For many leisure riders, the details of horse breeding can be an unknown quantity. Below, our horse insurance team have set out the basics – such as how long is a horse pregnant for?
How long is a horse pregnant in months?
The short answer to this question is that a mare is pregnant for between 10 and 12 months, thus making 11 months the average gestation period for horses.
How many days is a horse pregnant?
A female horse’s gestation period is approximately 326 days to 354 days. Gestation can be as long as 375 days and the record longest gestation period for a horse is over 400 days – just over 13 months!
Interestingly, other members of the Equidae family have differing lengths of gestation. Donkeys and Mules have a slightly longer average pregnancy length than that of a horse - at 12 months or 365 days. Whereas a Zebra generally has a similar length of pregnancy to a horse at between 10 and 12 months.
Mares are innately programmed to give birth at the most hospitable time of the year for the foal – spring-time. This is believed to be an evolutionary development and a mare generally only has one pregnancy a year and will usually only have one foal in a given year. Most mares only carry one foal per pregnancy, although twins can occur on rare occasions.
All horses officially have the 1st January as their birthday, so even if a foal is born in June, in years to come, it will be deemed a year older every 1st January. For the first half of the year such a horse will often be described as ‘rising’ their age. For example; a horse that will have its sixth birthday in June of a year, will often be described as ‘rising 6’ for the months from January through to May.
Welfare of all horses is paramount, but no more so than when breeding is concerned. It is unadvisable for people with little equine experience to set out to breed a horse. For those contemplating breeding from their mare there are many things to consider and, it is vitally important to seek out expert advice.
More advice and information, including information for Young Breeders can be found on the World Breeding Federation of Sport Horses (WBFSH) website.
SEIB have been arranging insurance for horses for over 50 years. This experience allows us to tailor policies to suit your circumstances and ensure that you and your horses are covered should the worst happen.