Mare behavioural changes in pregnancy - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Mare behavioural changes in pregnancy


My horse is now 21 days pregnant (yey!) However, being an Alpha mare she can be rather dominante if allowed to be. I think it must be hormones combined with being intragrated into a new herd. She has taken the herd leader title off the chestnut mare, seems to have established a good pecking order with the horses, however, apparently this extends to handlers.

When she is lead too/from the field she is becoming bolshy, rearing and striking out her front leg at the handlers and trying to drag them back to the field. There is no malice, its just typical alpha behaviour. I am a bit firmer with her then mum (more experienced) and i knock it on the head as soon as it starts.

Do you think its the pregnancy? Surely its too early for significant changes in behaviour (docile puppy dog to lead mare) or just a number of factors?

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post #2 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 02:37 PM
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Pregnant or not, there is NEVER an excuse for any horse to rear and stick at people. EVER. She would have a come to Jesus meeting real quick.
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 03:25 PM
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The pregnant mares I've worked with never started getting cranky until they started to show, about 6 months, and I imagine it is due to discomfort from the physical changes.
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post #4 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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I think it is more that she can become quite 'wild' in a herd environment if she is allowed. We are rather firm. I will not tolerate a rearer. My issue was at our last yard the staff thought it 'cute' when she left me with a problem again. She used to be like this at 4...17hh and full of attitude, consistent discipline will knock is out :)

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post #5 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 04:44 PM
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My mother bred one of her mares a couple years ago, and she had a lot of hormonal/behavioral... things. It was rarely a problem when she was interacting with people, but at one point a couple of my dogs got through the gate and followed me into the pasture while I was catching Sage, and Strawberry attacked the dog and trampled her. Jesse died in my arms later that night due to internal bleeding.

I'm convinced that that was entirely due to hormones, as that mare had been around dogs with no incident or problem since the day she was born, and Jesse hadn't done anything to provoke her. And there hasn't been any problem since.

Strawberry was only a month or so pregnant, so it's not out of the question that your mare is having hormonal problems, too. All I can say is be sympathetic, but also make sure that you're not allowing bad or dangerous behavior when you're handling her.
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 04:53 PM Thread Starter
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Oh how sad :(. I am glad i am not going insane! I have no doubt she will settle down but its never nice a 17hh warmblood pushing their weight about!

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post #7 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 05:38 PM
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We've only had 3 pregnancies at our house and each one was different. One mare was sweet and docile until the last few months, then became very protective. I have the scar to prove it. The only really bad horse bite I got was from her. The other two were sweet the whole way through. They were everything from lead mare to low lady out. I think it's very individualized. Some will be the best horses ever, others will be protective and defensive. Of course bad behavior is always bad. Just FYI the mare that bit me was normally a very well behaved horse. She was in with several other mares in a small pen and I walked in with a feed bucket. Could it be just a stupid human trick?! ;)
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post #8 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 09:33 PM
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Never had a problem with any of our mares. They get a bit uncomfortable during the last few months but never acted out. If they did act out then they would not be bred again, they are great but not worth dying over. The worst we had was the first time our now retired broodmare was ultrasounded she tried to sit down in the stocks. Apparently, we had not fully briefed her on what the ultrasound procedure was. She and the vet, who had his hand up her you know what were both equally surprised by that ultrasound session.

I know some mares are really snotty when in season and they use either hormone shots or a marble to stimulate pregnancy, so in theory the pregnancy should mellow them out (not that its a good reason to breed). I would guess that some handlers are letting her get away with small things because she is pregnant and thus she is trying bigger things.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-04-2013, 10:18 PM
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i did not have any attitude problems with my mare. the last month or so, she was grumpy but overall very well behaved. if anything, she was actually calmer and gentler after conceiving. like a calm before the storm... lol.

pregnant or not, i dont allow bad behavior and id be putting that mare in her place.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-05-2013, 03:13 AM Thread Starter
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I think the issue is the old yard we were at allowed her to get away with murder. Luckily having owned her for almost 9 years i can safely say i know her rather well and know she will get over it once she is given the parametres of which she is allowed ot behave. I dont mind spirit, i mind rearers and will not tolerate it. I have told mum not to handle her until she settles.

YO hasnt had many issues with her so i think mum is being a bit submissive and as a reaction dee is asserting herself.

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