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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am at a warmblood breeding farm and our mares have been under lights since December 1st. They come in before dark and the lights are on until 11pm, bright enough to read a newspaper in each corner of the stall. (no shadows) We have started breeding and I know all of them are successfully cycling on a regular schedule.



However I have two questions:
1. We have recently gotten two new mares who haven't been under lights at all this year. Am I correct in assuming that unless they've been under them since December there's no point in starting to put them under now? I think they should start cycling naturally soon and wondered if it would make any difference if they had the extra 'daylight' with the others.

2. We have one recipient mare who broke a panel in her stall and had to be moved to one with no lights for a few nights. She's back under the lights now, but does missing a day mess up the schedule? Will she stop cycling?

I'm trying to manage pastures and would like to know because it would make it a heck of a lot easier if I could just leave these three mares outside at night. (less leading, stall cleaning, etc) I am pretty sure that if you miss a day or if they haven't been under lights up to this point that it's okay to leave them outside, and wait until they start cycling later to breed them, but I wanted to confirm this. Thanks!
 

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I don't think it'll hurt? She might cycle on her own since its getting spring. I just learned this stuff morning and need time to reset my brain lol
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The mares who have not been under lights putting them under now will make no differance. The other. I have seen it go both ways. If all she is a recipiant mare how important is it she start cycling now? How many recyps do you have? Why are you even trying to manage a recyp heard??
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We have 9 broodmares and 2 recips. They've all been under lights so that the recips would be ready and cycling if we wanted to do any embryo transfers, since they have to be in sync with the donor mare. But we are starting a P&E regimen tomorrow so they should all get on the same schedule.
 

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Ali M I am located 100 miles north of Dallas and all our mares cycle year round here. Since San Antonio is much further south and has even less winter than we get I don't think the lights are necessary,
I have been told by another breeder and my vet that mares that come from other climates may need to be place under lights.
Good luck. Shalom
 

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We have 9 broodmares and 2 recips. They've all been under lights so that the recips would be ready and cycling if we wanted to do any embryo transfers, since they have to be in sync with the donor mare. But we are starting a P&E regimen tomorrow so they should all get on the same schedule.
I am very familiar with how ET work. Have them. However I would not keep recyp mares myself. Just not cost effective unless you have quite a few and are using them.

As to putting the mares under lights. Like I said. If they are not under lights now no reason to put them under lights now as it will not help. Could actually change they cycle in a way that you do not want. At this point of the year the days are getting longer so missing a day or 2 most likely will not hurt. Each mare is different.

Also temps have little to do with mares cycling. It is the light and length of the day that does it.
 

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I'm not sure where you're at and a lot of it depends on that. I'm up in Seattle and here you really need to keep lights on from the summer solstice in June in till she's starts to cycle. I take the sun rise and sunset times on the solstice ( the longest day of the year) and use those as my base line. As the days get shorter I just adjust my timers to compensate. For my mares they can sense the second winter is coming and all adjust accordingly. They start growing winter coats before the hottest days of summer hit in August.

Other barns I've worked at feel if they're not under by Columbus day in October it's too late and you're not going to be of too much help to even start . But in my experience, even then it can be too late, ESPECIALLY if you're trying to hit an early-mid January foaling date.
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Keep in mind that they mare has to have a down time. The norm even in upper Mi and just about ever other breeding barn I know of that they do not start putting mares under lights until Thanksgiving first of Dec. This way the mares still get the down time they need and then will start back up. Just like forcing certain bulbs to grow and flower. If you do not fool them into thinking they have done through winter nothing you do will help. Mares are no different.
 

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But did they breed year around? There is a differeance. Also again it is the light that makes or brakes it. The horses there have been use to that their whole life. So it would only stand to reason that they would keep cycling.

However that is not the norm for most parts of the country. This type of mare management is the norm for just about every breeder I know in the US.

At the end of the day you need to do what works best for the mare in question. I have been doing it this way for years when I want an early foal. Altough personally I do not like then any earlier then march and actually prefer then about mid to end of April. By that time the weather is getting nice the grass will be up and really good by the time they start to graze and they can get out from day one and not have to spend so much time in the stall.
 

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No not year round but typically in early to mid February so we could hit the Jan 1st date as close as possible. But even up here in Seattle as I show current year weanlings and April foal would just about kill our show year. As it is Julep foaling in March isn't ideal, but her first cycle last year was super wonky.
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I do not show weanlings so not a big deal. I have found over the years that my April/May babies catch up with the Feb march babies by the time July comes around. So not a big deal.
 

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I know for a fact that our mares cycle all year round here.
As stated and per my vet their cycles may be shorter during the winter but they still have them.
I have bred several mares in late Jan and early Feb without any artificial lights. I have also read studies that question whether artificial lights do any good. I think access to grass and temps must have something to do with it.
With a breeding stallion on the property I always know when the mares are in heat. Shalom
 

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Our grass has been growing for about 2 weeks here the trees have been blooming and the horses are shedding. Temps have been in the upper 60's to mid 80's since late Jan. Spring is here.
I too have been under the assumption that the longer daylight hours play a role in the cycles of the mares. Yet I am seeing evidence that daylight may not be the sole factor. Shalom
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I was taught that length of daylight, and not temperature is what affects their cycle and that's what I've observed at both my internship and this job. We will be scanning the new mares for the first time soon so hopefully they will be cycling normally without the lights.
 

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Slightly off topic question, but does it mean anything when a mare comes into heat all year round and you live up north? My Arab mare is 13, and she is like clockwork with her heat cycles, and has them all year round, right through winter when we have MAYBE 8 hours of natural daylight. She never comes into the barn either. I always thought it was curious why she does that but never knew why.
 

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Most mares will show heat all year around however that is not a breedable heat cycle. If you really watch you can see the difference most of the time.
 

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I discussed this with my vet yesterday and he is of the opinion that in my part of Texas and further south artificial lights are not necessary.
However, here we have very short mild winters our first freeze may not be until mid or late Dec. Our growing seasons are longer. Our grass grows about 10 months of the year. This may have something to do with it.
Also teasing has a lot to do with a mare being receptive.
My stallion is in a small 3 acre pasture. The mares can approach his fence and visit with him 24/7.
There are 2 mares here that are pastured with 3 geldings that cannot visit with him across the fence. These 2 do not show strong signs of heat. Shalom
 
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