If is Feasible - keeping a mare and foal on an "ordinary" livery yard

19 August 2009
I am possibly pipe dreaming but I really want to put my Fell pony mare in foal. She is a proven broodmare and her now grown up colt foal won SEIB search for a stars M&M championship. She has competed successfully in dressage, trec and showing despite the notable handicap of having me as a rider.

I have wanted to breed my own since I was a little girl playing with Britains Farm animals and had always assumed I would have my own land some day. Now in my mid fifty I have accepted that I will not be able to afford my own place and finding a field to rent where I live is harder than finding a money tree. I keep pony at livery on a biggish yard with restricted turnout in winter, 24-7 in summer. its v hilly as an area.

My lovely yard owner's eyes lit up when I suggested this as an idea and she and her husband are willing to set part of their lambing field to one side for a mare and foal to be turned out rather than their going in with all the other liveries. My stable is quite large and yard owner is willing to put my mare in her huge stable so she can foal in it. Saldy my old boy was PTS in there so it kind of starts and ends a circle if that makes sense.

My concerns however are:

1. would mare be stressed by comings and goings on the yard- she is quite nosy and simply watches at the moment
2. I would have to lead foal across a lane and up a drive to the turnout from my stable - perhaps she could stay out once foaled?
3. children on yard might try to get in stable to see foal and get squashed by mare or let foal out
4. worried that mare or foal might die in foaling. Farmer has lambed sheep and calved cowes and vet would be on call.

Has anyone else bred successfully when based on a livery yard?
24 November 2010
Buzzing about the south east
I have my own yard, I wouldn't have 1 mare with foal, despite having room. I have bred a few native foals in the past, inc Fell ponies but always had at least 2 mares if not 3, in foal at same time.
I brought a mare this year, who unexpectedly foaled down 2 months later (5 days after running clear xc), I posted her straight back 2 weeks later, as soon as foal was old enough to travel.
Foals need to socialise with others the same age.

Could you look at alternative places where the mare and foal will have suitable company and surroundings?


Well-Known Member
5 December 2010
I get rescues in and a few have had foals at home here. I cope with them on my small yard at home, I have one just weaned today, but it will go off next weke to a large field to socialise with other youngsters. I think a foal on a livery yard set up like you have will risk being over-handled and will have no suitable playmates. Foals also have an uncanny knack of injuring themselves on anything possible. I had one break a leg last year and it was heartbreaking. There are yard that specialise in youngstock and i'd be very tempted to go to one of them if that was an option for you?


Well-Known Member
28 March 2011
I think all the problems are manageable apart from age apporiate company for the foal .
I had one mare for ages before I had two when she had her first foal she was in a paddock on her own when the foal was six weeks old she jumped into the other field with all the other horses .she did while I was there almost as if she was showing me what she wanted I let the babe through and within half an hour she was flat out sleeping and the foal was playing with her new aunts and uncles they cared for that foal so beauifully.
But I don’t think you could do that on a livery yard .


Well-Known Member
27 July 2010
The mare is just a normal horse but pregnant, but a foal needs to be in a stable non threatening herd, so it can learn and play. Mums get others to baby sit after the first few weeks, and eventually the foal finds a buddy.
I do not handle my foals, they come with their mum, they are wormed and see the farrier but they are basically brought up by horses. All the problems I see, usually when I have bought them in, are due to them being over handled and treated as pets. The ones that are 'wild' are no trouble and soon get to know where the foods coming from.