Cortisol is involved in the initiation of parturition and we hypothesized that increased maternal cortisol release advances the onset of foaling. Transport is a stressor for horses and induces an increase in cortisol release. To determine stress effects on the time of foaling, late-pregnant mares were transported by road for 3 hours (n = 12) or remained in their stable as controls (n = 4). Starting on day 325 of gestation, saliva and blood samples were taken for cortisol and progestin analysis, respectively. Fetomaternal electrocardiograms were recorded repeatedly. Mares were checked for impending parturition and changes in precolostrum pH. When pH decreased to 6.5, mares were either transported or left untreated. After birth, saliva was collected repeatedly from mares and their foals and heart rate (HR) was recorded. Foals were checked for maturity and health. Gestation length was 337 ± 2 days in stressed and 336 ± 2 days in control mares. Cortisol concentration increased from 3.3 ± 0.9 to 8.4 ± 0.8 ng/mL in transported mares (P < .001) and remained constant in controls. Maternal HR and heart rate variability (HRV) did not differ between groups and neither fetal HR nor HRV changed in response to transport. In transported mares, time from precolostrum decrease to parturition was shorter (40 ± 10 hours) than the respective time in controls (134 ± 49 hours, P < .01). Neither duration of foaling nor times to first standing and suckling of foals or the postnatum increase in HR and decrease in HRV differed between groups. In conclusion, transport-induced maternal cortisol release may have advanced the onset of foaling.