Should I consider breeding my horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
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Should I consider breeding my horse?

I have a 7 year old quarter horse mare with osteoarthritis. She's my best friend. I see her every single day, we do dressage together and ride all the time (minus when the weather's horrid like it currently is), and she's an absolutely fantastic horse.

When I was originally doing research on trying to figure out where her osteoarthritis came from (which I still never found out), I tried contacting her original breeders on her registration certificate. Since then I've kept in touch with them, and they still own her mother. I saw them last week and they asked if I would consider breeding my horse.

I think I'd be nervous to. It's such a huge risk and I don't know if I could take that. I would never want to lose my mare. But I would love the experience of training a youngster. I've had my girl since she was 4 and I have a professional working with the both of us, but I really don't know anything about the foaling process. It'd be a huge risk to take but the reason they thought it was such a good idea was because of her osteoarthritis... even if I couldn't ride her down the road when she gets too sore, at least I could have her child to work with. I don't know. The idea of breeding makes me nervous, but extremely excited. I would not sell the foal -- I would keep it and train it, and I would definitely be keeping mommy too. :)

What do you think? Realistically? Is it problematic because of my lack of experience, or is it something that tons of reading and watching videos I would be able to catch up?


Oh and a couple other questions:
1) If I were to breed, is it necessary that I stay in the same breed that she is already, or would it be possible to breed her with another breed to ideally have some sort of sport-horse?
2) When is the ideal time to breed?

And please, I don't want the whole "creating more horses to go to slaughter" talk, I guarantee that is not the path I'd be taking.

Last edited by iDressage; 01-21-2014 at 05:54 PM.
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 05:56 PM
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I don't think this is something you would be considering that they had not suggested it so for that reason I would say no.
there are plenty of other horses to purchase when you're already there probably just trying to make some money off of a stud fee
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 05:59 PM
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I wouldn't suggest breeding this mare. Plenty of cute, young, sound prospects and proven horses out there!
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post #4 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 06:10 PM
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As someone who personally breed leased a mare to a trainer because she liked my mare, had a nice stud, and wanted the resulting baby I would highly recommend against it.

Breeding a mare while dealing with non-genetic soundness issues is something I regret as it did not behoove the mare in the least. Also, the foal came out and was not the ideal animal we hoped for. Trainer worked with the filly, as the filly was hers, and when she realized the work ethic for the discipline she specializes and makes a living in wasn't there she realistically ended up selling the horse.

It just all around is not an experience I recommend to anyone who isn't experienced in breeding, babies are cute but realizing you could've purchased something ideal for roughly the same money and not had to stress about momma and baby health for a year just can leave a damper on the whole situation.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 06:17 PM
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I agree with the not breeding an unsound horse. I wouldn't add the extra stress on her for one thing. The other is breeding is a crap shoot under the best of circumstances much less breeding this to that in hopes of something else. People often like two different horses and imagine putting them together and getting the best of both worlds What often results is NOT the best of both worlds and sometimes faults made worse. Could you get lucky? Sure, but is it really worth the risk and expense when you could just go out and get another horse for the same cost and know what you have? Just food for thought.
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 06:35 PM
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If you know what you are doing, or get someone to help with the foaling process, it is your decision. No one can make it for you.

They can tell you pros and cons of breeding, but you are the one to make a decision like this.

You have to consider things like:
- what is the purpose of the foal
- is your mare in a good overall condition and breeding sound to carry a foal to term with no problems?
- you also have the risk that the foal, mare, or both will not survive while foaling.
- are you financially able to care for a pregnant mare
- do you have the proper facilities to have a foal
- will you have a vet on standby or close enough to get there if any problems should occur

There are many, many people on this forum that are against breeding, as there are so many foals that are off to slaughter or are mistreated because of irresponsible breeding. So if all your looking for is a young horse to train, maybe your best bet would to be to buy a weanling and not have the risk of losing your mare in the foaling process.

BUT if you truly do want the experience raising and training a foal, breeding would be your best bet, IF you breed to the right stallion to get a good resulting foal.

To answer your questions, the best time to breed (in my opinion) is spring or early summer, when your mare is cycling. That way, you will get a foal in the next spring. You can cross breed, but crossing certain breeds together can result in a messed up foal, conformationally. What breed is your mare? What breed were you considering breeding her to, if you choose too?

I personally love foals. I am planning on breeding my quarter horse mare in a few years to a different breed, and my other quarter horse mare to the same breed. I am wanting to cross my one with an andalusian, as, if I pick the stud accordingly, the foal will result in a good conformational, good minded foal.
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 06:37 PM
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If you do indeed breed, the first thing I'd do is get her vetted. The vet can go over the pros and cons about her condition. While there are young horses out there, nothing compares to raising one. You know what training (good and bad!) the foal has and have no one to blame or congratulate but yourself! If you have a trainer to work with you then your inexperience shouldn't be a big deal. (An experienced person can screw up a horse just as much as an inexperienced person.) Is your mare stocky or more of an appendix QH? I like breeding in April to early May, so it's not such bad weather when they foal. There is always a risk when it comes to breeding a mare you love but only you can decide if it's worth it.
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post #8 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 07:02 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't. Even if you could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the arthritis was not genetic, then you'd still be putting added stress on an already infirm body.

However, for her to have arthritis at 7 that is bad enough to cause soundness issues, then I'd bet my right arm that there's a genetic predisposition for it, either for the arthritis itself or for conformation that causes it.
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 07:16 PM
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If you want a horse that you can work with from a baby, go out and find one that needs a home and suites your needs. I have seen people breed their horse because they want one just like her or want to keep part of her and it very often does not work out. The baby will have a totally different mind, end up not suited for the discipline you want, ends up with physical problems you did not expect, etc..

Buy something that's already on the ground and you can avoid a lot of those problems.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-21-2014, 07:25 PM
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I have no problem breeding a mare that is broodmare sound only. I would ensure that the lameness was not genetic. If it is not then breeding is an option I would consider.
If you can ride this mare and she is not in pain then carrying a foal will not be that hard on her.
Mares are rarely ever lost during foaling and most foal with no problems so I would not worry too much about what can happen. be prepared for it by all means and educate yourself about the foaling process.
The best time to breed is in the spring depending on your climate. If the foal is being considered for a show career the earlier in the year the better.
What ever you decide I wish you well. Shalom
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