My wife and I purchased a supposedly bred miniature mare earlier this spring. She was shown quite a bit and had been in training up until the time we purchased her. We are now being told that since she was shown extensively her reproductive system is immature and she needs time to 'be a horse'. Even after being turned out on pasture and several additional breeding attempts this summer she did not settle. She is 5 yrs old. We have also been told based on several ultrasound scans that her cervix is too tight. Although we have bred minis for several years now, we have never bred a 'show mare'. Has anyone else seen or experienced this problem? What should we expect? Being 5, will this mare ‘recover’ such that she can be bred? I prefer to let nature take its course if we can, but are there any treatment regimes that might help this mare? The breeding farm has suggested we turn her out to pasture with the rest of our herd, then start he under lights in December or January depending on when we want a foal the following year. Does this sound like a good plan of action? Thanks Kent
While I always precede questionable observations with "never say never", I would expect any mare to be sexually mature by the time she was five, whether she had been shown or not. there is no particular reason why showing a horse would interfere with hormonal development - unless she was receiving certain drugs such as steroids during that showing time.
I would also feel inclined to be curious about a mare that is sold as bred and then in the next breath the sellers are telling you she is not mature enough to be bred because she was shown...
A tight cervix in a younger mare such as this would indicate to me that she is cycling, as progesterone is the hormone that closes the cervix down (take a look at the article about the mares cycle on our site for more details). While putting the mare under lights will be valuable for inducing early estrus, my inclination would also be to monitor this mare more closely with ultrasound, as I suspect you are missing an ovulation. Note that not all mares will "display" to a stallion when in heat, and she may well be one of those mares. Another test that would be definitive in indicating ovulation would be to have a blood-progesterone assay performed when the tight cervix is observed. If the progesterone levels are elevated, your mare is ovulating (and you are missing the time to breed).
Thanks Jos. Unfortunately we had already bought her then the story changed. Obviously we are disappointed and will likely not purchase through those channels again. Shame - we bought on reputation and word. But that is a topic for a different board.
My thoughts as well about being 5, but I needed some confirmation from those more experienced with horses.
I just got back from visiting with my local vet about the situation. In addition to the lights, he suggested making sure the mare was teased regularly to help detect heat and help stimulate the normal hormones. It can't hurt. The goal will be to get her cycling early and send her back to the farm to hopefully collect on the breeding she was purchased with. Ideally we would like an April breeding for a March foal, but any time after March until July works well for us and gives us plenty of chances for her to settle. I'll also be contacting another vet he suggested who has an ultrasound so we can monitor what is going on before we send her back.
I think she is cycling, just not settling. The farm did ultrasound her shortly before we picked her up and told us she had a hemorrhagic follicle. That will now have to clear up before she can be bred. I understand this can occur in the fall.
I guess the show horse theory is that being cooped up away from the natural light cycles as well as the rigorous training depresses the natural cycling of the mare. I have also read that this can reduce sperm count in stallions. If this is off base, please correct me.
Thanks again Kent
Posted From: 22.214.171.124
Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2005 - 10:00 pm:
Note Kent that Miniatures to be that small do have genetic weaknesses that can pop up because of their inbreed heritage. This could be a point into why she isn't cycling well and has a tight cervix.
Posted From: 126.96.36.199
Posted on Friday, October 14, 2005 - 04:44 pm:
Interesting hypothesis anonymous. I have hade minis for several years and have not read any specific information to support your statement. (The implication being that there is greater occurrence than larger breeds.) Do you have any statistical analysis data or link to a science backed article to support it?
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