The Horse Forum banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have heard a few people at my barn talking about breeding their horses. This made me curious as to how much it would actually cost to make it happen. The price difference between artificial insemination vs live covering? Costs of vet visits? Increase of cost in care for the mare? Birthing of the foal? Testing of eligibility of the mare for breeding or to be bred to specific registry/breed? Other expenses that would come up? I’m am just genuinely curious how much this would be rather than to just purchase one from a breeder (or even cheaper a rescue).

Also, what goes into breeding a horse aside from money?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,791 Posts
I have heard a few people at my barn talking about breeding their horses. This made me curious as to how much it would actually cost to make it happen. The price difference between artificial insemination vs live covering? Costs of vet visits? Increase of cost in care for the mare? Birthing of the foal? Testing of eligibility of the mare for breeding or to be bred to specific registry/breed? Other expenses that would come up? I’m am just genuinely curious how much this would be rather than to just purchase one from a breeder (or even cheaper a rescue).

Also, what goes into breeding a horse aside from money?
Caveat: I have never bred a horse. Or any animal for that matter.

However, the barn where my daughter works/rides has an extensive breeding program with a stallion on site. Even with their own stallion and mares, I don't see how you could be better off breeding than just buying the horse you want. There is an element of risk: the mares can die while birthing. The stallion can get kicked during live cover, and the mare can be injured as well. The foal might not make it or could have some significant health problems, greatly ramping up the vet bills, not to mention the heartache. The cost of keeping the pregnant mare and foal, and the cost of regular vetting really add up. It takes nearly a year to get the foal, then a few months before weaning, and many more years before you can ride the horse so factor in all the costs of owning a horse that you can't ride for years. This breeder allows her pregnant mares to be ridden for a while, but not when they are nearing giving birth. They are pretty uncomfortable for those last few weeks so hard work is out of the question in the ones I've seen. I know another barn owner who opted for artificial insemination and had to pay a vet to do it (several hundred $$$ plus the cost of semen). Had to pay for the ultrasound a few weeks later to check for pregnancy - turned out it didn't take so they had to do it all over again.

Why does this particular breeder do it? She likes babies. Sure, she has a good stallion with great breeding (although it's a PITA to have a stallion on property for so many reasons), but she can only get maybe 3000$ for a well-bred weanling, if that.

The last thing that would discourage me from ever breeding is that you have no idea what the results will be. As this breeder pointed out, in the best case scenario, you hope the foal will have the best qualities of both parents, but sometimes, they get the worst.

I might consider buying a yearling for my daughter some day since she is training horses now, but I wouldn't breed. You don't save money breeding, and you just don't know what you're going to get whereas if you buy a horse that is at least a year old, you have a pretty good idea of their temperament and conformation. They are ready to do ground work. You still can't ride them for a few years, but you can have an idea of the kind of horse they will be.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,260 Posts
In honesty what it costs and what you have at end of gestation and raising of a young one....it would need to be a very special animal to spend all that, risk to mare and injury to young foal to not just buy a young one for less money already on the ground and know what you've got in front of you.
A quality stallion with results on the ground of proved is going to cost $$$$...
Mare care $$$
Vet for gestation, foaling and getting that baby on the right path is all goes well $$$$
In the end, no guarantees...
My biggest though is not wanting to risk my mare nor tie her up and not have her for several months...
A stellar build and pedigree and picky that it isn't just any stud bred to but one who traits I want carried forth in lineage...
I see so many thrown away by me, from good stock and what arrives is just not wanted or has issue, then those who need emergent medical care....
It is far cheaper to purchase... ;)
🐴... jmo...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you for answering! Wow so based on the average foal I have seen for sale around my area, ranges from $3000-$12,000, I’m assuming the more fancy the lineage the more expensive the breeding itself is? There is a large amount of quarter horse and Warmblood foals for sale and most the Warmbloods sell for $7,000+ and the quarter horses $4000+. Do breeders not sell the horses to make back the cost of breeding plus more?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
Speaking as a breeder, go over your mare with a FINE TOOTH COMB. If you have something about your mare that is not up to par, don't breed her. Oh I know, many will say find a stallion that can "fix" her short comings. Be ahead of the game, use a mare that you don't have to "fix". In other words, breed ONLY the best.
Then do your testing. The costs would be different for each breed. I can only speak for AQHA, tho I have bred a few paints.
AI verses live cover. I had my own stallion, still do. I have used AI tho, both as a mare owner and as a stallion owner. The biggest drawback there is (stallion owner here) the latest 9 year old on the other end they gave a DVM to. Sarcastic? You bet! but I have good reason to be. To be short about it, make doggone sure you have a repro specialist on the mare's end. I used one on my end, but it won't do you any good at all if you don't have one on your end.

There are dangers in live cover, for everyone involved. It's not for the faint at heart. I was never in danger from my stallion. But some of the outside mares will try to kill you. Especially the "oh she's so sweet and a good child's horse". I got to where I heard that, and I would refuse the mare. I finally stopped outside mares all together, and just bred my own.
If you choose live cover, start your mare at your vets. Find out if she is capable of conceiving a foal. What condition is her uterus in? How old is the mare? Has she had foals before, if so, when was her last? Stallions are pretty straight forward and simple, but mares. . . . . well you can write a book on them, they are the reason vets are in business.

Dangers to the mare. Well, let me put it this way in over 40 years of breeding, I never lost a mare. Please remember, my mares are not backyard pets. They are on a very large pasture, and know beyond a shadow of a doubt, they do not need a human to survive.
And I lost VERY few foals. I lost one in a snowbank, he floundered into it and could not get out. I lost one to what I believe was a cougar attack. I think that was pretty much it. But the point is, things happen even if you wrap them in bubble wrap the minute they hit the ground.

Getting what you want? Now there's the rub. Unless you are prepared to get what you get, you are better off buying what you want. Am I trying to discourage you from breeding? Heck no! I loved it, that's why I did it for so many years! I was always very proud of the horses I raised and what they went on in life to accomplish!
Will this foal be for sale? Or are you keeping it? If you are keeping, you better start learning now on how to handle one. They do not hit the ground loving people and knowing what to do. That's up to you to put on them.

Breeding or buying, best of luck to you!
 
  • Like
Reactions: horselovinguy

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
15,260 Posts
Thanks Zimalia for that breeders perspective and honesty.

As for do they breed for a profit...sure they do....
Breeders, often own mare and stallion and for them to breed if they are a experienced operation have in place all those things you would need to pay for use of and services of.
Reputable breeders also only breed stellar examples of the breed to enhance the future of it, to improve not to just drop another mouth on the ground.
Quality stallions and mare have done something notable in their lives, many times over...
That is true though no matter the breed....you want to breed quality to quality and hopefully the best traits of both animals arrive on the ground, but no guarantees either and you can have a horror...
That is when you read tales of woe I call them...
I bought grade and now because they think they know parentage and want to register they should be able to do so....no.
If you truly bought from a respected, reputable breeder and did not get papers there is a reason the breeder did not register and associate their animals with that get nor want to promote that trait further in the breed...
As was said by the previous poster....put your ducks in a row, line them up, cull the "off" and then and only then do you maybe have something stellar to consider breeding with...
Many have this romantic idea of to breed, and have a baby horse arrive... In reality it takes a lot of prep, hands on and luck and knowledge to raise a baby properly to become a solid citizen worthy...
🐴... jmo...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,114 Posts
We bred a mare this year. My parents always did when I was growing up, and they had some nice horses come out of it, but this is a first for us. Horses are insanely high right now. When my parents quit breeding their reasoning was that you could buy a nicely bred two-year-old for cheaper than you could raise one.

That said, I haven’t seen them get the quality since that they did breeding their own. They do have a little peptoboonsmal yearling right now that may prove that wrong, but that is what has happened thus far.

We bred the mare because she is a great mare, no flaw to be seen and very handy. It cost us the breeding fee only so far. We realize doing so puts the mare out for a specific time frame when we do need her. Also, more importantly for many, you have two years of simply raising the horse. All of the feed costs, and any vet costs are still there. If he’s a colt you will pay for the gelding as well. Those costs are what you need to remember in comparing the price of a purchase to that of breeding.
 
  • Like
Reactions: horselovinguy

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,114 Posts
Oh, I will add that we hand bred the mare. Well, they did. When we were there she was rotten to the stud too when they teased her. I worried about that. If she were to break his leg would it be on us? She was nasty. She is good to ride, but a bossy rude thing in the corral.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
I honestly don’t think breeders are able to fully recoup the cost of breeding from selling foals - even if they own their stallion and show him (versus being a stud just for his lineage). I ride at a reputable facility with stallions - one currently standing at stud for their mares only. Maybe 2-3 foals per year, 4 on a good year. Vet visits for the mares throughout the year, repo vet for the stallion, etc. And they almost lost one of their mares to a prolapsed uterus during delivery. You can bet that was $$$$ to treat as an emergency.

Also, the foal will ALWAYS be a shot in the dark. One mare who has always thrown good sized foals from this same stallion gave birth to what is essentially a pony. The foal is over a year old now and teeny tiny. Seriously. One of this summers weanlings is larger than she is. And the yearling is nuts. Terrified of people, wants nothing to do with people, NEVER been mishandled by people. So if the goal is to breed and keep the foal, just pray it’s a foal you can manage. If you’re planning on selling the foal, pray it’s one you can even sell.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@Zimalia22 ; thank you for the breeders perspective! This has all been very interesting to learn about and see different perspectives.

I should clarify I am not planning to breed. There are a few people around my barn that are talking about doing it with their mares, so it got me curious the cost of breeding and how breeding in general usually works. I definitely got my answers! There is a lot that goes into it and I appreciate everyone taking the time to inform me!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
@Zimalia22 ; thank you for the breeders perspective! This has all been very interesting to learn about and see different perspectives.

I should clarify I am not planning to breed. There are a few people around my barn that are talking about doing it with their mares, so it got me curious the cost of breeding and how breeding in general usually works. I definitely got my answers! There is a lot that goes into it and I appreciate everyone taking the time to inform me!
It really is an interesting topic. I rode at another barn with a side breeding business as a kid and never really took note about the economics or logistics so it’s been interesting as an adult to ask my trainer things and see how the process works. The uncertainty about the foal is what will always keep me away from breeding/buying foals.

Also, should have clarified in my post, I meant “you” in the general sense not “you” the OP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
604 Posts
@Zimalia22 ; thank you for the breeders perspective! This has all been very interesting to learn about and see different perspectives.

I should clarify I am not planning to breed. There are a few people around my barn that are talking about doing it with their mares, so it got me curious the cost of breeding and how breeding in general usually works. I definitely got my answers! There is a lot that goes into it and I appreciate everyone taking the time to inform me!
Another thing to take into consideration, a lot of breeders of like Warmbloods or Friesians take their foals to a yearly inspection before they sell them so they can be entered into the Studbook. So that is quite a bit of time and money put out (inspection fees, stall rental, registry fees, fuel for hauling etc.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
The question was asked "do we breed for profit". Yes of course!
When I was breeding and selling colts, that was a big part of my livelihood. Same as selling a calf crop in the fall.

If you have a small place and have to provide every mouth of feed for them, I don't see how one can make much. My place is large enough I only feed in the winter. There have been times I've been out feeding cattle, and my mares would come in, stomp right on by the cattle, go in to water and then head right back out and never stop for the hay. Other times, they would run the cattle off, and I'd end up hauling more hay out.
My place is also large enough that I never had much in the way of farrier expenses. Just for stallions and saddle geldings I kept in the barn. The mares traveled enough they never needed trimmed. I had mares born on my place, live there, die there, and never been trimmed by man. Heck, my mares would have a first class HISSY FIT if you even thought of putting one of them in the barn! Like I said here before, they know beyond a shadow of a doubt, they don't need a human to survive. But that's off on another topic.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
779 Posts
Oh, I will add that we hand bred the mare. Well, they did. When we were there she was rotten to the stud too when they teased her. I worried about that. If she were to break his leg would it be on us? She was nasty. She is good to ride, but a bossy rude thing in the corral.
There's a video out in cyberspace, somewhere, of a stallion pursuing a mare to breed her. At one point she kicks back and lands a blow in the right place of the head. The stallion immediately falls to the ground; his legs tremble for a couple of seconds, and then nothing. You can see the people approaching the still body, not believing what they have just witnessed. But the stallion is dead.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,114 Posts
That’s awful @charrorider! I mean, I know these things happen, but that still sucks. At least hand breeding you don’t just let them run. I realize things like that are rare, but I could see why some would only want to AI with their studs.

When I was a girl I had big dreams of owning a cowhorse stud. Fantasies about winning snaffle bit, and you can imagine all the dreams. Now I’m not sure I’d enjoy that fantasy so much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
572 Posts
There's a video out in cyberspace, somewhere, of a stallion pursuing a mare to breed her. At one point she kicks back and lands a blow in the right place of the head. The stallion immediately falls to the ground; his legs tremble for a couple of seconds, and then nothing. You can see the people approaching the still body, not believing what they have just witnessed. But the stallion is dead.
That's not the only story of a stud being hurt or killed in pasture breeding.
I have been asked many times why I won't pasture breed, and there's a good reason why.
Years ago, there was a stallion not far from here that they pasture bred with. A mare planted a well placed kick and broke his hmm hmm. No choice, had to geld him and they were done.
The young fellow I lease the pasture to on my ranch, pasture breeds his horse. So far, he's been lucky.

All I can say is my stallion was far too expensive to take such foolish risks with. He might not have been expensive to some, but for me, he was. He's a good horse, I like him. And I've been around too many NASTY EVIL mares. I won't do that to him.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Knave

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,114 Posts
Around here a friend of mine did something snaky. He was paid to ride this gypsy stud, and he was getting it done. Anyways, he decided to make a trade with someone for a colt, and he pasture bred that stud to a big field of that guy’s mares. The stud ended up crippled.

Karma rolled around, and the guy he made the trade with traded all those bred mares for something he wanted.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
244 Posts
I know this thread is a few weeks old but I thought I'd toss my few thoughts in and line out rough and average costs in my neck of the woods!

As a WB breeder I guess I have a bit of a different experience with it all. I'm still "green" in the industry but grew up in a family who bred, trained, and raced TB's for over 40 years so I had a solid knowledge on what I wanted to do and what problems I would face.

My personal goal in breeding and training is to produce the horses I can't afford. I can't buy a 1.60m horse from Europe, but with my mare a good stud I should be able to get a few stellar ones in the next few years. (Had breeding woes this year, it was a crap crap year for AI). If one isn't what I want to keep... well I can sell it.

The horse market is insanely high right now with registered WB weanlings going for no less than $10k. That I would consider a loss for most breeders.
Lower end semen is $1200-$1500, with the top guys getting between $4000-$5000 a dose (Babalou's is INSANE currently but for good reason).
My vet is on the low end of repro costs due to our smaller area. I'd say cycling, insemination, and the 14 and 30 day ultrasounds would be $3500ish? Including meds, overnight stays, multiple ultrasounds during insemintation, etc.
Then you have to add up worming every few months (and with all this ivermectin craziness it's cost went up 700% around me!) - let's call that $50.
Rhino vaccines, depending on if you or the vet give it would probably be at least $600 or more. Let's call it $1000 for a farm call every few months too.
Feed increase really doesn't happen until the third trimester, and even then we don't have to do a lot for my guys since our forage is so quality. We add alfalfa about a week before the due date to help the butter content in the milk, as well as gastric supplements to aid lactation.
Foaling kit, if you don't have it all would probably be about $100ish just to ensure your supplies are there...
At LEAST $250 for coffee, energy drinks, snacks, and the Netflix bill for weeks of foal watch and sanity lost ha!
I'll give another $500 for other misc farm calls. Teeth, chiropractor (HIGHLY recommend prior to delivery!), a bigger blanket, random stuff.

Add it all up and you're probably at $8500ish prior to farrier and feed/bedding costs. Like others mentioned, this also doesn't include inspections and registration, either.

It's expensive when done - in my personal opinion - "correctly." But there's nothing better than producing a baby that you can see betters a breed and has the qualities you wanted so badly.
I think at this point in the world, it is a hair cheaper to breed your own, barring everything goes well and you impregnate the first time.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top