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Hi,

I have a 13.2 Irish cob (aka Gypsy Vanner) mare whom I am thinking about breeding. I want to keep her bone and structure but add some height and a little more athleticism. She's 10 years old, good confirmation and jumps like a gazelle. However she's a little on the short side and built like a barrel. The barrel build is not a let down however, it's like riding in an armchair. Granted the armchair is attached to a spring.

What should I cross her with?
How tall can the stallion be without hurting/jeopardizing her health in conception and foaling?
Anything I should know or be aware of before taking this journey with her?

I'm thinking TB or ISH, but if anyone wants to give me advice or recommend another cross I'm all ears. I'm also based in Ireland just for some context.

Feel free to ask me more questions too!

Thanks,
 

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Foal height is determined from the mare, I think. The mare can only carry so much, and the foal will typically only grow so big due to that so I wouldn't worry about it too much. That said, to get an accurate assessment as to what would make the most athletic cross we'd need pictures of the mare and stallions you are considering, but just off a guess I would say ISH gives you the best chance of keeping that thick build but increasing height. A TB would also be fine most likely as well however as depending on the mare's build she'll probably give him quite a bit of bone, and TB's really aren't as slender-legged as some of the pictures make them out to be. Soft tissue expands when the feet are trimmed properly(and racing TB's rarely have their feet trimmed properly), and bone density(which is what you really want rather than just thickness of bone, though stoutness certainly offers a bit more guarantee of soundness than slenderness) of TB's is quite good.

It really depends on the mare. Just remember - no stallion is going to "fix" any faults of the mare. He may improve them, but a perfectly conformed stallion will never make even an average foal when combined with a very poorly built mare. You're always going to get a mix of faults and strengths, so just keep that in mind. If your horse has some faults(as all horses do), then try to pick a stallion that is high quality in all areas but exceptional in the area of your mare's fault. That is the only way to guarantee any sort of improvement.
 

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Uterine growth (healthy, well nourished) does not effect genetic potential for height. Yes, the mare does some what restrict growth during pregnancy as shown in research when much larger stallions are used on much smaller mares. Once foal is born then a well nourished baby will meet their genetic potential. Genes for height do not translate into a particular height but a range and can either be for tallness or shortness. There are other factors. Each parent carries two and passes one so the combination determines whether tall or short or somewhere in between. I haven't studied height in horses since college and haven't followed research.

OP my advice would be purchase a known quantity. Once born there are a few ways to measure young horses that can give you a good idea of finished height if you want to raise a baby. Either way look at what the stallion's get have grown to. Are they all tall like him or even taller no matter the size of the mare, all close to the mare's size or somewhere in the middle. You also have to consider personality and athleticism. Are both bred for and enjoy what you have set for a goal. Still a crap shoot but then the odds would be more in your favor.
 

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From experience I have bred a 13.1 mare to a 16h Arab/Lipizzaner the result was 15 hands.

14h mare to same stud resulted in a 16h horse.

Both were roomy cobby mares.

The most odd cross I know of was a Shetland mare to a 16.2 TB. This was not intential, the mare travelled over a mile, getting through at least four fields to visit the stud in his field. No one thought he would have managed to cover her because of the height difference in a flat field.

He had and she birthed a small colt foal that finished at 14.2

I also bought a weaker, out of a Welsh mare 14 hands, by a TB stud. He was small and stocky. I thought he would make about 15 hands. Sold him as a 2 yr old to a dear friend. At 4 he was about 14.2 when I broke him in. At six he was 16.1. He was officially measured by a vet and ended up at 16.3 bigger than his sire.
 
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