I am new to this site and have tried to read through years of post for answer to my dilemma with no exact reference to be found. So I am proposing it here as a new topic. I am sorry it is a little long but there is a lot to this mare...
I have a 23 yr old maiden mare in exceptional health and impeccable racing QH/TB bloodlines. We have owned the mare since the age of 4 when she came off the track. We retrained her for other events and she had a second career that lasted until she was 17. At 17 she developed synovial cysts on her knees and riding her competitively became a risk for her getting seriously injured. So we retired her out to pasture where she has been for the last 6 years. Due to her value as a competitor we did not breed her during her "prime years" and waited until she was retired to breed her. She did not take on the first time becuase of an inexperienced breeder and we were not present to oversee. We were promised a second try but weeks turned into months and then into years. We moved to another state and life took over while she was grazing to her hearts content. She was the heart and soul of our farm and the light in my father's eyes. There was never a price tag on her and he turned down rediculous amounts of money because she had the one thing that is hard to come by in a hot blooded horse like her....she had heart and want-to. She always gave 150% regardless of what you asked. Combined with a speed index of 110+ she was unmatched in speed events. She loved to perform and to please. My father said horses like that are once in a lifetime. She was-and still is his pride and joy.
About 2 years ago we noticed she was no longer coming into heat. At that point our (then) vet told us she had stopped ovulating and we had no chances of ever breeding her because due to her age she had probably become barren and we simply waited too late. Sadly we accepted this news and did not attempt to breed her again and dropped the subject until recently.
(side note-we had only mares during the last 6 years so she had no contact with male horses during this period)
Six months ago we acquired two young geldings. They were all kept apart but suddenly the old mare began coming in heat. At first we thought it was a fluke or a false heat from a tease, then we realized she had started cycling and every 23 days she was coming into heat again. I mean REAL heat...winking,squatting,urination, tail raised, hostile to other mares, etc...
so we decided to take a chance and breed her. Well today is day #2 of her 4th month (verified) in cycle. Yesterday and this morning she was practically trying to jump the fence to get with the geldings and was just in a frenzy over the fence with them. Tonight we took her and her pasture mate of 14 years (who has severe seperation anxiety) to the breeders and all of a sudden the old mare acted like she was not longer in heat! We tried to tease her with the stallion...nothing! We decided not to attempt the cover in light of her behavior. Then as soon as we returned to the barn she started in with the geldings again!!! I am dumbfounded and do not know what to think now. Where we live now is very rural and the vets in this area are not experienced in advanced equine assisted reproduction and our old vet thinks we are crazy. Tomorrow I am going to try to track down a vet experienced in this but am trying to do some research in the meantime.
We do have a couple options if we can find a vet capable of doing any of them. She has not been vet checked yet for ovulation or chances of reproductive problems (that is on tomorrows agenda) so we are considering doing a AI here on the farm while she is actively in heat to the geldings, if her health is in danger of carrying a maiden foal this late in life we have an open 6yr old broodmare (on the exact cycle within 24 hours) we could do an embryonic transfer with, or third accept defeat.
At this moment I am hanging onto a string of hope by some miracle this is our last chance. This mare is such a huge part of our lives and our farm/family history. I realize she will not be around forever but I am praying for a miracle that by some chance we can still get a foal from her to carry on her legacy.
I realize every horse is mostly a product of environment more than bloodlines when it comes to demeanor but she is the full meal deal and I know at least some of that would carry on.
Can anyone please give me some input (those that have stayed through my entire story )
Thank you all in advance...DD
Jan Owen Senior Stallion or Mare Username: 1frosty1
Post Number: 1809 Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 10:37 am:
Darcy~Welcome to the Board! I don't think all things can be explained. I have an older mare, 17 that never shows stong heats..but she loves on gelding on the premisis and when we have wanted to breed her we put her next to him for the first few months to get her going and then we have always short cycled/AI'd on the premisis so that you don't have to deal with the stallion like/dislike issue, the danger of the older mare and stallion and you can ultrasound know exactly when ovulation is happening and up your odds by getting the sperm there. Also with my older mare uterus clearance issues and I used, very successfully, and highly recommend, the oxytocin protocol on this website. Go for it!!!! Let us know what you decide to do.
Darcy, I can totally understand where your coming from last year I was in your shoes bred my 21 year old took on the first cover (home bred via live cover) had a uneventful pregnancy 11 months later had a beautiful filly! There was a downside to this pregnancy due to the advance age of the mare she had very serious complications-RUPTURE OF HER PRE PUBIC LIGAMENT. Her breeding days are over! Thats ok by me! TG she is here to still give me her all! Her recoverey will be long....
So becareful watch her towards her last trimister older mare can have more problems during delivery as well as carrying the pregnancy.
I'm not trying to scare you! I want you to have more information than I did..... Good LUCK!
She is rather old to be trying to breed for the first time now, if in fact she is actually cycling and this isn't "hormones gone wild" ---sort of like menopausal women sometimes reach their sexual peak in their late 40's. The odds of getting pregnant are very low.
I am being blunt here because the only way to know for sure is to have her analyzed by a vet who has the equipment and reproductive experience. Everybody and their brother out here on this board can speculate but a thorough exam by a qualified vet is the only way to know for sure what is going on. I mean I had an old mare that lovey-dovey'ed on an old gelding but there wasn't a chance of ice water in hell she was going to get preggo, a reproductive exam revealed her "factory" had shut down and it was a hormone issue.
You mentioned stallion-like behavior toward other mares and this can also be a sign of "hormones out of whack" as it was with this little mare of mine. But that doesn't mean that is what is going on with your mare. If it is truly important to you to try and have a foal out of this mare, then find a qualified repro vet and find out what is going on with this mare for sure.
Darcy: Welcome to the board. Actually, I don't find your story odd at all. Many years ago, I had an older mare (20) who would not breed to "accept" another stallion when she was in heat other than our own. We successfully had 4 nice foals from her (she had many foals at her younger age). We just chalked it up to being too old to settle down in a new place when we tried to breed her outside of our own stallion.
I am assuming from your posts that you have been in contact or consultation with your vet. I would agree with Laurie, you take some risks (but we all do with any age mare for that matter) breeding an older mare for a first foaling. Only you can decide what risks you're willing to take.
Echo, one of my 5 year old mares who foaled the first time this year, must be "breeding hobbled" for our stallion to get her. She personally likes our gelding better and will get all up his face with it...to the point of annoying him to death but she's not going to stand quietly for our stallion. Hahaha! Funny creatures these equines are.
Our neighbors have a 15 year-old stallion who has shared the same pasture as their 13 year-old mare (both of which are perfectly "normal") since they were young. She has NEVER been bred nor foaled. They're simply not interested in each other than as pasture friends. He has successfully bred other people's mares...go figure!
I'm also with Jan on this one...maybe AI is the better option. She'll be much more relaxed at her home environment than carting her off to a stallion somewhere.
I am no expert but if you really want a foal from her I would consider the embryo transfer. She could be bred then transfer her embryo to another younger mare that has a better chance for carrying the foal to term. I also do not think putting her in foal at her age is wise, given she is maiden. I hope this all works out for you and I agree your best bet is to work with an equine reproduction specialist.
we had to hold a mare still for our stud last year she is older and in awsome shape. I dont think she knew what she was supose to do. She would stand allday long for the guilding but hated the studs ( we had tried 4 times with different studs over the years) So we just got extra hands and held her still just long enuff for him to get in then she was fine. i think she relized what he was gona due. i think she thought he was gona hurt her with his rearing and stuff. She didnt take i think becuase her bodys just to old.
I feel for you this is how we feel out our old girl. Shes out of 2 racers, with the can handle want to attitude. we barrel raced her tell she was 24 and she still won. We put her up due to phnumonia that she had a few years ago finally cought up to her. We are gonna do transfer next year. our repo ( long ways away to) will do it for $1500 (least) to $2500 (highest they have had one go) We think two babys, sell one to pay for both
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