I wouldn't purposely let a colt breed until 2 at the VERY earliest. If they breed too young they tend to develop behavior issues and the stress on their young joints isn't good either. Are you planning on collecting or live covering your young stud? That can play a role as well. Live cover for a 2 year old can get dicey unless you have some mares that have "been around the block" and are willing to let him fumble for a while without getting angry.
On a side note...I have heard good success with putting big yearlings and/or 2 year old stud colts in with already confirmed bred mares so they can learn how to treat a mare. It also makes them not so OMG A MARE! When you do breed them since they've been with mares before. The downside to this is that if a mare slips a pregnancy that little stud is more than capable of and willing to rebreed her.
2 at the earliest. But that depends on the colt, and a 2 year old should definitely not be used heavily. We like to use a 2 year old 2-3 times in that year. Then, as a 3-4 year old he is more mature and ready for heavier use.
Some 2 year olds are very immature, though, and NOT ready for any covering at all.
Not until they are started under saddle and proven that they are worthy to be breeding stallions. I would NEVER even consider using a stallion at 2 or really even 3. 4 would be the youngest and then still only if he has proven he can do the job you are breeding for.
ok well i have a bay mare that is now retired and have always wanted a foal from her.
i have a blue and white cob colt which i want to cover her with before he is gelded but wanted to know how long i wait first.
How old is your mare? Has she ever foaled before? I do not advise breeding your mare if she is older than 12 and you don't know if she has ever foaled out before. I also don't think you should put them together just because they have the parts. IF your mare is a maiden and young enough to breed and/or has successfully foaled before and is no older than her teens and there is something about her that is worth reproducing then you should look around for a better performance horse to breed her to for what you want to do with the baby. If your stud is just a cute painted colt with no performance or breeding record and anything less than 100% ideal conformation then you should geld him as soon as possible. If you just want a baby then go to an auction and buy one that looks like her. It will save you money, potential heartache and your colt will never know that mares = breeding and he will be a better horse because of it.
Anything less than 100% ideal conformation????? Are you serious? This sounds crazy to me, but then I am a part of the Arabian halter world. Breeding 2 year old colts is very common (provided he's mature enough) because, as we are breeding for halter, at 2 y/o we can see his conformation. That's his "test" as a potential sire. And what horse is perfect 100%, conformation wise? I've never seen one. That's why we breed. To create the perfect horse. I'm not saying that's what the OP's reasons are, but those are mine.
And honestly, not breeding a mare that is over 12, just because she's "too old" is baloney. Mares can reproduce and birth healthy foals up into their 20's. I suggest to the OP that he get a vet out and do a reproductive examination to make sure that the mare's uterus is healthy (not pooling urine, no big cysts etc..) and if the vet pronounces her breeding healthy, then I would say that the mare will be fine.
Now, after that is all said, I don't think that breeding just to breed is very responsible, but that is up to the owner/OP. I can understand the emotion of wanting a foal out of your stallion/mare. It would be a lot easier to buy a yearling, though. It's up to you. What was your mare retired from? What will you be doing with this planned foal?
Only 12 if she's a maiden not if she's foaled out without complications before. A novice breeder with an old, maiden mare is generally not a good idea and I don't like anyone trying to breed a maiden mare of 16+. And even if it had foaled previously...breeding a mare that is 18+ is going to have complications due to age most likely. And a 2 year old registered and halter bred colt is different than the OP that has a cute paint cob type colt with no known registration, breeding or performance records of any kind. I don't condone breeding grade horses just to breed them especially young unproven grade horses. If the stud was older, athletic, had a great temperament and she just wanted a trail horse then I would be a little more lenient but an unproven, grade 2 year old stud with a most likely old and maiden mare spells disaster to me. But that's just my opinion.
I agree that you shouldn't be breeding from a colt until he is at least 4 - you can see how he is going to turn out and if he's worth breeding from - 95% of colts are NOT stallion quality, and they should have as near to perfect conformation for his type/breed etc.
Plus you won't be over stressing his joints - being a cob they are prone to OCD so over extending is a bad thing, and one kick from the mare in a growing joint will mean he is a pasture pet for life - a mature stallion can take knocks and know how to avoid them - a baby can't.
Covering under 4 can lead to behavioral issues as they are still a baby - I know they do it in the arab world, but it does not mean it is right - they are just in a hurry to get their money back, 3 is the absolute earliest I would breed and only then to a proven broodmare, NEVER a maiden, and 1 or 2 at the most in the first year.
Colts don't breed in the wild until they are 4 or 5, they also have poorer quality semen and poor sperm counts under 4 as they are not physically mature, so can lead to poorer quality foals and poor conception rates - unless you have a sperm count done on him, although most vets would laugh at someone trying to breed from a baby horse and wouldn't endanger themselves!!
Does the cob even remotely compliment your mare conformation wise or is it just one has a uterus and the other nuts??!! What are you aiming to breed? Do you have the facilities to foal a mare, good fencing, what if you loose the mare can you afford the time and heaps of money to hand rear??
Breeding is a very costly way of getting another horse, you need to do heaps of research first. If you decide she is worth breeding from and can be bred from after a breeding examination, along with her swabs for CEM and blood tests for EVA and EIA, you need to think what you want to do with a resultant foal, and pick a suitable stallion that compliments your mares weak points. And do set aside a lot of money - we always tell people to put aside at least £2500 to cover all expenses and you still might not have a foal at the end of the day - that's why people only breed from the best mares/stallions possible so they have a foal that will hold it's value and not add to the horse overpopulation problem.
Our stallion was used, prior to our purchase, at 2. Now, being undersaddle and a show record do not mean as much (being undersaddle might mean essentially nothing since most are shown in halter) in Straight Egyptian Arabs, and his breeding is hard to come by in the US, so I understand their reasoning. Unless you're talking about a breed like that, where bloodlines sell. . . you want to have him prove himself, and I'm not saying that this isn't the best bet for ANY breed, but in where bloodlines are what you're selling, it can work out fine.
In our case, it helps because he already has foals on the ground that are close to 2 years old now for mare owners to see.
Yea it comes down to bloodlines, breeding and what you're doing with them. Halter horses are completely picked off conformation and bloodlines so a nicely made 2 year old could cover a few gentle mares or be collected a few times with a knowledgeable stallion handler than can correct the start of any bad behaviors and/or keep all parties safe. Ideal? no...horrible? no. A back yard breeder with a pasture and two grade-type horses of questionable breeding ages with complimentary parts is IMO a BAD combination.