Mare in season
Hi! I have a very nice mare and I have a question about whether anyone has noticed if mares tend to be less interested in food when they are in season? I had a mare long, long years ago when I first got into horses and she never seemed to be especially uninterested in eating when she was in season, but then I wasn't maybe as watchful back then. My mare is romping and being her normal self in every other way. She has no temp, is not standing with head down and ears back like she is sick. She eats her morning and night feed but when I put hay out she will eat for a while and then just seems to rather stand by one of the geldings while they eat or put her nose on my shoulder and follow me all around like a puppy while I'm out at the barn. My hay has not changed. It is very good quality and my mare is young and teeth are in great shape. She is not off her feed and doesn't seem to be losing weight. I've used this "quiet time" she is having to do ground work with her and that is a bonus because she is very "connected" to me, at least for now.
How do you she is in season at these times?
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In Michigan in January, your mare should not be in season. Mares are seasonally polyestrus meaning the come in heat multiple times over the spring and summer unless bred. The mare's season is controlled by the amount of light she is under. This is why thoroughbred breeders put mares under lights starting in September and through breeding.
This is not so say your mare absolutely CANNOT be in heat.. just it is unlikely. Either that or she is entering this "pre-heat" phase where she may build follicles that are retained for awhile that do not rupture and then resorb.. sort of like gearing up for the season in April to begin.
The only way to be sure of her "condition" is to have the vet come out and do a rectal on her to see if she has a follicle (or even multiple follicles this time of year).
Every day is a day to train your horse.. in season or not!
Painthorsemares, the reason I thought my mare was in season is that she is more verbal now. She occasionally squeals at my geldings. She has usually quiet and doesn't normally squeal. She hasn't been lifting her tail or "winking". I guess I'm reading her wrong. Could it be that she is just maturing and moving into the adult horse that she will be? Elana, I have been ground training her all along. I've just noticed that since this has begun lately (as in the past week and a half) that she seems more connected to me and is much easier to work with. I guess I need to learn more about mares and the personality differences between them and geldings. Any information would be gladly taken! Thanks so much :)
If she starts lifting her tail, winking, backing into, or peeing right next to another horse then you know she is in season. Many mares will not show at all except to stallions, and some will show to other mares (especially the first cycle or two of the year).
As far as personality differences with geldings...
- Most importantly, disregard (or place in the back of your mind) all the things you've heard about mares always being a PITA when in season. Our mares may get fussy with each other a bit more (especially if more than one are in season at the same time), but they are never fussy with me. If you treat them different, they will be different.
- You do, however, need to be attentive when riding a mare in season around stallions. That instinct is very strong in some mares and a poorly behaved stallion will just make the riding worse.
- Mares are very serious about their pecking order, in my experience more so than in geldings. They will fuss with each other, so you always want to make sure you are the 'boss mare' and you'll have no trouble at all.
I had a mare who displayed no symtoms until she was 10 and much easier to observe. She did come in to heat twelve months of the year but during the winter was barely perceptive. Very strong in March, April and May then gradually less intense. An interesting observation with this mare - when she was 7 she adopted a 5 mo old colt even allowing it to suck. She actually produced a small amount of what appeared to be milk. As long as this was going on she did not cycle.
Thanks so much PaintHorseMares and Saddlebag, for the information. I can see where my mare is always questioning who is in charge in our relationship. I heard Julie Goodnight talk a bit about her thoughts on mares and geldings and their different temperaments. Very interesting.
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