Horse Breeding Facilities
So my lifelong dream has been to breed horses, and my husband and I are finally in a place where we can start to make that dream a reality. We want to buy a property, and build it from the ground up, so things are set up in a way that works for us. Now that we are ready to start looking, we have a few questions, to make this as successful as possible.
In a breeding and/or boarding facility, what do you look for in layout, size of pastures and stalls etc. What type of fencing would you most recommend, and while I'm not looking at housing stallions at least not right off the bat, how should the fencing be done? I am sure that at some point the I'm going to end up with a colt, and I may change my mind and decide to get or keep a stallion, and I want to make sure that it's safe. I've heard of the whole 6' high at least, and smaller spaces between railings, but I want to know what you who actually have stallions, have done to make it safe to turn your stallions out to pasture, and what type of fencing you use. How far away from mares do you keep the "stallion" pastures, and do you put geldings between the stallions and mares? I've worked at a couple of small breeding facilities, and while they weren't junky, they weren't necessarily set up for having stallions, or a breeding shed or anything. The one stallion was housed in the middle of the barn full of mares, and turned out on rare occasions, (he had a lame leg) right next to the mares. Same with the three colts, one 3 year old and two 2 year olds. I personally didn't think this was the best set up, but would like more opinions, and other options. Should I set up another smaller barn for any colts in the future, or is keeping them all in one barn safe so long as the colt or any stallions are well behaved? I've always thought that while you shouldn't isolate a stallion, you also shouldn't "tease" him by sticking him right in the middle of a barn full of mares, especially when some are in heat. I want any colts or stallions on the property to behave themselves, and have manners even if they are near a mare, and I don't want any on my property that can't behave themselves, but I just saw so many issues with the way these two places were set up even though both stallions were well behaved. As for the mares, how big should a foaling stall be? If I say only want maybe 3-5 mares pregnant at any one time, how many stalls should I have set up for foaling? One breeding place I went to had one main foaling stall, and the tack room/observation room was connected by a window. While definitely a bonus, how necessary is it to have an "observation" room, as opposed to just walking down the barn aisle and looking in on the horses?
Now for the horses part of the questioning. How did you start out your breeding place? I am thinking of purchasing a broodmare possibly either already in foal (if I like the pairing), or with a foal at her side as a package deal, and starting from there. I want to breed warmbloods, RPSI, Dutch Warmbloods, or maybe Hanoverians, just so you have an idea of what I'm looking at. I want dressage, and maybe jumping, though I'm not a big jumper. This is not an "I want to make lots of money breeding", this is an "I want to selectively breed a few mares a year, and really focus on improving the breed, producing great dressage or jumping horses. I don't aspire to being some huge breeding facility with a ton of horses, I just want to do what I love on a small scale, and really focus on the quality of the few horses I do have. Those of you who have a breeding farm, and have stallions, did you start out with both stallions and mares, or did you just start out with mares, and then determine later, if you wanted to keep a few stallions as well? When selling the foals, do you market them from the moment they are born, or before that, or do you wait until the horse has been started, and has some riding under his/her belt?
I know that in this economy especially breeding horses is a touchy subject, and that is why I am asking these questions. This is a 3-4 year project, and I want all the information I could possibly need, and maybe even more, so that I can make the best decisions. I have spent a lot of time reading up on bloodlines, conformation, current stallions, but I know that there is a lot more to learn about to make a successful breeding farm, and that no matter how much I learn, there is always still more I can learn if I keep asking. Sorry for such a long and slightly jumbled post.