The process of heat detection is critical in the breeding process of mares. Heat detection is done by using the mare’s response to a stallion. The teasing process is necessary because the mares do not predictably show the signs of heat either alone or with a group of mares. Heat detection is essential for artificial insemination and as well as natural breeding.
Important Information About Horse Teasing
Successful horse breeding mostly depends on the proper detection of heat in mares. There are several methods of horse detection of heat in mares. Teasing is the most appropriate method of detection of heat in mares. In my article, I shall highlight the most common methods of teasing in mares for horse breeders.
The animal used as the teaser may well be the most valuable animal on the breeding farm. The teaser should be aggressive, vocal, and enthusiastic. However, the teaser stallion should not be so aggressive as to be out of control or unmanageable. The teaser should be tease without excessive roughness, such as kicking or biting the mare.
Horse Teasing Records
Teasing behavior Scores of Animals: an accurate record-keeping system to evaluate or score the mare’s response to a teaser stallion is crucial for a successful breeding season. For a mare to become pregnant, breeding must occur at the proper time during estrus. A scoring system should be utilized so sexual behavior changes can be recorded as the mare progresses through the estrus cycle.
- Diestrus: Obvious hostility to the stallion, ears back, striking, biting, and squealing.
- Indifference, passive behavior.
- Slight interest in teaser may urinate with winking.
- Obvious interest in teaser, urination, and winking.
- Strong interest in teaser, frequent urination, winking, and squatting.
Methods of Horse Teasing
There are many methods of detecting heat in mares by teaser stallion. The most common teasing methods are described as below:
1. Pasture Teasing
This is not a widely practiced method at breeding farms today. A handler leads a teaser stallion throughout the mares in a pasture with the pasture teasing system. The behavior will be noted as the stallion approaches or is approached by the mares. Labor cost is meager at this method. However, the injury to both handlers and horses can be a problem.
2. Paddock Teasing Method
Paddock teasing can be accomplished in various ways. The stallion may be free to move along the fence line of a group of mares, or a handler may lead a stallion up to the fence of the mares. It requires a safe, well build pen separating the mare and stallion. As the mare comes into heat, they will seek out a stallion. Labor costs are reasonably low; however, injury due to attempted breeding through the fence may be problematic.
3. Pen Teasing
This is a common procedure for the detection of heat in mares. This group method allows the teasing of a large number of mares at one time. In this method situation, a stallion is placed in an adjacent pen or a good build pen in the middle of a paddock of mares. Mares will approach the stallion and can be scored according to their stage of estrus. This is a very natural, easy way to tease mares.
4. Stall-door Teasing
Mares are placed in box stalls, generally with Dutch doors. The stallion is led from one stall to another. Each stall, the behavior of the mare is recorded. Many breeding farms have this facility for individual teasing and are a very effective way to tease mares.
5. Horse Teasing Rails
These are frequently used to tease mares individually. A solid, sturdy partition about 4 feet in height and 8 feet long is needed to separate the mare and teaser. Occasionally, a single rail separates the mares and stallion. In this method, mares are led individually to the teaser and allowed initially to make head-to-head contact. The mare’s behavior is monitored as she is allowed to access the teaser across the rail. The rail system of tease is accurate and safe.
6. The Teasing Chute
This system of heat detection is being used more at breeding farms today. This concept has mares worked individually through a Teasing Chute that is approximately 30 inches wide, 4 feet tall, and 8 feet long. This size would accommodate one mare. The chute can be made longer for teasing multiple mares in larger operations. Teasing chutes are faster and allow more accurate heat detection than some of the other methods.
7. The Teasing Mill
This is an interesting variation for heat detection in mares. The teasing mill consists of a small, central pen that holds the teaser and is surrounded by other small pens that hold the mares. After the stallion has had time to tease the mares by moving from pen to pen, the mare pens are all emptied at one time and replaced with another set of mares. Depending on the labor situation, the mares can be replaced one at a time. This method is accurate and safe, but construction is more expensive than some of the other systems.
8. Teasing Mares with Special Considerations
Certain types of mares and situations present special problems for accurate heat detection. Some mares are timid and will show signs of heat only when in sight of the stallion, not in direct contact with them. Mares with their foals at their side are often very anxious about the safety of their foal and will not show the heat until they have been teased long enough to overcome these fears.
Concluding Remarks on Determination of Heat
Extremely hot, cold, wet, or windy weather can alter or mask sexual behavior in mares. Mares can be preoccupied with extreme weather conditions and may not show signs of normal sexual receptivity. Teasing mares in large open sheds or under roofs out of adverse weather conditions will make teasing more accurate and easier, and more comfortable for the teasing managers. The above teasing methods will enrich your knowledge and helps in the better management of breeding mares.