The effect of altered LH concentrations on the deviation in growth rates between the 2 largest follicles was studied in pony mares. The progestational phase was shortened by administration of PGF2alpha on Day 10 (Day 0=ovulation; n=9) or lengthened by daily administration of 100 mg of progesterone on Days 10 to 30 (n=11; controls, n=10). All follicles > or = 5 mm were ablated on Day 10 in all groups to initiate a new follicular wave. The interovulatory interval was not altered by the PGF2alpha treatment despite a 4-day earlier decrease in progesterone concentrations. Time required for growth of the follicles of the new wave apparently delayed the interval to ovulation after luteolysis. The FSH concentrations of the first post-ablation FSH surge were not different among groups. A second FSH surge with an associated follicular wave began by Day 22 in 7 of 11 mares in the progesterone group and in 0 of 19 mares in the other groups, indicating reduced functional competence of the largest follicle. A prolonged elevation in LH concentrations began on the mean day of wave emergence (Day 11) in the prostaglandin group (19.2 +/- 2.2 vs 9.0 +/- 0.7 ng/mL in controls; P<0.05), an average of 4 d before an increase in the controls. Concentrations of LH in the progesterone group initially increased until Day 14 and then decreased so that by Day 18 the concentrations were lower (P<0.05) than in the control group (12.9 +/- 1.6 vs 20.2 +/- 2.6 ng/mL). Neither the early and prolonged increase nor the early decrease in LH concentrations altered the growth profile of the second-largest follicle, suggesting that LH was not involved in the initiation of deviation. However, the early decrease in LH concentrations in the progesterone group was followed by a smaller (P<0.05) diameter of the largest follicle by Day 20 (26.9 +/- 1.7 mm) than the controls (30.3 +/- 1.7 mm), suggesting that LH was necessary for continued growth of the largest follicle after deviation.