to Tell if a Mare is in Heat
2008 Cherry Hill ©
feel really stupid asking this, but...I just bought my first horse after 3 years
of riding a GELDING. But my horse is a mare. How can I tell when she goes into
heat? Is there anything special I should do for her? Please help. Thank you so
Mares are seasonally polyestrous, that
means they cycle (have estrous cycles) many (poly) times per year but only during
breeding season (seasonally). Depending where you live, this usually means
during late spring, summer and early fall. During those seasons the mare
will have a heat cycle (estrous cycle) about once every 21-23 days and during
that cycle, she will have from 3-8 days of standing heat (estrus, note the difference
in spelling between the cycle and the standing heat) where she would be receptive
to a stallion for breeding.
mare is so different, just like women, about how they express their heat. Some
have PMS - Pouty Mare Syndrome! Not an official term or syndrome, but you
get the idea. Some mares are grouchy just before estrus, some during and
some after. One of my mares behaves almost like a gelding. One is
a real "hormone queen" and can get quite anxious and irritable during
her heat cycle. The others are more normal in their expression - not a big
Now that it is winter,
make note of your mare's anestrus behavior - that refers to the time period when
her reproductive system is quiet or shut down for the winter, she is not cycling.
Get to know the "winter mare" personality.
as spring approaches, jot notes on a calendar. You might notice that a pattern
emerges of days when your mare is sweet, cooperative and easy to work with and
other days when she is impatient, preoccupied with something other than what you
are doing with her, or downright grouchy and mean.