Your Guide to Equine Health Care

How to Predict Foaling

When will your mare foal? Learn the signs of impending foaling and what prognostic tools can help.

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How to Predict Foaling
Gestation length varies so widely in mares that it pays to monitor them closely in late gestation. | Photo: iStock

Learn the signs of impending parturition and what prognostic tools are at your disposal

Your mare was bred on June 1 of last year. Equine gestation is about 340 days (roughly 11 months), so her expected due date is coming up in a few months, around May 6. That 340-day figure is just an average, however, meaning it’s perfectly normal for a mare to foal as many as three weeks earlier or later than expected.

You’d like to be present at the birth in case there’s a problem, but that’s quite a window and you’ve got a lot going on this spring. Hovering over the expectant dam in the barn 24/7 is impractical and, quite frankly, could make her nervous and delay the process. Like many breeders, you’d like to be able to predict when exactly she might foal.

Good news: There are signs and tools to help. Here two reproduction-focused vets offer their expertise and suggest ways to take away some of the mystery, so you can be there for the big

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Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog,, she writes a biweekly blog at that comes out on Tuesdays.

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