Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2005 - 02:31 pm:
Our trainer is overloaded with mares and has a 21 year old well bred blue roan mare she wants to give us. She has only been bred once in her life this last year and when she went out to check on her she had a full-term dead foal laying there. There was not an autopsy done so she is not sure the reason it happened. My question is do you think it is worth it to take on this mare and breeding her to our stallion next year? I don't want a mare here that is not going to be able to reproduce or go full gestation and have a dead foal.
At 21 I'd say it's risky, but that's just my humble opinion. I guess there are differences from breed to breed. Some breeds being longer lived, etc, but to me a mare that old, with a record of one pregnancy for one stillbirth....doesn't sound like good odds for getting a foal.
As Lisa has correctly observed, a 21 year old mare is likely to have more reproductive problems than one half her age. Having said that, we frequently successfully breed mares in their 20's, but they will tend to require more intense management to achieve/maintain a pregnancy.
It may well be worth your while having an endometrial biopsy performed on this mare prior to accepting her - that will tell you a lot about the likelihood of increased breeding probelms (read "cost"!) - I always recomment applying the adage "always look a gift mare in the uterus"!
Assuming the biopsy score is acceptable the other item that may prove of value to you come breeding time is a full awareness of a condition called "delayed uterine clearance" which is common in older mares and is usually very easily managed with the use of oxytocin (follow that link for details).
I wouldn't say "no", but I wouldn't jump right in and blindly say "yes" either if I were you...
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