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Estrus display a form of submissive behavior that Alpha mares avoid?

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  • Estrus display a form of submissive behavior that Alpha mares avoid?

    I just read this statement on another thread, and it struck me as *very* interesting.

    I have a mare who is an EXTREME Alpha type, and the ONLY time I've noticed any "estrus behavior" on her part (I've owned her for 5 years) was when she was briefly turned out with a gelding who she "liked" (in the sense of romantic liking; she is mostly tolerant or mildly fond of the geldings who share her pasture and who constitute her "herd", but never shows heat or flirts with them--mostly bosses them around, moves them, pins her ears at them, ignores them, etc.)

    During the few months this particular gelding shared her T/O field, she showed heat on a regular basis--and was also SUBMISSIVE to him--a behavior in her which is unheard of, and which she has *never* exhibited otherwise, either before or since! (And oh, my, was she ever unhappy about being in that submissive role )

    So I was wondering whether this (not showing "obvious heat") was a common syndrome in extremely Alpha mares, since it's apparently a form of submissive behavior.

    When I go to breed this mare, I will have a hell of a time, since I can almost NEVER tell when she's in season!

    Anyone else have this experience?

    Any thoughts?
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

  • #2
    Your alpha mare still cycles normally but in the absence of a stallion the signs are much easier to miss. A submissive mare will generally show to another (alpha) mare when in heat, but the alpha mare might need a little more prompting and as you have noticed certain geldings will do. I would suggest when you get ready to breed her to have a gelding around that she shows to. It will make things much easier, but a good vet with an ultrasound machine can tell you as well, it would just be more expensive!
    Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
    Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

    Originally posted by mbm
    forward is like love - you can never have enough

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    • #3
      I've experienced exactly this with my alpha, indepent mare. There's only one gelding she shows to, and he's been sold so I have no idea anymore when she's in heat. BTW, we have 3 stallions on the property, none of whom she's interested in. When I do decide to breed her (currently she's a working woman!), it's going to be tough to find the right boy to get her in the mood.

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      • #4
        I've had a number of exTREMELY alpha mares over the years, and that has never been the case with any of them.

        The biggest problem we have ever had with alpha mares, is that they will keep the more submissive mares away from the stallion, or away from the fence that we use at teasing time, but I've never had any problems with them showing heat to a stallion.
        Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
        Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Of course (apparently) when there's a stallion around, they are more likely to show heat!

          (My mare is in a field full of geldings, none of whom are even "studly"; I've only seen her interested in one gelding so far--and she's not been near a stallion since I've owned her...)

          I'm sure she still cycles normally; sometimes she gets a little "gooey", but that's the only real sign--even in the spring!
          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

          Comment


          • #6
            I had this situation this past breeding season too!
            Alpha mare-- would have absoultely NOTHING to do with showing her heat to my stallion. She wanted nothing more than to try to kill him.

            One day I saw her showing intensely to an 8 mos old colt -who was across the fence and had absoultely no idea what she was thinking. I pulled her out and teased her with the real stallion--- NOPE--- she wasnt having any of it. Again, she acted like she would kill the stallion if she could only get to him.

            I waited for another cycle without luck and ended up having to use Ultra Sounds by the vet and AI'd her.
            Wanted to tell her-- So there, he got you anyway!
            Windswept Stables-Specializing in Ponies
            Sales, Breaking,Training,Showing, Stud Service

            Home of 2008 Sire of Year Reserve Champion
            Pony Hunter Breeding - Empires Power

            www.EmpiresPower.com

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Windswept Stable View Post
              I had this situation this past breeding season too!
              Alpha mare-- would have absoultely NOTHING to do with showing her heat to my stallion. She wanted nothing more than to try to kill him.

              One day I saw her showing intensely to an 8 mos old colt -who was across the fence and had absoultely no idea what she was thinking. I pulled her out and teased her with the real stallion--- NOPE--- she wasnt having any of it. Again, she acted like she would kill the stallion if she could only get to him.

              I waited for another cycle without luck and ended up having to use Ultra Sounds by the vet and AI'd her.
              Wanted to tell her-- So there, he got you anyway!


              It sounds like they may also (in addition to not wanting to show submissive behavior) just be very *picky*!

              I will probably have the same issues when I want to breed mine; thank goodness for ultrasound and AI!
              "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

              "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

              Comment


              • #8
                I have a large, chestnut mare that is definitely, definitely, definitely the "leader of the pack".

                Unbelievably, to one gelding she looooooves, she does the baby-mouthy-submission thingie when she's in heat. I almost fell on the floor when I saw her do it ... couldn't believe my eyes.
                "For God hates utterly
                The bray of bragging tongues."
                Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders

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                • #9
                  I do have a very valuable cremello mare that is acting like a stallion and she even looks like one with her big neck and the way of showing off. Since two breeding seasons we have now tried to inseminate her with no luck for a pregnancy. So I am wondering if she may have too many male hormons to get in foal. I wish I had an idea. We will now try to breed her this coming season live cover, hope she will not kill the stallion then, guess we will have to give her some tranquilizer before going to risk the live cover breeding.
                  Gwendolyn
                  http://www.gestuet-falkenhorst.com
                  Exceptional colored German WBs, TBs and Arabians

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                  • #10
                    My alpha mare does not show to stallions. She will show to mares. They all stand around at the fence showing and peeing in a group while the stallion looks on like "Hey, what about me?!"

                    She did show for a 2 year old gelding and a 2 month old colt but she was already in foal. It was significant enough that I had to have her u/s again just to be sure. Yep, 5 month old fetus is happily jumping around in there still.

                    I've not had any problems getting in her foal. She has been bred twice by frozen semen and took both times on the first attempt. She's shown no other signs of having hormone problems or irregularities in her cycle.
                    Altamont Sport Horses
                    Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                    Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                    Birmingham, AL

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by aurum View Post
                      I do have a very valuable cremello mare that is acting like a stallion and she even looks like one with her big neck and the way of showing off. Since two breeding seasons we have now tried to inseminate her with no luck for a pregnancy. So I am wondering if she may have too many male hormons to get in foal. I wish I had an idea. We will now try to breed her this coming season live cover, hope she will not kill the stallion then, guess we will have to give her some tranquilizer before going to risk the live cover breeding.
                      I would have her hormone levels checked, including thyroid, and have the vet look for cysts on her ovaries.
                      Altamont Sport Horses
                      Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                      Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                      Birmingham, AL

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                      • #12
                        I had an alpha mare that never, ever showed an estrus display. Ever. When I sent her to stud farm to be bred by on farm AI she was teased by their retired stallion (a gorgeous creature, even at his advanced age) and my jaw hit the floor when she displayed classic estrus.

                        Only when in heat, mind you. According to the breeder, when not in heat, she would still act as though she would prefer to kick him in the head.

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Mozart View Post
                          I had an alpha mare that never, ever showed an estrus display. Ever. When I sent her to stud farm to be bred by on farm AI she was teased by their retired stallion (a gorgeous creature, even at his advanced age) and my jaw hit the floor when she displayed classic estrus.

                          Only when in heat, mind you. According to the breeder, when not in heat, she would still act as though she would prefer to kick him in the head.


                          TOO funny!

                          (I'm definitely sensing a theme, here...)
                          "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

                          "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Interesting! My mare too is like this - alpha and I seldom know when she's in heat excpet when in spring or fall (not necessarily in the same year) she'll have a rager where she winks and flirts with everyone in sight.

                            My 28 year old mare who has always been at the bottom of the pecking order (except to the alpha mare who she bosses around - I decided that's just a wierd old mare/young mare thing)cycles more obviously than the young mare!

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                            • #15
                              Fascinating!

                              My mare is pretty middle-of-the-pack - neigher alpha nor omega. When I was teasing her regularly (getting ready to breed her) I noticed that she only showed to dominant horses, both geldings and mares (no stallions at that barn.) I thought it was just a funny quirk of hers, but sounds like it's a common theme!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Interesting...

                                I have young mares that show to the higher ranked girls in the herd and to the stallion (also in the herd.) The two alpha mares (they take turns from #1 and #2 almost daily) will show to each other and to the stallion. I did have one mare that would only show to other mares in heat w/ or w/out a foal at her side. That was hard to keep track of.

                                However, they gave me something new to ponder early this summer when breeding was taking place. This involves the two younger/submissive mares. Trying to remember back to that day, but I was out there w/ them working on fence or something and I noticed that the second to the bottom mare was in heat and showing/teasing my stallion. Not too uncommon. Stallion got on for his test run (he always jumps on once w/out being ready just to make sure it's safe... he taught himself this.) Now this is an 1800+lb stallion on a 1000lb mare. Just as he mounted, the youngest most submissive mare nonchallantly trots up, squeals, semi launches herself up and body slams the stallion off the mare like she was trying to protect her or something (they are good buddies.) It was THE oddest thing I've ever seen them do, yet it was hilarious. She's a little taller than the mare he was mounting, and only a 100lbs heavier. My poor stallion didn't know what he was supposed to do after that, he looked to me for guidance, as he does if I'm there. I reassured him that all was well in his world and the mare for being so patient and got after the young mare and got her out of the way so they could continue.

                                Has anyone ever seen that before and why on earth would she do that? Did she really think he was hurting her somehow? Do horses think like that? Since my stallion seems to feel the need to protect me from the tractor whenever the hay guy comes out. He puts himself between me and the tractor every. single. time. yet he could care less where his girls are.
                                A Merrick N Dream Farm
                                Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique

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                                • #17
                                  I find it amazing how many mares would prefer to tease each other rather than respond to any of the 3 stallions on the property. Granted, I never directly tease them with the stallions but they are divided by only a 40-60 ft alley way and the stallions are certainly trying to talk to them across the way. Instead they turn their backs to the stallions and tease each other. Maybe because these mares have never been bred by live cover? I don't know.
                                  Altamont Sport Horses
                                  Trakehners * Knabstruppers * Appaloosa Sport Horses
                                  Home of stallions: Ambrosius af Asgard "Atlantis" & Hollywood Hot Spot
                                  Birmingham, AL

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Mine are bred live cover and still tease to each other w/ the stallion looking on going, WTF? And they're all in a herd together w/ nothing seperating them. Who knows. I have one mare, the one my stallion was mounting in my previous post, that will go so far as to tease my old gelding acrossed the fence and completely ignore the stallion until she's ready, which he obliges. My gelding will only tease to that particular mare. Maybe she thinks he's feeling more included since he does all of the babysitting after weaning. He also helped raise her from a yearling.

                                    Nobody else's mares have bodyslammed stallions off mares while mounted, huh? She's always been a bit off, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised at some of the things she does, including this.
                                    A Merrick N Dream Farm
                                    Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique

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