Think Before You Breed

We all love foals-with their adorable little heads and puffball tails. And while many horse owners dream of having a foal some day from a prized mare, breeding is expensive and can be fraught with problems.

The No. 1 consideration is whether the world really needs another horse. There are plenty of horses in need of homes. Breeding is rarely a profitable business enterprise for the individual horse owner, because by the time you factor in stud fees, booking fees, veterinary visits, care and training, your little hoofed wonder may have cost more than he’ll fetch on the market today.

The second consideration is whether your mare will produce a nice foal. She may be your favorite, but does her conformation, talent and disposition lend itself to breeding? Look at your horse from a stranger’s viewpoint, or better yet, ask an impartial expert in your discipline to look at your mare. Will she produce an even better version of herself crossed with the right stallion? If she’s very talented, and has a great disposition, and you can keep the baby forever then breeding might be a good option.

If you decide to breed, research before choosing a stallion. And consider your mare’s traits-those you’d like to accentuate, and those you’d like to minimize. Although you can’t always predict the traits you’ll get, you can at least increase the odds. An experienced reproduction veterinary can also help minimize your costs by helping you through the breeding experience.

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