Fall may have just arrived, but for those in the horse breeding business, it’s already time to think about spring.
Today’s foals are tomorrow’s yearlings, and horse magazines are printing up their stallion issues. The breeding season will be upon us before we know it. Have you decided on the right stallion for your mare yet?
Chances are, unless you’ve fallen head over heels for one particular horse, there are still a few players on the market. What criteria will you use to choose the perfect stallion? We have a few suggestions.
Shared Conformation Traits: Every horse has their weak points. Whether it’s a tendency to dish at the trot, unfortunate upright pasterns, or a back that reminds you of a limo, the nicest mare in the world will have her flaws. By the same token, so will the the best stallions. Just make sure the stallion and mare don’t share those flaws. Breeding like to like can be wonderful when you are pairing two horses with incredible jumping scope or a massive trot, but will only reinforce bad conformation traits.
Good Tempers: No matter what you’re breeding for, in the long run temperament will count. And although a nervous mare may raise a nervous foal, some stallions are known for passing on temperament, for better or for worse. If a potential breeding looks like it may produce a difficult horse, consider that this makes a “professionals only” type horse, limiting that horse’s options throughout its life. While a bad-tempered horse might make it as a top-level sport or racehorse, if anything should happen to limit its athletic abilities, it will have a harder time finding a long-term home.
Read the Fine Print: Breeding contracts can be long and require a magnifying glass, but it’s worth the extra time. Does the contract call for payment when the foal Stands and Nurses, or is it Live Foal Only? Is a breeding with no guarantee worth the veterinary expenses associated with breeding? How will you obtain proof of breeding for registration purposes? Don’t sign the contract until you have gone over every possibility for this breeding and its associated costs. One thing is for sure: if everything goes right with a breeding, you’re going to spend a lot of money. Make sure you won’t spend a fortune if anything goes wrong.
What’s the best stallion for your mare? That’s a decision only you can make. Examine conformation, consider temperament, and make sure you’re working with a contract you can live with. Then catch up on sleep. Breeding season will be here before you know it!