Choosing to Breed

06th March 2019

Making the decision to breed from your mare should not be taken lightly.  There are many unwanted and neglected horses that could have been avoided if people did not breed carelessly and without thought.  Therefore the primary questions you should be asking yourself are:

“Why do you want to have a foal out of your mare and for what purpose are you breeding?”

Are you choosing to breed because your mare is a much loved pony that you have now outgrown?  If this is the case will the potential foal actually be suitable for your purpose or in fact too small. Putting a big stallion to a small mare will not guarantee an offspring half way in-between, like humans they may take after the sire or the dam.

A common explanation I hear, is that people are putting a mare in foal because she is too sharp or too difficult in temperament to be ridden, which is perhaps not a good reason to decide to breed.  Temperament is certainly hereditary and a horse with a difficult nature is likely to pass this onto the foal, and even at a professional level horses need to have both ability and a trainable disposition.

Breeding because of injury to the mare also needs to be considered carefully, as potentially the weakness or predisposition to the injury may be directly hereditary or the conformational attributes that predisposed the injury may be inherited. You can discuss your mares individual situation with one of our dedicated Stud Vets if you are at all unsure.

The notion that you can make lots of money breeding horses seems to rarely eventuate, especially if you do not have your own property.  The potential cost of breeding a single foal for you to keep is likely to exceed the cost of buying one already grown. You need to consider firstly the cost of putting your mare in foal, including veterinary fees and stallion semen fees. Then you should add the potential livery costs for the mare while she is in foal, then with the foal at foot and once the foal is weaned.  Where are you going to foal the mare down and how much will that cost?

When do you plan to sell the progeny, as a foal, yearling or once they are being ridden and consequently, what will be the cost of keeping them until that point?  Will you insure the foal and what other expenses should be considered such as vaccinations, passport, microchipping, castration and other unexpected injuries or illnesses?

That said I can say from experience that there is nothing quite like the satisfaction of competing on a horse you have watched come into the world and produced through the grades yourself.  In addition, not all horses have to be professional athletes and breeding from a sentimentally valuable mare, to produce a foal that will be loved and have a happy home for life cannot be considered a bad thing to do.