be lacking in this process because the male can hurt the mare with a movement.

Mare’s Gestation

If a woman’s pregnancy lasts 9 months and we think it is long.

In the case of the mare, the gestation period exceeds that of the human being. The gestation period in horses extends for 11 months. In other words, breeders have to wait almost a year to see the foal born.

After approximately six hours of sexual contact between the mare and the horse, it is fertilized and from that moment the stage of embryo development begins.

After fifteen days after sexual contact between the mare and the horse, no physical changes are evident. Despite this, if emotional and behavioral changes are detected towards male horses. Therefore, experts do not need to wait 21 days to know if the mare got pregnant.

After this time the embryo is already the right size and can be detected by ultrasound or rectal examination.

Mare and foal
Mare and foal

The breeder’s role

As we said at the beginning of this article, the breeder has a fundamental role. It will be the breeder who will act in emergencies and must be prepared. The breeder has to know what to do and when to enter the scene.

This gives the horse and the mare an accompaniment in this process. The breeder is also responsible for ensuring their reproduction.

The breeder is also responsible for marketing them for sports purposes. It can also be in charge of marketing the products that are derived from animals. In the case of the horse, the products derived from the horse are milk, manure, leather, meat, among others.

Breeders often mix the breeds to influence the characteristics they want the animal to have. This is done in order to create champions of races, jumps, complete contest, etc.

Breeders are responsible for creating the necessary conditions for horses to grow and live. That is why it is important that they have a special sensitivity to the needs of horses.

Characteristics of the space for breeding horses

  • The facilities must be suitable and comfortable.
  • The stay will be much more pleasant for the mare and the horse if in the place where they are there is a wide and dry area of ​​herbs.
  • Horses tend to adapt better to the oceanic climate; since it is in this climate that food grows at the right rate. Otherwise, there would not be enough food.
  • Very humid climates should be avoided. In them there is a risk that the horses develop parasites. Stagnant moisture is the enemy of horses.
  • The breeder has to ensure the existence of a veterinarian nearby for any emergency with the health of the horses.
  • This has to ensure that there is one hectare of grass per horse in the area; Of course, this figure varies according to the type of horse, and if you receive any other ration of extra food.
  • Breeders must always be attentive to the legs of horses; since these are prone to get sick. (see article on equine laminitis)

Some important points about breeding and breeding horses

  • Mares near 18 months of age reach puberty.
  • The breeding season begins with spring and extends until the beginning of winter
  • Mares go into heat repeatedly during the breeding season.
  • From puberty they go through a heat cycle every 3 weeks in the breeding season.
  • The mare’s heat lasts from 2 to 8 days depending on the cycle, her health, the age of the mare and the season.
  • The heat is usually longer at the beginning in the spring and only 2 to 3 days when winter begins to approach.
  • Exposing mares to long periods of artificial light can bring forward the breeding season.
  • Gestation lasts from 330 to 342 days. Lighter horse breeds have longer pregnancies (340 to 342 days). Heavier breeds have shorter pregnancies, which last 330 to 340 days.
  • A pregnant mare usually only sires a single foal. Twins in horses are extremely rare.
  • Shortly after birth, foals can stand up to be nursed and begin walking.

Adequate spaces for breeding and reproduction …

The horses must be in adequate spaces for their size and behavior. The horses usually play and jump high with great force and for that reason the ceiling of the enclosure where they are has to be taller than them. This way we will avoid getting hurt playing.

In the case of the fence that defines the area of the horses, it must be quite high. The fence must also be sturdy because they have a lot of strength and must have visibility. It should not contain barbed wire, as it can cause injuries to the horses. In the same way it should be monitored that there are no thorny trees that can cause injuries to these animals.

It is important that the area determined for horses has a cozy space. This space should allow them to protect themselves from rainy or cold weather.

Gustavo Mirabal ‘s tips on horse breeding and reproduction

Gustavo Mirabal Castro as an expert entrepreneur and passionate about horse breeding and reproduction recommends us:

  • Having expert veterinarians to prevent more than cure diseases
  • Have adequate spaces for the integral development of the horse
  • Give a balanced diet that avoids all kinds of diseases associated with nutrition
  • Have spaces that not only protect, but make the stay of horses enjoyable. Horses are sensitive animals and require good treatment for their psychic health.

These are some of the keys that Gustavo Mirabal has used in his equestrian ventures. If you want to know more about Gustavo Mirabal or his recommendations we recommend you visit his page.

As you can see the work of breeding and reproduction is hard, requires patience, passion and dedication. That is why it can not be taken lightly and much less to invent when nothing is known about the subject. Study and document more and maybe you can take care of the horses and their dreams over time.





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