Strange mare behavior

Hi Everyone,

I bought a 4 year old Westphalian mare in November and she has been a joy, and still is! Recently though she has developed strange behavior when I put her in the paddock with certain other mares.

Whenever she sees certain mares, she first opens her mouth, moves her lips back and … chews I guess, or looks like she is chewing her tongue. Then she urinates a little, which is odd since she usually only does so in her stall. Often the other mare will urinate as well, though I have never seen one copy the mouth movement. Then the mares just seem to … cuddle, and mine seems to be trying to suckle, which (bizarrely to my way of thinking) doesn’t seem to bother the other mare at all.

I think she may just be in heat - it sounds silly I guess but I have had very little experience with mares up to now - but I would like a more experienced opinion. I live in the Netherlands and all anyone can tell me here is that it is mix of something called “hengstig”, which translates as “stallion-like” and baby behavior.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Nothing a mare does surprises me anymore. Just go with it.

Yep, sounds like heat…I suspect the mouth antics is just her demonstration of “submission” like one can see in foals. :slight_smile:

It is not a mare thing. Your poor horse has had so little experience with other horses she is reacting literally as a baby would. When the more dominate horse’s “see” the baby they respond as they would to a baby.

So submission + heat? That would explain why the other mares urinate but don’t do the mouth thing … she is the youngest one on the yard.

I’m not sure how much time she spent with other horses before I got her. She didn’t get out to pasture much this winter because they don’t put them out here when it is too wet/too cold/the ground is too soft/the ground is too hard. I can say that she is very much a baby still in a lot of ways … follows me around, won’t be left alone for more than a few minutes, seems to have abandonment issues. We have been working on her confidence and will continue to do so! And thankfully spring is here, so there will be more meadow time in her near future. :slight_smile:


Yup she is saying Don’t hurt me I am submissive! :slight_smile:
You will see foals do that with an adult or unknown horse.

Yup she is saying Don’t hurt me I am submissive! :slight_smile:
You will see foals do that with an adult or unknown horse.[/QUOTE]

I bred and raised an orphan who wound up being 18.3 hands. He was very submissive to others as an adult, but a good character.

It was hilarious to see him as an adult, try to make himself small and lip pop to a pony that had just arrived at the farm. :lol: