Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

She's never in season
Q I have owned a New Forest mare for nearly two years, but she has not once come to season.

She is 15 years old and I am thinking of breeding from her.Will this be possible if she doesn't come into season, and could this explain why she's so moody most of the time?

A If she has not come into season for the past 14 years there is obviously a problem and you should ask your vet to perform a rectal examination to determine whether there are any abnormalities. If all appears to be normal there may be hormonal reasons for her not showing signs of oestrus.

Her moodiness may mean that she is cycling but just not displaying obvious signs. This is known as silent heat.

You may be interested to know that there are natural ways of improving fertility and I routinely advise owners to try a few days of supplementation with the plant Citrullis colcynthus or 'bitter gourd' from Africa which helps mares come into season quickly and safely.

This formula can be used routinely to help with fertility and breeding management and has no side effects

You could also try simulating an increase in the hours of daylight in a 24 hour period by leaving the lights on in the stable at night for a few hours. This encourages the body to produce the right hormones.

Routinely veterinary treatment for such conditions usually involves the use of the progesterone product Regumate, which helps the correct hormones build up to start the cyling process.


If your question has not been covered adequately in the Vet Advice Topic Section, please feel free to start a thread in the Forum, and - time permitting - Stephen will endeavour to answer your question.