I'm having a very hard time with my mare during the first three days of her heat cycles.
It seems like no matter what I do (asking to give to pressure with a rope halter or the bit, asking her to move her inside hind under her midline, etc.), I simply CAN NOT keep her attention for more than a few seconds.
I understand this is emotional for her, and her hormones are taking over. She becomes extremely herdbound, terribly body tense, tries to rub on everything, and will even squirt while walking. It would be fine except she has tendancies to forget I'm there and has come close to stepping on me or walking right over the top of me.
I've come to the conclusion to just let her be on those days, and work around them. I just feel that's not the right solution, and that I need to adjust what I do during those days. I'm not confident in what I need to change, though.
Hello Sarah - Many mare owners use the herb Chasteberry (vitex agnus castus) to help their mares through the hormonal upheavals of their heat cycles. It is extremely effective in regulating the function of the pituitary gland which controls hormones and will prevent the behavioural changes you describe if they are solely hormone driven. However, please consult your vet and a qualified equine herbalist before commencing any herbal supplementation. If you do decide to use chasteberry, the hard peppercorn-like berries should be ground in a coffee-grinder to make them digestible. I know of several people whose mares are quiet, happy horses other than those few days of each cycle through spring and summer when they turn into veritable demons to their owners and herdmates - chasteberry supplementation has completely eradicated any variation in behaviour, there is no difference between heat and non-heat times.