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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
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    The Prairie
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    Default Question for those of you who breed 3 yr olds....

    When do you start bred three year old fillies?

    I have a three year old in foal this year, she was bred July 22 so not that far along yet. I have been waffling back and forth on whether to start her. I would probably have to send her off for starting, if I got someone to come here it would be less than ideal, I have a fenced in riding ring but no round pen and I would not be available to assist, they would either be on their own (which I don't like) or bring their own assistant.

    Pros:
    She is a very mature three year old, she is sooo ready to start.
    She does have diva inclinations, I would like to get her started before she decides she does not have to work for a living.
    She went away to be bred, came back more settled and more mature. I would like this positive trend to continue. My little farm is very quiet and very private, I am the only one that handles the horses.
    If I decide, for some reason, to sell, it would be preferable that she is at least started.
    I am very pressed for time, I don't have time to do much with her myself

    Cons:
    Vet advised against it saying that mare should not take on new work load when pregnant (fwiw..I don't want her in full training... I just want her backed and able to w/t/c both ways..then she can get the winter off)
    Risk of abortion due to exposure to flu etc.
    Risk of abortion due to stress (other than going to breeding farm to be bred, she has led a pretty sheltered existence).

    So....
    Do you start your three year olds?
    At home or sent away?
    Weighing pros and cons, wwyd in my position?
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 3, 2005
    Posts
    627

    Default

    I would have put 30 days on her before I bred her. But since that is not possible I would probably just leave it until next year. If you really want it done I would do it before she hits the 4 month mark. Unless you want this horse to hit grand prix and in a hurrry I don't think it will matter if you wait until after she foals.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    May. 5, 2007
    Location
    British Columbia
    Posts
    650

    Default

    I bred both of my mares as 3 year olds with the intentions of starting them that year. I also was advised not to start them while pregnant, and I am glad that I didn't. The one mare lost condition quickly going through a growth spurt and I think that if she had been started under saddle as well it would have had poor consequences. My other mare gained weight quickly, and looked too pregnant for me to want to get on.
    I am starting them this fall once their foals are weaned, and they are in their 4 year old year. (hopefully.....at least that is the plan - the way things are going for me right now though, it may be next spring when they turn 5. UGH!)



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2003
    Location
    American Midwest
    Posts
    1,774

    Default

    I think it depends on her temperament.

    If she is laid back and accepting of new things then I would go ahead and back her since you are talking about doing it at home and not exposing her to bugs at a training barn. Early pregnancy makes very few demands on even a growing filly as long as they are fed properly. Just make sure you build up slowly and don't overheat her.

    OTOH, if she is a drama llama and/or very hot and likely to get upset by the process and thus get overheated and stressed, I would probably wait.

    Good luck whatever you decide!

    ETA: just reread your post - I would not send her away to a training barn while pregnant.
    Liz
    Lionwood Irish Draught Horses
    irishdraught.co



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr. 1, 2003
    Location
    Cocoa, Fla
    Posts
    3,998

    Default

    It's good for their minds to get to the point where a rider gets on them so if mare is quiet enough (doesn't get overly excited) then have someone come to the farm and put some basic training on her.

    Does she ground drive? Lunge with saddle and bridle? Know to move away from the finger (think leg yield) from the ground? If not you can work on all that at your farm and see how she reacts. If she gets too excited wail til she foals, if not continue until someone is on her back and assess how she handles it. Then a basic W/T/C should be OK just as long as you stop if she shows too much concern.
    Sandy in Fla.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2002
    Posts
    4,886

    Default

    I'd leave her off until next year, what's the hurry?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2002
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    8,245

    Default

    I routinely start them early in their 3 year old year and breed them a month or two after they are started. I would not start one that is already bred. IMO it is okay to continue what they are already doing, but best not to ask for a new level of work.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2004
    Location
    Loudoun County, VA
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    10,410

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Home Again Farm View Post
    I routinely start them early in their 3 year old year and breed them a month or two after they are started. I would not start one that is already bred. IMO it is okay to continue what they are already doing, but best not to ask for a new level of work.
    Ditto, and that is precisely what my vet has always advised me as well. Also, frankly, I find the mares often mature a lot mentally after having a little one. I think yours will quickly make up for "lost" time later.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2006
    Location
    Port Perry Ontario - formerly Prodomus
    Posts
    2,364

    Default

    I have basic ground training on my filly before she was bred - but she is not going to be an easy one to train - alot of attitude - but she was also bread early so by the fall next year she will be weaned and ready to start working - which to me is ideal - she will then have a winter of good solid indoor training before the spring and can then start her outdoor work.

    I have in the past backed and put 30 days on before breeding. It depends on the horse by imo breeding them to foal early and then starting work as a 4 yr old is a better idea.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
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    The Prairie
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by prodomus View Post
    It depends on the horse by imo breeding them to foal early and then starting work as a 4 yr old is a better idea.
    Yes, this was Plan A. But mare did not settle with frozen. I really did not want to do frozen with a maiden but my stallion of choice went off to Europe so my only option was frozen (oh, yes and those pesky CEM restrictions didnt' help either)

    So we did Plan B (local stallion) and she finally settled late July...

    Don't horses know we have "Plans" for them?
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2004
    Location
    Loudoun County, VA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mozart View Post
    Yes, this was Plan A. But mare did not settle with frozen. I really did not want to do frozen with a maiden but my stallion of choice went off to Europe so my only option was frozen (oh, yes and those pesky CEM restrictions didnt' help either)

    So we did Plan B (local stallion) and she finally settled late July...

    Don't horses know we have "Plans" for them?
    In that case I DEFINITELY would not mess with her until next summer. I had the same issue with one mare a couple of years ago (hence the convo with vets re starting them during early pregnancy). I would say count your blessings and do not disturb the AI gods.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 4, 2001
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    4,175

    Default

    Well...I bucked the trend. I bred my then 3 yr old, picked her up at the clinic and she continued on her merry way to get backed. I had 45 days put on her and the repro vet the trainer used for her mare came out do to the pregnancy checks. All went just fine but my mare was already worked extensively on the ground so the actual backing wasn't a big deal to her. I just didnt have the time to do it.

    I just wanted to add that she wasn't "sheltered" as she had been trailered often to various things.
    "Sometimes you just have to shut up and color."



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 8, 2004
    Location
    Baltimore, MD
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    Default

    I wouldn't start anything new with a pregnant mare. If she had been in training all along I would say continue until she started getting big and/or uncomfortable. But its just not worth the risk to start her since she would be stressed by learning new things and being physically exerted imo.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2007
    Location
    Ontario
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    Default

    I've backed and done some light hacking (maybe twice a month, just walking) over the winter on bred mares, but nothing that constitutes work. They were very easy-going mares who never put up a fuss over anything along the way; thats the only reason I started them. If they had diva tendencies they would have been pasture puffs till the following year.

    You know your mare; is this something that will stress her?
    Riding the winds of change

    Heeling NRG Aussies
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  15. #15
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    Nov. 1, 2005
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    The Prairie
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    Default

    Well, she is much less so after coming back from the breeding farm, but she was and is still a bit of a drama lama. I was really impressed by how much she had matured having left home for a while.

    She did some ground work and a bit of free jumping as a late two year old but nothing this spring due to weather and then off to the breeding farm. I have a late inspection to get her ready for so perhaps I will just do that and do what ground work I can accomplish at home and leave it at that until next year.

    Thank you all for your input.
    I love cooking with wine. Sometimes I even put it in the food.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 21, 2002
    Location
    Monclova
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    1,650

    Default

    I always back mine before they are bred. Then I continue to ride them lightly until late fall.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2004
    Location
    North East, MD
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    2,570

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ponygirl View Post
    Well...I bucked the trend. I bred my then 3 yr old, picked her up at the clinic and she continued on her merry way to get backed. I had 45 days put on her and the repro vet the trainer used for her mare came out do to the pregnancy checks. All went just fine but my mare was already worked extensively on the ground so the actual backing wasn't a big deal to her. I just didnt have the time to do it.

    I just wanted to add that she wasn't "sheltered" as she had been trailered often to various things.
    This is what we have done in the past with 3yos we bred. The only difference being we bred her here not at a clinic but same otherwise. Since they had been worked with a good deal with tack on, longed, long lined etc... since 2yo, it really wasn't a big deal. In fact, it was nice not having the "heat" hormones to deal with.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 29, 2008
    Posts
    1,639

    Default

    Just to give a different perspective, mares I have bought from Germany have been bred as 3 yos, then started and performance tested, before transport to NA and foaling. It seems to be fairly routine in Germany to start pregnant 3 yos and train through to the level they can be Performance tested (usually about 2 months work). Of course, some 3 yos - pregnant or not, do not have the stamina to handle training and performance testing, so are best left till 4 years old, at least for the testing.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2006
    Location
    Quebec (Canada)
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    802

    Default

    Thanks for sharing your experiences about it. And thanks to the OP for asking this question. As my 2yo Brentano filly doesnt seems to want to leave us, I'm juggling with the idea of breeding her next spring, and then have her backed and lightly trained, and who knows... I might be the lucky one to ride her on the showgrounds lol!!.

    My first idea was to breed her in april or may, then when she would be safely 30++ days in foal, send her to the trainer. I've seen alot of mares bred then showed in dressage or hunters for the summer... And none of them have slipped pregnancy. I know that to show a well broke mare and to send a baby to the trainer, far from his familiar environment is two different things, but stress can be present in both of them. Well, if my filly goes to training and come back successfully still in foal, I'll have a green broke, pregnant mare. And if not, I'll have a green broke mare to enjoy!
    Les Écuries d'Automne, Québec, Canada
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  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2008
    Posts
    231

    Default Breeding or starting a 3 yr old

    To answer the OP's original q, I don't think I'd start a pregnant 3 yr old. I'd wait till she foaled down. The stress of gestation, foaling etc is more than enough for the youngster's body and mind to cope with, without giving her more to deal with. Obviously, if someone breeds at 3yrs, they're pretty desperate to have a foal, the foal must be important to them? I wouldn't jeopardise the pregnancy for anything. That doesn't mean she should be left a 'paddock-potato' though. One can still do lots of in-hand work with her and ready her right up to the point of backing without actually backing.

    Perhaps I err too much on the side of caution, but I find that 3 is too young to breed mares. Esp with slow developing breeds like Warmbloods. I prefer to wait till after they're 3 1/2 and closer to 4. That way, they can be started (very gently and slowly) at 3 and mature as nature intended.

    I have definitely found that breeding as young as 3 can cause them not to mature to their full potential. They do stop growing 'upwards' to a great extent. I also think the longevity of the horse is affected if bred too early. What's another year anyway if it means their working / breeding life can be increased by a few years / foals?

    The temptation to breed at 3 is great especially when the mare is big and looks as though she can cope. The problem is, the 3 yr old mentality is more of a filly than a mare and I personally don't believe they're psychologically mature enough at 3 to be having babies. JMHO, and what works for me, not a judgement on those who breed at 3



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