Do Horses Bleed When in Heat? (No, They Don’t)

Humans get a menstrual cycle. The closest animal equivalent you could find is called an estrous cycle. This is usually referred to an animal going into heat. Heat usually occurs after sexual maturity and due do reproductive hormones. Some animals that go through estrus are cats, dogs, rats, bison, cattle, and horses. Horses are some of the most well-known animals who go through an estrous cycle.

Since this cycle is so similar to a menstrual cycle, you may wonder what similarities there are between the two. This includes bleeding so in this article we will answer whether horses bleed in heat.


Do Horses Bleed When They are in Heat?

When a female horse, or a mare, is in heat, they do not bleed. While there are similarities between a menstrual cycle and estrous cycle, there are also many differences. The biggest similarity is that it is possible to get pregnant. Biggest difference? Well, humans bleed on their period and horses do not. If there is any bleeding, there is another cause.

Monitor any bleeding that occurs in your horse during this time or from their genitals. If it keeps up, it is probably best to consult your vet just to make sure everything is alright with your mare.

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Do Horses Bleed on Their Period?

Horses do not have periods that cause them to bleed like humans do on their period. A human’s period is usually around four to seven days every 31 one days, and during the time of the actual period, they do bleed. Horses are not the same, however. They do not bleed at all during the estrous period.

If there does happen to be bleeding from the mare’s vagina, then something else is going on because they are not supposed to bleed.

The following could be causes of vaginal bleeding in horses:

· A trauma sick as a kick from another horse

· Clotting disorder which can cause them to bleed from anywhere

A horse can also bleed during pregnancy, but this is normal and resolves itself after giving birth.

How Often do Horses Come in Heat?

Horses go into estrus once a year, which is usually in early spring. For the rest of the year the mare is in what is called the anestrus period. During the anestrus the mare cannot get pregnant. The only time they can get a period is when they are in heat.

One reason the estrous is in spring and not in winter is that it is safer for a horse to give birth to its foal during the winter months. It is too cold for them so the best time of year for them to have a baby is during the spring. A horse is pregnant for about 326 days to 354 days.

This means they are pregnant for roughly about 10 to 12 months. By the time they have the foal, they are giving birth to it near springtime, so it all works out.

How do You Know When a Horse is in Heat?

So, we know how long the heat is, but how do you even know a horse is in heat, anyway? There are some common symptoms that tend to show up when a mare is in heat. They include:

· Irritability and grumpiness

· Tail raising

· Urinating more than they normally do

· Being vocal by calling out

· Sensitivity around stomach and flank area

· In extreme cases, they might lash out by biting or kicking at you or other horses

Remember that every mare is different and is not going to have all the symptoms that another mare has. The symptoms above are just some common symptoms they could display.


How Often do Horses Get Their Period?

The period, or estrous cycle usually lasts for 19 to 22 days. Recall that this only happens once a year and in spring because this is the best time for a mare to get pregnant.

If you are asking a horse owner, vet, etc. when their period is, they may refer to it as another name such as season and heat. These two are the most common terms people use when referring to a mare’s time of the year. Luckily, they are not like humans who are stuck having a time of the month twelve times a year.

I do not know about you, but it sounds a lot easier to be a horse in that regard.

How Long Does a Horse Stay in Heat For?

A horse’s heat cycle lasts nineteen to twenty-two days and out of those days, the mare is in the heat for about five of them. Could there be some differences in mares? Yes, of course. Not every mare is made equal just like every woman/person with a uterus has the same type of period length, symptoms, etc.

The nineteen to twenty-two-day window is just an estimation. A mare could have a heat cycle that is longer or have one that is shorter. If you have any concerns about your mare, then always contact your vet. It never hurts to quell your worries by talking to a professional!

How to Calm a Mare in Heat?

Like with a human’s period, a mare’s heat can be a difficult time for them, which should not be a surprise given what it entails. In order to help soothe your mare that is in heat, there are several options available to you as the horse owner. These options include:

· You can give a daily oral administration of altrenogest, which is a synthetic progesterone. It is FDA approved and will suppress the mare’s heat cycle, so be aware if you decide to go with this method.

· Injectable progesterone is another option, but this is not FDA approved.

· Giving your mare some pain relief.

· Make sure not to push for too much physical activity.

Remember, when in doubt, always contact your vet. They usually know the best!

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Can You Ride a Mare in Heat?

It is best if you do not ride a mare in heat because of the surge of hormones and symptoms that come because of the heat. A common symptom of a mare’s heat cycle is irritability and moodiness and sensitivity in the stomach and flank area. Because of these four things, it is best not to ride a mare in heat because you could cause them extreme discomfort.

The weight of a full-grown human coupled with physical activity is not a good combination when a mare is sensitive and moody. Plus, they could lash out at you, so to prevent any of this from happening just consider waiting to ride your horse until after they are done with their heat cycle.

At What Age Can Female Horses Reproduce?

If a female horse has a clean bill of health and is in shape, then she can be bred as early as two years old. However, if you ask a lot of breeders, they will say it might be best to wait until the mare is three years old. This is just the safest age to start breeding them and lessen the chances of anything happening during the pregnancy.

Always make sure you evaluate a mare’s health with a veterinarian even if they are at a good age to start breeding. The reason for this is that there could be an issue or something with them. Even if they look like they have a clean bill of health, it is best to get that from an actual animal doctor.

Try not to ask to google. While it gives you a place to start, it is not the same as going to an actual doctor.

Read: 13 Animals That Look Like Meerkats

At What Age Can Female Horses Stop Reproducing?

While there is a certain age horses have to reach to start having foals, the age limit for them to stop reproducing is late in life. A horse could have foals until they are mid-twenties. Like with humans when a mare is older its fertility does decrease. Not that they will not get pregnant, but it could be difficult for them.

If they have had a foal at some point, especially if it was recent, then they have a better chance of getting pregnant than say a mare who has had no foals at all.

Ask a vet if you have questions about your mare’s fertility. They will give you some answers and hopefully manage to point you in the right direction.

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Final Thoughts

And there we have it all your animal lovers out there. You know now whether or not a horse bleeds during their period, which they can’t because this is only something you see in humans.

Not only that, but you have learned how long it is, what symptoms they can show, if it is safe to ride them during this period, and even the age they can start reproducing.

Disclaimer: This blog should not be considered as being professional pet medical advice. The content published on this blog is for informational purposes only. Please always consult with a licensed and local veterinarian for medical advice.

About Shaun Clarke

Shaun is passionate about pets and animals, especially dogs, cats, and rabbits. He owns a dog and a couple of cats too. He loves visiting wildlife sanctuaries and shares a strong bond with animals. When he is not writing, he loves to do a barbecue in the backyard with his family and friends.