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Handling horses when pregnant

15 replies

Positive21 · 04/10/2021 13:37

All I can find is advice about riding!

My old boy is retired save for a few walks or the odd bareback stroll for 15 mins. He is a good lad to handle for the most part and I don't have any concerns about safety. I'm curious as to physical though, how long did you manage to keep doing chores when pregnant and how soon after could you start again?

It's a very difficult situation as I had planned to move him to live out his years however he went down hill quickly. Now he's quite stable but it's that awful decision of lasting what feels like 7 years of horrible winter and getting through to next summer vs making the hardest, kindest decision before the new year.

I can't talk much about that side of it as I'm pretty heartbroken but just wanted some guidance on how long people lasted mucking out etc?

Any advice much appreciated!

OP posts:
LaBellina · 04/10/2021 13:39

No advice but didn’t want to read and run.
Congratulations on your pregnancy and I hope someone has some good advice to offer, must be a hard situation Flowers

Shmithecat2 · 04/10/2021 13:42

Not me, but a friend of mine carried on right through her pregnancy, with a few weeks break after having her ds with her 2 horses. She does have a helpful husband and 3 of her other dc were old enough to help out too. Is there no one you can call on to help? Or maybe advertise on a short loan?

AlCalavicci · 04/10/2021 13:48

Sorry I can't advise on the pregnancy aspect either but a few things you may be able to consider
Can he be rugged up and turned out during the day = less mucking out & grooming
Can you afford to pay someone eles to help with the grooming , Turing out etc
If the land is yours can a outdoor stable be built for him to shelter in

I am sure others will come along with some more ideas too

Positive21 · 04/10/2021 13:52

Thank you all for the quick replies!

Someone normally brings in or turns out for max only real issue is if our turnout gets shut. Unfortunately we are Essex so not great turnout. He's a tough chap and I've had him 19 years so don't think I'll have too many issues, just wondered if others had gone through the same.

I do have a lot of people round me who can help, my MIL and mum probably would bless them! Thank you ☺️

OP posts:
Heyha · 04/10/2021 14:04

I was ok doing most things with a few adaptations up til about 5 months then slowly dwindled off. I did have a summer baby though so they were living out during my heaviest bits of pregnancy and for a while after birth, I think that made a massive difference only having to pop and do the water a couple of times a day, token bit of food so no bags to hump round very often, and I did poo picking when I felt like it, mostly at weekend when DP had some daddy daughter time. I don't know how I'd have managed with a stabled one in winter although I was still manhandling sheep at shearing time at 8 months so possibly would have been ok.

So once I got a bump I stopped being comfortable with feed bags and bales- luckily I've used my supplier forever so he helped me out with unloading etc. Bought an extra hosepipe so didn't need to carry buckets or containers. Got less precious about poo picking every day. Mucking out was ok as coincided with them only being in overnight during first/second trimester, I switched to shavings and used a scooper and semi deep littered to reduce twisting etc. Two trips with the wheelbarrow where normally I'd have just done one big run. Your body really does tell you what it's happy with.

The actual handling was always fine but I know mine really well as it sounds like you do to. I stopped helping my friend hold one of theirs for vet sedation/feet as soon as I'd told her because that was a risk I wasn't happy with.

In terms of him being an old boy, though, I had to make the same decision for my big girl albeit when the baby was about 9 months old. She'd not come through winter well and didn't pick up in spring as she normally did so I decide to let her go before the flies came out. It was a horrible couple of days but I know I made the right call in our circumstances as I felt a touch of relief for her once she'd gone. I suppose its a case of, if he gets through winter ok is he going to have a nice spring/summer out of it afterwards? If not, is it worth the miserableness of winter? On the other hand, if you can manage and can afford to keep things going then it might be better to wait til the hormones have settled before making any huge decisions, I'm not one for the whole hysterical pregnant woman thing but it does affect you and having a horse you've had a long time PTS is a wrench at the best of times. Flowers

Nap1983 · 04/10/2021 14:08

I managed all yard chores for one horse right up till I gave birth. Think I had 3 days off once she was born… was a case of just doing the necessary but managed fine.

Shannith · 04/10/2021 14:36

@heyha just wanted to say that your extremely helpful post us why I love Mumsnet.

OP your old boy sounds lovely and after 19 years you'll know in your heart what the best decision is. He's a lucky lad.

It's a while since I've been pregnant and I didn't have my mare then but I agree with put him out as much as possible and shaving/deep litter if in - it does minimise the effort. If you've got people to help with lifting food/hay that will help.

After about 6/7 months I'd have been not much use for any lifting - or extremely slow. Which is fine if you have help to do those bits.

I know you are fine with handling but towards the end I'd be careful - mostly because your valence will be shot. My mare is easy to do but yesterday I ended up nearly splatted when turning her out as she spun to look at a squirrel (which she sees and ignores hundred of time a day). I was in a muddy gateway and only just managed to unstick my foot and save myself.

Congratulations and good luck.

Positive21 · 04/10/2021 15:14

@Heyha thank you so much for that reply. Probably would have been a bit easier that way 😅 he can cope physically lasting through the winter. I'm not too concerned about that but he's still quite young so if we are stabled for 6 weeks like last winter I have a feeling he will struggle mentally. But perhaps I'm wrong, maybe he will enjoy a snuggly winter where he doesn't have to do anything. It's so tough because people say they will let you know. He definitely hasn't let me know yet, but he is an incredibly happy boy. They are currently living out but I imagine will be in overnight by November.

I was thinking the same in terms of two barrows instead of one rtc. Our hay is round bales so no lifting big bales. For bedding we have a set of wheels too so just have to use that instead of lifting like I normally do 😂

My MIL is a bit precious already and I'm sure things will be fine but you never know how pregnancy will go so it's tricky to guess. Fingers crossed it all works out.

Luckily I don't really need to handle any other horses. Occasionally I bring in for a friend but I can do two trips instead of one and my horse is one of the bosses so I don't have a worry about gate antics with him 😂

But yea, my heart breaks even thinking about it for a second. My baby is actually due the day before his birthday which is so special and sad at the same time. I've had him since I was 11, he's my world. I always thought my children would meet him and ride him and he would be with me until they were teenagers but life doesn't always work to plan. I would be overjoyed if he was here to meet this baby though, oh my goodness that would be a dream come true 🥺❤️

@Nap1983 that's reassuring thank you! Hopefully I'll be able to cope and the worst weather will be done before I'm huge 😂

@Shannith he really is the best 💕 That's a very valid point about balance though actually! It's easy to forget (or not be able to imagine) that would be something to think of.

OP posts:
Heyha · 04/10/2021 15:57

I think you'll be fine then based on your update @Positive21 my old girl was the boss too so really did make bringing in and out a lot easier 😂 you do have to be kind to yourself and let things go if you're feeling rough, it doesn't kill them if you don't skip out one day for example as long as they're fed and watered which is the easy bit of course and can always be delegated in an emergency. Mine looked like muddy unkempt monsters when I had first trimester fatigue but they were fed, warm and dry (ish) and healthy so no harm done!

I had a thought about working and stuff as well, I looked up all the vet meds I use for my animals and basically concluded that disposable gloves wouldn't hurt but that was about all I needed to do, and when I did antiparasite spray treatment on the sheep I wore a proper mask but that's nasty stuff, not like normal horsey fly spray.

My old girl was 24 when she went, I'd had her 16 years and I knew it was time as she'd stopped bothering with bossing the others away from me/food/the gate. She just looked tired and fed up. So if yours is still cheerful I think there's a good chance he'll meet your baby 🙂

Heyha · 04/10/2021 15:58

Worming that should say.

mongoosebaby · 04/10/2021 17:21

I was doing everything with all of mine right up until labour both times. And I'm not some super healthy gym bunny, I am old and fat. I struggled more in the first trimester with morning sickness due to the smell. Only thing I avoided was treating for lice- no one could tell me if it was safe in pregnancy or not so I got help for that. I did split stuff into smaller haynets and did half full wheelbarrows. I even managed poulticing! However, everyone is different so it's hard to say. I had back up available if I couldn't manage at any point. Which was lucky as I got stuck in at a routine hospital appointment while I waited for a consultant to check me over- I was relieved it was one quick text to arrange horse care so I could focus on the baby.

Good luck with your old boy. I lost one of mine while I was pregnant and I hit me so so hard- like you, I had hoped my children would ride them, or at least meet them!

CountryCob · 04/10/2021 22:33

Congratulations on your pregnancy, I was ok until 5/6 months and then developed a condition which is not unusual where my pelvic bones hurt and towards the end even walking was quite sore. luckily the worst of that coincided with summer when he lived out with a youngster. Once I had the baby and my 6 week check I started riding again a little, still have him now and a pony for the now 6 year old child!! In the long run the pregnancy is a small time of it although I realise it is also a huge and important thing. I wouldn’t make any big decisions now or even when the baby comes unless you really have to. Good luck 😉

britnay · 05/10/2021 18:52

I had SPD, so it was very painful walking. I stopped poo-picking at 6 months and mucking out at 8 months. Couldn't manage rugs,boots, or hooves at that point either. I was still turning out and haying in the fields right up to the day before birth.

Positive21 · 08/10/2021 09:36

Thank you all so much again.

@Heyha yeah that's very true! I keep convincing myself he won't enjoy it if he's stuck in the stable the whole time but maybe I'm wrong, maybe he likes a good duvet day like the rest of us 😂 as long as I can keep him comfortable and content. Luckily our YO does the worming so that's not an issue for me 💕

@mongoosebaby it's heartbreaking isn't it. I've had him for 19 years and in my head, would have him until he was in his 40's and my children were all teens! Life obviously can't be planned like that. He did his SI when he was 11 (despite barely being ridden until he was 8) and then did his suspensory in approx May 2020. Had some time off but it didn't help, checked with vets in feb this year and retired. He's only 21 so it's hard because he still feels so young to me.

@CountryCob yeah there is that to worry about! Thank you. Hopefully he will breeze through the winter, his normal chill self so I don't have to make any decisions quickly.

@britnay thank you. I like hear the honesty about what people can and can't do.

He normally has soaked hay but that's
More during the summer. But worst case scenario there are plenty of people who would hang a Haynet for me or pick feet out. They are a lovely bunch. And my mum said she is happy to muck out for me if it becomes an issue later on etc. So hopefully should be all good. I'm hoping having him will keep me relatively fit through my pregnancy.

OP posts:
Ohshitiveturnedintomymother · 10/10/2021 08:41

I was mucking out during my very long, slow early labour in the hopes it got things moving (it did not). I gave up poo picking but that’s because I hate it, and was still managing with rugs etc on a horse and Shetland, although the little one was fun! Dc1 was a December baby so I managed the worst of the winter fine. Depends on mindset I would think, I wanted to carry on so did 🤷‍♀️

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