Those Seasonal ‘Mare Issues’

You describe the challenges you’ve faced as a result of your mare’s heat cycles.

I’ve always preferred riding mares, even though they’re a bit moodier and bossier when they’re in heat. The more dominant a mare is, the pushier she’ll be. But I’ve learned to be the “lead mare” and tell my girls, “I don’t think so!”

Credit: Illustration by Navah Rae Adams

Trisha Faulk, Michigan

My mare is a squealer in general, but when she’s in heat, I have to be extra careful not to let her touch noses with any other horse. If she does, she squeals like a T-Rex and strikes like a rattlesnake.

Cathy Thorpe, Oregon

Our new neighbors’ filly kept getting out and coming to visit my horses, a quarter-mile away. I explained repeatedly that she was in heat and might need a more secure pasture or even a stall. My neighbors’ rationale for her behavior: “She’s an Arabian.” I gave up at that point.

Jennifer Galindo-Cole, California

When my mare’s in heat, she’s stubborn under saddle and fights the bit. She also likes to get close to other horses but acts up when they do the same to her. To top it off, we live in Florida, so she cycles into heat for most of the year!

Desi Ferber, Florida

Ovulation puts my mare in actual pain. My vet recommended giving her a bit of Banamine at that time, and it’s been a godsend. It helps both the mare and me to feel better about her heat cycles.

Carolyn Sullivan, Oklahoma

I took my young mare Chloe to her first show. We hadn’t been there an hour when she spotted a stallion in a nearby stall. She began squealing and carrying on so badly in the warm-up ring that I couldn’t even get her to put one foot in front of the other. We had to scratch, and I took her home for the day. Mare-lesson learned.

Betsy Wilkes, Texas

One time, as I tried to swing the saddle up onto my mare’s back, she squealed and kicked out. Realizing the problem, I spent the rest of the day giving her an extra-smooth bran mash and a massage. Talk about spoiled!

Amity Hejinian, California

On those days, I’m extra careful approaching my mare from behind. Plus I just don’t bother grooming around her flank area. It can wait!

Joyce Schwartz, New Hampshire

My mare is still sweet when she’s in heat, but incredibly distracted. I never try to teach her something new at that time. We just work on reinforcing familiar basics to keep the pressure off.

Jean Anderson, Nevada

My mare sometimes gets stiff through the back when she’s in heat…or maybe that’s just her way of saying, “Not today.”

Morgan Hunnicutt, Colorado

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