About twice a year, going into winter and into spring, my mare gets really hard to handle: completely unfocused, not paying attention to my aids, bolts. I can handle the bolting but she does it with my 12-yo daughter. Not cool.
She did this last spring, this past fall around late Oct into mid-Nov, and now she's doing it again. She'll straighten up about 3 - 4 weeks after this starts and be fun to work with again. She's not mare-ish otherwise & I've recently treated for ulcers (that was a different set of symptoms).
Does anyone else experiences this with their mare? Do you ride through it or give your mare time off?
My mare has been really difficult to handle about mid-December though mid-February. Spooky, silly, and not fun to ride. I don't think it's hormonal or marish, it's just the way she is. She'll be 19 in the spring and I've had her since she was 2.
I attribute it to not being able to ride as consistently due to the footing and weather, the cold weather, and a feelin' good horse. Once the weather turns I don't really ride until it starts getting better. It's not worth the fight and it's no fun so it's better that I just give her a little time off and then fit her back up starting mid-February.
Have you tried putting her on a calming supplement, like Smart Calm or something similar ? That has helped my mare a lot. Is she is consistent work during those times, or is it more sporatic ? Can you make sure that you get on and ride her down a bit first so that she's better for your daughter ?
I've had her on Smartcalm ultra since the last bout of nuttiness. That seemed to help. She was spooky then and it's really helped with that. I ride her pretty consistently, 5 - 6 days a week. She's a Morgan and prone to IR, so I make sure to exercise her enough to keep weight off her.
Next week we're trying an earlier lesson time, one not so near to feeding time. I'll try warming her up for my daughter and see if that helps. Thanks!
My mare does some wonderful stuff. It's definitely her being/coming into season. It took me awhile to figure it out, but if you push her, she would just stop and turn into a spinning ball of fury, and then run into a wall. No kidding. She's been fabulous lately, and last week went into season. How do I know? Working wonderfully, and in the middle of it plants her feet and refuses to move forward. I'm smart enough now that I just turn her and MAKE her move--if I tried to kick her forward I would get her head in my face.
She doesn't really do it unless I work her, so, I try to give days off, hit the trail, and not push it.
I certainly wouldn't put your 12 year old on your mare. Me? I'm breeding her, again. I LOVE riding her pregnant. This time around I'll clean up the tempi changes and pirouettes in her. Last time I taught her piaffe/passage. The shots didn't work so well for her.
Since owning a mare I have learned that the first cycles in spring & the ones in the fall can be exaggerated in length and magnitude.
Mine gets totally unable to focus, notices every teeny tiny little thing (neighbor walking in his yard about a mile away, etc). I guess I should be glad she isn't ever witchy, but it is exhausting. Also embarrassing b/c she becomes such a wh*re.
My gelding is a total tweaker from about the end of December until...oh...May or so. It's the cold weather, more limited turnout, and sore muscles with him, I think. He also seems to really hate being ridden in indoor arenas and especially hates being in there with other horses. He's usually a little bit better with a quarter sheet on, but even that isn't a sure thing. In the summer, he's freaking fabulous and a super good boy. A child could ride him. Every summer, I hope the evil twin won't show up in winter...but every year...there he is.
To the OP-You are dealing with a mare. Mares cycles are supposed to coincide with spring and fall, but they are mares. They begin cycling when they do.
Some have ovulations that not only are quite painful but the ovaries themselves remain uncomfortable for a period of time after, too. Sometimes a little banamine helps. But first, I would have a vet well versed in repro work check her out ASAP she shows signs of " here she goes again".
Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.