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Mare becoming very hostile towards other horses...hormonal???

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  • Mare becoming very hostile towards other horses...hormonal???

    I have a mare who is fairly cranky towards other horses but wonderful with people. Lately when I ride her with others, she plants her ears back and practically bares her teeth. If she was not so sensitive to my leg, I think she would wheel and kick the other horses and they can be different horses. Then if we go in a line and there is no one behind her, she is fine , but if she is in the front she is miserable...looking back, arching her neck and pinning her ears. This has been going on for several weeks and is getting worse. Any ideas before I call the vet?

  • #2
    Midwinter, with crummy footing, cold, and blankets on all the time, a lot of horses get a little cranky.
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    • #3
      Knowing this situation as well, since I am OP's fellow-boarder and great friend....it didn't just start in winter. It started months ago, maybe up to 3-4 months ago, but has progressively worsened since then. I think it's definitely more than the winter blues...something is going on with her.

      Anyone have experience with ovarian cysts in mares? I've heard symtoms can worsen over time and sound something like this.

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      • #4
        My mare also became quite hostile towards other horses, although she expresses it over a common fence line or stall bars and not so much under saddle. She was 5.5 years old when it started, so she was still growing up and becoming a full-grown Mare. She did eventually get diagnosed with both hormone issues (resolved with Regumate) and ulcers.

        Both of those issues are now under control but her behavior is the same. So I really don't know if either of those issues affected her behavior or not.

        I'll be interested in other answers. Besides my mare, I've never met another horse who really didn't want to be around other horses. At all.

        ETA - I have had her ovaries ultrasounded (twice), and she did not have cysts. But it's not a bad thing to rule out either, and gives you a chance to check for other hormone-related issues too.
        "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

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        • #5
          My mare would also pin her ears back and try to bite and kick at other horses. Then she started to colic. We started suspecting something was wrong and had her scoped - voilá, ulcers!


          I didn't even connect the craziness to ulcers until we got her on omeoprazole. Suddenly it was gone, and she became the peaceful horse she is today. Might be worth having her scoped...
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          • #6
            Anyone else willing to endorse my observation that a lot of mares (not all, but a good number) just go through a period of being . . . demonstrative . . . between the ages of 5 and 8? I figure it's probably their peak fertility years and they are just more "out there" personality-wise. I don't consider it "bad" behavior or necessarily even hormonal in the sense that it is pathological. Maybe it's just late adolescence with all its attendant drama.

            Bonnie (my mare) at 13 is done with all that, seemingly. She was never one to demonstrate heat openly other than maybe 1-2 cycles a year, but she was sure a bossy PITA with other horses and prone to being spooky and hypervigilant. Over the past couple of years this has faded considerably.

            A mark of maturity?
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            • #7
              Delta, that's kind of what I'm hoping. I'll take it a step further and say that it's worse with alpha mares, because they are already genetically wired to be protective, defensive, and otherwise "demonstrative." If my mare hadn't had a late start to her sport career, I'd be tempted to breed her and see if that mellowed her out - but no such luck, she's gotta keep trotting in circles
              "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

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              • #8
                My mare (8) has always done this to some extent. It waxes and wanes based on the day, no real pattern. Some days she seems to enjoy company in the ring and won't react to anything and other days she's snaking her head and ear pinning. Sometimes it seems to be horse specific - particularly horses bigger than her - and she is a BIG mare - can tick her off or any other alpha inclined mare. A gelding of equal or lesser size usually gets a pass as do ponies of all genders. But this is not always the way. Like I said, somedays she is fine with everyone.

                She is happiest when everyone is moving in the same direction and no one passes her from behind. She's never kicked out but has shown teeth once or twice to someone that got TOO close. She doesn't have ulcers, she is on hormones. I dunno. I agree with DW. This is just how it goes with mares and I think time/age does help as she's gotten better as she's aged.

                Mares They're not geldings...

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Well, my mare is 13 and so that rules out one possibility. I guess I will go ahead and call her veterinarian.

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                  • #10
                    If she is an alpha mare then it seems to be a part of their personality. My mare rides with my daughters horse just fine as long as she stays in " her place". I have had many mares and they all seem to display this in varying degrees . I wouldn't rule out pain during her cycle because just like some women suffer with PMS issues I think our female animals do too. It can make them quite cranky and sensitive which can put the handler at risk, in some extreme cases. I hope your vet can help.

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                    • #11
                      I ride a mare that has promoted herself to a solo lifestyle over the past 10 years. She was born here. Raised here. Used to get along with her mare buddies just fine. Then... she kicked the crap out of one horse. Then... she kicked the crap out of her 1/2 sister a couple of times. (She also kicked me a number of times as a youngster, and took to unloading me later in her life.)

                      She clearly had something that bothered her at one point, though we couldn't really figure out what it was. She, ahem.... masturbates (I believe I read it here described as "cribs with the wrong end...") She is clearly pissed that we denied her babies of her own, but she's a hot little tamale with strong opinions and she was never a mommy candidate.

                      Lyme's has likely played a roll in her dumping me (she's gotten wicked spooky in her middle age) and probably in her ever increasing desire to kill other horses. Currently, she is mostly good to ride, except when she ain't.... So I just take it as it goes AND keep her far away from other horses.
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                      • #12
                        I wouldn't rule out pain during her cycle because just like some women suffer with PMS issues I think our female animals do too. It can make them quite cranky and sensitive
                        just so long as we recall that mares do not menstruate (so no PMS) and the difficult part of their cycle (typically ovulation) is the polar opposite of the difficult part of a woman's cycle (menstruation). Not even marginally the same.
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