Debating on breeding my mare
My mare is 9 yrs old. She is APHA registered, with reining and TB/QH racing bloodlines. She has been perfect for me in every way. I love her personality- she is really sweet and easy to train. I got her as an untouched, malnurished 2 yr old. I trained her myself, started her under saddle. I recently started teaching her to drive. This horse does not spook, rides by herself, crosses water, doesn't care about guns or police sirens... Just a pleasure to have around. Great feet and conformation.
She started developing a mystery lameness in her hind end over a year ago. The first vet suspected arthritis. We tried joint injections but it didn't work. We also tried monthly arthritis injections. I was then referred to a vet from the vet school. We X rayed both hinds hocks and stifles and couldn't find any arthritis anywhere. Her joints looked great. The vet feels confident that she has had a "traumatic injury to her SI/pelvis" which has left her with permanent damage (probable soft tissue damage). It is unlikely she will ever fully recover, as it took too long to diagnose.
I have a few suspicions as to what caused this: One was the farrier who lost his temper and twisted her leg- she was so lame she couldn't walk the next day. He said he "popped her" for being bad? Is anyone familiar with that technique? That was his first visit and he was fired immediately after that. He definitely twisted her leg- as I was there watching. She also had a bad spill out in the pasture one day...
I asked the vet about breeding her, as I don't want to spread an inheritable problem and the vet said he "feels confident that this is not inheritable" I must admit I was shocked! I thought for sure he would recommend against breeding!
I have been dreaming for years of having a foal to raise. I'm not in any rush and she is still young. I know I could rescue a horse instead, but I've had really bad luck and heartbreak with rescues. I think it would be nice to raise my own, to pick the best stallion I can and go from there.
How exactly is this mare bred? Can we see conformation photos? Are you capable of funding not only the stud fee but the vet and all extra care a mare would need during pregnancy, and if something (god forbid) was to go wrong? After the foal was born, would you be able to care for it or wait until it is ready to start riding?
In this economy, you have to be very picky about what you breed. Unless a horse is darn near perfect, imo, there's no need to breed.
Did you vet specifically say she was BREEDING SOUND? First step is it's not inheritable, second step is you aren't going to cause her pain or to break down with a foal or have problems foaling. If you are using her (driving?) she will be out of commission for a bit.
I think when you are "debating" it's best not to breed. So much training and care and time involved after and waiting several years before you can really start working with the baby. A lot of stress and potential loss of your mare. Time and money getting her bred... etc etc. And of course the hit or miss of breeding and the large overpopulation, $$..
Does she ACTUALLY have great feet and conformation? A lot of horses have nice decent feet/confo but only the BEST should be bred.
Would love to see some photos of your girl. As long as your vet thinks she's ok to breed, all you gotta do is find a stallion! The biggest expense is the stud fee, my mare didn't cost anymore while she was pregnant than when she wasn't. A lot of things to weigh out: breed for a foal, buy a foal, buy a youngster or older horse. Only you can decide what best fits your situation and desires. While I'm not opposed to rescues or purchasing, I hate dealing with problems that are caused by other people's "training"! Good luck on deciding.
Personally, I don't believe in breeding unless the horse is question is spectacular in conformation and personality. If this rule was followed, there would be so many fewer horses in the world and the ones that were here would be better quality.
If you do decide to breed, however, and your mare is truly breeding sound and you have the money to do it, I would only advise it if you plan on keeping her baby for life--I know this is not always possible, which is why I say plan rather than do. Also, what are your plans for the mare after she has had the baby? Are you going to keep her as a pasture pet? Can you afford both horses or do you plan to sell her? If you were to breed her then sell her after having the baby, then I would say please do not ever breed her since you would just be contributing to the overpopulation.
You can spend as much as you desire during your mares pregnancy. My foals do not cost me 2500 per mare. For the life of me I cannot understand where that figure comes from.
I would only do one ultrasound to check for twins or to see if she is with foal.
I only give my mares their annual shots 30-60 days before they are due.
I only increase their feed during the last trimester as that is when the foal starts to rapidly develop. At the rate of a pound a day.
If you want the added assurance that your mare is covered on all fronts then get those multiple shots and ultrasounds.
If I had only one mare I might do the same.
OP I am not advocating my way of doing things.
Research everything to do with breeding, foaling, and raising a foal. Then decide what you think is important and what you do not.
Its your decision to breed or not and it is up to you to decide how to manage her pregnancy. Good luck. Shalom
db that number came about from 3 AI attempts plus the ultra sound every other day that accomanied 2 weeks worth of stay at the vets. Sometimes breeding doesnt go perfectly on the first try.
I would like to have further lameness investigations done if she was my mare, as i would want to make sure a late stage pregnancy wouldnt compromise a suspected injury in her SI/Pelvis region. Did you have any scans/xrays done of her back? I would have a nuclear scintigraphy done to check for hot spots and xrays of the spine. I would also wait till she was sound as the added weigh of a foal can cause issues in itself.
As for the breeding costs...how long is the length of a piece of string? I would as an absolutely minimum have a pre breeding exam and swabs and scans for twins, then you have the ehv vaccines at 5,7 and 9 months, flu and tet and west nile if in america (we dont have that here). If all is plain sailing, shes takes first time, trouble free pregnancy and foaling then it tends to be ok. But if you are on livery or keeping at stud, if she doesnt take first time, its not so much the stud fee but the collection, shipping costs (if AI'ing) and vet fees that add up fast. If she pools fluid and needs lavaging then that costs.
It is a lovely experience and my mare is in foal at present. But she took 2nd time, pooled badly despite being and maiden and was caslicked to give her to best oportunity possible. So far so good. But you really do need to find out WHY she went lame as unless you know you cannot logically say it is not heredity and it would be heartbreaking for you if the foal comes up lame at 4-5 years.
Best of luck.
I did AI on a mare - had to pay to ship her to the vet's office, pay for care for her stay, pay for the US as she was a silent heat mare, the AI fee, follow up US, shipping back home. The cost was in the thousands, ten years ago, and the mare didn't take. That was not accounting for the stud fee.
Admittedly we took the expensive route - but even so, 2500 is not unreasonable to account for. At all.
ETA - I would strongly suggest speaking to a specialist about your mare. If she's lame just hanging out, the extra weight of a foal may be excruciating for her.
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