Equine health: The mare’s fertile period

Equine health: The mare’s fertile period

HORSES AND HORMONES THE MARE’S CYCLE

Mares, or mature female horses, have hormonal fluctuations, even as humans and other animals do. These hormonal changes may affect a mare’s behavior and temperament, and they most certainly impact her availability for breeding to a stud, or stallion.

As seasonally polyestrous creatures, mares undergo hormonal cycles during certain seasons of the year, but not all year long. In most climates, mares do not experience estrous cycles during the winter months.

Generally, mares will have 21- to 22-day equine estrous cycles. This is the duration of time between each ovulation. A mare’s estrous cycles are usually impacted by the number of hours of bright sunlight in a day. For this reason, in most geographical regions, a mare will cycle into season, or be in-heat, during the spring, summer and early fall months, when daylight lingers longer.

IN SEASON, OR IN ESTRUS

A mare will remain in estrus (in season) for three to five days each time, as part of the overall estrous cycle. Known as the follicular phase of a mare’s estrous cycle, this is the period during which a mare is fertile for breeding to a stud, or stallion (an uncastrated male horse). At this point, an ovum has been released from an ovary, so that it may await fertilization for conception.

During this fertile period, a mare will usually be willing to stand for breeding. At other times, she will most vehemently refuse.

Most mares will display their in-season condition by their behavior (lifting their tails and winking, or showing).

The surest sign of equine estrus is a mare’s acceptance of a stallion in proximity. If a mare is walked directly past a stallion in a stall or round pen, she will either invite his presence or resist it. When placed near a stallion, perhaps in front of his stall window, an in-season mare may squat and urinate in place. However, if she pins her ears and squeals, she is probably not yet in season.

TEMPERAMENTAL TIMES

During her estrus period, a mare may display a marked change in temperament. The horse may seem a bit testy or jumpy, and she may resist girth or leg pressure around her abdomen. A quiet horse may neigh and demonstrate a difficulty in standing quietly for grooming or training.

Some equestrian trainers and veterinarians recommend hormone therapy for mares who demonstrate challenging behavior during their cycles. Others vehemently oppose such measures. This is a matter of personal choice.

BREEDING CONCERNS

The optimum moment for equine conception is the last day or two of the equine estrus window. At that time, the egg has traveled into the ideal spot for fertilization and implantation.

Immediately after this point, the mare enters the diestrus portion of her estrous cycle. This portion lasts approximately 14 to 16 days. During this time, breeding becomes impractical.

VIsit Classic Equine for more information on Horse Breeding.

Various reasons for choke in horses

In simple terms, choke in horses is a result of some obstruction within the esophagus which then results in items such as food or even water from being unable to get into the gut. One thing that has to be stressed is that this is potentially lethal for the horse so, if you believe they do indeed have the condition, it has to be dealt with and not ignored. You will know if this is happening due to a discharge coming from their nostrils, which is a result of them being unable to eat food, along with saliva and mucas and may occur due to the horse trying to clear the blockage itself. If you feel they have it then call your local vet immediately.

As you would expect, a horse is going to experience a lot of discomfort, as well as some pain, if they have this problem. A familiar pose for one suffering it is with their legs spread, their neck being extended more than normal but also with their head hanging down, there may also be a sign of sweating.

If you believe this is the problem then try feeling under the jaw and along the actual esophagus yourself as in the early stages there may be the possibility of being able to massage away the problem yourself however only do this if you are experienced. Most people do need to call the vet as they will be able to examine the horse for any additional problems since there is a possibility of them contracting pneumonia or even a wind problem. It is common for the vet to give them a series of antibiotics to help prevent any further complications.

The main cause of this problem is due to the horse eating without chewing properly and can be seen even in young horses. To prevent them from getting it, or lowering the chances, try making their pelleted feed wet as it will help them to swallow it. Aside from this, work on stopping them from bolting their food which means breaking the habit and a good method is by adding rocks to their grain so they need to slow down in order to source the actual food.

Even although pelleted food was just mentioned it has to also be pointed out hay can cause a problem. For this you need to make sure it is not dry just like before. Keeping with the food theme, offering them a full carrot or apple may also lead to them developing the problem but do not stop giving them it but do cut it up into smaller parts first.

Finally, with regards to things they have ingested, you need to look at foreign objects which means bits from a fence or anything else lying around. You may also find they ingest the twine from hay by accident so do check this before offering them it.

When you see that they do have signs of choke then get them in to somewhere dry and clean until the vet appears and avoid giving them anything to eat or drink. This will keep them calm and when the vet arrives they may do several things including passing a tube down in order to find the blockage, give a sedative, then try and flush it out. Surgery is only required in extreme situations.

After they have recovered your main concern then has to be on making sure this is not a recurring problem. Do look closely at the feed situation however consider making gradual changes as they will be more likely to accept it and always ensure the have a good source of nice fresh water. When it comes to feeding them do it on a regular basis, they are not designed to fast and like regularity, so they do not gulp it down when they do eat. Ensure their stable is clean, and does not have any foreign objects, and remember to cut up those treats before letting them have it. This final part may come down to teaching visitors about it as they will not know of the potential problems they may cause.

So if you even just fear they have this problem then call a vet as soon as possible. Doing so may save their life and will at least stop them from being in pain or discomfort for any length of time.

Equine Hoof Care: One of The Best Career Options

If you have interest in horses and like to spend your spare time around horse people and horses then you must be aware that horse people are really passionate and they have sufficient experience to give strong advice on horse care, horse ownership, hoof care, breeding, and riding styles of horses. They don’t have singular minds like those in construction whose concerns are looking for Denver dumpster rental. Learn more about the intricacies of equine careers here.

Hoof care is one of the burning topics among horse lovers. The discussion of hoof care is between orthodox farriers and modern practitioners. Orthodox farriers are one who utilizes application of horse shoe to horse hoof. Whereas, modern practitioners are those who like complete barefoot care and can get heated very quickly.

The next challenge is to find best hoof care service provider for your horse. By spending enough time with horse people, you will realize that it is very difficult to find excellent hoof care provider. Generally, the best hoof care providers are busy and unable to provide service to the new clients.

If you are looking forward to opt for a career related to hoof care service then you need to understand the prerequisites. Hoof care is a field which has lot of scope and potential to provide good living. Key to a successful hoof care career is enough determination. But you need to be sure that this is a suitable career for you. Initially you need to examine your physical health very closely. Examining physical health is very difficult task and needs tremendous amount of effort to keep your body fit. You need to concentrate on knee, lower back, ankle, wrists and hands. These body parts will be tried and tested medically. If you are facing problems related to breathing or cardiac problems then you need to get it checked with a good doctor. Discuss about your condition with doctor and timely treatment will allow you to become a hoof care service provider.

Next challenge which you will face is to make decision of you like to opt for orthodox fairer or modern practitioners. Orthodox fairer prefers to apply shoe to hoof whereas modern practitioners prefer barefoot method. Irrespective of the method, the key to master one of the methods is by concentrating and practicing again and again.

You must be wondering about the required knowledge, skills and technique to become a successful hoof care service provider. You need to master equine anatomy and skill to identify problems with equine soundness and movement. You also need to learn set of organizational techniques such as organizing contact information, scheduling appointments, and important instructions. Importance of organizational skill can be understood with the fact that if you miss any scheduled appointment then your clients will be very upset with your service. It is recommended to schedule only 2 stops in a single day. As soon as the horses become friendly with you, you will be able to schedule and add more stops in a single day.

If you don’t like to be dependent on others and strongly believes in self initiation, hard work and well organization then equine hoof care might be suitable career for you. Nothing can match up the satisfaction of a job when it is done perfectly.

Equine Fescue Edema: Signs, Symptoms and Causes

The perennial tall fescue grass has caused horses in Australia to come down with a toxic condition called equine fescue edema. Australian scientists have noted that horses who grazed pastures with Mediterranean varieties of tall fescue grass have been affected by this condition. This type of tall fescue grass has bacteria and fungi that lives inside of it. These bacteria and fungi, called endophytes, are ingested by a horse when grazing. Unfortunately, horses that are affected will need to get help from a veterinarian immediately. Failing to do so can be fatal to the horse because of the high toxicity they are exposed to.

Horses who have grazed on other types of fescue grasses have not had the toxins transfer into their system. This can cause a state of panic and confusion among horse owners and needs to be addressed immediately. Those who are concerned about equine fescue edema will need to categorize all of the grass and plants that are in their pastures. Knowing the exact types will help determine the chance of a horse being affected. The tall fescue grass acts as a natural deterrent to pests and will grow freely. This causes the tall fescue grass to be very abundant. This makes it very hard for owners to ensure that their pastures are cleared of this strain of grass.

The origins of equine fescue edema are quite interesting. The condition was first seen in 2007, when many horses became ill after an intense drought. The drought lasted for a number of seasons and the tall fescue grass remained. The drought ended when massive amounts of rain fell in the region. The rains were quite intense and only lasted for a very short period of time. Soon after the rains, horses started to show signs of illness. The common symptoms were: swelling of the abdomen, swelling of the neck, swelling of the head, swelling of the chest, reduced appetite and unusual moods. Many horses died from the issue, while some horses survived. Some of the horses that survived experienced reproductive issues and others did not.

Equine fescue edema is a rather concerning illness because the swelling associated with it is very difficult to notice. Horse owners will not always be able to observe the swelling without the horse undergoing tests from a veterinarian. The swelling is thought to be caused by a drop of protein levels in the horse’s blood.

The bacteria, endophyte or fungus known as Max Q or Max P is not present in all of the Mediterranean tall fescue grasses. The grasses which contain Max Q or Max P will be the main concern for horse owners as they are the cause for the toxic chemical reaction that occurs. Thankfully, symptoms of equine fescue edema are noticeable in just one week and horses can be treated quickly. Moving a horse to another pasture which does not contain this strain of Mediterranean tall fescue will typically aid in the horse’s recovery. However, if a horse is affected by equine fescue edema, they should always be treated by a professional.