Some mares are more obvious than others, but if you’re trying to get a clear read on cycling for breeding, it helps to get to know your mare so you can time ultrasounds and/or better schedule live breeding to save money in this challenging economy.
- If you’re seeing pink snow in the paddocks, at least one of your mares is likely already cycling.
- Mares often begin to mimic the herd with their rhythms. If you can catch a heat with one mare, it’s likely that others on the property are close in their cycle, particularly as the season progresses.
- If you don’t have stallions on the property, often a gelding is sufficient to tease a mare (and with some, anything on four legs). The easiest and safest way is to leave the gelding in a stall and bring the mare to him on the lead. If she winks and squats, she’s probably in heat.
- Get to know your mare. Some are more obvious than others, but all tend to follow patterns. We have one mare who will tease heartily but when she’s really getting ready to ovulate, she stops and winks just about every stride on the way out to the paddocks with no horses in sight.
- Keep copious records of your mare’s heat dates and follicle sizes/tone (if you’re using ultrasounds) you have them to see patterns. These will change as the season gets later, but helps for next heats and future years.
- Get a good reproductive vet on board to help you learn, spot issues and provide the best assistance for your mare that’s possible.