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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Early this year and last fall/winter, my mare had had some interesting problems. Irritability under saddle, unwillingness to do basic excercises such as lead chages, anxiety and spooking, lack of focus, ect.

I have had the vet check her for pain.
I've had the massage therapist work with her for a bit, with small improvements.
I've also had the saddle fitter re-assess her saddle fit.

Everything came back fine. No pain or sore spots anywhere (from what the vet and massage therapist can tell) and her saddle fits her fine.

Just as I'm beginning to worry about her erratic behavior and mood swings, she does a complete 180.

She's now willing and forward under saddle. She changes her leads. She's stopped spooking at little things. She's much more focused. She isn't as cheesed off.

*Scratches head* What is going on? I'm wondering if mares can have extreme hormonal issues that could be causing this? Would it be worth checking with a vet? I'm mind boggled at her. Help?
 

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From my experience, it is quite possible for it to be hormonal issues. I would most definitely try talking to your vet about it, and there are quite a few different supplements you can use to help regulate her hormones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
From my experience, it is quite possible for it to be hormonal issues. I would most definitely try talking to your vet about it, and there are quite a few different supplements you can use to help regulate her hormones.
Thanks! That was going to be my next question.
 

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I have given my mare Prilosec at times to ease her tummy. I usually begin this when I notice she is a bit girthier than normal. She is also on a supplement of Raspberry leaves. You can buy these leaves on herbspicetea.com cheaply, and by the lb. If you look at the expensive supplement Mare Magic, it is one of the top ingredients. Furthermore, I also give her chaste berries, which need to be ground, but can also be found on the website I listed. They also help regulate a mare's hormones, and can be done in cost-effective way with definite results. My mare is not Mare-ish in any sense of the term, but I do find that because she is so level-headed and willing most days, I became really sensitive to noticing the small changes her cycles caused. Now that she is on the supplements, she is regular, and more even-keeled.

You can google Prilosec, chaste, and raspberry leaves for horses and draw your own conclusions. I prefer natural solutions for her, but some people have suggested regumate, which I would never use on my mare.
 

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I have given my mare Prilosec at times to ease her tummy. I usually begin this when I notice she is a bit girthier than normal. She is also on a supplement of Raspberry leaves. You can buy these leaves on herbspicetea.com cheaply, and by the lb. If you look at the expensive supplement Mare Magic, it is one of the top ingredients. Furthermore, I also give her chaste berries, which need to be ground, but can also be found on the website I listed. They also help regulate a mare's hormones, and can be done in cost-effective way with definite results. My mare is not Mare-ish in any sense of the term, but I do find that because she is so level-headed and willing most days, I became really sensitive to noticing the small changes her cycles caused. Now that she is on the supplements, she is regular, and more even-keeled.

You can google Prilosec, chaste, and raspberry leaves for horses and draw your own conclusions. I prefer natural solutions for her, but some people have suggested regumate, which I would never use on my mare.
I would not recommend regu-mate except for extreme cases. In my opinion, supplements/medications that are not even supposed to touch human skin should not be going into a horse unless absolutely necessary.

That being said, that stuff seriously works. I know of a gelding (yes GELDING) who was gelded late that was very, very field aggressive. Tried to take out people numerous times when he first got to this specific barn. They put him on regu-mate and never had a problem again. Lol.
 

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You can google Prilosec, chaste, and raspberry leaves for horses and draw your own conclusions. I prefer natural solutions for her, but some people have suggested regumate, which I would never use on my mare.

I am all about finding healthy solutions for animals but just an FYI here- prilosec= a drug (eg not "all natural") and it is in fact the same drug that is sold as "gastroguard" but dosed properly for your horse. Giving them human amounts will do nothing but create a placebo effect so if it makes you feel better, go for it!

additionally, regumate is progesterone which is a NATURAL hormone that your mare's body makes. It is upregulated during pregnancy and given to mares to calm them as it suppresses the estrogen wave that is usually what causes "mare-ishness".

For those of you who like to give "all natural" solutions to your horses, be aware that these, too are drugs. I would be very hesitant to give something to my horses or myself that hadn't been tested and determined to be safe. Everything can be safe or poisonous, it is the DOSE that matters and the dose is what is regulated in the case of drugs. Things like magnesium and selenium (as natural as they get) can be fatal to your horses in smaller amounts than you might think. Our state toxicologist sees poisonings all the time from well-intentioned owners trying to find natural remedies for their animals.

I am not advocating for or against any of the above mentioned treatments, I am just trying to share some information as there seem to be some misguided though well intentioned posts on here.
 

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I am all about finding healthy solutions for animals but just an FYI here- prilosec= a drug (eg not "all natural") and it is in fact the same drug that is sold as "gastroguard" but dosed properly for your horse. Giving them human amounts will do nothing but create a placebo effect so if it makes you feel better, go for it!

additionally, regumate is progesterone which is a NATURAL hormone that your mare's body makes. It is upregulated during pregnancy and given to mares to calm them as it suppresses the estrogen wave that is usually what causes "mare-ishness".

For those of you who like to give "all natural" solutions to your horses, be aware that these, too are drugs. I would be very hesitant to give something to my horses or myself that hadn't been tested and determined to be safe. Everything can be safe or poisonous, it is the DOSE that matters and the dose is what is regulated in the case of drugs. Things like magnesium and selenium (as natural as they get) can be fatal to your horses in smaller amounts than you might think. Our state toxicologist sees poisonings all the time from well-intentioned owners trying to find natural remedies for their animals.

I am not advocating for or against any of the above mentioned treatments, I am just trying to share some information as there seem to be some misguided though well intentioned posts on here.
No, I agree. I didn't mean to say that I advocate herbal supplements strictly. Though I do prefer it for my mare. I think you need to look at the problem, consult your vet and figure out what you are dealing with exactly. Even for myself, I use herbals, but I'm not at all against the use of medical drugs if the condition permits it. I'd consider myself balanced. However, I think before you or your animal take anything, you should research the cause and effects and take advantage of being an informed consumer. There are also lots of way to treat your horse with the same (and oftentimes cheaper) ingredients in some sold supplements and medicaments.
 

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A few weeks ago I posted on my strong preference for geldings. In fact I stated I would never own a mare because of harmonal problems.
Posters assured me that mares don't have problems and it was only in my head.
You must have the other harmonal mare, the only other one was in our barn.:D
 

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mares can be spayed, it is rather non-invasive as it can be done through the flank. However every surgery carries with it a risk and there is no guarantee it will solve the problems(in fact many studies show it won't help that much at all in most cases). For mares who have granulosa theca cell tumors, spaying can make a world of difference, but this is a special case of a special tumor so spaying won't help all. I have just had a paper on GTCT accepted for publication, so if you are interested in knowing more, please feel free to ask!
 

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This is pretty much the conclusion we've came to with my older mare.

I have successfully shown her. Well, relatively. We were never very high placers. She has an extreme attitude problem. 5 years now, 10 trainers, multiple vet visits later and I have to say it's just her.

She is fine one day, wicked nasty the next. She has improved. But most people still wouldn't tolerate having her around.

Is this behavior just under saddle?

My mare is terrible, even on the ground. I've noticed patterns, but can't really pinpoint at what points in her cycle she gets this way. She has "days". The one day i was just walking past the gate and she reared up and completely lunged for my face making the highest squealing sound i've ever heard from a horse. Lunging with her mouth, i mean. Teeth bared, i'm-gonna-bite-off-your-face kind of thing.

I cannot handle her sometimes. When she's having her days, my boyfriend has to work with her. I literally am not strong enough. I'm 5'1 and don't weigh much.

Last spring i thought we had reached a milestone. She was fresh, hadn't been ridden much over the winter. She had behaved well on the ground for most of the winter season, but i was just waiting for the explosion under saddle. She allowed me to ride her without a blink. With a foal by her side. This foal is now almost 2, and ever since she's been weaned, the mare is right back to the same tricks.

Let me be clear - she is not dangerous anymore. The biting thing was the year after we got her. When we first rescued her, she was pregnant. Through the pregnancy, and when she had the foal by her side - she was a doll! Her behavior now just seems kinda like what the OP described. Unwillingness, stubborn. I'm so used to it now, i just deal with it. We don't show any more, and she isn't trail safe, so we work her about once a week. If she doesn't get worked, i'd hate to see how she'd be.

My only conclusion to the fact that the only time my mare behaves is when she is pregnant or has a foal by her side is - hormones!
 

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^^ yep- and it is progesterone (=Regumate) that her body is making while pregnant that brings this change in her. Though Rio's dad makes a good point about geldings being so reliable, the mares described above and previously are *exceptionally* extreme cases. Most mares' sweet sides and personalities make up for a little added crankiness when they cycle, IMHO.
 

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personally my mares don't get moody. one mare i can't even tell when she is in heat. she doesn't hold her tail up like most she doesn't drip she doesn't get cranky. one of our other mares only changes in her attitude she gets a little uptight and fresh when she's in heat but doesn't do anything bad. both of our mares are pretty well behaved.
 

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I am having a similar problem with my mare ... glad to hear im no the only one as all of the mares at my yard are so well behaved you weouldnt notice them coming into season!
Whilst she was an angel to ride and handle during summer (you could run, touch and grrom anywhere and she was the most laid back thing ever) but since about dec/jan she has been a massive handful, and consdierng shes my first horse, its been quite hard to deal wtih.
I have had to deal with problems on the ground ... to the extent that she was viscious as she came into the first season since id had her, BIGGG time, and i couldnt do anything with her without her tryint to bite and kick me, and she was a totally different horse under saddle aswell. A lot stronger and less cooperative (shes always been fizzy but she was and still is verrry hard to ride)
the behaviour on the ground has changed dramatically over the past week or so and shes now the laid back pony you can do anything around without the fear of getting kicked or bitten, but the riding is still a problem ... im hoping she'll calm down once shes living out 24/7 soon (as shes been stabled with some turnout during the day over winter)

she is fed oestress supplement for her hormones and not so sure of how effectiuve it is
butttt has anyone else had to deal with different/more difficult mares to RIDE during winter as im wondeing if its the change of seaons or something else causin the change in behaviour, as i want to know if shes likely to switch bad to the calmer pony to ride aswell!!!
 

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personally my mares don't get moody. one mare i can't even tell when she is in heat. she doesn't hold her tail up like most she doesn't drip she doesn't get cranky. one of our other mares only changes in her attitude she gets a little uptight and fresh when she's in heat but doesn't do anything bad. both of our mares are pretty well behaved.
Like you lilkitty, my mare actually could be mistaken for a gelding. Never can tell when or if in heat, behavior and attitude never changes. She's sure and steady though can be opinionated about which trail we will take sometimes, but will always do as asked.

Once she did go into heat while I was on her. A stallion was being ridden next to her and even then, I couldn't tell by her behavior that anything had changed. The rider of the stallion told me that she was winking and squirting.

Bless the mares that are geldings at heart!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Great responses everyone!

I've always owned mares, although this is the first mare that has ever been 'marish' - my others were like geldings.

She is fine on the ground. She loves to be patted and stroked and handled. You can touch her anywhere on her body and she doesn't react. This alone makes me wonder if it's horomones at all.

My coach thinks she's just plain lazy. She loves to putter around and not put in too much effort into anything. She will work very willingly - but only after a good warm up. I can just get on and go. I have to spend a good 20 minutes at warm up. After that, she's a dream. She loves to jump and would rather jump any day than do flatwork.

She's just a cranky, stubborn girl, but I love her to death and she's always making me laugh with her quirky personality, so I'll just deal with her moodiness.

I will say this though - my next horse will be a gelding!!
 

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When my mare is in heat she acts like a lunatic in the field or stall, whinnies at anything, box walks if she's in the stall, kicks the door, sometimes won't stand for tacking up (normally stands perfectly), gets cranky and aggressive towards other horses (or more so than usual). But put a saddle on her back, stick a bit in her mouth, and give her some dressage to do, you wouldn't know the difference. She's totally fine.

Edit: On second thought, even on those days -- luckily they are rare, even when she's in season -- when she cannot stand still and dances around as you're brushing and saddling, she stops the dancing and behaves herself as soon as she sees the bit coming her way.
 
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