I have noticed that as I have worked with my mare over the last few months, and as I have gotten more effective at getting her focus, keeping her focus, and thus getting her closer to 100% OK, that there are always a few days during her estrus cycles during which she is more difficult to work with.
If we are alone in the arena, she is manageable albeit not as focused (or easy to get focused) as usual. I try and keep the sessions short and productive and quit early. If there is another horse in the arena, specifically a gelding, she is much harder to handle. Her attention is very fleeting, she is full of beans and can get hot and explosive. Once her heat cycle is done, things return to normal. She has never had a true anestrus...she always has a couple short cycles during the winter.
Two questions: what is the best way to go about handling her during these times? Should I change my routine or continue trying to work with her but keeping the sessions short? Also, what can you tell me about feed-in substances (I have heard raspberry leaf can sometimes help? Any others?) to help balance her out during her cycles, or drugs like Depo, Regumate, etc?
Last edited on Sat Jan 10th, 2015 02:37 am by Redmare
Many mare owners report that Chastetree Berry (vitex agnus castus) is very effective for mares who show excitable behaviour during estrus, often completely eliminating the problem.
Chastetree has been used extensively for horses for a long time (also effective for Cushings syndrome in many horses) so is considered to be safe for longterm use. It is readily available in most countries, and is inexpensive if purchased as whole dried berries that can be ground fresh daily. One or two teaspoons per day may be enough but there is no harm in giving larger amounts if necessary.
Raspberry leaf is thought to be useful for pregnancy-related issues, but may not achieve what you are wanting with this mare during estrus.