I got my mare in August, but for some reason I am just now thinking of these questions (maybe due to her recent behavior change)
1. How do you know when a mare is in heat? I know they do that "blinking" thing, but I make it a point not to see the back end of my mare too often- especially if I'm on the ground and she's running away. How else would I know?
2. When she is in heat- do I need to treat her differently? Like should I give her more days off or do easier workouts...
3. How often and for how long would she be in heat? Is it able to be marked on a calendar like for humans or is it just random?
4. She is only now turning 5, she should come into heat this year right? Because I didn't notice it last year.
5. What time of the year do they start coming into heat and then stop? I know it doesn't happen in like January and December...
I saw a thread on here about cleaning your mare's udder. Since I'm already posting this thread, I'll just throw my questions in here. I ran warm water on her udder and then, using a glove, I felt aroud and didn't feel anything that could be picked off. I've never cleaned her udder before- would it be something they did at the track? Am I missing something, or could it be that after 5 years of no know udder cleaning she is fine? Surprisingly she didn't kick me and there was this sound that she made that I've never heard from a horse before lol. I guess she appreciated that. Would the cruddy stuff be around her udder or just inbetween? Are there any other things I have to be aware of as a mare owner? Such as matinence stuff like the udder cleaning (never knew you had to do that before!) Sorry for the stupid questions!
So, I bought my first horse a year and a half ago, almost, a weanling filly. I dealt with her first heat, and I just this week saw the craziness that some mares can exhibit, as well as my BO telling me horror stories!
So, for my filly, I can easily guess when she's in heat because she's TWITCHY and distracted. =/
For Witch (new horse lol)...my god, the stud came in from his pen while she could see him from her stall on the other side of the barn...and she went crazy! Started being really loud and jumping around, trying to see if she could get over the top walls of the stall, kicked the stall walls a few times, etc! My BO laughed at me and said that was nothing!!! Apparently, every time her mare goes into heat she tries to jump over the walls, all these crazy things from the other mares boarded there....
So as far as what to look for, I guess it varies with the mare.
As for udders, they get this yucky dirty stuff around the area. Grab a white towel, paper towel or baby wipe and scrub around in between there, see what comes off. Some people use sheath cleaner on the area, apparently it works pretty well.
As far as the whole heat thing...I think they're distracted and ya can't really blame them, however they should still BEHAVE.
I LOVE mares, definitely prefer them to geldings. IDK, I don't see any moodiness at all. The only changes I notice is they get super lovey dovey when they're in. They want me to stand there and rub on them, and they want to rub on me. They don't ride any differently for me. When they're in, they squeal and do all their business for our stud, but as soon as they're caught/saddled it's back to business. My husband rides mares, too.
Well for my mare, she is always trying to catch the attention of the stallion. And he really likes chestnuts so... :) But I will just keep an eye out for wierd behaviors that happen consistantly. And I have a gelding and a mare. I like that the mare is like my best friend, while my gelding couldn't care less. Although, the mare is a bit of a drama queen...
It really depends on the mare. Some get super witchy when they're in heat, some will squat and pee whenever anything is near their butts (another horse, person, wheelbarrow, etc) and some mares hardly exhibit any different behavior.
Mares usually won't cycle in the winter months, november till march-ish, but it can depends on the weather as well. They usually start to cycle around 2 years of age, sometimes sooner, so if you hadn't noticed anything last year I would think that's she's one of the ones that doesn't act too horribly different when she's in heat. I don't do anything different when they're in heat, some mares get super witchy and uncomfortable and need to be managed differently, but that's not that common. Usually they come into heat once a month-ish for about a week. As far as cleaning the udder, most mares keep themselves fairly clean, it certainly doesn't hurt to check it and give it a quick wipe a few times a year.
Some mares in heat get really sensitive, say "ouchy" , around their flanks. I guess their ovaries might be making that area sore, so they may be more likely to buck if you put your leg on too far back.
Also, if no one has told you this, when you groom your mare, be sure you dont' brush all kinds of dirt down into her HooHoo. Brush it off to the side, not staight down over the dock, 'cause it'll go where it shouldn't.
I think a good bit of the equation depends on the environment, too. We have always had a stud. We just got a new one this year; a 4 yr old. We put our old stud down last year. Our mares are used to being around a stud, as his steel pipe pen joins the saddle horse feed pen, which opens into the pasture. Our stud has a very safe pen, so no one can get hurt, or cut, but it's close enough the mares come and squeal, show their business to him, etc. That's about the extent of it. If their in, lots of squealing, etc., but other than that, no unusual behavior.
We haven't had a colt on the ground in a couple years, so next year we'll have a few, God willing. Here are two mares turned in with the stud. The brown 4 year mare has a bone chip in her fetlock. The sorrel has a slight stifled injury, so we decided to get her bred. I think the exposure makes them all easier to be around, and handle. The stud doesn't act like an idiot, but that said, my husband has schooled him on behaving properly. I can't ever tell if the mares are in unless they're showing him their business and squealing like crazy. Lol
Also, if no one has told you this, when you groom your mare, be sure you dont' brush all kinds of dirt down into her HooHoo. brush it off to the side, not staight down over the dock, 'cause it'll go where it shouldn't.