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So my mare, 16yo grade, 15.2hh Quarter Horse (buckskin) is the potential broodmare for the future. She is a barrel/pole mare. I've never bred a horse or had a young foal. I would like to breed her in a couple of years. I would like to learn everything I can! I've done extensive research already, but its always nice to know more! Thanks in advance. :D
 

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You are already off to a good start since you are doing the research and not in a rush. You will obviously want to talk to your vet regarding her health before you make any final decisions. I can think of a couple questions you'll want to ask yourself...

Do you know if she would be a maiden mare or has she been bred before?

Have you checked her bloodlines for potential genetic mutations such as Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP), Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency (GBED), Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal asthenia (HERDA), type 1 Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy (PSSM1) and Malignant Hyperthermia (MH)? (you would check the bloodlines for Impressive and Poco Bueno as a starting point). This would not mean that you couldn't or wouldn't breed her, you would just do extra research. I have an Impressive mare that gave me a great baby (She is HYPP/NN so ok to breed).

Does she have any conformation issues that you would need to be aware of?

And the fun part... have you looked at studs?
 
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Many people are going to tell you that there are a lot of reasons to not breed and very very few to go ahead. A grade horse (what you'll produce) is only worth its training. Period. So if anything happens in the next seven or ten years to you such that you have to sell that foal, only superior training is going to save it from the auction ring.To me that is the biggest reason not to breed a grade horse.

Also, you will have thousands of dollars into that foal before you ever ride it, and it is only then you'll find out whether she/he and you are a good fit. And that is if everything goes right -- easy foaling, healthy foal, raised correctly, no accidents etc etc. There's so much that can and does go wrong. It's a very risky business. With excellent horses going for meat prices today, you have to have a really, really good reason, as well as deep pockets, skill or a way to hire it, and proper facilities.
 

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@Avna made some good points. Breeding isn't cheap (money or time wise), especially if it is "good", "clean", and "done right." It's also harder on the mare when they are older.

Why would you like to breed her? What are your goals/intentions with the foal? Simply "I would like to breed because I've never bred a horse or had a young foal" is not enough reason. There are a lot of good horses that need homes.

ETA:
It's your horse, so it's your decision, but I would pass.
 

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It is harder to get mares that have been bred every year to get in foal as they age.

As Jaydee says and I concur there are way more risks for her.

I have foaled a lot of mares and getting the foal on the ground is harder for them as they age.

You can buy cheaper than you can breed.
 

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Considering her age, I would have a complete check up done by a repro specialist. I wouldn't breed her without the specialist's OK. Definitely get a 5 panel or 6 panel if there could be some paint in her bloodlines. Even if she isn't showing any genetic diseases, she could be a carrier. If you unknowingly bred her to another carrier, you would potentially be facing heartbreak. Have someone who really knows conformation analyze her faults and help you choose a stud that would best compliment her. Odds are, you usually wind up with the faults showing up in the foal. Then after all of this and paying the stud fee, you could've bought a nice weanling for the money you've already spent. This does not include all of the extra series of shots and dewormings you need to give during the pregnancy. Then you worry about anything and everything that could go wrong. Placentitis, retained placenta, colostrum, IGg, foal diarrhea, limb deformities..........

My advice would be to work or volunteer at a breeding facility if you can. You could gain so much knowledge and learn what to do/watch for.
 

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Have you extensively handled a foal before? Have you ever completely started a young horse on your own? If so, are you proud of the horse you trained? If not, are you prepared to pay thousands of dollars to get someone else to do it? Is the mare registered? Has she been completely sound? Are you prepared to lose the mare and/or foal in the case of something going wrong in the pregnancy? Has a vet physically checked her breeding ability? Has a vet checked her genetics? Has she successfully had a foal before? If so, did she produce a decent foal? Do you plan on keeping the foal for the entirety of its life or making sure it never ends up in the hands of an irresponsible person? Do you have enough money to fall back on in the case of an emergency? Are you completely sure in your near future life that nothing will occur that impedes your finances or available time (for example, going to college, making a big move, etc)? Are you willing to throw thousands of dollars into a horse that may just not turn out the way you want? Do you have the mare at your own stable or at least at a very knowledgeable, reliable boarding facility that is willing to take on the project with you?

Just a few questions (of the many, many questions) to ponder. If the answer is "no" or "not sure" to any of the above questions, I would seriously re-consider and/or get a lot more experience under your belt.
 

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There are a lot of good points made on this post. The biggest thing for me is this- I wouldn't want to breed a 16 year old mare for the first time, let alone an 18 year old. After about age 8-10, if they haven't had a baby, it is a lot harder to have a healthy pregnancy. I believe this is because their reproductive system starts developing scar tissue, but I have been out of University a while, so don't hold me to that reason. Even at 12 or 13, I might say okay. 16 is too old for me to be comfortable trying that, and 18 is too old by far. To me. Either way, it becomes more difficult every year after eight to ten. In my opinion, it is downright dangerous to ask a 19 year old mare to give birth for the first time, and I would never do it. Really think about your mares well being and what you will be asking her to do- at her age, if this would be her first baby, there is a high risk something would go wrong. I dare say there is a significant risk of losing her and/or the foal. That being said- of course, you could also have success.

It is a completely different story with a mare that has been bred before in her youth, as her reproductive system has been through it all before.

All other things aside, I'd have a long think about what is reasonable to ask of your mare at this stage in her life. If you are dead set on going through with this and willing to risk the increased chances of something going wrong, I would work closely with a reproductive specialist, and expect to spend at least $5,000.00 that year on her between feed and vet care. Also, I would do it NOW- don't wait until she's even older and the risks are more. This is a situation where I would be taking every possible precaution- of course utilizing the anti-abortion shots at 5, 7, and 9 months, but also ultrasounding to ensure no twins or abnormalities at 14 days, 30 days, and 5 months, regularly pulling and analyzing her blood, having the vet out to check her and the babies blood post birth etc. Perhaps put her on something like regumate for the first few months of her pregnancy.

No small undertaking by far. But if you're going to do it- do it now, and put the money in to give her the best shot at success.

Just my opinion.

Robyn
 

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Do you have any valid reasons to breed her...? I would say don't do it, especially since she will be a bit older. Who is to say the breeding will be successful, and she will even have a healthy pregnancy...a LOT goes into breeding. If you aren't experienced, or have a GOOD reason to breed...don't do it.
 
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