As the proud owner of a 90+ day pregnant mare; I have been asked by my non-horsy group of friends if my mare "knows" she's pregnant (like a human mentally knows she's pregnant and plans for the birth). I guess this is too hard to answer, but I thought it would be a good question to post to others to get your opinions! So, are our pregnant mares simply acting on hormones? Or do they cognitively understand that they are pregnant? Do their pasture mates "know" they are pregnant too?? Looking forward to your responses!
Sandy Posted From: 126.96.36.199
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 06:05 pm:
My feeling is that a mare probably does know once the foal actually starts moving around. But I would think that would be on mares that have had previous foals and it would be more of a familiarity type of knowing. They can maybe remember that the feeling they are experiencing with the foal kicking means that they will have a little one to take care of one day. I think a maiden mare seriously doesn't have a clue as to what is happening. As for the pasture mates knowing: I sometimes wonder if they do have somewhat of an instinct about it. I have watched the behaviors of my herd of mares, and I can see that they do almost act like they have a certain instinct about it. I wouldn't say they "know" as in, "hey, when are you due? Do you want a boy or a girl?" But more of an animal instinct. I do believe there is definitely a maternal instinct involved, but I don't know if there is an actual cognitive knowledge involved.
Anonymous Posted From: 188.8.131.52
Posted on Thursday, August 26, 2004 - 11:11 pm:
Thanks Sandy, that's along the lines I was thinking too. I guess we can't give them the human "emotion" aspect of pregnancy! I hope my maiden doesn't freak too badly when that baby delivers! It has been a running joke at the barn that she may decide she's not sure where the "other" horse just came from! Truly, I believe in instincts and think she will do the right thing. Interestingly, she is pastured with her dam (maude) and Maude has taken to letting the daughter help her eat her grain! This is totally not like Maude who normally helps herself to everyone elses! We can correlate the behavior to right around the start of Lilly's pregnancy. We aren't sure if it's Maudes' maternal instincts kicking in towards Lilly but nevertheless, very interesting!
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