A Mare’s ‘Behavioral’ Problems, Solved

Is your mare kicking out, bucking and squealing? She could be trying to tell you something! Common signs of ‘misbehavior,’ can often be a direct result of estrus pain in horses.

“If a horse isn’t safe and bombproof, he doesn’t stay at our house,” said horsewoman, wife and mother of four, Korrina Tomes-Hughes. When Korrina acquired a “witchy” horse, who often squealed and kicked out, she quickly told her husband they had one year to solve her behavioral issues, or she was “out of here.” Considering “a 1,200-pound horse versus our littlest kid of 40 pounds,” there can be no taking chances when it comes to safety.

Pinpointing the problem:

To diagnose the issue, Korrina’s veterinarian examined the mare, Cash Flip Seven, and soon discovered the mare’s estrus cycle was to blame for her, at times, poor behavior. “When she cycles, she cycles hard. It’s painful for her,” said Korrina. She was acting up because of the pain she experienced from estrus, which is common, according to a study conducted by University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. There are several bad behaviors that are directly linked to physical discomfort, which can often be overlooked and quickly labeled as “mareish,” including:

  • Animated bucking
  • Kicking out
  • Kicking walls
  • Backing into or rubbing the hindquarters into walls or objects
  • Self-biting
  • Pawing (other than in anticipation of feeding)
  • Frequent frustration head shaking
  • Finding a solution:

    Korrina’s veterinarian recommended two options: spay her, or take her out of heat. That’s when they made the decision to put the mare on Regumate. Using Regu-Mate (altrenogest), horse owners can suppress a mare’s estrus (heat) cycle, which reduces undesirable changes in a horse’s behavior and mood. Within three days of the start of treatment, Regu-Mate for horses will effectively suppress estrus in 95% of mares. Regumate is tried and tested, recommended by veterinarians across the country. More than 200 clinical trials have been conducted to determine its safety and efficacy, and the product has been available for more than 30 years, with some 50 million doses sold. Regu-Mate requires a veterinarian's prescription.

    “Using Regumate has made a world of difference with keeping her out of heat. She backs in the box easier, and doesn’t have “box sweat” or any gate issues. She doesn’t balk at any of this stuff; she goes in and does her job like there is no tomorrow,” Korrina said.

    Cash Flip Seven is now the family’s all-around horse, especially when it comes to team roping and barrels. “She’s won a lot in the roping world; everybody loves to rope on her. And she’s that horse who won’t hit a barrel and will make the same run every time for you,” she said.

    Advice to others:

    Korrina encourages other horse owners not to give up on a horse too soon. “First, make sure your horse is not hurting and in pain. So often, people try to fix a horse’s attitude before fixing pain. Some are quick to write them off, but every person has their bad days, and horses do, too. You can’t just write them off for a bad day, or even a bad week.  And when you have a mare, you especially have to make sure she is comfortable.”

    If your horse is showing signs of discomfort that may be connected to heat, contact your veterinarian to request an examination of your horse, and talk with them about your horse’s behavior. During your horse’s thorough examination with your veterinarian, ask to learn more about the solutions available, such as Regumate, Altren (altrenogest) or horse calming supplements. This is an important first step for helping determine diagnosis and treatment for healthy, happy horses.

    Learn more about Regumate for mares, available from veterinarian-founded ValleyVet.com.

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