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Horses are long-day breeders, meaning they only cycle during a set period of the year.  The increasing day length in spring stimulates kicks starts the mare's seasons.  Just as the increasing day length initiates the hormonal activity, the shorter autumn days reduce it and most mares stop cycling around October or November.  Interestingly, the stallion’s reproductive function does not stop in the winter however daily sperm production and volume, hormonal concentrations and libido are much greater in the true breeding season.

Mares will come into season approximately every 21 days.  The oestrus period (season) lasts 5-7 days, in which they will be receptive to the stallion. These signs vary greatly between mares, but include squirting, winking, squealing and occasionally mood changes.  The behavioural signs reduce as ovulation approaches and oestrus ends approximately 24 hours after ovulation occurs.

Persistent oestrus behaviour or the mare being 'moody' is a common complaint.  There are many options to manage these cases, including:
  • Medication, e.g. progesterone (Regumate)
  • Marble placement
  • Plant oil insemination
  • GnRH vaccination

If you want to discuss options for managing your mare, or you have any other concerns give us a call.
Prior to breeding from your mare it advisable to have a breeding suitability assessment performed.  If you mare is going to stud you should ensure you know they entry require well in advance. Many studs require certification to prove the mare is free from CEM (Contagious Equine Metritis); EVA (Equine Viral Arteritis); EIA (Equine Infectious Anaemia) and even strangles (S.equi).  You should check what requirements are needed well in advance of her going to stud to allow time for the sample to be taken and tested.

Testing is very straightforward and involves taking a clitoral swab (CEM) and a blood sample (EVA, EIA and Strangles).  We recommend that your mare has a full clinical and ultrasonographic assessment of the reproductive tract (vulva, vestibule, cervix, uterus and ovaries) prior to the start of breeding.  This can be done at the same time as the swab and/or blood sample. This identifies potential problems, confirms the mare is cycling and at which stage of the cycle she is in.  This is especially important if your mare needs to be taken to stud to be covered, but does not demonstrate overt oestrus behaviour, so is difficult to determine when she is in season.

We provide a comprehensive service to investigate susceptible mare (those which may have had previous reproductive problems) or barren mares (those which failed to conceive). Additional techniques that may be used in these cases include endometrial swabs and biopsies and endoscopy of the uterine tract (videohysteroscopy).
Whilst we have developed our business specifically with being able to provide a wide range of services at your yard, there are times when out vets may suggest that your horse requires further investigation or treatment either at our clinic or another specialist veterinary facility.

In House Referrals

Our vets possess a great deal of experience and are highly qualified to provide best practice veterinary care. This ensures we are able to manage the vast majority of clinical cases at our hospital and provide ongoing continuity of care. 

We have hospitalisation facilities enabling us to admit the poorly patient requiring more intensive care tan can be provided at home and we even have in stable CCTV to make sure we can monitor them constantly. 

Your horse may need to visit the clinic for any number of reasons - more complex lamenesses requiring detailed and lengthy investigation; intensive care; surgery to name just a few reasons. Our caring nursing team work hard to make sure your horse’s stay in comfortable and we will do our best to get your horse back home to you as soon as we can. 

Occasionally, clinical cases require additional expertise which we may feel is best obtained from our team of consultants. We work with a number of world class veterinary surgeons who are specialists within their own fields, including Safia Barakzai (soft tissue surgery), Dr Lesley Young (cardiology), Rob Lowe and Chez Hendey from Optivet (ophthalmology); who offer consultations at our clinic or even at your yard, depending on the case.

External referrals

At times we may recommend further diagnostic tests or treatment options that required referral to another facility. This may be due to the need for specialist equipment, e.g. scintigraphy (bone scans), CT or MRI scans; or for surgical expertise, e.g. transvenous electrocardioversion for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. In such situations, we will discuss options with you including which facility and estimated costs, so you know what to expect. 

Please be aware that horses being referred to external centres, particularly in an emergency, should expect to pay a deposit on arrival (generally £500) and the remaining costs should be settled on collection of the horse. If your horse is insured, fees may be claimed directly from the relevant insurance company; however, please discuss this with the equine hospital administrator at your appointment. We will always discuss estimated costs of treatment prior to making referral arrangements on your behalf. 

Our Location

Lingfield Equine Vets is situated in the beautiful Surrey Hills area. We are located just north of Felbridge on the A22 with easy access for all equine transport vehicles.

Contact Us Today
Lingfield Equine Vets
Chester Lodge, Woodcock Hill,
Felbridge, Surrey,
RH19 2RD
(01342) 300008