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Mare in heat

Hi Franklin,

My granddaughter has a paint mare she rides her all winter with no problems. When spring comes the mare comes in heat, she can not handle her. If the horse is at a gaming show or just at 4 H with other horses you have to stand right there and hold on to her with my granddaughter in the saddle for she will start going forward, back ward very anncy. You have to keep her far away from all other horses for she will kick them. The mares lips are going a mile a minute she gets so nervous. Last June we had a hell of a time with her at the fair grounds for gaming. She is fine once in the arena by her self to proform but when all the horses for that game have to go into the arena Mariah can not control her. She wants to back up to the other horses and kick them, she won't stand still. What can be done to help with this problem so that Mariah can ride her in the shows. This June 9 th we have already got her lined up with someone elses horse for the show because Dixie is acting up and we can't handle her on the ground and Mariah can't handle her in the saddle.

Would accupuncture do anything to help with this problem. The vet said they could give her something everyday that would stop her heat but very expensive. All winter Dixie is a very good mare and Mariah who is 11 has a great time riding her in the winter but come spring what a turn around. Do you have any answers for this problem?

Thank You, Linda

Hi Linda,

Mares in estrus can be a handful for sure. There are a few medications (the most well-known is Regumate. I am not certain of the spelling) that can help, besides the most expensive ones your vet may have suggested. You would have to ask your vet to name them. If he cannot or will not, check with another vet. Accupuncture can definately assist as well. Also, your daughter's riding strengths come into play too. A rider's abilities to ask for movement from a horse (hind quarter yields and figure 8's in particular) as a consequence for unwanted behavior, will often put the animal's mind back on the rider/handler. But when a horse is acting out forcefully, it can take a very experienced and strong rider to keep the animal's attention focused where the human wants it. Make certain the mare is not getting much grain during this time as that will pump up the horse. Perhaps more exercise during that time as well. Special time taken for training might help. In other words, take the horse to shows where she is not competing. Then you set up the situation where you know the mare will be acting out. The instant the horse begins, the rider immediately puts the horse to work (figure 8's at the trot and a lot of them as well as hind quarter yields). The horse will come to associate her behavior with being made to work harder. This is a non-abusive way to modify unwanted behavior. Good Luck.

Sincerely, Franklin

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