By Chris, Five Star Ranch Staff Writer
Whether you’re breeding your horse for the first time, an experienced horse grandmother, or in the early days of thinking of breeding, this article discusses ideas to consider before breeding your horse.
Why Breed Your Horse?
There are many reasons that motivate someone to breed their horse. Some people breed to be able to have a horse with the bloodlines they want but wouldn’t be able to afford if they bought a mature horse. Others may have a horse with great traits, or speed, or some other desirable characteristic that they want to preserve. Some just want to experience the joys of a baby foal.
Before you breed you should weigh many things:
- Cost – There are many fees associated with breeding that added up come to a considerable number. Make sure you have the money before you commit. Stud fees can be considerable depending on the stallion. Fees ranging from $500 to $1500 are common. There are many hidden costs associated with breeding including mare care costs, expensive supplements, increased feeding costs, and higher vet bills.
- Conformation and Temperament – Does your horse possess excellent conformation and a positive temperament? Since these are often hereditary, if your mare has serious conformation faults or a bad temperament, you may not want to risk perpetuating these faults in a youngster.
- Bloodline – Does your horse have an excellent bloodline that would make offspring easier to sell?
- Fencing – Does your farm have adequate and safe surroundings for a baby horse? Your older mature horse may not go near barbed wire fence, but a baby horse will test the boundaries. Barbed wire can scar or cripple a horse. It is unforgiving and is not recommended for any horse, and that goes double for baby horses. Smooth wire, metal pipe, board fence, PVC fence, mesh fences are all better and safer choices with horses. For more information on fencing options, see our horse fence article.
- Time and Resources – Raising baby horses takes time and resources. Are you ready to commit to these toward raising and training a baby horse?
- Is this the right time to breed your horse? The horse industry has been going through a rough couple of years. The down economy has forced many people to give up their horses. There are more horses in rescues and up for adoption than ever before. Then add the worst drought in Texas history, the state with the largest population of horses. That caused hay prices to triple over the year making horse keeping very expensive. All of these factors may make it a poor time to breed. Horse prices are way down so you may not re-coup all your costs.
Breeding horses can be fun, exciting, and the experience of a life time. Just go into it with your eyes open.