View Full Version : Question about mares in heat

Jul. 3, 2011, 09:01 PM
No one laugh... please, I am begging you. I'm pretty new to the owning (or is that being owned by) a mare.

Do mares sometimes get "cramps" or show a touch of back soreness during hear cycles? If it is something symptomatic with cycles, does it help to add a gram of bute around that time?

It has not shown in the other 2 cycles since I bought her, but all the other symptoms heat were there today, so I am trying to rule out heat before I call the chiro and see if it isn't something I can plan for before it's a problem.

Jul. 3, 2011, 09:13 PM
I have had a few mares over the years that do show signs of "cramping" during the cycle, most of the time it was in early spring when they showed the stongest sign, and a couple of the mares also had small bouts of colic with the cycle. We always did banamine but sak vet what they think, also with one mare acupunture helped the most.

Jul. 3, 2011, 09:30 PM
Regumate, Regumate, Regumate if you can. It helped my mare a lot.

D Taylor
Jul. 3, 2011, 10:15 PM
Yes...just like us ladies when the hormones start changing a whole host of other less than wonderful things can happen.

I started using red raspberry leaves this spring. Have one mare that is a shameless tart and another that can (not always...but can) get grumpy during heats. Well 3 wks later Flirt (the shameless tart) stopped chasing the barncats around to show and Echo (the grumpier one) stopped being so moody too. Normally I take "patients" off such herbals 2 or 3 times to see if the undesirable behaviors return but no way am I going back the past. Life is just a little kinder to them and EVERYONE else too since they get the Rr leaves.

Even the hubby notice the difference.

Jul. 3, 2011, 11:29 PM
I thought maybe that would be the case. I am trying to avoid hormones if at all possible... just not a real fan unless for medical reasons. Plus, maresy is actually not very marish at all. In non-heat days she is laid back, and super in your pocket.

The first few days of heat she is less "Hi, your human and I love you"... might turn her head to the back of the stall but no ear pinning or nipping. And the geldings will get a bit fresh, and she wants to vocalize a little. Nothing that can't be handled easily, which is one of the long list why I love this mare... and I am so not a mare person.

I may have just missed the slight soreness the 1st 2 heats this year if they did not mesh with my riding schedule. Today was just a slight stiffness (2 pt helped) and then slightly sore on the palpation in the loin area of her back. That's what made me think cramps.

I'll see if a gram of bute might help tomorrow and if I can't get vet to send out a banamine prescription on the next visit.

Jul. 4, 2011, 07:37 PM
If you are willing to spend the money for a Selenium test, the results could be a surprise. Many parts of the country are Selenium poor, which can GREATLY affect the reproductive systems of mares. Horse gets no Selenium from grazing or eating local hay or grains. Low numbers can make them sore, ovulate poorly, along with muscle problems. All of which will make a mare pretty crabby.

We have seen the results of good Selenium numbers on the heat cycles, muscle conditions of working horses, both mares and geldings. Mares are very regular, no muscle issues in the back or legs, not fatigued easily, heat cycles are about invisible except for the peeing. Have to stop about once an hour to let them pee, otherwise no issues. Could be our mares are just quiet or could be that they are better, comfortable in season with enough Selenium in their systems.

It is quite surprising how many things Selenium affects in your total horse, mares especially. Horses who sweat often or a lot in work, may need more Selenium because they "use it up when sweating", so they can get to a very low number quickly. This is one of the reasons we test ours, because they sweat a lot when working hard.

We give our Selenium WITH Vit E, as a top dressing to EACH horse. This insures the horse gets the required amount for his body. For us this is cheaper, easier to do. Each of the big horses get 1/2 tsp a day, checked yearly to make sure levels are within recommended amounts. Feeds with Selenium and Vit E added, often require feeding horse way more grain or pellets than horse actually needs. Our horses don't get much plain (no molasses) mixed grains daily. So giving the Selenium with Vit E top dressed, provides them the correct amount needed.

The Vit E MUST be given with Selenium or horse doesn't absorb the Selenium as needed. Vit E is a helping vitamin, makes the Selenium work for the horse's needs. Waste of money feeding ONLY Selenium and no Vit E, just passes on thru their system and doesn't help anything.

Jul. 6, 2011, 10:42 AM
My girl gets very crampy during heat. Of course, she is now wrapping up a 3 month stint on Regumate (silently thanks the Gods of Horse Birth Control) and I JUST spoke to the vet about her cramps when she comes off it.

He said vitamin B1 will help her. I read (here and there) about magnesium helping with spookiness (which may or may not be your case, but is mine) and he was not familiar with it and said it would not hurt to try. He also said he doesn't hold much faith in raspberry leaves, but have at it if I wanted to try it.

I plan on getting her on B1 and mag in August (post Regumate). I will report what happens. My girl gets sore backed. The ovaries are under the hip area.

Tuesday's Child
Jul. 11, 2011, 08:40 PM
My mare can definitely get a bit crampy during her heat cycles. I have never actually treated it with bute or anything, but if I notice it when I'm riding, I tend to back off whatever I'm doing and/or shorten my ride. She is usually fine again in a day or two. I used to give her a raspberry leaf-based supplement called Moody Mare, since she would have crazy amounts of discharge during her heats (to the point of scalding her hind legs), and seemed like she was in heat more often than not. She thankfully seems to have grown out of that though, she had a very obvious spring heat this year but has been ok since then!

Jul. 11, 2011, 09:00 PM
When in season my mare, who is otherwise quite "discrete," becomes a bit "girthy" and just a bit NQR ("not quite right") in temperment. Nothing dramatic, just not "normal." I don't medicate, I just "work around it" by not pushing if I don't have to push.

Some mares turn into raging monsters, others show nothing at all. It's very individualistic.


Jul. 11, 2011, 09:10 PM
The Vit E MUST be given with Selenium or horse doesn't absorb the Selenium as needed. Vit E is a helping vitamin, makes the Selenium work for the horse's needs. Waste of money feeding ONLY Selenium and no Vit E, just passes on thru their system and doesn't help anything.

Citation for that?
The two are synergistic, but not in terms of GI absorption.

Jul. 12, 2011, 12:34 AM
Vitamin E is an antioxidant and Selenium helps to remove free radicals and repairs oxidized tissues. So they work together, but neither is dependent on the other.

Maybe confusing it with Calcium and Vit.D3? Where you cannot absorb Ca without D3.

Jul. 12, 2011, 03:46 AM
What I learned from my horse's vet and chiropractor is that when a mare comes into heat, her ovaries press up against her pelvic bones which can cause discomfort, not unlike when women have cramps.

I have experimented quite a bit with my mare during her cycles and found a product called Mare Ease that works great for my mare and makes her cycles 1/4 of what they used to be. Of course, all horses are different, but my mare is so much more comfortable now than she used to be. Regumate seems like such an unnecessary expenditure.

Interestingly enough, my mare, who is a sport horse in heavy training, just had a massage on Sunday. In the notes the masseuse left was the comment "tightness in the pelvic region, may be the result of coming into season".

I think that just as in humans, mares do have varying degrees of discomfort during their cycles.

Jul. 12, 2011, 08:36 AM
I had my mare marbled, and haven't had any heat cycles since. It's worked great for us, cost about $100.00, and feels safer to me than adding systemic hormones. I had it done at our local vet school (UT Knoxville), and they've had wonderful results with marbles. My regular vet has not, so there is obviously something to experienced timing and insertion.