First in a series of articles to start getting your mares ready for the 2023 breeding season.
One of the most common management practices to make your breeding mare cycle early in the year is to put them under lights. Mares should be put under lights in early to mid-December to stimulate fertile ovulations in early to mid-February. In most cases, mares will need approximately 60-70 days of extended daylight to cause ovulation early in the year.
The most often used technique is to give the mare around 16 hours of light and 8 hours of darkness. Therefore, mares need an additional 4-5 hours of artificial light each day starting now. This can be done using timing devices. The type of artificial lights used can be fluorescent or incandescent. Mares will begin to develop follicles if they have greater than a certain level of light (10 cubic foot candles) for 16 hours a day. This would take a 200-watt bulb in a 12×12 stall for 4-5 hours to simulate daylight after the sun goes down. You should be able to read a newspaper under the lights if the lighting is adequate.
There are new head masks called Equilume that direct blue light into either one or both eyes. These masks are on a timer that can be programmed accordingly. They have been found to be very effective and mares can be maintained outdoors.
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