Originally Posted by MyLittlePonies View Post
Here's what I see when I look at in some people's eyes breeding really young mares........KA-Ching!!!!! $$$$$$$$$ Look famliar?
I couldn't see breeding a two or three year old in general. Maybe a four or five at minimal and only if they're mentally and phsically ready
And what do you base that opinion on? What is your experience or observation that brings you to that conclusion?
In reality, only a handful of breeders breed for money - those that have massive breeding operations that I equate to puppy mills, and those that breed the very best in their breed and discipline. In the former case you may be right - there are a few large assembly line breeders that breed willy nilly just for volume, making a couple of hundred dollars on each foal and resorting to volume to make up for the low profit margin. But certainly not the latter - breeders of top horses don't breed irresponsibly.
But the vast majority of breeders fall into 2 categories.
First there are the small to medium size breeders that breed anywhere from 2 or 3 to maybe a dozen or so foals a year that are of very good, but not great, quality. Anyone that has experience breeding knows that this category of breeders does not make a lot of money - money isn't really the issue at all. I bred about 10 foals a year for many years (when the market was good), and after feed, vet, farrier, deworming, utilities, vacs, tack, and all the other expenses, I made about $10,000/year. I probably averaged 3 hours a day working with the horses during the week, and maybe another 4 hours a day on weekends. Mrs. Face invested less time, perhaps 10 hours a week. That's around 1700 hours a year. Do the math - that's $5.88/hour for our time...talk about cheap labor...
While it's true I also enjoyed some tax writeoffs, that was primarily due to my high income level.
Second, you have the breeders that may breed a foal every year or every couple of years, or breed just 1 or 2 foals in a lifetime. They have various reasons for doing this, maybe just for the experience of breeding and raising a foal (which is very rewarding), or replacing a lost horse, or breeding a mare they really like to continue her line - any number of reasons. While this group doesn't have a lot, or any, breeding expertise, and often their breeding decisions are not prudent, they are as entitled to breed as much as anyone else - regardless of what you or I or anyone else might think or believe. We experienced breeders should help and advise them as best we can to help them make the best possible decisions, but it is not, and should not, be within our providence to infringe upon their right to breed. There are wacko exceptions, of course...people that neglect or abuse their horses have no business breeding. In any case, this group is certainly not money motivated...there is no way these people can make money. You cannot breed a mediocre foal, pay for its care and the dam's care until it is sold, sell it, and make any money beyond what might pay for a couple of Big Breakfasts at McDonalds one Saturday morning and the gas to get there and back.
So yes, there are a handful of breeders that might breed young mares "for the money", but I seriously doubt they make up 5% of all people who breed. Thus, I would suggest it is both illogical and inaccurate to generalize and opine that people breed 3 year old mares "for the money".
Most breeders breed for the love of it, and are thankful it is a hobby and passion that pays for itself with a few sheckels left over...which we just turn around and spend on our horses anyway...