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Meghan Colligan

Considering Breeding My Mare

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First off, don't worry, I'm thick skinned. I'm considering breeding my mare, but I want to go into this with eyes wide open and armed with as much information as possible.

I bought Penny 3 years ago to be my next riding horse. I purchased her from a breeder that was downsizing and spent the next 2 years riding her and taking her to clinics and rides. I've gotten compliments on her conformation everywhere I go. I have been impressed with her work ethic and her try, and have really bonded with this mare. She is sensible in new situations, but a very alert and mare and very responsive to cues. She can be pissy at times, and is bonded with me. She is leary of new/other people. I don't know if that is just her personality or if that is because she was a broodmare before I bought her and not really messed with. Last year Penny developed lameness in her front right leg-long story very short, in June of last year I hauled her up to WSU in Pullman, WA where they did xrays and determined that she has a dime size hole in her navicular bone and it's possible the ligmanent has fused as well. There was nothing found in her left hoof and per the vet she should be retired from riding, but he said she was okay to be bred. (He did not consider this hereditary, but from an injury). I had thought about breeding Penny, but only after years of riding her. Instead I'm now faced with the possibility that she will gradually deteriorate and I may only have 1-2 years to breed her if I'm ever going to.

On to the facts for my mare....

An Asset To The Class, 2000 breeding stock APHA mare

http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/an+asset+to+the+class

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She was bred 3 times to this stallion http://www.sterlingoaksfarm.net/mz.html

and here is one of her fillies from the cross, pictured as a yearling (halfway down the page, MZ Fancy Blue Chip)

http://www.sterlingoaksfarm.net/salebarn3.html

I do not have a specific stallion picked out yet, although I've looked at some possibilities online. For the foal, my goal would be to have something that's a good all around handy horse. Great at trail riding, moving cows, maybe some ranch events, team penning....I would not plan to resell this foal-this would be my next riding horse, but obviously I would want something of good enough quality that if I HAD to resell, I could.

A definite concern I have is that I've never bred a mare before. That definitely overwhelms me. I've bought yearlings before (Hat being one), but have never started from scratch so to speak. I worry about the care of a pregnant mare, foaling out, and the foal itself. I've even considered scrapping the whole idea in favor of just buying something already started. What holds me back is that it would not be Penny.

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And neither will the foal.

As a breeder who has had over 20 foals, I can tell you from experience that they AREN'T their dams. You can pass talent onto offspring. You can pass things like sensitivity, thick skinned, brightness or willing onto offspring, but they still aren't their dams.

They were not raised like their dams. They do not have the same life experiences as their dams. What formed the mare in front of you will not form the foal to come.

Perfect example. My good mare Patti. I've owned her for 16 years. Her personality tells me she is sensitive, nervous, light on her feet, touchy. I bred her to a running stud who was quick as a cat and light on his feet. I was sure that I'd have a like foal. Roy is the most laid back (read lazy), quiet, unphased by anything creature I've ever owned. Why? My mare lived her first 5 years untouched by human hand. My colt? Handled much of his young life.

He is NOTHING like his mother. Couldn't be farther from her personality wise than if I had drawn a chart and said this is 2 opposite horses. Even conformationaly they aren't overly similar.

So, the biggest reason that so many first time breeders breed (myself included in the begining) is because they want the mare all over again. I've had to learn to step back and see that if I am breeding a mare it is because of what I want her to contribute to another foal, not because I want her. I won't get her.

Just something to pass on from my experience. It's an expensive lesson to learn if you wanted your mare back.

And I like that from the vets. They ALL do it too, no matter what mare they are talking about. "Well, her riding career is done, but you can breed her."

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I agree with SpottedT in that you will not get your mare back in a foal. But there is a chance the foal will have the desired traits your mare has. And a chance it won't. Breeding is always a crap shoot.

But I think you're mare is cute! You can come visit Skipper with her! He likes redheads! :happy0203:

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I think that quality wise, she looks like a nice solid mare that doesn't make me run in circles screaming "Don't do it!!!" or anything.

I think the bigger considerations are her condition. As much as that vet might not think it's "genetic"- I'd like to know more about her feet and lower leg structure before making a decision. While the actual damage might be from injury, is it possible that her foot structure predisposed her to be easily injured there? It's awfully hard to answer that question but something to be considered.

And if the problem is degenerative, you also want to factor in increased pain. If her foot is going to get worse and cause her discomfort, do you want to add extra weight for her to carry around? You don't want to be keeping a pregnant mare on medication, for obvious reasons. I think if there's any possibility that it might add to her discomfort, it's best not to do it. But your vets could probably speak more to that (though I would talk to more than one)

I can see why you might want to breed her- she has a great mind, she is built nicely, and has been a great partner for you and very successful in what you want to do. So there are certainly some good reasons there. If it were me, I don't think I would do it, but that's also because I have ready access to lots of amazing horses and have loads of fun shopping :)

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I like her ... :smilie:

She is a well balanced mare with a "leg at each corner". I like her shoulder, her topline is nice but not exceptional, she has a pretty head and a pretty expression coming through the halter

"MAYBE" her hind end is a tad light, but I mean REALLY a tad light and thats all

I think she would produce a very nice baby for you

As far as the soundness aspect goes, I think in a worst case scenario, you may have to stick a heart bar or bar shoe on her with a degree pad if that becomes as issue to dissipate the weight across her entire hoof instead of the heel area. Especially as her pregnant weight increases and more of that weight is moved to her front end she may need some help and relief via shoeing the last trimester

I would do it in a heartbeat to be honest ...

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just adding this....

i think your mare is VERY PRETTY! i lvoe her! lol

and her baby is to DIE for!!!!! i would do it, and go ahead and breed her if i were you!

:)

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Thank you everyone! You all have very good points to consider.

To be honest I go back and forth every week. The soonest I would breed her is next spring so it gives me plenty of time to think about it thankfully. Plus alot can happen between now and then.

Also, some things to consider is that I'm used to having two usable horses and with her injury I'm down to one(who just turned two so at best we're talking some very light riding this year). I pay board for both horses which is a little frustrating with a pasture ornament. (now in no way am I saying that I would breed her just for something to do, or sell her down the road because she can no longer earn her keep. I'm a very responsible horse owner and believe that's part of ownership.) However, I do have to think of the financial side of things (especially with a non horse hubby). But how do you home and bossy lead mare who cannot be ridden and doesn't like many people? And make sure she goes to a happy home?

See, I told you I swing back and forth. One week I really want to breed her....then I scare myself silly and think maybe I should save the money that I would invest in a foal and just buy something else. [Crazy]

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