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cadence_rider

Breeding ( Height Question )

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I read this in a VERY OLD horse book. I think the book was dated back into the 1800's.

It was talking about horse breeding and it said, you should never breed a mare to a stallion.. if the stallion is 2 hands taller or more, then the mare.

So... if your mare is 14.2.. you shouldn't breed her to a stud that's 16.2 or taller.

The book said, it could case conformation problems with the foal. Does anyone think this is true? Just wondering..I'm not breeding my mares or anything. I just had this POP into my head.

To me it makes sense...what do you all think?

( Edited for typos ha )

Edited by cadence_rider

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Generally speaking, I've been told, or have read, a foal will grow in proportion to the mare's womb. Hence, crossing a draft with a lighter breed is acceptable and capable of the mare carrying a foal to term safely. I also know of a person with a Clydesdale stud that stands to the occasional outside mares of various sizes, down to about 14 hands (he's 16.3) and there have been no issues.

I've seen some mares bred to short studs and short mares bred to tall studs. The biggest issue in live cover I've seen is actually ... ummmm ... hitting the target, so to speak.

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I think the book is referring to conformation risks rather than foaling risks?

Many people will breed two drastically differing horses (height-wise) hoping for a happy medium. Usually, the resulting foal will get the height from either the dam OR the sire, but not a blend of the two. Of course there are many variables that can lead a horse to grow more or less than one of it's parents, so that doesn't hold true all of the time.

But, if you think about genetics and how genes are passed down from the parents, a foal can get a gene for short stature from the dam, but an oversized head (or feet, etc.) from the sire. So conformationally, you could end up with a train wreck.

This is why successful breeders look for sires and dams that will complement each other, and not try to "undo" something in one of the parents.

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As someone who did this, and put a healthy happy foal on the ground, there's a bit of truth and myth going on with that statement.

I bred a 14.0 hand mare to a 16.3 hand dutch stallion. The pregnancy was uncomplicated, the delivery was uncomplicated and the results so far are... uncomplicated. The only thing that is un-proportional so far is the colt's ears. He'll probably end up around 15 something hands.

However, the mare was not a maiden, she was an experienced mum and the two really complemented each other. I also knew what the bloodline consistently threw before I endeavored.

Would I go beyond 16 hands? No. Would I breed small to large again? Depending on the stallion, yes. I have three more breedings planned over the next ten years. Two of which are to large stallions to large pony mares.

Take into consideration what you have, what your breeding to and what you plan on doing with the results.

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Hey all, thanks for the input. :smilie:

I had read also, that a foal would only grow, to the proportion of the womb. And a small mare carrying a foal, from a large stallion wouldn't have problems giving birth to it.

I was stricky talking about, how the comformation would turn out. Small mare, large Stallion etc..

I think it's a pretty good "rule of thumb", so to speak.. to live by while breeding. To keep the Mare and Stud, in a complement size of one another.

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Conformationally, if you breed two like individuals that play off their strengths and weaknesses you should end up ahead of the game.

If you're lucky to know what the mare throws, then improve on those weaknesses and capitalize on the strengths. The stallion should be well researched as well.

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