How to help your mare during her heat cycle

Click the video above to see how you can help your mare during her heat cycle.

For those of you who own or ride mares, you know their heat cycles can literally be a bitch.

They’re uncomfortable, moody, and sometimes a behavioral nightmare. Even for those mares who seem more like geldings than part of the cast of Mean Girls, they can still experience some discomfort while their hormones fluctuate. You may not notice it, but they sure do.

Imagine carrying around 150 pounds strapped to your back while your ovaries feel like they’re going to explode

Under the best circumstances, your horse’s muscles can start to get tight and sore from us humans riding them. Throw in any pain generated by an organ right behind the saddle and your horse will begin to brace themselves. This bracing leads to soreness and tightness in the thorax and hind end.

Relieve some of that muscle tension with a few minutes of gentle massage

In the above video, I walk you through how to locate the ovaries and massage the problem areas on your mare. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Start with light pressure on the back – Until you start working on those muscles, you won’t know how reactive your mare will be to pressure. Always start with a flat hand using your fingers to apply firm but gentle pressure from the withers to the base of the hind end. After you’ve done that several times, the muscles should be warm enough to apply deeper pressure with the heel of your hand using concentric circles.
  • Move onto the hind end – Like the back, begin massaging the hind end with gentle pressure. Notice how accepting your mare is of being massaged. If she is, you can use both hands and apply firm pressure moving up and down perpendicular to the muscle. A plastic massage tool works well in this area too. Apply pressure moving in the direction of the muscle. 
  • Be mindful of those hamstrings – Many horses can be extremely sensitive to having their hamstrings touched even if they aren’t in heat. Take your time gently moving your hands down the muscle to see how reactive your mare is to any pressure. If she will tolerate massage in this area, use your fingers applying pressure both with the muscle and against it from the top of the tail to the bottom.

Your mare should be more comfortable but… 

Using these massage techniques should provide your mare with some relief from tightness. If you continue to encounter problems with sore and tight muscles associated with heat cycles, you may want to consider Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). FES is a non-invasive therapy option that promotes healthy muscle function with low voltage currents. 

As a certified FES practitioner, I will come up with a customized therapy plan to help your horse perform and feel better. You can learn more about FES on my website

Let me know if you found the video and post helpful. And, make sure to follow Drassal Equine Bodywork on…