The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
A little bit of background: My mare has always been grumpy on the ground, ear pinning and the like. Her attitude is great in the saddle, though, and she's a very calm horse wether we're out on the roads or riding in the ring. Last March I realized that I had never, ever noticed her go into heat in the 4 years I had had her. I know some mare owners out there are banging their heads against the wall asking why anyone would want their mare to go into heat, but if a mare isn't going into heat year after year, it means something is wrong. After some information gathering, I started her on Chaste Tree berry powder and had good results. She went into heat about 2 months later and continued to cycle regularly, and her attitude improved- mainly less ear pinning and nasty faces when you groom her or take her out of her paddock.
Around the beginning of October, I noticed there was more ear pinning and general grumpiness on the ground than before, and this was the first time she hadn't gone into heat when she was off of chaste berry for 5 days (I have her on 17 days on/5 days off schedule). She's still better than before starting on chaste berry, and her attitude under saddle hasn't changed.

I'm thinking the behavior change is due to the hormonal change that comes with fall, especially since that was around the same time her coat started to change. Before starting the chaste berry, I never really noticed a change in attitude during the seasons. I upped her dose of chaste berry powder 2 weeks ago, but there hasn't been a noticeable change so far so I'm trying to find concrete info about hormonal changes in mares according to the season to see if I can adjust the dose in a more educated way.

My question is: has anyone had any experience with mares getting grumpy during the fall transition? And if so, was it short term (4-6 weeks) or did it last all throughout the time they weren't cycling? Did you do anything about it, and did it work?

*some other general info: She's a 15 h cutting bred 12 y.o. QH on pasture board (so she's not being kept under lights) in an individual paddock in the Orlando area. She's currently on 1 tsp of chaste tree berry powder (during the spring/summer, it was a rounded 1/2 tsp), 1.5 tablespoon of dried raspberry leaves, and 2 oz of flax seed per day. She gets 1/2 scoop of Purina Strategy Professional Formula and 4-6 flakes of costal hay per day, as well as the plants in her paddock. Two vets have said they don't think she has anything physically wrong (such as an ovarian cyst). She's not flighty, tightly wound, or stressed out. She has a dominate personality, usually becoming lead mare in a herd, but she isn't a bully.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
Did the vets recommend the chaste berry?

I'd just leave it personally, I find it very unusual if she TRULY was not cycling. Many many (actually most ime though people complain about mares so) have very hard to spot or practically invisible heats. That is completely normal and healthy and unless a vet said "yes she is definitely NOT having heat cycles and no that is NOT a good thing" why mess with her? I'm actually not even sure why that would be a bad thing, vet ruled out any problems so just leave it.

To answer your question. No I have not noticed it, but I let my horses be horses and do not micro analyse them. Not meant in a rude way at all but some mares (or any horse) are just grumps. Let them be. I have worked with LOTS of horses and have not noticed it in any horse of any gender, we all need to adapt to the different weather but nothing beyond that. Nor would I put them on something to modify their behavior/body without a vet's asking me to (I do joint supplements and such that's not what I mean).

It really just sounds like your mares personality (or a training issue) and something you need to learn to accept, or find a different horse. One thing is for sure you can't expect the same horse day to day, we all have off days or little things bothering us etc, just work with what you have and when there is an actual difference it's worth noting of course but "a little grumpier for a few days then back to normal" isn't something I'd worry about, esp since you've already put her on something that is clearly effecting her body..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If a reproductive aged female (horse or human) isn't cycling, that's an indicator that something isn't working right. Many things can cause the normal reproductive cycle to stop through affecting the production of certain hormones. One of the vets that initially evaluated her mentioned several things we could try if we wanted, two of which were raspberry leaves and chaste tree berry, though I didn't try the chaste tree berry on her at the time. I tried it last spring because if it worked, awesome; if it didn't, there weren't any known side effects and I could take her off of it with no harm done.

Like you mentioned, part of the grumpiness is just my mare's personality. I've had her for close to 5 years, so I know that's just a part of her and I have no issue with it, but I had noticed a marked change in starting about 5 weeks ago- a change that didn't coincide with any other change (like moving stables or something) and that has continued consistently since. That's why I was wondering in particular about longer term seasonal changes, not day-to-day changes in behaviors.

Personally, I'm on several hormones because my body isn't making as much as it needs. Starting in October I have to up the dose of one of them by 50% because the body doesn't make as much of that hormone during the winter. If I didn't, I'd go for 4 months feeling perpetually tired and grouchy, along with a lot of other things- such as my periods stopping. So to me, it makes sense that my horse may benefit from an adjustment to her supplements during the winter months to accommodate the change in hormone production.

Anyways, thanks for answering :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
I agree IF she is ACTUALLY not cycling there is clearly a reason. However I don't think the "symptom" of not cycling matters at all (people intentionally pay lots of money to make their mares not cycle it is not a bad thing for them). And if the vet couldn't find a reason then I personally wouldn't be too concerned. A non-reproductive issue such as Cushings would make sense. (Is this mare "Betty" at 12 years old? Young for Cushings but not unheard of and there are other things it could be?)

I would be more focused on that route, again IF you are positive she is genuinely not even cycling. Figure out a) why and b) the important side effects of the hormones as opposed to trying to regulate the unimportant side effects.

I missed that the behavior had continued, I thought it was just for a few days. I would personally give her some ulcergard or something. I know a mare going through the same thing and do blame the weather (though from here it went from 80 to 50 then back to 70 lol) It won't hurt and if she improves you can take a closer look at that.

I see what you are getting at regarding dosage but I'm sure your own meds aren't taken willy nilly so as far as medicating/supplementing your mare I would have the vet test and say "she needs more of this, less of that, let's do this" for example as opposed to oh it's fall we should do this.

I know with my birth control if I don't take the "filler" pills once a month I don't get my period, as multiple doctors have told me it does NOT matter if I get it or not, they do recommend a break every now and then but that's more to give me a break from the pills as opposed to a break so I can get my period /TMI lol

Obviously horses are different it just sounded to me like you are putting emphasis on her cycling as opposed to (again if) she is not and what is causing that and treatment for that. If it's hormones what did the vet say? Was the chaste berry the vet's recommendation as opposed to medication? That's fine it's just not what I was getting from what I read.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,281 Posts
I would have a vet workup before I assumed a mare wasn't cycling. Mares can be "silent" heat mares and they just don't show when they're in heat and they're perfectly normal. I know, I have one. She never shows heat, not even when she's nose to nose with a stallion and teased daily. She's currently pregnant and will deliver in April, so she obviously IS cycling. She is a middle of the pack mare, would like to be dominant but has one even more dominant above her. She can be grumpy, usually when a younger horse is disrespectful, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with her.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,303 Posts
^^^ Those middle of the pack "wanna be boss" mares are indeed the grumpiest in my experience.
Posted via Mobile Device
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yogiwick

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,281 Posts
^^^ Those middle of the pack "wanna be boss" mares are indeed the grumpiest in my experience.
Posted via Mobile Device
YUP! Before I got Boo, who is bigger, badder and far more dominant that any of the other mares, Patti was #1 of the mares, #2 of the herd behind the gelding (who was entire until he was 7, so still very stallion like). It took Boo a while to convince her but she has moved down to #2 of the mares and #3 overall. And she's made it very clear she will not be descending further.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,041 Posts
Yes, many mares don't show heat, esp some smart older mares that know geldings from the real thing!
I don't think not being obviously in heat is the problem, but rather the fact that it could be a symptom of a medical concern.
Chasteberries are used to treat cushings, besides the labeled drug-Pracend.
Horses with cushings have higher cortisol levels in the fall, and there must be a reason that a vet suggested Chaste berries
There are other drugs used, to simply bring a mare into heat, that are used in reproductive concerns.
Thus, i am left wondering if that vet gave a reason for suggesting Chaste berries
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Not noticing they're in heat is not something to be worried about unless your vet is worried, i personally hope my filly's won't be too obvious in the future... My best friend's mare is usually great to ride (definately not for begginers though), but if you get on her when she is in heat she will give you a saddlebronc riding lesson... Ask the vet's opinion if you are worried about it anyways, just ask him if it is something you should actually be concerned about.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top