Deciding to Breed your Mare

May 6, 2019 (published)

Are you thinking about breeding your mare? Dr. Barb Crabbe indicates in Horse and Rider that if you are deciding to breed her, you need to first decide if your mare is of the quality for breeding and what is your goal for the foal.  If you just want another horse, there are thousands of unwanted horses that can be adopted and we really don’t need any more horses.  You also have to decide if you want to decrease riding your mare toward the end of her pregnancy, especially if you are riding her for performance events.  Also, you need to think about possible complications that can occur with foaling that could be expensive, as well as the expense if the foal is not healthy. 

As far as breeding, you have to pick the stud you want to breed to and then look at the cost and logistics of doing so.  Are you going to take the mare to the stud and leave her for an extended period for breeding until she is pregnant or will you have her checked with ultrasound to determine when she is ready to breed?  Will you be using shipped or frozen semen?  All of these factors are important in determining if you want to and can afford to breed your mare.  The more popular the stud you are using, the more cost you can expect. You also have to realize that the mare is not the most fertile animal in the world and sometimes you spend money on ultrasound exams and semen, and the mare is still not pregnant.  Mares that are in their teens and have never had a foal before are generally the most difficult to get pregnant. So, talk with your local equine vet about breeding your mare and get their opinion.  They will be the ones potentially involved in the breeding process and certainly will be involved with the foal after it is born.  

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