“To Breed or Not to Breed? That is the Question.”

Icon of a book Should you breed your horse?

The decision to breed your horse is a significant one that requires a lot of research and thought. Many horse welfare problems can be prevented through responsible breeding practices. For example, overbreeding results in a surplus of horses in the market which leads to wastage. Responsible breeding is purposeful, rather than accidental or indiscriminate, and is carefully planned by knowledgeable individuals.

Responsible breeders:

  • Understand the cost and care requirements associated with breeding, pregnancy, foaling, and post-foaling. Additionally, responsible breeders prepare for complications that may arise during gestation and prepare to care for both the mare and foal for their entire lifespans.
  • Select mares and sires with proven performance, appropriate conformation and temperament, are physically healthy and free from any known hereditary conditions that may impact the welfare of the offspring.
  • Review all relevant documentation including performance, health, and offspring records.
  • Consider the age, size, and past reproductive performance of the mare and sire.
  • Have a veterinarian perform a reproductive examination to detect any reproductive abnormalities and ensure the mare is physically fit and healthy for pregnancy.
  • Ensure the offspring has a known market and/or purpose. Some breeders also prepare training plans for young horses, to improve the marketability of offspring.

Responsible breeders understand the impacts of natural cover or artificial reproductive technologies on the welfare of mares and stallions, and have extensive knowledge of the specialized care including nutrition, environmental, and health management for mares, stallions and foals.

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