Wednesday, 17 July 2013

If you can't be with the one you love, love the wall you're with

As I am sure you are well aware, the battle of the bulge never quite disappeared.  It became one of those passive aggressive barn topics that lingered around until the day the trailer rolled out of the driveway. I poked my fingers into Ms. V's spongy fat tailhead with a critical look on my face when I thought Dr. Lana was in eyeshot. She beamed with pride when the farrier said how good Ms. V was looking - and so on, so forth. We smiled and joked about it on the surface, but I know each of us secretly thought the other person was way off base, totally wrong. 

But never fear. The fun had not ended. Soon, project porker morphed into something new.  Project...uh...pork'er.  As in, my horse was apparently a raging, nympho slut.

As a border, it is easy to forget that your horse has her own little social life gig going on during the 22 hours per day you are not in her presence. Apparently, a few weeks of the year Ms. V liked to spend these 22 hours polishing the stall walls with her ass and screaming out for love like a 13 year old Justin Beiber fan.  (No, no. They don't do the polishing part. I don't think so, anyways.  Just the screaming).

Now, I kind of had an inkling this was the case, as the top of her tail often looked kind of like she had been electrocuted.  And, her hocks sometimes were a little on the crusty side - nothing a little leg hosing and a stiff brush couldn't fix. But in all the time I had owned her up until then, that was about the extent of my exposure to her nympho slut tendencies.  She was no different when I rode her, so frankly, I really didn't care if she wanted to get busy with - whatever - when I was not around.

Neither Muddy Acres nor Liliput had mentioned anything to me about this "problem" other than in passing (hey, your mare is in heat, eh?  Why yes. How about those Blue Jays. Etc.). No barn has had a huge issue with it since either - it has been managed by choosing a stall in the corner, or next to a crabby old gelding who has long since forgotten he ever had testicles.  I would likely have never ever known that my horse was a sex starved nympho slut...

But then... we met Dr. Lana.

Actually, I was first made aware of the problem by Miss Lana, one of the Dr's daughters, on my return from a week long business trip to Kamloops or someplace equally as fascinating.

"It is a good thing you are back. Ms. V has really missed you. She cries all the time".

Oh, how sweet. This little urchin thinks my horse is pining for me. I smiled and said "oh, well - no worries.  I am back and I have lots of carrots.  She will feel better now". And I thought that was the end of that.

Well, no. It was not the end of that at all. The carrots were the right shape, yet not quite the right size for what Ms. V was really pining for.

Oh! Oh! I know Curmudgeon - Ovarian Cysts!  Ms V. had Ovarian Cysts! 

No. And no. Mares do not get ovarian cysts. Don't post this in the comments.

Nor do they act like wingnuts when you ride them during their heat cycle due to feeling "crampy", like a 13 year old Justin Beiber fan trying to skip gym class.  Don't post this either, it drives me insane when people say this.  It doesn't even make any sense. If you don't know why - well, you should have paid attention in sex ed when you were a 13 year old Leif Garret fan, we don't have time to review this now. Besides, you likely don't have time to read a review anyway - you are probably busy taking care of your 18 children conceived while using the rhythm method of birth control. 

Now don't get me wrong - I do think mares can be more tricky to ride. All the time.  Every day. And some people just aren't cut out to ride mares.

But I suspect that much like "poorly fitting saddle" or "in need of chiropractic adjustment", many instances of riders reporting that their mare is"not herself during her heat cycle" are actually due to kind of an equestrian nocebo effect - i.e. I have been told that mares are idiots when in heat, my mare is in heat - therefore thus - she must be acting like an idiot. Suddenly normal spooking or resistance to do whatever it is you are asking them to do is not due to lack of rider skill, but instead is  is all due to the MSG in chinese food.  Or gluten.  Or your mare being in heat.

I just can't seem to do a decent transition today.  Either this guy is in heat, or those windmills are fucking with me again.

But what do I know, I don't have any well researched proof of this, and the anecdotes of many horse owners on bulletin boards all over the internet say I am wrong - which is almost as good, right? I am probably just being my Curmudgeonly self. Maybe your mare really does morph into a board-stiff angry hateful bitch when in heat. My condolences. I have never once noticed any difference in Ms. V's way of going at any time of the month or year (other than in the winter or spring due to lack of turnout as a result of excessive ice or mud). 

But I did notice a difference in Dr. Lana's way of going immediately.  She let me know that under no circumstances was this acceptable or normal behaviour. I had to get to the bottom of this problem right away.  There would be no sex starved nympho mares at Lana Acres.


I realized that I was not a vet.. but I really and truly  thought I did know what was at the bottom of her behaviour. Ms. V wanted some hot loving and baby birthin. That's what animals generally want out of life. I really didn't see it as a topic in need of an investigation.

Wrong again, Curmudgeon. I may have gotten away with riding around on my totally sound horse without investigating her cocktail weenie legs, but Dr. Lana was the vet.  I was not dissing her knowledge twice. I needed to get a repro specialist in right away to do an ultrasound and investigate.

Lucky for me... I happened to know one.  Otherwise I most certainly would have been too lazy to do the work involved in hunting one down to deal with a problem that was in my mind, non existent.  The prof over at the vet college was a friend and she agreed to do a field trip with some students out to see Ms. V and determine if there was anything abnormal going with her ovaries that could explain her sex starved nympho behaviour.

Five or six students showed up, told me how good my horse looked (shut up already!), quizzed me on the life and times of V and her VeeJay, got busy with the K-Y jelly type stuff, poked and prodded with the ultrasound wand, and eventually reached a unanimous decision as to the crux of my horse's problems.

It seemed that Ms. V's sex starved nympho behaviour was due to the fact that she is a mare.  Her symptoms could be cured by introducing her to a sex starved nympho stallion, or reasonable facsimile.  Or - they could just be ignored, since acting like sex starved nymphos is generally what mares do when they are in heat.

Done and done. Right?

Well, no. Because the bottom line was that it was still Dr. Lana's barn, and if she didn't want a wall polishing urine squirting whore in the joint squealing the night away, that was her perogative. I had to fix the problem or move out.



  1. Oh. My. Goodness. My predominant thought is, poor Ms. V! Hormones are a bitch. Just another one of those things we wish we could explain to animals. Although it doesn't always work on humans, teenagers in particular...

    Can't wait to hear the outcome of this particular battle with Dr. Lana.


    My mares have always been the same, heat or no heat. They've been tricky little sensitive OTTB beasties and I adore them.

  3. your experience confirms my choice to own 2 geldings. recently trailered to a western trail course with a friend to practice the obstacles for a change of pace from dressage. friends mare was in heat and spent nearly every minute trying to get some action out of my old gelding. so much winking and peeing in the 2 hours it was hard for her to walk across balance beams and other obstacles with her back legs constantly spread out.

    1. Nice balance beam visual! I can totally picture the challenges faced here.

  4. Hoo boy. A couple of years ago I made the ill-fated decision to board my mare at a barn with a stallion, with the caveat that she absolutely HAD to be on Regumate or Depo at the time. This was to keep the stallion from going totally Mr. Hyde at the smell of mare in heat and killing everyone, apparently. Never mind he was, 95% of the time, a very agreeable dude.

    I did it, and I have to admit, my horse was unsettlingly mellow on the no-baby drugs. But on the other hand, giving her drugs to keep her from provoking the stallion felt, to my mind, like telling teenage girls to dress conservatively so as not to provoke men. Should the responsibility for another horse's behavior really be on me?

    Whether he really was uncontrollable and dangerous around mares in heat, though, I never found out. Which in the end is for the best.

  5. I have to say that I am SO GLAD you are doing your posts. I laugh my ass off every time I read them. There' is nothing like seeing someone else write what I've always wanted to say. For the record, we have a mare and 2 geldings. That mare is smarter than both of the geldings combined! There should be a way to "make her happy". Not fair that the mares have to suffer in silence. Well, maybe not silence...

  6. Glad to see you're posting again.

    And glad to have a mare whose heat cycles are usually nearly silent. Now the OTHER mares in the barn, that's a different story.

  7. My mare does that to her tail from those little no see em bugs.

  8. My mare does the whole screaming silly thing when in season too. She'll stand in the middle of her paddock, no other horses about and squeal like a stuck pig for five minutes straight. It drives the barn manager crazy.

    She also looses a good 3/4s of her brain during the first three days or so while she's busy trying to get busy. Since she's normally a very willing horse who tries her heart out for me, I just sigh and spend those three days in two point hand galloping. God knows we're not getting any sort of collection or bending during that time, what with all the flirting with the wheelbarrows and picnic tables, not to mention her own reflection in the indoor mirrors. Might was well work on cardio.

  9. This post is why I love you! lol mare nympho whore

  10. Please, DC, grab a glass of wine, sit down and pen us the next chapter! We're dying to know where this goes! Don't keep us in suspense!

  11. I'm really confused as to why barn owners get so involved with caring as to what a boarder's does with their horse as long as it isn't abusive. I am trying to leave a nutjob's barn right now after 2 months of being bombarded with text messages about everything I am doing wrong with my horse. I'm not riding her enough (sorry you are childless and can ride six days a week but I have small children) my specially ordered supplements aren't tasty enough, I need to change them after 2 years of feeding them, and on and on. I've come to realize my barn owner is a drunk, hence the reason I get the texts at 11pm. Please people, if you are a barn owner, take the freakin' board payment, feed what the owner wants and STFU.