Equestrian terms: What is a broodmare?

If a mare is a female horse (or other equid), then what is a broodmare?

A broodmare, quite simply, is a mare that is used for breeding. A broodmare most often is kept exclusively for the purpose of producing equine offspring (foals), although some broodmares may also be ridden.

Broodmares may require special care and feeding, with additional veterinary visits scheduled for pregnancy checks and monitoring and with customized nutritional programs. Often, a mare that previously was shod will go without shoes, once she becomes a broodmare and is devoted primarily to breeding.

The gestation period for an equine is approximately 11 months, so many successful broodmares are re-bred (in heat) within a month or two after foaling, if all goes according to plan. Because an equine foal is usually not weaned for several months after birth, the broodmare may be rebred while still having a baby at her side. 

Top broodmares are generally valued for their proficiency at carrying healthy foals to term and transmitting excellent pedigrees, athleticism, and conformation to their offspring.

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