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Discussion on Do mares reach "menopause"?

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LL
Member
Username: frances

Post Number: 610
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 7:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi - a stupid question, I know, but tell me: can mares go on breeding indefinitely?
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Elizabeth Kaufman
Member
Username: ekaufman

Post Number: 519
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 3:55 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi LL,

Nope. But the age where they lose fertility seems pretty variable. I know of productive mares in their early 20s, and others that quit settling by 16.

I don't know whether there's research to back this up, but conventional wisdom tells us that mares who are kept bred every year will be reliably fertile longer. Aged maidens seem frequently to be difficult to settle as well.

DrO can probably give us the real scoop on this....
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 20591
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 9:36 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Well let's be clear the inability to breed is not menopause, most older mare infertility is do to chronic degenerative/inflammatory/immune function changes in the uterus. Menopause is the loss of normal hormonal function and estrual cyclicity. Mares do enter menopause where they quit cycling but this is usually later than the early 20's and extremely variable. The record settling of a mare that went on to have a normal foal on this farm is 27.
DrO
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LL
Member
Username: frances

Post Number: 611
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 4, 2008 - 2:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thank you Elizabeth and DrO. So mares do in fact enter menopause at some point - some friends and I were just curious, and nobody seemed to know the answer.
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 3591
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Monday, May 12, 2008 - 11:15 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hey, Dr.O, we've got you beat. Our oldest mare to foal was 28. She had a beautiful, healthy filly. We were dubious about breeding her, but she had always been healthy and in good condition, and seemed to enjoy being a broodmare. She was a wonderful old mare. She died a few years later from cancer.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 20655
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 8:02 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Most excellent Sara. How are mare got bred is a story I think I have told before but is so odd worth repeating for those who have not read it. This mare, "RW", was a very easy going mare when it came to being bred. We had a client who was having trouble teaching her Arab stallion to work and collect in a AV. We told her we had just the mare to teach him and we would give it a try. During schooling a slip was made where the stallion was faster than the AV handler. Intromission was for no more than a few seconds as he was instantly brought back down and we had no indication of ejaculation. At least not till 11 months later. This was a multipurpose mare and we had her loaned out as a companion mare to an weaned orphan foal. The only thing she liked better than breeding was taking care of foals. Well they thought she was getting a bit fat when one morning they had a mare and two foals in the pasture. It took us a few minutes to put together what had to happen and since there was only the one exposure to a stallion, 335 days prior to the foaling well it is a lesson about some of the potential problems with barrier contraceptives I think.
DrO
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: mrose

Post Number: 3592
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Tuesday, May 13, 2008 - 10:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

a good one, Dr.O! Our mare also lived to be a broodmare. She would also adopt orphan foals and would babysit foals for the other mares. Being a mom is all she ever did, and she was very good at it.
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