In two separate controlled clinical trials, the efficacy and safety of 2.2 mg of the GnRH analogue deslorelin, administered subcutaneously as a short-term implant to normally cycling mares in oestrus with a dominant ovarian follicle more than 30 mm in diameter, were evaluated, using a placebo as a negative control. The oestrous cycle of each mare was followed by teasing, palpation per rectum and transrectal ultrasonography. Follicles were monitored every 24 hours by ultrasonography until ovulation occurred. The mares were either mated naturally or inseminated artificially. In trial 1, 174 mares were treated at six locations in Canada, and in trial 2, 98 mares were treated at three locations in the USA. In trial 1, the treatment with deslorelin reduced the mean (sd) time to ovulation from 84.2 (48.4) hours to 50.2 (19.6) hours (P<0.001) and in trial 2 it reduced it from 88.8 (40.3) hours to 54.1 (26.5) hours (P<0.001). In trial 1, the percentage of mares ovulating within 48 hours increased from 37.7 per cent in control mares to 86.1 per cent in treated mares (P<0.001) and in trial 2 the percentage increased from 26.5 to 80.9 per cent (P<0.001). In trial 2, the duration of oestrus in the deslorelin-treated mares was reduced from 6.1 days to 4.3 days and the number of matings or artificial inseminations was reduced from 2.5 to 1.7 (P<0.001). In trial 1, days 12 to 20 pregnancy rates for matings at the treatment oestrus were not different for deslorelin-treated (75.6 per cent) and placebo-treated (66.1 per cent) mares. In trial 2, days 12 to 20 pregnancy rates from matings at the treatment oestrus were lower for deslorelin-treated (58.7 per cent) than for placebotreated (83.3 per cent) mares (P<0.05), although pregnancy rates were similar for deslorelin-treated (97.1 per cent) and placebo-treated (95.0 per cent) mares after mating at the second oestrus. In both trials, pregnancy losses due to early or late abortions were within the normally expected range and similar for deslorelin-treated (3.6 and 3.7 per cent, respectively) and placebo-treated (13.4 and 7.5 per cent) mares. The treatments did not cause systemic side effects and local reactions at the implantation sites were slight and of short duration.