Owners of mares are often familiar with cycling mares. And for good reason, as each year, when sunny days return in spring, so does their mares’ oestrus cycle. When mares are in season (or in heat), their temperament and behaviour sometimes change.
What does it mean exactly to be in season?
So-called periods of heat mirror the mare's ovarian activity. This occurs from April to October in general, and results in a succession of cycles lasting 21 days on average. Each cycle consists of a very variable oestrus phase, when the mare is in season, lasting roughly 7 days (which ends with ovulation) and then a fairly consistent diestrus phase lasting 14 days. The length of each cycle is variable for each mare, depending on the climate or living conditions. Mares generally experience their first oestrus cycle between the ages of 15 and 18 months. This natural phenomenon will repeat itself each year, throughout the breeding season, with a break during the winter period.
What are the behavioural signs a mare is in season?
The diestrus period, lasting two weeks, often goes unnoticed whereas, for some mares, the first week of heat can be accompanied by behavioural changes and possible irritability. Ready to reproduce and accept the stallion, they can then present several external signs with varying degrees of enthusiasm: raised tails, urine squirting, winking of the vulva and other squealing noises. These signs are sometimes accompanied by aggression, stress, hypersensitivity in the kidneys and back, stiffness or even lameness. In rarer cases, the mare may show signs of colic. When a mare is difficult during the oestrus cycle, she is often difficult in a stable (or in the pasture) as well as while working: lack of concentration, clinginess, etc.
What is the best way to soothe a mare in season?
To help your mare feel more comfortable, it may be recommended to supplement the mare's diet either on an ad hoc basis or continuously during the oestrus cycle. Herbal products that relieve stress are especially popular. If the mare is showing persistent signs of discomfort and aggressiveness, it is strongly advised to call a veterinarian. These differences in behaviour may be due to ovarian pain or even reproductive system disorders. Several types of treatment, natural or hormonal, or even surgery such as an ovariectomy, may then be considered.
Being in heat is a completely natural phenomenon linked to the reproductive process. Each mare will experience this phase in its own way. Some mares will be inconspicuous, while others that are more sensitive will show several outward signs and some changes in behaviour. These same mares will be called ‘moody’. To best support them and improve their well-being, mares will be closely monitored and given appropriate treatment.
The Paskacheval range includes CYCLE O'CALM, a liquid product that is rich in plant extracts and especially designed to improve the well-being of difficult mares in their stable and while working. Find CYCLE O'CALM at your nearest distributor.
Where to find Paskacheval products?
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Paskacheval is a range of plant-based feed supplements and external care products designed to enhance the performance and well-being of every horse.