As we aproach the breeding season I thought it appropriate to add a section on horse breeding. I breed a few horses and I know many of you have stallions and studs however for those out there considering breeding a horse its a good idea to consider a few things.
1. Is your horse good enough to breed from? Yep its a hard question to ask as naturally we think of our horses as the best there is. However there are sometimes conformation traits or temperament issues that are best not replicated. I had a friend breed a mare they couldnt ride and 3 years later they were struggling to ride her gelding who was as feral as his mother.
2. Do you have the time and money to care for a second horse? Raising foals is hard work and while they are fluffy and gorgeous their mum is going to need extra feed and attention to make sure the youngster grows into a well developed horse. They will need care and training that can come at a cost.
3. Do you have the heart to make the hard decisions? Such as gelding your colt, putting down a deformed foal God forbid it should be born with problems etc These are heart wrenching decisions that horse breeders must face.
4. Do you have the experience to raise a young horse? Many people get into a tangle with young horses due to lack of horsemanship and these early lesson can make life difficult for the trainer and horse later in life. The hardest horses to start are the spolit hand raised type who have known no boundaries and can become quite dangerous. Like a child throwing a tantrum except the child weight 400kg.
However if you do pass all these issues and decide to breed a horse. I suggest you take a look at your mare and decide what her faults are and get a stallion who can limit these being passed to the foal and vice versa. I do not breed all of my mares as some of them are excellent work horses but have traits I dont wish to have repeated in the herd. These can include conformation problems and attitude. Choose a stallion who will a breed a foal to your purpose and have a good look at him and ask lots of questions before comiting your mare. Thousands of horses die every year because of hapless breeding where an unwanted animal is bred.
Most studs do the hard work for you so before breeding a horse have alook around and see if you cant buy one to suit your needs. Also have a look at the studs who have endevoured to have the best and think about using their stallion rather than keeping your colt from 2 years ago to breed another horse. Most colts make lovely geldings for all to enjoy. A stallion must be truly special.
I took along time before deciding to keep Roman as a stallion and he had to pass some pretty rigourous tests on temperament, condition, conformation and overall quality. He passed where other colts failed on one point. Horse breeding is a serious business and should be treated as such to stop the wastage of horses in Australia. So this season, stop and think before creating a foal. When you do decide remember noone has ever regretted having the best that there was!