Ask the Expert: Looking for Information on Horse Breeding Behavior

Q:

I’m a student who is having some trouble finding some information if you can help me that would be appreciated!
1. Describe an example of intersexual selection in horse behaviour?
2. Describe behaviours that might change in a mare when it “comes into season”
3. How is the breeding behaviour in a domesticated horse in a domesticated setting different to the natural breeding behaviour of a horse in the wild?

  • Rhiannon

A:

Hi Rhiannon,

These questions are more suited for animal behaviorist that has studied reproductive behavior in wild horses.  Intersexual selection is not really an issue in domesticated breeding.  For a domesticated stallion, who only has limited exposure to mares, even when pasture breeding, the mare(s) pretty much determines when she is receptive, and the stallion willingly accommodates her.   When a mare is “in season,” all the associated behaviors revolve around receptivity to the stallions’ advances.  She may make advances on the stallion as well.  Elaborating beyond the basic signs of receptivity would be the area of study of animal behavior, especially regarding wild horses and how they compare to domesticated horses.

Sincerely,
David Sauter, DVM
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