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Breeding a 3 year old mare?

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    02-13-2012, 06:46 AM
  #41
Foal
Personally, I'd breed a 3 yo mare before I would ride her. If she has good nutrition and care and is sexually mature, nothing wrong with it. As has been noted, the size of the foal doesn't have much of an impact until the last trimester when the mare is 4. But, it's like most things and you need to consider the individual. In nature, believe it or not, many, many mares are bred as yearlings and foal as 2 yos. Not saying it should be done, just saying Mother Nature usually has a pretty good grip on things.
     
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    02-13-2012, 09:11 AM
  #42
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyLittlePonies    
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...
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    02-13-2012, 08:10 PM
  #43
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by MyLittlePonies    
Here's what I see when I look at in some people's eyes breeding really young mares........KA-Ching!!!!! $$$$$$$$$
If you're breeding for money, you're in the wrong business. There isn't any money in horses.
     
    02-22-2012, 09:15 PM
  #44
Started
I have no idea why people think it is ok to breed a 2/3/4 year old when there are not even being broke to ride....(which I don't think is ok a 2!) because in the long run if they are in it for "money" a broke horses usuallys goes for more than a brood mare. I am against breeding a horse that young. EXPECIALLY when there are hundreds and thousands of horses going to slaughter. Im sick of hearing about and seeing the "oopps" babies. People need to be more responsible.
     
    02-22-2012, 10:31 PM
  #45
Started
They're used to be money once in this life time. I sure couldn't afford to breed ten mares and hope for the best. Personally, I do see a lot of people with dollar signs in their eyes. Obviously its coming from somewhere business or not. You don't make money in hardly anything. You're always paying it to someone or towards something. I'm more comfortable breeding at least four maybe five.
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    02-23-2012, 04:14 PM
  #46
Foal
I think breeding a 3 year old is a terrible idea!! I rescued a TB mare a couple years ago that was bred as a three year old and not cared for. It was a very loooong road to get her back to good nutritional health for both her and the baby. She had a tough pregnancy and was very over due. It isn't worth the risk to the mare and foal in the short or the long term. People that breed these horses so young just for the business and money end should be charged with neglect/abuse. Pregnancy takes a HUGE toll on the mare's body nutritionally and physically. And whoever said they would rather breed a three year old before ride it, I am going to have to disagree 100%!! Although it very much so depends on the individual horse, I would much rather ride a three year old than breed it!! People just need to smarten up with horses a heck of a lot more and use some basic common sense!
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    02-23-2012, 06:00 PM
  #47
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustaSkippenJess    
i think breeding a 3 year old is a terrible idea!! I rescued a TB mare a couple years ago that was bred as a three year old and not cared for. It was a very loooong road to get her back to good nutritional health for both her and the baby. She had a tough pregnancy and was very over due. It isn't worth the risk to the mare and foal in the short or the long term. People that breed these horses so young just for the business and money end should be charged with neglect/abuse. Pregnancy takes a HUGE toll on the mare's body nutritionally and physically. And whoever said they would rather breed a three year old before ride it, I am going to have to disagree 100%!! Although it very much so depends on the individual horse, I would much rather ride a three year old than breed it!! People just need to smarten up with horses a heck of a lot more and use some basic common sense!

On the other hand, the only experience you had with breeding a 3 year old was getting a mare in horrible condition and nursing her back to health from a bad body condition. Of course she isn't going to have an easy pregnancy. Poor thing.

If you had a mare whom was healthy from the start and was continuously taken care of properly you wouldn't have had so many problems.
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    02-23-2012, 09:05 PM
  #48
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by trainerunlimited    
On the other hand, the only experience you had with breeding a 3 year old was getting a mare in horrible condition and nursing her back to health from a bad body condition. Of course she isn't going to have an easy pregnancy. Poor thing.

If you had a mare whom was healthy from the start and was continuously taken care of properly you wouldn't have had so many problems.
you are correct about my experience, but I still think it is a terrible idea to breed so young. Their body has to be able to not only provide good nutrition for not only themselves but for their foal as well. Along with the wear and tear on their bodies. It isn't a good idea to breed so young and I see absolutely no reason to do it.
     
    02-23-2012, 10:44 PM
  #49
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by JustaSkippenJess    
you are correct about my experience, but I still think it is a terrible idea to breed so young. Their body has to be able to not only provide good nutrition for not only themselves but for their foal as well. Along with the wear and tear on their bodies. It isn't a good idea to breed so young and I see absolutely no reason to do it.
You are entitled to your opinion, but it is not based upon evidence or experience - merely speculation. There is no evidence breeding a 3 year old for a foal at 4 is detrimental in any way. It is certainly not "abuse" or "neglect" as you stated in your previous post, and most breeders would take exception to that statement.

I noticed the barrel racing pictures in your profile, and suggest you research the detrimental affects of barrel racing - specifically injuries and long term stress leading to arthritis, and compare them to the detrimental affects of breeding at 3 - if you can find any hard evidence at all. The results may surprise you and cause you to rethink your statements. Then again, perhaps not. However, I don't recall anyone saying you abuse your horse(s).

Not that I have anything at all against barrel racing...just saying you condone a discipline with documented detrimental affects, yet condemn 3 year old breeding with no definitive documentation of issues. That is an inconsistency in principles...
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    02-23-2012, 11:01 PM
  #50
Started
I wouldn't. Just because it happens in nature doesn't mean we should do it. Domestic horses have people to take care of them, which is why they're generally healthier and longer-lived than wild horses.

Think of it this way: the average newborn foal weighs about 100 pounds. In the last stages of pregnancy, that would be like the mare carrying a rider 24/7. For a 3-year-old, that's probably not healthy. Why push your luck? It won't kill you to wait until your mare is 6 or 7. In the meantime, you can break her to ride and start her show career. Or make a name for her in whatever discipline she was intended for. Do something with her that proves she's more than just a foal factory. The dam is just as important as the sire, and you wouldn't want a foal by an unproven stallion, would you?
     

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