I am looking into learning how to hand breed horses. I haven't searched for any information yet but I was wondering if anyone here had some tips on how. I have never tried before and need to learn from the bottom up. Thanks for any help!
I am assuming you mean live cover? Well, it really depends on the stallions personality as to whether it is easy to do live cover. Some stallions will savage a mare and the mare has to wear all but armored protection. Some mares are awful and have to be hobbled. If the stallion is gentle, you may never have any problems, but.....
The stallion in my avatar always did live cover. The mares LOVED him. He must have talked good junk to make the mares cooperate so well.
I would STRONGLY advise taking a course on it. It's not just about how to go about successfully breeding, it's just as equally about proper stallion management. Live cover is an extremely dangerous task for all people involved, and you absolutely must know how to properly handle a breeding stallion and recognized the signs both animals give during breeding season.
I worked for a Warmblood training and breeding facility for a year. Elaine taught me tons, and even had me artificially inseminating her mares. She taught me about teasing, and taught me how to collect from her Hanoverian stud. Icarus was 17hh of dreamboat. I loved that stud as much as my own horses, he was a dream to handle and often I'd curl up with a book on the front lawn and just hand graze him because he was such a gentleman.
But when it came to breeding? I wouldn't have handled him even if Elaine had LET me. He was still an extremely well behaved stud and not dangerous, and I've been working around horses my entire life. But the behaviors I witnessed were those I'd simply never encountered before and it took a definte professional hand to keep him level headed and behaving properly. I have no doubts in my mind that had I handled him without experience, I'd have been toast.
I agree with Macabre.. It is very good to know proper stallion management.
However, live cover isnt that common anymore in many higher-end stallion farms as well as many other ranches as well. There is a high risk disease transfer (even if your stallion is tested N/N he could easily catch something from a mare and his breeding status would be toast). Not to mention the risk of the mare, or the stallion being injured.. there are just so many factors I would go with AI. I think the only plus to live covering is the cost.
I do live cover and pasture breeding with my stud. He is very easy to handle either way. My bf holds him and I hold the mare. We tease them to make sure they will stand to allow him to breed without incident. Live cover is not used much but I do not have a pricey farm and the mares that come our way are mainly used for trail horses. I treat each mare like they are my own and make sure they are fully in heat before I allow my stud to breed them. You really do have to be in control of the situation. You have to watch the mare and stud very closely for any signs of frustration on either part.