How to Breed a Horse

This article contains instructions on how to breed a horse. Horse breeding should not be entered into lightly, but if you have a quality animal and a knowledgeable mentor to assist you through the preparations, breeding, gestation, delivery, and weaning, it can be a satisfying experience to breed your horse.

How you go about breeding your horse depends upon whether you have a mare or a stallion.

How to Breed a Mare:

To breed your mare, you first need to determine if your mare is healthy, sound, and correct enough to breed. Call your vet out for a pre-breeding exam. Your vet will asses overall health and determine if your mare is healthy enough to breed (pregnancy puts stress on the body and can be dangerous to a mare not healthy enough to breed) your vet will also perform a palpation and culture to be sure no harmful bacteria are in your mare’s reproductive tract that could prevent conception. As your vet to critique your mare’s conformational strong and weak points, and ask what you should look for in a stallion.

Once your vet has given you the green light for breeding, meet with a knowledgable friend or mentor and begin looking for the right stallion to breed your mare to. A good stallion will compliment your mare and help achieve the end result you desire in your bred foal.

After you find a suitable stallion, contact the stallion owner and arrange a breeding method. With a stallion that is close you will probably be able to drop your mare off, let her go through her heat cycle at the stud farm, and pick her up. With stallions located some distance away, you may want to utilize Artificial Insemination.

Pregnancy can be detected as early as 14 days following conception, but most wait and ultrasound at 30 or 60 days, or simply just wait to see if the mare comes back into season.

How to breed a Stallion:

Breeding a stallion is more complicated and significantly more dangerous than a mare owner’s role. For thousands of years, stallions instinctively attacked and killed anything that tried to keep them from breeding the mare of their choice in the wild. Unless you have worked with your stallion extensively and can control and maintain his attention and respect in every situation, you may want to consider professional stallion management during the breeding season. Stud Farms, Equine Reproductive Clinics, and even many local Training Stables will board, exercise, and handle the breeding of your stallion for a monthly charge.

Not only is it safer to breed your stallion this way, but the exposure provided by boarding at a breeding facility helps promote your stallion and advertise to more potential mare owners. Stud farms and clinics also have the advantage of having the facilities and technology to offer the option of AI- with Artificial Insemination. With AI, instead of being able to market only to mares within hauling distance, you can market to mare owners across the country and even internationally. This type of breeding is at no extra cost to stallion owner- as "collection fees" are passed on to the mare owner.

Remember that in the vast majority of cases, particularly in today’s market, it’s much more affordable to buy a weaning or yearling foal than it is to breed your own. (And if you are breeding with the goal to sell, keep in mind that only the best-bred, best conformed foals are profitable)

Check out the books linked on this page that explain breeding and foaling in great detail.

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