Breeding Season: Keeping A Mare's Behavior In Check
If you’ve ever owned a mare, chances are you have had a few problems here or there with attitude during the longer days and peak of breeding season. During the spring to early fall, mares enter their breeding cycle and often become a bit more difficult or unruly to deal with during these months. These behaviors can often become a problem for the rider or handler and can not only affect rides, training, or handling but can also influence the behavior and concentration of other horses nearby.
During their cycles, mares often exhibit difficult behaviors such as squealing, aggression, kicking, pinning ears, becoming difficult to handle or ride, decreased cooperation or concentration during riding and training, becoming nervous or anxious, or even can become unpredictable. This can cause an unsafe environment for riders and handlers, other horses, or anyone working in the vicinity of the mare. On top of this, training progress can be slowed or halted and show seasons may be difficult to manage or may even be lost.
So how do you deal with a mare that is exhibiting difficult behaviors? There are several drug therapies you can discuss with your veterinarian which affect the mares hormonal cycles and, consequently, can help manage her difficult behavior. However, these drugs aren’t always an option because of possible safety concerns, financial constraints, or a desire to maintain the mare’s cycle for breeding.
One option that you may not have considered is herbal behavioral remedies. Herbal supplements are often a good choice for many mares because they are non-pharmaceutical based, safe to administer, and are formulated to help support a mare’s mental and emotional health rather than hinder a biological function. Herbal remedies which contain ingredients such as valerian root, chamomile, blue vervain, cohash, wild lettuce, horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), cherry plum (Prunus cerasifera), and even aspen (Populus tremula) can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, irritability, aggression, and stubbornness. There are many types of herbs that are traditionally known to help reduce these feelings and improve attitude, decrease unpredictability, and enhance concentration. Equilite Herbals has formulated an herbal blend specifically for mares, RelaxHer Blend, which includes valerian root, chamomile, cohash, and wild lettuce.
Another great herbal remedy option are the Botanical Animal Flower Essences. Botanical Animal is a full line of fourteen different behavioral modification solutions designed to fit any behavior situation. Flower essences are a liquid plant preparation that is made by infusing fresh flower blossoms under very specific conditions to create a potent flower extract. The specialized line of Botanical Animal Flower Essences work synergistically to address common stressful situations to bridge the gap between emotional health and it’s manifestation in the physical form. Some great options for mares during cycle include Clear Thinking, Devil Be Gone, Easy Does It, or Mellow Out. These herbal solutions are easy to administer, either orally or in water, and can be given every day, in times of high stress, or directly before a training session or show. Another added benefit of Botanical Animal Flower Essences is that you can safely mix and match, if needed.
Herbal remedies are a great solution for many mare owners and allow more flexibility, can be safer to administer, and often come with a much lower price point than some of the pharmaceutical options. Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about what types of herbal remedies you can incorporate in your mare’s feed and training program. Speaking to a veterinarian is vital to incorporating any change to your horse’s program and ensuring that the solutions you are incorporating are a safe option for you and your horse. Even with herbals, it is important to keep in mind that some herbs, such as some found in RelaxHer Blend, may not be safe for pregnant mares or mares you are trying to breed. Consult your veterinarian today about the best methods for incorporating herbal remedies for your mare’s behavioral difficulties this season.