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Abnormal sexual behaviour in mare

Hi Franklin,

I have a question concerning a grey Anglo-Arab mare, approximately 10-12yrs of age.

She is a beautifully natured, gentle mare until she comes into contact with another mare. She gets extremely excited and tries to mount the other mare constantly. We have consulted a veterinarian concerning this and he has discounted ovarian cancer due to the fact that she is not aggressive and this is her only stallion-like behaviour. I have not completely ruled this out as she has not had any tests done.

Can horses suffer from hormonal imbalances that result in this behaviour without cancer being the cause? Is there any treatments available? I am finding it hard to find any information regarding this problem.

Kinds regards,

Lisa Parker

Hi Lisa,

It truely does sound like a hormonal imbalance. There is a test for that your vet can administer. There is treatment available. It can be learned behavior as well if the mare has watched or been around breeding stallions. You can attempt to modify the behavior by providing a consequence of work immediately when your mare begins the behavior. Small circles and hind-quarter yields are a good consequence. Let me know how it goes.

Sincerely yours, Franklin

Hi Franklin...

Thank you so much for you quick reply. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your time in answering my query. Most unexpected.

We were offered Bessie after she had been rescued by a kind hearted gentlemen and was being kept in a chicken run. She was going to be destroyed because of this abnormal behaviour and a refusal to float. She had apparently come from an outback station and had been abused. She is reportedly afraid of men.

The first day we went to pick her up there was a lot of people around giving advice on how to float her. It was a nightmare and the result ended up with her being even more terrified and back in the chicken pen.

Two days later we attempted again without all the people. My husband tried to ride her but she reacted immediately to the saddle going on. My husband walked her several kms away from this property and then, on a very cold, windy day... we offered her a ride in a clean and dry, double float. The difference between asking her and telling her was amazing (I think the cold rain helped too). She walked on within about five minutes and was completely calm.

It gave me hope that her other behaviour may be manageable. Not having a great deal of experience around horses I question my own ability to help her.

I have tried to gain her confidence and after having read several of your responses to various questions I think we are on the right path. She comes when I call, nickers to me and follows me closely around the paddock. I have saddled her, although the first time I did up the cinch, she reacted in a negative manner. I just waited patiently then continued. I let her stand with it on and then removed it. I have continued this procedure and have begun walking her around the paddock with it on and sitting on her. The first time I sat on her she also reacted. I got off, talked to her and then did it again. She was fine.

I think I need to trust her as much as she needs to trust me and I have really appreciated being able to read your answers to other peoples queries. They not only help me know horses a little more but they help me feel not so overwhelmed by behaviour I don't completely understand. I feel like I have learned so much although you can never learn enough. After reading your comments I am looking forward to watching your dvd which I will be purchasing next week.

Thank you so much again for your advice. You are a good person and Bessie will have a much easier life because of you.

With much appreciation, Lisa

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for your kind words. Trust is always the key. It is developed over time. It sounds like you are very much on the right track. For helping with the girthing situation, put a length of rope (leadrope) around her girth area and see/saw it. Do this a little and then offer praise if the horse stands quietly. This will help the horse get over the girthiness. Then tie the rope around the girth area and lead the hrose around a bit. This will help as well. Then go to the saddle.

The Training Thru Trust DVD is fairly entry level. There are others that are more comprehensive. Look through the descriptions of the content on the DVD's and see which really resonates with you in your heart and will offer you the most information you are looking for. Thank you for being very patient with this horse. Obviously it is paying off.......

Best regards, Franklin

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