Q: My mare is relatively calm most of the time, but when she comes into season she becomes horribly stressy. I’ve been advised to try and supplement for mares, but what ingredients do I need to be looking for?

A: We all love our mares. We really do. But, it does have to be acknowledged, that many of us will lose large chunks of our summer riding sessions due to her hormones. However, targeted nutrition can really assist. In each individual case it is worth chatting to your vet and an equine nutritionist to get the right advice for your specific situation, but two particular herbs that are worth looking into are chasteberry and cramp bark.

Chasteberry produces small, dried fruits and, as its name suggests, it was used as an anaphrodisiac (a libido suppressant) in medieval monastries to suppress the monks’ sexual desire. In horses chasteberry has been found to work well with magnesium to reduce stress and the overall flirtiness of mares.

Chasteberry can really help with the mood changes but cramp bark, again as the name implies, can really help with the physical discomfort. The ovaries of a mare are found just behind the saddle, under the spine. Mares may therefore experience cramping and discomfort across their back during oestrous. Cramp bark has been shown to be a great way to relieve muscle cramps and is well worth trying (and looking out for in your mare mix hunt).