Breeding a 3 year old mare? - Page 6

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Breeding a 3 year old mare?

This is a discussion on Breeding a 3 year old mare? within the Horse Breeding forums, part of the Horse Breeds, Breeding, and Genetics category

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    02-23-2012, 11:39 PM
I fully agree with what Faceman has posted. A 3 year old can carry a foal with no long term damage. Mares are built to carry foals with very little discomfort and they recover from foaling and nursing very well with proper feeding and maintenance.
Making comparisions between humans and horses does neither the horse or its owner any good. Shalom
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    02-24-2012, 11:54 AM
Originally Posted by Jessabel    

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.
No, they are not the same.

I will state once more...carrying a foal is NOT the same as carrying a rider. Mares are built to carry foals with very little stress. They are NOT built to carry loads on their back.

I am not sure what is so hard to understand about that.

If you need some sort of analogy to understand think of sitting down and eating 2 pounds of food and drink at dinner. You walk around with that 2 pounds and it causes absolutely no stress. Now take a 2 pound weight and hold it at arms length in front of you and see how long you can hold it there...not long. In both cases you are adding 2 pounds to your body weight, but one stresses and the other doesn't.

Comparing foal weight to rider weight is absolutely invalid...
    02-24-2012, 01:33 PM
There was a huge discussion about this on FB between the Gypsy Horse breeders. Almost all the UK breeders breed their mares at two and have seen no bad effects from this. Hence them still doing it through generations of breeding. All the people on this side of the pond, the US, thought that was barbaric. However, from the breeders I've talked to in the US, a lot of them breed at three.

My personal opinion is that it depends on the horse. We have a coming three year old. Will be three at the end of June. We've gone back and forth on whether or not we'll breed her this year. We've now decided it depends on how well she fills out this summer. Until that point, she will be lightly trained and shown. Nothing that will push her. Mostly ground manners, then some backed walking. Maybe an occasional trot. I don't want any heavy training to go on this summer. The people I bought her from had her checked by a vet before they started light training on her @ 2 and half and they were given the go ahead.
I realize it's not the popular opinion on this board, but it is among the Gypsy breeders I've talked to. The horse can tell you in many ways whether or not they are ready.
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    02-26-2012, 10:43 PM
Green Broke
Here's the thing, even if they are physically capable of carrying a foal at age 2, 3, or even 4, why the driving need to do so? Why breed so young when one could just as easily wait a couple years for full maturity? Many of you have already stated that there is no money in it. Aside from that then, what is the point of breeding a filly before she is mature? I can't think of a single solid reason for breeding a mare so young, unless someone thinks there is money to be made from it. Just because it CAN be done (safely or not, depending on your own point of view) doesn't mean it SHOULD be done.
    02-26-2012, 11:28 PM
Originally Posted by Jessabel    
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?
Not everyone wants to or likes to show, I'm sorry but to me show record means nothing, I would much rather have a horse I can take on a mountain trail and be safe than prance it around in an area. I would rather go out and gather cows with my horse than chase them around in an area, to me working horses are worth more than show horses, and safe family horses are worth a lot more than a high strung show horse that has to be drugged to preform than you have to treat ulcers because the horse is so stressed out all the time, and has to be kept in a stall and not be allowed to be a horse because it might get dirty or a blemish on it's coat.

And how do you prove a stallion if you don't bred it, just because it has a show record doesn't necessarily mean it will throw nice foals.

Yes I do ride my mares and stallions.
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    02-27-2012, 09:34 AM
A mare can only have so many foals in a lifetime unless you flush embryoes or do embryo transfers. Both are very expensive. I do not breed my mares every year.
Breeders understand one very important fact, the mares not the stallion are more important to the long term goals of the operation.
Why breed a mare so young? Because, the more colts she produces the better chance I have of producing a good filly I can retain foor breeding.
Like Cmarie has posted above not everyone is impressed with a show record. A mare that can reproduce a very good colt has a much better chance of remaining in the herd. A stallion can cover as many mares as physically possible a mare only has 1 offspring a year. Shalom
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    02-27-2012, 01:44 PM
Originally Posted by cmarie    
And how do you prove a stallion if you don't bred it, just because it has a show record doesn't necessarily mean it will throw nice foals.
That is a good observation.

You can always tell the novice breeders or non-breeders because they repeat the mantra "is he shown", or "what has he done?". The question they SHOULD be asking is "what CAN he do?" rather than what has he done.

There is an equation to breeding responsibly and sucessfully...

First, is your stallion and/or mare true to its own breeding, so it can be reasonably expected to breed true. This is why it is important to either use registered breeding stock or otherwise know the pedigree so you can determine if your breeding stock is true to its own breeding.

Second, does your stallion or mare have a natural ability to do whatever you want the product (foal) to do? If there are formal competitions for that job, and if you compete, and if the standard for success in the competitions is truly the ability of the horse and not how expensive the hat or pants you wear or how well groomed and fitted your horse is, or who you know/what circles you run in, then yes, a show record can help to determine the ability of your horse. But a show record in and of itself does not actually define the horse's ability - it merely measures it for those that want it measured. Put otherwise, Secretariat could run fast. If he had never run a race, he still could have run fast.

Third, does your stallion throw or mare produce good foals - foals that are themselves true to their breeding and have the ability desired. As you said, the only way to determine that is to breed them. Some stallions or mares have excellent pedigrees and show records but are lousy breeding stock.

The bottom line is there is nothing wrong with asking "what has he done?", but people that make breeding decisions solely on the basis of the show records of their breeding stock are making their decisions based upon one piece of a puzzle with many pieces...
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    02-27-2012, 07:07 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by dbarabians    
Why breed a mare so young? Because, the more colts she produces the better chance I have of producing a good filly I can retain foor breeding.
And yet everyone keeps pointing out (and what I know from experience) that there is little or no money in just breeding. So then why breed a filly young, just for the sake of getting another filly of breeding quality? Would you not then be going in endless, and pointless circles, if that is all you intend to do with them? Breeding on the off chance you would get another mare to breed? To what purpose? For whose benefit? If breeders now think the point of breeding is just to breed young in order to breed more, even without a profit to be made, or any goal other than more babies on the ground, then I am very glad not to be a part of it anymore.
    02-27-2012, 07:51 PM
Unless it IS a very marketable foal. A warmblood with great lines,conformation,and personality. Does the dam have A show record? No...she is 3. That doesnt mean her foal couldnt be sold profitably...especially if the mare was bred to a top quality stallion which is all I would consider...just an example of my personal case.

But I understand your point..

Just to breed any random horse to a random horse for a keeyoot foal obviously isn't going to be making a marketable or possibly even sellable foal. It seems completely pointless in MOST cases.

Common sense goes a long way...and America seems to have lost most of it...

    02-27-2012, 08:53 PM

I am not a breeder by any means and probably never will be.

I think that there are two sides to this coin. 1) There are the breeders that have a very well thought out breeding program with specific goals and extensive knowledge about what they have and what that produces. 2) There are also those breeders that just want to breed their mare because she has ovaries and a uterus but have no goal, no real knowledge and no experience{Which by the way, no experience can easily translate into a misunderstanding about how much money they won't be making on this breeding endeavor}.

1) These people are not in it for the money. They breed horses because they love their breed and want to improve it in any way possible. They are trying to produce that "perfect" horse. Generally they have years of experience with the bloodlines they are utilizing and have had many, many, many foals. These people have an idea of what any of their own stock will look like, what they will produce and what they will be able to do from before they were even conceived. They, obviously, love their horses and they provide the best care no matter what. If these people want to breed a filly at 3...they probably aren't going to breed every filly at 3, but if they produce one that they know will bring them ever closer to that "perfect" horse and want to breed her at three. By all means, that is completely within their rights to breed a 3 year old. They know what they are after, they know what they've done and they have the experience and the drive to make sure that everybody is happy and healthy.

2) These people may or may not be in it for the money. They generally will breed whatever they think sells (spots, dilutions, flash, lots of hair, curly hair, gaits, and rare breeds) or whatever they can get their hands on. They may or may not have a plan (even if itís a bit haphazard) but they probably have no experience or knowledge to base any plan on. They may not even have basic horsemanship knowledge, which is plainly evident in their horses. They may try to justify their decision to breed so young by claiming to be looking out for their filly's best interest...i.e. Not riding her that young so she needs to be doing something. Either way, these people probably shouldn't be breeding anything. They may not even have a plan in place in case something goes wrong at birth. If they want to breed the 3 year old they bought for $50 from the auction with no papers or history to the stud down the road but it's too expensive for them to make sure her feet are properly trimmed and she has a clean, dry place to foal, then absolutely no. They should not breed her.

However, just because someone should or shouldn't do something doesn't seem to have any effect on what people actually do! The people who are not category 1 breeders who care enought to stop and think about it and ask questions probably won't do it. The others are the ones that cause problems for everybody and put the entire subject in a bad light! If the only 3 year old fillies ever bred belonged to the breeders in category 1, this wouldn't have to be such an emotional topic because they would be well cared for and have no more injuries or illnesses than any other filly or mare, bred or not.

These are my thoughts as I have been lurking on this thread and considering the information and opinions expressed. And just an observation from someone who is not emotionally involved nor a breeder (and this is just my opinion from what I've seen)...The individuals who are saying that breeding a 3 year old is not always a bad thing are not saying that everybody should breed every 3 year old filly. They are also speaking far less from emotion and more from experience, logic and facts.
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