Equine Spay

Fiddle's heat cycles didn't just make her "mare-ish".

The Dragon in springtime

Anyone watching her work when she was cycling could see that she felt glitchy and unhappy...and she cycled all year long, often spending the warm months in an uncomfortably-constant state of almost-readiness.  Her nickname "Dragon" was well-earned.

Breeding:  A pregnant mare doesn't have these symptoms, because she's not cycling.  And at the end of the pregnancy, you get a cute little baby!  Perfect solution...not.  I've dealt with foals before.  They're cute, they're funny, they're wonderful...and in today's economy, they are expensive and time-consuming to produce and worth a nickel-a-dozen when it's time to sell.  There are too many horses who need homes for me to want to produce another one...especially since it's entirely possible that Fiddle's daughter would inherit her "rough-cycling" symptoms.  And, of course, there's the strong possibility that Fee would return to her old cycle pattern after delivering a foal.  For us, breeding is not a good solution.

Mare Magic:  Adding Mare Magic (dried raspberry leaf) to Fiddle's food seemed to help with the grouchiness, but the discomfort remained.  When Fiddle is in heat, she could barely move--instead, she would stand, apologetic, peeing.  She would try to move forward a few steps, but would then have to stand and pee again.  Mare Magic didn't help with that at all.

In  2009, we tried an experimental technique to try to manage Fiddle's heat cycles.  After a thorough reproductive exam, the vet inserted a marble into her feminine regions.  Description and photos are HERE.  In about 50% of mares, marble insertion will suppress estrus.  Fiddle was one of the other other 50%.  Sigh.

I hate Regumate.  The hormone is strong enough to induce painful periods in a human female who accidentally touches the stuff, and it costs the moon.  It does work to suppress most of Fiddle's heat cycle symptoms, and we used it on her for two years.   Regumate is a great short-term solution to the problem.  As a long-term solution, it's not great.  The price for two years of Regumate is about same as the price for a permanent solution:  spaying.

Equine Spay:
In Spring, 2012, it was finally time to get the Dragon spayed.  I wrote a series of blog posts about the experience, so that other mare owners could learn about the process.  

The links show (non-graphic/non-icky) photos of the procedure and illustrate the healing process:

Dr. Michelle Delco and the surgery team at Pilchuck Vet Hospital were awesome throughout this process.  

They answered my incessant questions, and even took my camera into the surgery to shoot photos for this series of blog posts.  Gold stars to each and every one of them!

I will continue to post occasional updates on Fiddle's progress.  I welcome questions and comments on these posts, and encourage folks to pass the links on to mare owners who have "night-mares": leave a comment on this page, and I will respond ASAP.


  1. Hi
    I love you blog!!!!!!!!!!!! I have a mare who sounds like your Fiddle. I had a marble inserted and I have had some luck....yay! I would love to spay her but it a bit pricey yet. Good luck !

  2. Hi
    I was wondering when you book would be done? And if it will be in a digital format?
    I luv reading endurance books!

    1. Soon, I hope. I am presently looking for a publisher--and yes, it will definitely be available as an e-book! Thanks for writing!

    2. Great! I'll be looking forward to it!
      I really enjoy your blog! I love reading everyones stories and mishaps ...makes mine with my mare seem normal.....lol

  3. Thank you for your blog. I am just now seeing this I have already tried many of the above for the past year. Surgery is scheduled for 9/21/2015. Glad to hear of others that have had good success.

    1. Happy to help, DCF. I hope the procedure goes well for your mare--and feel free to report back here with results.

  4. Hi Aarene,

    I'd love to use some of your info for a magazine article here in Australia on spayed mares - would you be happy for me to go ahead? Happy to provide more info via email first if you'd prefer? Thanks, Kaye

    1. Hi Kaye, yes absolutely, please credit me as author/photographer (except when noted) and put in a reference link to this post. Which magazine? May I get a copy of the magazine (or of your article) when you hit the press?

    2. Hi Kaye, yes absolutely, please credit me as author/photographer (except when noted) and put in a reference link to this post. Which magazine? May I get a copy of the magazine (or of your article) when you hit the press?

  5. Thanks Aarene - I have sent you a message on Facebook :)


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