The Heat Cycle in Mares

In the horse world, mares often have a reputation for being unpredictable and grouchy, something that is usually attributed to their heat cycles. Many horse people prefer to ride geldings, and claim that geldings are more placid and less touchy than most mares. However, a simple understanding of your mare?s heat cycle can make owning a mare just as pleasurable as a gelding.

Mares cycle only during their regular breeding season, which is typically from spring to early fall. During this breeding period, a mare will cycle ever 21 ? 23 days. During this time, there will be approximately eight days when her body would be receptive to breeding ? this is called her estrus period. Mares can experience a range of symptoms either before, during, or after this period. Each mare will be unique. Some will display extreme behavioral changes, others will show mild grumpiness, and still others will show no change at all.

During the winter months, a mare?s cycle will shut down and she will stop experiencing the symptoms that go along with it. This is a good time of year to really get to know your mare and her reactions as she is under normal conditions. Note what she likes and doesn?t like, and how she reacts to various routines such as grooming, tacking up, and riding.

As spring approaches, use a calendar to mark down your mare?s behavior each day. When is she loving, cooperative and responsive? When is she grouchy, moody, and doesn?t want to be handled? Maybe she swishes her tail or pins her ears back? As you note these behaviors, patterns will develop and you will likely be able to pinpoint the times during her cycle when her behavior changes. If your mare?s heat reactions are extreme, you might want to use this knowledge to work around her off days. With a little understanding and cooperation, working with a mare can be just as enjoyable and rewarding as working with a gelding.


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6 Responses

  1. cm says:

    is it normal for a mare to weave while in heat. She constantlly rocks her back end to the side of the stall. Also she seems to be very sensitive on the inside flank area on the belly. Going into cycle every two Weeks!!! I have had her checked out scanned and scoped they say everything is fine, but she really starts hurting in that area. We even had her on gastro-guard for 4 wks!!It was when we completed that that i realized that it was related to her cycles????

  2. Beckles says:

    Do mares have a discharge during their cycles like humans and dogs do? or is it strictly behavioral?

  3. Jan Arndt says:

    I was given a 2 year old appaloosa filly which is the 8th from same mom and dad. They are all very gentle and so was she. She seems to throw fits all of a sudden, and it seems like at the same time every month. It was foggy this morning when I went to feed her and there were deer outside of her pasture, I put her food in the troph, walked out of the gate, turned around and she bolted out of the shed, looked at the deer, snorted and had her tail straight up, just like our hunting dogs. I think she is in heat in the winter. I went to feed her this evening and she was aggressive to me. I would not let her near her hay until I seperated it and was out of the gate. During this time she snorted, bucked kicked out towards me, I still would not let her get to her food until I was out of the shed and out the gate. Is it because she is in heat?

  4. wendy says:

    hi guys if it helps any body my mare ive had for 10yrs and she can be mareish as she is chestnut say no more! but i have to say i give her 10ml spoon of magnesum powder a day and this stops it . i also brush and massage my mare starting with soft strokes and then getting deeper. come on girls when we have pms we want gentle and comfort when we have our monthlys so i treat my mare the same. she is fine on rides , if she winnies at horses in field i let her stand a while to see, rub her whithers for comfort as she looks then she will blow out and walk on her way. keep it natural!

  5. Meagan says:

    I have a two year old filly that came in heat for the first time when she was a year old. But here recenctly like in the fast few days, she has been trying to fight my gelding, he doesn’t really care, but she has been really agressive toward him about everything. And she comes in every 23 days all year. But she’s normally a little shy and grumpy, but that’s it. Just wondering if this behavior is related to her heat?

  6. we have mares always have never have had any trouble some times i think it depends on the mare herself me and my sister would ride our mares daddy always rode the stallion with us we never had any problems the mare mare always gets a bad rap but most are really good unless they are really goofy we use to have a little red mare she had what was called false pregancies all systoms of being in foal swollen utter and all the rest the vet said she was just wanted to have a foal. but we haven’t raised any foals in about 20 years. we have three geldings and 14 mares all registered mares but we do not raise any why do it people seem to want to either eat them or sell them to slaughter so waste of life and wear and tear on the mare and all of that we do know how to handle it when tyhey go to foal we me and my sister use to deliver them when we raised some babies out of our mustang mares but bless thier heart they have all crossed the brige to horse heaven we had adopted them way back in the 70’s they are all gone now. sure miss them they all died of old age from thev ages in late 20’s to late 30’s our mustang stallion lived to be 39 he is gone now to.

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