When we think of motherhood, a horse may not be the first thing that comes to our mind. But the Clydesdale mare could give any good mother a run for her money. In fact, except for the size difference and the fact that she walks on four legs, you may think that the Clydesdale mare was a human mother. Of course, size is relative and for a Clydesdale, she does retain her girlish figure.
The Clydesdale mare is unique in the equestrian world as she is an extremely patient mother to her children. After a pregnancy that lasts for approximately eleven months, the foals are born and may weigh up to 180 pounds. This is definitely not a birth for a lightweight mother. The mare will wait with a great deal of patience for the foal to begin nursing. The mare instinctively understands that this first milk is the most important for the young foal. The initial nursing provides the foal with colostrum which contains the antibodies the foal needs to protect it from illness while its own immune system is strengthened.
The Clydesdale foals grow very quickly and will gain around 4.4 pounds per day for the first few months. The mare has the amazing ability to produce over 55 pounds of milk each day. This is done to support the rate of development that the foals need.
The bond that the Clydesdale mare develops with her foal can make her very protective instinctively. You should approach the mare and the foal carefully and only when it is necessary after the initial birth. The mare will keep her foal close by her side for the first few days of its life. She will not even introduce it to the other horses that may be nearby. The Clydesdale mare will watch her foal very closely even after she introduces it to the other horses socially. She will call it away or stay close by until it is ready to develop a relationship that is social with other horses.
The Clydesdale mare is a teacher to her young foal. The mare will teach her foal the skills that are necessary for it to be successful in its life. She will teach each skill as she deems the young foal is ready to learn. As she mothers her child, she will teach it the importance of understanding the dynamics that are needed when interacting socially with other horses. She will also teach the young foal how to accept contact with humans. The Clydesdale is very eager to interact with humans and please them. The mother will teach her child how to do it in a manner that is deemed safe and free of danger. The mare will teach the foal how and where to find its food and water as well as recognizing any dangers that may be present.
The Clydesdale mother will do everything in her power to help her child succeed. She also instinctively knows when it is time to let go and let her child soar and run on its own four hooves. When it comes to a great equine mother, look no further than the Clydesdale mare.