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Moody Mares
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Moody Mares

It's that time of year when mares start to get moody. They're bodies are gearing up for breeding season & will go through several changes during this time. 

Some mares have easy heats. They are well behaved, have good attitudes, are aware of their surroundings, & they don't lack much in concentration. 

Other mares have strong heats. They have a bad attitude, lack concentration, will pin their ears & may even come after you when you go to put a halter on. You may have a difficult time riding or showing your mare in & amongst other horses because she's acting up. With these types of mares, owners usually work around the mare's schedule rather than trying to force her to show or ride through it. 

With difficult mares it is possible to have a regular ride & show season. The key is keeping her focused on the job at hand. Like with most situations in training, keeping their feet moving, means they don't have much time to think about anything else. 

Breeding season normally starts in April & ends in September. However it can happen a month earlier &/or later. Usually when fall starts, their bodies begin to slow down on the process to gear up for winter. Knowing when your mare cycles, & how long it lasts for her will assist you in setting up for rides & showing. 

A tip for when you are riding with others out on the trail: Tie a red ribbon in her tail & let your friends know that your mare is in heat or going into heat. That way they are aware of your situation & the red ribbon will alert someone riding up from behind not to get too close. 

Mares can be "touchy" on certain body parts when in heat. In other words, these tender areas may cause your mare to become snappy, or attempt to kick. Most of the time it's around the flank areas, but there can be other areas as well. Sometimes finding them is trial & error & sometimes purely by accident. Being aware of these areas & avoiding them will make your grooming time better for both of you. Though I have known some mares to be generally unmanageable & I've just left them alone until they start going out of their cycle. If you have one of those Jekyl & Hyde mares, it's ultimately safer to just leave them alone. 

Cookie is beginning to gear up for breeding season. I have considered how she acts with other horses while not going into heat. She's food aggressive & has a tendency towards being the dominate one in a herd. Sometimes she even tries to boss me around. However I never let that happen. I have noticed she doesn't like to be brushed around her shoulders & along her sides & back. She also will try to bite if I brush the top of her neck too much. Mind you, the reaction I get from her is a signal to me to leave those areas alone until some other time. Normally I can brush her entire body without any trouble or mishaps. I'm sure she'll have more "off limits" spots when she actually goes into a full blown heat, but I won't know them until she does & will avoid them unless it's absolutely necessary. She also is giving me small clues as to how she will act when in heat, & I will pay attention to those clues also & proceed accordingly. 


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  1. Chestnut Mare
    Chestnut Mare
    Vote no 2. Good subject for a blog, and I like your tip about the ribbon on the tail, that is a great one! Are mares in season twice a year? I think that is the case with most female mammals (it is only humans who are fertile once a month!)
    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      Actually they cycle just like us, once a month, usually every 3 weeks I believe it is. Which can be the pits if you have a mare that becomes difficult when in heat. lol Thank you for the vote. I learned about the red ribbon from back when I was a kid. I thought it was just for decoration but my trainer corrected me. Red means stay away, back off, or go wide around if passing. It makes a lot of sense too.
  2. naturegirl
    They cycle like us, but are in heat only in spring? I don't understand... why the 'heat season' when they can have foals all year round?
    1. naturegirl
      Oh, and voted of course!
    2. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      I'm sorry, I should have clarified better. Here's a link that explains it a bit better than I can: http://www.equisearch.com/uncategorized/managing-heat-cycles-mares/ As for foaling year round, they're usually pregnant aminimum of 310 days. Some mares cycle early, some late.. & some are artificially inseminated. There are many variables it just depends on the person or horse.
  3. naturegirl
    Look at you! Two Top Posts! ;) You're really making up for lost time! I have a new article. Stop by when you have the chance!
    1. Rene Wright
      Rene Wright
      Thanks! I'm sure trying to make up for lost time. lol
  4. arabobsession
    love this article , I have a moody mare who gets incredibly loving about 2 weeks out from a season, then dislikes everything that she hasn't decided to do herself when in full season, but is still workable. voted
  5. vipbox
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