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Endiku 04-20-2011 06:19 PM

Really pleased with breeding operation.
hey guys! So I was talking to a BO a few days ago about her breeding operation, and I just have to say that I was very impressed by the way she worked things. I went out and checked the place out, and I was even more impressed! xD I wanted to show you guys what she showed me and see if anyone else thinks this sounds like a wonderful way to run an operation like that- and if anyone disagreed- and why =] here we go!

Farm consists of 15 broodmares, all with show backrounds and atleast two recognizable bloodlines in their lineage- no further back that great grand dam/sire.

Mares are all of great conformation. Sturdy, well formed, and without any history of weak bones or anything.

Two stallions with exceptional conformation, manners, and show records stand at the farm, although she only breeds them when she really thinks the stallion and mare's personality, conformation, and coloring will mesh well.

Each mare has her own 12 x 12 stall and is turned out for five to seven hours daily, weather permitting.

All mares and stallions are saddle broke and are ridden once to twice weekly, ensuring good manners and good condition. The only time any mare is not ridden is from two months before the foal is due, and two months afterwards. Consistant riding ensures ability to be sold as a mount instead of a broodmare, incase something comes up and makes the mare need to be put out of the broodmare business.

Mares are not bred until age six, and will not be bred after the age of sixteen. Any mare over the age of sixteen will be either retired or sold as a riding mount, depending on physical condition.

Mares are bred once, given until the foal reaches seven months old, a bred again. Every two breedings, the mare will be given a full year off without being pregnate or with a foal. Any mare showing fatigue will be given a year off- even if they have only had one foal.

Mares are given maximum vetinary care, and are tested before being bred again.

No mare will be asked to foal more than five times- this includes any miscarriages or stillborns. Any mare reaching five foals before the age of 16 will be sold as a riding mount.

After foaling, mare is moved to a seperate barn with a 14x14 stall with it's own 20x20 paddock. Mare and foal will remain in this barn until foal is five months old. At five months, mare will be moved back to her own stall located on the other end of the property, and foal will remain in stall to ensure comfort and exercise.

Foals will be handled from birth.

Any weaninglings will be sold at six months old. Weaninglings only sold if their growth rate is stable, and their manners are good. Otherwise, they will be sold at one year- after more training and time to grow.

All colts are gelded at six months, unless showing signs of stunted growth.

Any foals left at 8 months will be put into a 24-7 pasture, fillies and colts seperated.

what do you guys think? =P

Eolith 04-20-2011 06:44 PM

It sounds pretty great. I'm curious though, what sort of horses does she breed?

Juna 04-20-2011 08:25 PM

Mares are bred again when the foals are 7 months old? Why? That would completely throw off her foaling dates the following year to coincide with spring/summer. She'd be foaling in autumn the next year! It's not natural to breed like that. Mares in the wild are cycling 7 days after giving birth and are capable of getting pregnant then, though it's recommended to wait for their thirty day cycle just to let them clean out more. I don't understand the thought process of waiting til the foal is 7 months old before breeding the mare again. It's sounds ridiculous.

Everything seems very white line/black line. No grey lines. What about foals that need to be weaned earlier than five months? Or later than five months? What about judging how to proceed on the individual horse rather than strictly adhering to set guidelines?

JustDressageIt 04-20-2011 08:42 PM

It's hard to speak on someone else's behalf, but I would think that there is more to the story and not just black and white, Juna. Also, depending on where they are, foaling in autumn/winter isn't such a big deal.
It sounds like a fantastic operation to me.

Eolith 04-20-2011 10:24 PM

Yes, it sounds to me like this is probably the basic framework... but I bet that each horse is dealt with on an individual basis.

Endiku 04-21-2011 09:05 AM

Eolith- she breeds Quarterhorses, since that is the main breed of Texas. The purpose of breeding them is for good-quality show horses, but any of the foals that don't seem to be that 'sort', (non ideal conformation, finicky behavior, etc) are trained in other disiplines and sold as either ranch or lesson horse prospects.

Juna- are you saying that it would be easier to just breed the mare while she is with foal? To me it sounds as if that could easily wear a mare's body out. The way that this lady has planned it, the mare is pregnate for 11 months, has a foal with her for 5 months, complete break for 2 months, does it once more, then has a complete break for a year. That way she can stay as functionable as possible. I would think that spacing out like that would give less of a chance of sway backs, also? I'm not certain, but it sounds possible.

As for the foals being born at different times of the year, I ask you to think this way. Thoroughbreds are inseminated in the very, very early parts of the year when it is generally still extremely cold, and are expected to foal in Jan/February of each year for the most part. Is that not unnatural? I'm not saying to agree with the idea of waiting until the foal is 7 months old, I'm just saying that time of year doesn't really matter all that much. Not to mention that this farm is located in Texas- a state that rarely ever gets snow, and generally stays above 40 degrees F in the winter. If anything, we have to worry about foaling in summer because its so danged hot! xD

As for the 'no grey lines' lets think about the fact that she basically just told me the, as Eolith said- basic framework. I was only there for about an hour! It sounded to me as if she was perfectly willing to allow a foal to stay with it's mother if it absolutely needed to. Thats why she made the weaningling-yearling rule. If a foal is not ready to be sold, it will not be sold. She allows time for stunting, health problems, and just basic neediness. As far as BEFORE 5 months, I have no idea, because I have never known of a foal that absolutely HAD to be weaned before that age. Why would you need to do that? I'm curiouse, now xD I'm sure that if the foal was at risk though, that the mare could be moved early. Those numbers, like with any stable, were a standard- not a requirement.

Can you really judge more individually than setting extra time for any mare or foal that is not ready? As mentioned, any mare that had a hard pregnancy, seems unhealthy for breeding, or otherwise, will be given another year off, which if you think of it from a financial point of view- is a VERY generous thing. She did say that she'll sell any mare that doesn't take to mothering or who has red bags/deformed foals/etc more than once, she'll sell them no matter what their age is to be ridden- so I'm not really sure what else she could do without turning it into a rescue farm xD

I guess what I really liked was that she has all of the mares ridden still =] so many broodmares are euthenized after their baby days are over because they haven't ever been ridden/havent been ridden in a long time, or just sit in their stalls year after year because all they're good for nothing but being broodmares. The ranch that I work at just bought one of the lady's 16 year olds for a lesson mount (which is how I met this lady) and she's an amazing animal. Confident in the arena, (perfect for out beginners) surefooted, gentle, and amazing with leg yielding, which I totally didnt expect. When we bought her, I was all ready for an untrailed 16 year old who didn't even know what 'outside' meant!

Eolith 04-21-2011 09:56 AM


Originally Posted by Endiku (Post 1006360)
As far as BEFORE 5 months, I have no idea, because I have never known of a foal that absolutely HAD to be weaned before that age. Why would you need to do that?

Foals are sometimes weaned a little earlier if they're giving their mothers heck. ^_^ Lactating can be really tough on a mare sometimes and some will lose quite a bit of their own weight and conditioning while trying to sustain a youngster. If the foal is doing well and the mare isn't, it's usually justification to wean a little early.

NdAppy 04-21-2011 10:06 AM

I just wanted to point out that putting human emotions on pregnancy of horses is kind of asinine.

Horses are designed to be pregnant all the time and to get pregnant shortly after foaling. If their bodies need a break, then they don't get pregnant. It is easier to get a mare that is bred all the time in foal and have an easier time keeping her in foal than it is to breed randomly and have multiple years off between pregnancies. I'm not saying it doesn't work, what i am saying is they are not designed to have "off time" between pregnancies. Nature designed them this way.

I also agree with whoever said breeding when the foal is 7 months old is strange. You would then have 3 to 4 month old babies that are considered yearlings because they are born late in the year. There is no purpose to that in showing as it already sets you behind the rest. There is a reason why people breed for early year foals. No only is that the way nature designed it, it makes more sense in show world. Which since you stated she is going to be breeding show horses, you would think she needs to know (or should) know that. Foals born late in the year wont be touched with a 10-foot pole in their younger years due to the age thing. When they are older it isn't such a big deal, but at a young age... *shrug* if she is fine with having foals competing against foals 6-7 months older then them that is her choice.

Juna 04-21-2011 02:25 PM

Thank you, NDAppy. That's exactly what I meant with my post.

A pregnant uterus is a healthy uterus. And I do mean that literally.

Having foals that are 3-4 months old when January hits, is crazy. They are behind all the other wise and saleability wise. Yes, Endiku, I'm saying it would be better to breed the mare while she has a foal at her side. With proper care and nutrition, it will not run down the mare at all.


Foals are sometimes weaned a little earlier if they're giving their mothers heck. ^_^ Lactating can be really tough on a mare sometimes and some will lose quite a bit of their own weight and conditioning while trying to sustain a youngster. If the foal is doing well and the mare isn't, it's usually justification to wean a little early.
Great post, Eolith. Completely agree with this. We breed modern show Arabians and most of the time we wean at 4 months old. The mare and the foal are usually both ready to be on their own at that point. It has been our experience that foals left on the mare longer than that completely drag the mares body condition down, no matter what we feed her. We've never had a problem with weaning that early, the foals adjust quickly and continue to thrive. Mares can regain whatever condition they lost, and get ready for the next foal if she is pregnant.

Endiku 04-21-2011 03:45 PM

Alright, that makes a bit more sense xD I've seen a few mares who have had extremely hard times keeping their weight when lactating.

As for the 7 month thing, I'm not going to say anything else because I'm obviously not the expert here, hence me wanting opinions. That is an interesting thing to think about though. I wonder what the results would be if someone compared a bunch of mares who foaled every year with one who had breaks. Ofcourse, that probably wouldn't be very accurate since every mare is different...but still xD

I think I'm going to ask her why exactly she waits 7 months. Maybe I misunderstood her xD its possible. Or she could have a method to her madness. Either way she has some really lovely animals, and its quite obviouse that they're all in good health.

I dunno xD

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