How to Tease a Mare

Mare being teased by a stallion over a teasing wall
Mare being teased by a stallion over a teasing wall

Teasing a mare is extremely important to determine if she is in proper estrus and ready to breed. Doing it right can mean the difference between a safe breeding experience or a dangerous one.

Things You'll Need

  • Halter
  • Lead Rope
  • Stallion or Proud Cut gelding
  • Sturdy wall between stallion and mare

"Teasing" a mare means that you are testing a mare's readiness to be covered by a stallion for the mating process. If the mare is not ready to be covered, she will react violently when the stallion tries to mount her, and the stallion - as well as the people who are in the vicinity - are likely to be hurt. Teasing is used on all successful breeding farms, and horse breeders will always have a teasing stallion or gelding on site in order to make sure the mares are in estrus.

Showing off the stallion: On some farms, the process is as simple as taking the resident stallion out to the edge of the pasture where the mares are, and allow them to come up to the fence. Those that approach the stallion and show interest, as well as signs of estrus, are obviously in season. There are some mares, however, that are more difficult to detect. So, to be thorough, it is best to take each mare where she can be teased by the stallion individually.

Learn to tease: The best way to tease a mare is to halter her and lead her towards the stallion, who should be in his stall or in a sturdy pen. As you approach, the stallion will begin to scream and nicker at the mare. If she lays her ears back and squeals, and stops dead in her tracks, this is a good indication she is not in heat. If she shows interest and continues on towards the stallion, she may be coming into or going out of season. If a mare is in standing heat, she will squat her rear end and pee while the stallion roars his approval of her smell. Sometimes you may have to lead the mare directly up to the stallion and allow them to touch noses, or even back the mare's rear end up towards the stallion to get a true sense of where she is in her cycle. But usually, it is pretty clear by this point.

Make sure that the handler of the mare knows what he is doing because the mare may strike, kick, rear, or bite if she is not in season, and she may also be afraid of the stallion as he is showing off for her. It is also important that the walls between them be solid and very sturdy.

Teasing a mare is a relatively simple process once you have done it a handful of times. And it is vitally important to the success of your breeding program.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are going to lead a stallion out to the pasture to tease the mares in a group, be sure that you can handle him and all of his stallion behavior. There will be lots of screaming, striking, kicking, and bluster in general. So be prepared.
  • NEVER attempt to tease a mare on your own if you have not done it before. Have some help the first time.

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