Is it your dream to breed your mare? Before you make that decision, you'll want to weigh these important considerations.
Let's face it: Foals are adorable. And the idea of having a foal from your amazing mare can be tempting. But should you breed your mare?
There's no short answer to that question, but let's take a look at a few things you should consider before making your decision.
Should your mare reproduce?
Your mare may be a great riding horse. She might have an awesome temperament. She may even have phenomenal bloodlines. But that still doesn't mean that she should be bred.
We have a horse overpopulation problem here in the United States, and we really don't need more average horses. We do need quality horses, though. It's important to take a good, honest look at your mare. Does she have excellent conformation? What's her temperament like? Is she truly talented?
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Breeding horses always has an element of risk to it, and as the saying goes, "Breed the best to the best, and hope for the best." Unless your mare is an excellent horse in many ways, it may be best to forego passing on just average qualities to a foal (good conformation, good temperament).
You'll also want to have your vet evaluate your mare in terms of suitability for breeding. Older mares and mares with certain physical issues generally should not be bred.
Do you have a plan for the foal?
Before you breed your mare, think about your plans for the foal. Many owners may assume they can sell the foal, but that's not always the case.
What if the foal is born with serious conformation issues, or is born sick? Can you afford to keep the foal for the rest of his life?
Can you afford to breed?
It's easy to overlook some of the hidden costs of breeding, focusing only on the stud fees, initial vet appointment, and board for the mare and foal. Truth is, there are many more costs associated with breeding a mare.
There's lots of room for things to go wrong during the pregnancy, during the birth, and after the birth, and the cost of emergency vet appointments and extra vet bills can quickly add up. Don't forget to factor in training for the foal and the cost of boarding two horses in the future, too.
Are you ready for the risk?
Breeding is risky. Every year foals die, mares die, and sometimes both the mare and foal dies. If you're thinking about breeding your mare because she's a beloved horse, then you'll need to carefully consider the risks.
Consult with your vet to get their thoughts on your mare's risk if she is bred.
It can be rewarding to breed a mare and raise a cute foal, but it's really a decision that you need to put plenty of thought into.
Have you ever raised or trained a foal? We want to know in the comments below!
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