The Rundown: Spring has Sprung

It’s that wonderful time of the year when foals are frolicking, grass is growing and mares are nightmarish.

By Tara Christiansen
The American Quarter Horse Journal
March 25, 2013

Mare and foal

Sure they look all sweet and innocent now. But just wait until your filly becomes a mare and hits her first heat cycle of the year. Good times, my friends, good times. (AQHA photo)

“I will never own another mare.”

Those were my father’s famous last words. He spoke them about 15 years ago, back when we owned just two mares.

And what does the Christiansen family mare count stand at now? Six. Yes, six out of our seven horses are mares.

On any given day, I have nothing but love for my mares. They are stellar athletes and great partners. They’re very trainable. They’re fun to be around.

That is until we reach “that time of the month.”
Now, for the most part, my mares are pretty subtle when they come into heat. But these mares don’t play by the same rules when they come into heat for the first time of the year.

As Christine Hamilton reminded me in “Difficult Transitions” in the February issue of The American Quarter Horse Journal, “During winter, a mare’s reproductive system goes into anestrus.” Meaning, a mare’s reproductive hormones and organs are in hibernation. A horseman’s dream!

Like a fresh-from-the-cave mama bear, my 7-year-old, Lenas Fillynic, was in rare form a few weeks ago. There was much lathering and gnashing of teeth. And that would be on both of our parts. I can’t say I blame her. How many women can say they don’t feel the urge to throw telephone books at folks and buy out the Walmart candy aisle every three weeks?  

Honestly, I had forgotten about “Nikki’s” indiscretions until the first day of spring. What jogged my memory of that night-mare-ish time was none other than my 4-year-old, Soula Boon. Freezing as soon as another horse walked by? Check. Taking a potty break when those horses got too close? Oh, yes. Being just plain old disagreeable in general? My friend, we have a winner.

The way I see it, mares are a great preparation for teenage daughters. Swishing of tails, stomping of feet – those aren’t too far off from the slamming of doors. Giving come hither looks to stallions – I can only wish any future teenage daughters I have headed my way stopped there.

I know I’ve said I wished horses could text or call, since it might make horse-to-human long-distance relationships a little easier. But now I’ve got to say I’m glad these mares aren’t racking up my AT&T bill, texting that stallion down the street.  

Enjoy more horse-showing quips, quotes and anecdotes from AQHA Internet Editor Tara Christiansen by visiting The Rundown archives at www.aqha.com/therundown.