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Mare Services > Reproductive Troubleshooting

Why Won’t my Mare Go in Foal?

  • older mares are not as fertile and do not always cycle properly

Just as humans lose their reproductive capability, horses do as well. At a certain point which varies between mares, normal cycling will stop and/or the eggs produced are not as viable. There is little that can be done after a certain point, but to give your older mare the best chance, choose a young, fertile stallion. Fresh semen (rather than chilled or frozen) would also be a good choice.

  • mare could be infected

Some mares come to QEC with cloudy fluid in the uterus during estrus. Fluid could mean the uterus is infected, lowering or eliminating chances of pregnancy. In this case, a swab from the mare’s uterus will be taken and sent to a lab for examination. Veterinarians can then use the results to treat the mare- many can be treated then bred in the same cycle. If your mare has a history of infection, please notify the QEC veterinarians so that she may be swabbed before breeding to be sure she is clean.

  • stallion and mare do not mesh at a cellular level

Throughout the season, the centre sees mares that simply will not go in foal cycle after cycle. If the mare is clean and cycling properly it is hard to diagnose exactly why. The veterinarians at QEC recommend if your mare does not go in foal after two or three cycles to the same stallion to consider a change of stallion. The reason could lie in the molecular configuration of reproductive cells for that particular stallion or mare.

  • semen quality

QEC vets would like to see extended semen samples be at least 50% alive and progressively motile prior to insemination. This is more difficult with chilled semen as transport conditions can be unpredictable. Frozen semen should be at least 30-40% motile. If semen arrives at QEC under these levels, it may decrease the chance of your mare becoming pregnant.

  • Other factors may include time of year, athletic stress, condition of mare, and if the mare has a foal at foot.