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I've bred a two year old mare and she had her baby just fine and grew to the height she was supposed to be. I didn't know anything then or I probably wouldn't have bred her, but there were no negative results.

My mare who is due to foal in April is a coming 4 year old. She was bred at three of course and isn't having any trouble at all, other than requiring more food to keep her in the same shape once she entered the last trimester.

I personally don't think its bad at all breeding a three year old as long as they are a decent size. I've heard breeding a four year old is better for the mare however, because it allows her to finish growing herself without the added strain of carrying a foal.
 

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No! absolutely against it...A 3 year old isn't even done growing yet. She's still a baby in my mind..She's not physically or mentally read to breed..It is a very irresponsible and selfish thing to do. Think about the mare's well being and not just a want to have a foal..
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the opinions everyone. Of course the mare would really be 4 when she foals.It depends on the individual mare I'm sure...mentally and physically. I've know several people that breed at 2 or 3 for foaling at 3 or 4. I just wanted to see how many people are comfortable with it...and more specifically if anyone has had an experience where breeding a younger mare turned out badly as a result of the age?
 

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I personally don't think its bad at all breeding a three year old as long as they are a decent size. I've heard breeding a four year old is better for the mare however, because it allows her to finish growing herself without the added strain of carrying a foal.
You can't just go off of size though. You need to look at the filly's joints. They don't close until they are over 5 years old. That's why you shouldn't ride young horses, and if they are ridden, it should be very lightly. So you breed a mare and add extra weight to her joints and knees that aren't closed yet? Not only that, all of the nutrition that you are feeding your mare is going to the foal, the mare is barely getting any. Just because her growth isn't stunted, doesn't mean that her body got all the nutrients that is should have.

And the fact that you say "I probably wouldn't have bred her" just makes me cringe.

What stallion owner in their right mind would ever breed a 2 year old. That's backyard breeding right there.

And not only that, your mare was bred as a 3 year old. And I've seen in another thread that you are going to breed your mare to another stallion as a 4 year old too? So there's going to be a baby on the ground, sucking this young mare dry, and your going to re-breed her?

Breeding a horse this young is like a 13 year old getting pregnant and having the baby.

Besides the physical aspect, a 3 year old, even a 4 year old is still and sometimes 5 year old are just too young mentally to care for a foal. So your taking an even bigger chance on having the mare not knowing how to properly care for the foal and the foal becoming an orphan.
 

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You can't just go off of size though. You need to look at the filly's joints. They don't close until they are over 5 years old. That's why you shouldn't ride young horses, and if they are ridden, it should be very lightly. So you breed a mare and add extra weight to her joints and knees that aren't closed yet? Not only that, all of the nutrition that you are feeding your mare is going to the foal, the mare is barely getting any. Just because her growth isn't stunted, doesn't mean that her body got all the nutrients that is should have.

And the fact that you say "I probably wouldn't have bred her" just makes me cringe.

What stallion owner in their right mind would ever breed a 2 year old. That's backyard breeding right there.

And not only that, your mare was bred as a 3 year old. And I've seen in another thread that you are going to breed your mare to another stallion as a 4 year old too? So there's going to be a baby on the ground, sucking this young mare dry, and your going to re-breed her?

Breeding a horse this young is like a 13 year old getting pregnant and having the baby.

Besides the physical aspect, a 3 year old, even a 4 year old is still and sometimes 5 year old are just too young mentally to care for a foal. So your taking an even bigger chance on having the mare not knowing how to properly care for the foal and the foal becoming an orphan.
I'm glad you typed all of that out so I didn't have to.
 

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Well, how it was explained to me by my vet is that the pregnancy doesn't really affect the mare until the last trimester and the mare is a year older by the time she drops her foal. He also said that as long as you feed one well, it shouldn't prevent them from growing normally and I can see how it wouldn't because of my previous mare being bred early and growing out normally. Good groceries go a long way!

I've also seen horses who were bred as two/three year olds who weren't fed anything extra and looked aweful, but it depends on the circumstances.
 

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Yes, it completely depends on their care. Your mare looks like she's very well taken care of. But I feel if your going to breed a mare, you should be responsible and wait until the horse is ready, both physically and mentally. Breeding young horses to me, seems like owners are just trying to make money because they have a mare and the stud fee is cheap.

Most 3 and 4 year olds haven't even hit the show ring yet. Therefore what have they proven themselves to be good at? Horses that breed should prove themselves before hitting the breeding shed, so to speak.
 

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You can't just go off of size though. You need to look at the filly's joints. They don't close until they are over 5 years old. That's why you shouldn't ride young horses, and if they are ridden, it should be very lightly. So you breed a mare and add extra weight to her joints and knees that aren't closed yet? Not only that, all of the nutrition that you are feeding your mare is going to the foal, the mare is barely getting any. Just because her growth isn't stunted, doesn't mean that her body got all the nutrients that is should have.

And the fact that you say "I probably wouldn't have bred her" just makes me cringe.

What stallion owner in their right mind would ever breed a 2 year old. That's backyard breeding right there.

And not only that, your mare was bred as a 3 year old. And I've seen in another thread that you are going to breed your mare to another stallion as a 4 year old too? So there's going to be a baby on the ground, sucking this young mare dry, and your going to re-breed her?

Breeding a horse this young is like a 13 year old getting pregnant and having the baby.

Besides the physical aspect, a 3 year old, even a 4 year old is still and sometimes 5 year old are just too young mentally to care for a foal. So your taking an even bigger chance on having the mare not knowing how to properly care for the foal and the foal becoming an orphan.

Well as I was very nieve at the time, I didn't really know what I was doing with the first mare. The stallion owner also was a liar and my foal almost didn't get registered, so he definitely wouldn't have given me any advice if it meant he wouldn't have money put in his pocket.

The second was checked out by my vet and given the ok to breed. Also, unless the foal is drawing the mare down horribly, I don't see why you wouldn't want to rebreed a mare if she checks out clean by the vet. I understand that a lot of the nutrition is going to the foal as well, but if the mare was barely getting any, she would be a bag of bones or would show some other form of not being healthy, which mine doesn't. I'm not wanting to get in a debate, I'm just stating my opinion on what I've heard and seen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Just to let you all know..I did bring it up as hypothetical. I do have a 3 year old and did look into breeding her this year for her to foal at 4. But I decided against it. I decided to put her in training instead. I was mostly wondering..out of curiosity...if anyone has had a bad foaling experience directly related to the (young) age of the mare?
 
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Yes, it completely depends on their care. Your mare looks like she's very well taken care of. But I feel if your going to breed a mare, you should be responsible and wait until the horse is ready, both physically and mentally. Breeding young horses to me, seems like owners are just trying to make money because they have a mare and the stud fee is cheap.

Most 3 and 4 year olds haven't even hit the show ring yet. Therefore what have they proven themselves to be good at? Horses that breed should prove themselves before hitting the breeding shed, so to speak.

That goes around to the saying that a mare has to have a show record to breed. Why then do we have all these mares who are not broke to ride, but have babies who have won thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars? They were once unproven mares as well.
 

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Just to let you all know..I did bring it up as hypothetical. I do have a 3 year old and did look into breeding her this year for her to foal at 4. But I decided against it. I decided to put her in training instead. I was mostly wondering..out of curiosity...if anyone has had a bad foaling experience directly related to the (young) age of the mare?
One lady I rode a horse for last summer said she had a mare bred at two. The mare went into labor about a week after her due date out in the pasture and died with the foal still halfway inside her. I think it was due most likely to exhaustion. They didn't have a taxonomy done on either.
 

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That goes around to the saying that a mare has to have a show record to breed. Why then do we have all these mares who are not broke to ride, but have babies who have won thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars? They were once unproven mares as well.
The likelihood of those foals going onto top showing farms is actually very slim compared to the amount of those foals going to slaughter or just trail riding homes.

On a side note, when I was 15, I tried breeding my 4-1/2 year old mare through AI. She had a complete vet exam with XRays by my vet and vet gave a thumbs up. She didn't take and I decided not to try a re-breed. I am very happy that I did because the training that I put on my mare in the next couple of years and exhibiting her at shows really went a long way for her career. She is a money winner and is going to be bred in April/May of this year for the first time. She is now 11. Well worth the wait.

My step-aunt was a horrible breeder. She had fillies running with her stallion, barely any were able to be handled and they weren't cared for properly feed-wise as well. They never had show careers, it was all about quantity, not quality. Many of her young horses suffered from having babies too early in life. The foals also suffered and she usually lost 2 a year. Every year. Thank God I don't have to ever deal with her and her animals again!
 

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Maybe I'm just dumb but I don't really understand why you would even want to breed a 2/3/4 year old?
Wouldn't the stallion you would be breeding to probably still be around when the mare is older? If you're worried about the stud fee, couldn't you just buy a breeding now and hold on to it until your mare is older (I think studs do that? Letting someone buy a breeding now for later?)...?

Breeding a 2/3/4 year old seems an awful lot like bringing one foal into the world just so it can create a bunch of other foals... That doesn't really make sense to me.

Also, side note, I have seen some fillies that looked gorgeous as youngsters but as they aged and filled out fully, it became apparent that they weren't as A+ as they looked at 2 or 3 years old.

Personally, if I were in the position to breed a mare, that mare (if we forget about the near perfect conformation aspect) would be completely broke, trained in a specific discipline, shown with excellent results (or, in the case of ranch horses and others like that, have been doing her job well and for a long time), and be fully sound even after 10 or more years of hard work (barring any non-conformation-related injuries picked up along the way).
You can't forecast with 100% certainty that a 3 year old filly is going to be an amazing horse in her discipline. You can assume from bloodlines and such but there's no way to tell for sure before she actually gets into training and showing.
Personally, I've seen enough A+ mares that ended up in nasty situations that I don't really see the need to be popping out "maybe's". I can see A+ mare plus A+ stallion as being a good, even great, thing but breeding an unproven mare to a proven [or unproven! o_O] stallion seems foolhardy.


Anyway, that's my little rant. Sorry! :lol:

ETA: Piaffe, I've heard horror stories of young mares getting too tired halfway through giving birth and ending up dying with their baby. However, I don't know anyone who's had that happen and I sure hope that wouldn't happen if there was any sort of mare supervision going on...
Another fact is that at the summer camp I work at, there was this little paint mare who was maybe 2, if that, and she was preggo. That entire summer she was unbelievably tired. She was basically like an old old old horse in the body of a young horse. I'm not sure if that was due to her pregnancy or the fact that we had to ride her anyway in her condition (hate that about this camp!!) but in any case it was sad. I'm not sure what happened to her or her baby since she didn't come back the next summer, but I can't imagine it being anything really great, knowing her owners. :(
 

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The likelihood of those foals going onto top showing farms is actually very slim compared to the amount of those foals going to slaughter or just trail riding homes.

On a side note, when I was 15, I tried breeding my 4-1/2 year old mare through AI. She had a complete vet exam with XRays by my vet and vet gave a thumbs up. She didn't take and I decided not to try a re-breed. I am very happy that I did because the training that I put on my mare in the next couple of years and exhibiting her at shows really went a long way for her career. She is a money winner and is going to be bred in April/May of this year for the first time. She is now 11. Well worth the wait.

My step-aunt was a horrible breeder. She had fillies running with her stallion, barely any were able to be handled and they weren't cared for properly feed-wise as well. They never had show careers, it was all about quantity, not quality. Many of her young horses suffered from having babies too early in life. The foals also suffered and she usually lost 2 a year. Every year. Thank God I don't have to ever deal with her and her animals again!

Wow, That sounds like how a lot of people do things around here. I don't want to waste money on a $500 foal, I want an upwards of 5k foal. I would also not breed anything if I didn't want to feed it well. The mares don't suffer trying to feed their babies and the babies are fat and healthy. I can't stand to see skinny mares feeding babies who don't look like they are worth a dollar. I used to go to sales and have seen plenty. I can't imagine losing a baby due to carelessness.
 

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I've bred a two year old mare and she had her baby just fine..... I didn't know anything then....

Please don't think this is a personal attack, because it isn't.
But this is exactly why people who are just getting into horses either need a gelding or a experianced mentor.
If you don't know, don't breed.

As for the question, I wouldn't. I really want a foal off one mare I have (She will be five this spring) but she needs to be broke first. So I'll wait. The only coming three year old I have isn't close to being mentally ready for a baby.
 

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Please don't think this is a personal attack, because it isn't.
But this is exactly why people who are just getting into horses either need a gelding or a experianced mentor.
If you don't know, don't breed.

As for the question, I wouldn't. I really want a foal off one mare I have (She will be five this spring) but she needs to be broke first. So I'll wait. The only coming three year old I have isn't close to being mentally ready for a baby.
I completely agree with you there, but my mare went along just fine after having her foal, whom I bought back and have again, and is now a show horse for a little 8 y/o girl.

The mares mentality sure plays a huge part. The filly out of my western pleasure mare and a crappy stud is a 5 year old and still acts like a big baby. I doubt she'd make a good mother at all, ever.
 

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I know of one underage foaling that wasn't ideal. A Morgan breeder bought a long yearling filly from a different breeder several hundred miles away. The following spring, the new owners were shocked that she was pregnant and she had a small black filly. The mother wasn't quite two years old herself, she did not produce any milk for her daughter, and the little filly had a mountain of vet bills to improve her quality of life (don't remember all the details since it was 10 years ago). Since the the mother didn't have milk, she was placed in the pasture with all the other young stock to run and play like an almost two year old should. The foal was part time bottle fed, part time nursed from a surrogate that had her own foal to feed as well. All we can figure is that the original owners had kept all the yearlings together, including uncut colts.
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Also..since we are on the subject...I have heard breeding horses young can cause "long term" or even "permanent" damage to the mare (back problems,weight problems,bad hips,hard to train,etc,etc.) has anyone actually had this experience? Has anyone ever had a damaged horse because they were bred too young? If so what was the damage? Did the horse ever recover? Again...just curious...
 
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