Regumate For Horses
There's nothing quite as special as a good mare, but all know that they can have many moods. This can be particularly problematic or extreme when they’re in season during the months of the year they’re cycling.
Mares can be honest, loyal, and hard-working. They can be your best friend and many would argue that they have more grit and determination to win than any gelding or stallion.
However, if this sounds nothing like your mare then it is possible that she could be struggling with her hormones. Some days, your mare could be perfect and others she’ll be pinning her ears back and swishing her tail around. Often the words people use to describe mares include ‘complicated’, ‘difficult’, and ‘frustrating’.
Season Related Behaviours in Mares
Some commons signs that your mare is in season include:
- Tail raising
- Frequent urination
- Increased interest in stallions
- Signs of aggression
- Unpredictable behaviour
- Difficult to ride or handle
- Easily distracted
- Sensitivity to touch/particularly when tacking up
- Less active than usual
- Adopting a breeding position
Regumate to Manage Seasons For Mares
For owners this can be distressing and can become difficult when their horse is visibly uncomfortable and unhappy. A well known solution for managing hormonal mares is a product called Regumate.
What is Regumate?
Regumate is a synthetic version of the hormone progestogen, used to suppress oestrus, which stops the mare from cycling and coming into season. By suppressing the cycle, the idea is that the associated moodiness and behavioural issues will be kept at bay. It is an oil solution for oral use either directly on the mare's tongue or in the feed.
Regumate can normalise a mare's difficult behaviour and it can also be useful for breeding as it can be administered on a schedule to breeding mares to regulate their oestrous cycles, making it possible to carefully time insemination. It can also be used to help mares with a history of breeding difficulties sustain pregnancies. If a mare is scheduled for an embryo transfer, Regumate is often used to synchronise her cycle with that of the mare who will carry the foal. It is worth noting that Regumate is a drug only available via veterinary prescription.
It is not necessary to have your mare on Regumate for the entire year or even throughout the competition season. Strategic use can reduce the amount and cost of Regumate and also help to limit the side effects. Once you are comfortable with the time scales and effect of the Regumate on your horse, it is possible to develop a feeding routine that works for your mare.
The Downsides to Regumate For Mares
Regumate can come with significant downsides. Research has shows that fillies whose mothers received Regumate can experience their first heat cycle earlier than other fillies. There have also been studies that show that after a mare has been on Regumate for a long time and is then taken off it, it can be considerably harder for them to go into foal. In some mares Regumate can even worsen their behaviour, becoming more irritable, touchy and even overly aggressive.
There are also consequences for owners. Pregnant women should not handle Regumate at all, nor should women who have been diagnosed with breast or reproductive cancers. In general, women of child-bearing age should take precautions when handling Regumate. Anyone who has heart disease or has suffered a stroke is also advised not to handle this drug. It is indicated that when administering Regumate you should wear at least two layers of disposable gloves, protective glasses and coveralls and wash your hands thoroughly after administering the drug. That’s a lot of protection required just to provide a medication!
Alternatives to Regumate for Mares
There is a time and a place for Regumate to be prescribed and administered. However, it is too often prescribed long before all other avenues have been explored and exhausted. Regumate should be reserved as a last resort, since it has so many potential short and long term side effects, not just for mares but for their owners.
There are many natural options available on the market to help with managing the hormonal cycles of mares. These are usually completely free of side effects for the mare and pose no risk to owners.
Natural supplementary approaches are especially important to explore if you have a high performance mare from whom you may want to breed in the future. These approaches will work differently to Regumate, as they won’t suppress oestrus, but support the endocrine system to regulate the cycle naturally and in turn settle the behaviours associated with a mare’s seasons.
There are many herbs that help to support the endocrine system in mares and these can provide significant relief. We encourage trying a natural supplement to support and maintain endocrine health and cycle balance before resorting to chemicals such as synthetic progestogen. You can shop our 100% natural mare supplement, Moody Madam here.
Every mare is an individual, and the precise nature of any hormonal abnormalities will determine how well the horse responds to a particular supplement or pharmaceutical.