Let me start off by saying I have never bred anything. Not a horse, dog, goat, or what have you. I am currently in the market for a new horse. I have several different avenues that are interesting to me, but also the possibility of doing a custom foal is something that has intrigued me for a long time. I have always wanted to breed a horse - ever since I can remember. The art of breeding is something that fascinates me. So now, I am thinking should I go custom? I don't care about color. I don't care about gender (though in some ways I prefer a filly and in other ways I prefer a colt to be snipped). Obviously I would pray for a healthy and correct foal… So what warrants the risk?
I feel I have read time and time again, leave the breeding to the pro's, buy something already on the ground so you KNOW what you are getting. Ya, all of that makes sense… but still…. custom sounds fun and exciting. There is a stallion that I have admired very much, for many years that I would love to use as my baby Daddy. I have the dam line that I want to use picked out, and an experienced breeder that I know picked out as well.
I am on the breeder's end, not the buyer's end, but we did it twice for two different clients, and it was a really cool adventure. I liked it so much, now I have a client with whom I am discussing a 3rd project and I think I am as excited as her! For me, it is like preparing a big present for the client or helping them to get the foal of their dreams. Yes there's the stress that it might turn disappointing (mare not getting if foal or mare aborting are risks) but then the client is "living" the whole breeding trip with us and this is a real experience. For both past experiences and the one on the making, clients were sure about wich of my mares they wanted a foal out of, but not fixed on the stallion. So we did the whole stallion hunting trip together, then the day-to-day report of the mare's insemination, then the monthly belly pictures, and last summer, my client was even able to arrive on time and actually assisted to the birth of her foal!
I think if you want a foal and have it very young, and somehow want to experience the breeding adventure a little bit, and you know what bloodlines you want, then it is a very wise choice. Kudos to you for taking the making of another life so seriously.
I walked in the OP's shoes a few years ago.
After I had looked at several horses/foals already on the ground I decided to breed my own out of a leased mare.
I found a small breeder that I liked, who had several nice mares with offspring to look at and decided on a very nice TB mare with excellent conformation and temperament. I picked a stallion with similar qualities. A year later I had a beautiful and healthy filly on the ground. Unfortunately things went downhill from there.
The breeder never did the things she promised like handling the foal, getting it halter broke and leading. She wanted the filly weaned early, which was a big mistake and I ended up with a scared and insecure 4-month-old with foot problems because of the lack of farrier care early on. On top of it, unlike her parents the filly had a difficult temperament that made her borderline dangerous. Over the next two years I spent a fortune on farrier care, vet care, training fees etc. and there is no end in sight yet. Many people have told me to get rid of this young horse but I'm committed to make the best out of a bad situation because it wouldn't be fair to dump my "mistake" on somebody else. Still I often wished I had bought one of the horses I looked at before.
I'm sure that one can have a totally positive and rewarding experience breeding a custom foal, but one should be aware of the pitfalls.
From the breeder's perspective here...
This year we are expecting the 6th and 7th custom foal out of our program.
I coudn't say it better then Spike even if I tried...so I won't.
Love doing custom foals altough they are more stressfull!
Certainly ask for some reference if you have any doubt! We are happy to share our past clients information (with their permission) so that new clients can get a sense of what they are getting into.
We get repeat customers so their is some attraction to doing it obviously!
Small breeder with a good track records are certainly a good alternative althought they are harder to find then the bigger farms.
If you do a google search on custom foals you do get a good sampling.
Last edited by Formosus; Apr. 1, 2013 at 01:03 PM.
I've done it. In fact, I ended up with two breeding contracts for the same stallion. (Long story) Anyway, I never could get my mare pregnant so I found and acquired a mare that was a great match for the stallion. I loved the mare and started her back under saddle after having been on the track and then a broodmare. (Unfortunately ended up loosing her to EPM) Anyway, back to the custom foals. The first one was a very flashy filly who it turns out wanted to jump and I wanted to do dressage. I ended up selling her but it broke my heart. The second one is just what I wanted! Be aware though that you may not get what you expected to get.
I would most definitely recommend you look into custom foals. This option has become so popular that this is what our farm now specializes in. It is a great way for the client to create the foal of their dreams.
I would suggest you do find a reputable breeder and have a good contract that outlines everything to protect yourself and the breeder.
You get to choose your mare and stallion of choice for the resulting foal
Well in our custom foal, we keep the right to refuse a stallion if we feel he would not compliment the mare enough: we have to keep in mind that the foals of our mares are their best advertisement, so we don't want to throw in the garbage years of work in that direction by breeding her to a stallion that would not be a good match. So usually, the selection of the stallion is done in collaboration with the client. We know our mare, client knows what he want, and it gives good results.