Should I breed my mare?
I have a 21 yr old Arabian mare. She's in perfect health, very active but has never been bred. I have not yet taken her to the vet to be checked for breeding as I'm still debating. What are the risks with breeding her? I know that most 21 yr olds are looked at being old but she is a Very young 21 yr old. Opinions???
I wouldn't breed that old of a mare for the first time. She may have problems getting in foal and having it. Seems like a waist of money.....
First, we must answer these questions:
Why do you want to breed her?
What are you going to do with the foal?
Why do you think she's worthy of being bred?
Could you stand to loose her?
And we can go from there. :D
Raise and show
Same as answer #1
No, she's my baby and we've been through a lot together.
At that age you have a very high risk of losing her. On top of that you aren't sure how she would foal being a maiden mare.
On one hand you could breed her and everything turn out fine. But you have a chance of it going very wrong or her not taking at all.
She does sound wonderful, but just because she's a good horse doesn't make her worthy of breeding. We must take into account a lot of things before breeding a horse. Good bloodlines? Almost perfect conformation? (An if not, is the stallion strong in the areas where she is weak?) Personality? You say that she has a good show record, so I won't ask again. :D
Do you think you're qualified to raise and train a foal? I know nothing about you or your skills, so this is up to you. Remember to be honest with yourself.
I am a little concerned when you said you couldn't stand to loose her... Breeding is dangerous, especially for a maiden mare that old. Something could go wrong, and if you feel you couldn't live without, you shouldn't breed her.
Sorry for being so uptight. It's just a big decision and requires a lot of thought, honestly, and planning.
Regardless of how "young" she acts, she's still 21, and she's a maiden mare? I wouldn't risk her life for a foal if she were mine, I'd go buy a 2 year old...
I'm worried about my 15 year old mare who's in foal for the first time being to old... (she was bred when I got her, it wasn't my choice, I'm just doing my best to get her though it alive) While everything has gone fine for her so far, the foals not on the ground yet, I could still lose one or both of them....
I suspect the first question to ask yourself, is why you want to breed. If it's to get something like her, chances are you won't, because the baby will be half of some other horse and might not look or act like she does.
If the baby is to be for sale, then know you will be competing with thousands of others also trying to sell their foals.
If you plan to keep the baby, make sure you know you can reasonably afford another mouth to feed and have the time to train a youngster. Also remember our lives change and at some point you might have to put the baby or youngster for sale, even if you'd planned to keep it.
What about your mare? She could live another 10 or even 20 years, so if it's a replacement your are after, she could quite well outlive her offspring.
While she's not elderly, she's not young either. Are you willing to put her life in jeapardy just to get a foal, when there are thousands of lovely horses being shipped off to slaughter every day now?
We take a risk when breeding any of our mares.
If you are willing to take the risk, then you'll need to evaluate her very carefully. What are her strong and weak points? What can she offer the breed?
What does her pedigree look like? Will you be linebreeding to a horse you like or outcrossing?
Are you very well aquainted with the horses in her pedigree. You should be if you wish to become a breeder. And if you breed just one foal in your life, it does make you a breeder.
You'll need to do tons of homework to pick a stud horse who is excellent where she is faulty. Would you be willing to send her to be bred or purchase frozen semen? Are you aware of stud fees and/or AI costs to the vet? You might also have a problem getting or keeping her in foal and the costs add up.
Breeding to the nearest Arab stallion down the road, won't be good enough and besides he's probably already got many offspring locally, up for sale.
Since your mare hasn't been bred before, you'll need to have a look at the offspring your chosen stud has sired and from mares hopefully much like yours or with a pedigree close to your mare's.
Lots to think about. If I only had one horse now and an older mare at that, I'd probably not breed but purchase one of the thousands of good horses out there for sale at very reasonable prices.
Certainly many older mares are bred. I know of one mare who has had over 20 offspring. She's old now and no longer gets in foal at all.
On the other hand, an old Saddlebred friend of mine, bred her mare for the first time when she was also 21 and everything went well. But the older they are and especially as a maiden, the more problems which might arise.
I'm not telling to breed or not to breed. The decision will be up to you as her owner. There's just lots to consider.
FeatheredFeet makes some very valid points. I wanted to breed my mare, but I was scared that she was too old and she was only 14. There is a risk with any mare, but the older they get the higher the risk. I personally would not even risk it, given her age and maiden mare status. If she had had a few foals before, it woul dbe less of a risk. She also might not even take, at that age. I also wouldn't breed just to have a baby from your mare. That's a very poor reason to breed, chances are the baby will be nothing like the mare. Please, if you want a baby so bad, buy one.
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