Saturday, December 10, 2011
Jealous Mare Syndrome
Do you have a mare that suffers from Jealous Mare Syndrome (JMS)? I have two. I don't think this is a recognized syndrome, but I could give researchers somewhere some concrete evidence that it exists.
Yesterday, I worked Secret first. Remi was seriously agitated and kept shaking the fence, while John stood there and watched. After I finished working Secret, I put her back in the field and got Remi out. When Remi was tacked up and ready to walk out the barn door with me, Secret realized what we were up to and came galloping up the field bucking. Didn't you just have a turn??
Today, I decided to work Remi first. I like to give everyone a chance to be first. Secret threw a fit. She galloped up and down the fence line while I worked Remi. I ignored her and she settled in and watched after a few minutes. John ran with her a couple of times, and then went off to watch the drama unfold.
When I put Remi back in the pasture after working her, Secret came running up to the gate. "My turn!!"
I saddled her up, and out we went. Remi was seriously displeased. When rattling the gate failed to get my attention, she threw herself to the ground and rolled. She made a thud when she hit the dirt - I've never heard a horse roll noisily before, but Remi managed to accomplish it.
Peace was restored a while later when I returned Secret to the field. I think they aren't jealous of the work, but the attention (and treats!) the horse that is being worked might be getting.
JMS actually started last year with these two mares. When my friend Megan would come to pick up John and I for a trail ride, the girls would race around the pasture whinnying. I could throw hay to them and they would ignore it. They knew something was going on and they weren't included. When I trail ride around the farm, I am out of sight within a couple minutes, so I don't know what goes on.
John, for the most part, doesn't seem to get jealous. I'm not sure if that is the gelding in him, or if its because he has been around me long enough to know everything will be fair in the end.
Both mares have been on a "mare product" in the past - one of the raspberry leaf products. They aren't on them now, I am hoping that mileage and consistency outlast JMS. Whatever the reason for JMS - the drama is slightly entertaining.