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Veterinarians are frequently called upon to help horse owners control the estrus behavior (“heat”) in mares used as performance horses or as show animals. When some mares come in heat, the hormonal and behavioral shifts that takes place distracts from their ability to perform their sport. Before deciding to manipulate your mare’s hormones, you should consult with your veterinarian. Sometimes a mare’s history can be suggestive of a hormonal problem. For example, a mare with a Granulosa thecal cell tumor of one of her ovaries often displays stallion like behavior.
As the breeding season gets under way, many stallion and mare owners are surprised to be asked about their horse’s EVA status. In the wake of an outbreak of Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), which occurred in Quarter Horses in 2006, many horse breeders and trainers are rethinking their approach to this disease. Testing and vaccination protocols are becoming stricter in all breeds of horses. The 2006 outbreak originating in New Mexico had a devastating impact on the Quarter Horse breeding industry.
It’s never too soon to start thinking about next year. Planning ahead can make breeding your mare less stressful and more fruitful. Many broodmare owners can run through breeding programs in their sleep, but for those new at the game the following may be helpful in demystifying the process of breeding your mare.