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newbie to breeding- to breed or not to breed?

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  • newbie to breeding- to breed or not to breed?

    Hi all,
    So my upper level dressage horse is looking is getting older, and I am beginning to think about what I will ride when he needs to be retired.

    I don't have a huge budget ( realistically not over 7-10k),so I was wondering how breeding compares to buying a foal?

    I know it would depend on bloodlines, etc, but what is the average cost of breeding and foaling out a mare?

    Thanks in advance for all of your input!!

  • #2
    If nothing goes wrong and the mare (the elite one with the performance pedigree to back up her show record whom you will have leased) catches the first time, around 5-6K.

    If something goes wrong...... what's your enough-is-enough amount? And can you afford to lose all of it? And how will you feel if you get a below average foal? How will you feel if your 2 yr old fractures a pastern in the pasture?

    Hard questions that only you can answer.
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    • #3
      If you buy the foal you want, you can get insurance for the purchase price. If you breed the mare, you will have a tough time getting (or affording) insurance to cover all the things that can go wrong during the 11 months of pregnancy and the always risky delivery and first fragile weeks of life.

      Breeding yourself is usually cheaper but if you don't like the risk and anxiety that comes with it, then don't do it.

      In this market especially, it is best to buy. In many cases, you can even get a nice 2 or 3 year old for what you would have paid for a weanling several years ago.

      If you really want to breed, then you need to look at your local costs and situations. When I lived in rural Oregon 5 years ago, my vet charged $20 for a farm call and $25 for an ultrasound. Hay was $100/ton.
      Now, 70 miles from Seattle, I pay $60 for a farm call, $70 for an ultrasound, and over $300/ton for hay.
      So you will need to get some prices for a year and a half of mare care (are you boarding?) and what an experienced vet charges for breeding services. The stud fee is just the beginning!

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      • #4
        I would say, unless you have a really, really nice mare that you couldn't afford to buy a young horse that nice otherwise, especially in this market, buy a young horse. As Trinity said, too, a lot depends on where you live and the costs involved in raising them.

        One consideration I have for breeding my own is I think it's very, very important how a young horse is raised. I really want mine out and running on hills and slowly strengthening muscles, bones, and tendons, and I do NOT want anyone on their backs before 4.

        It's a long wait, though.


        • #5
          I think it somewhat is dependent upon the cost of horsekeeping where you live.

          I breed Welsh Ponies, but not your average bloodlines/type, and for what *my* costs of horsekeeping are, I couldn't even get in the same universe of money towards purchase for what it costs me to produce a foal and raise that foal to riding age. Even with vet bills on top of my hard costs, I'm still WAY money ahead to raise my own, vs purchasing.

          That said, if you have your heart set on a particular gender/color/type, you may be better off to choose from something already on the ground -- but IMO, there is also a huge advantage to raising your own, in that you have control over how it is raised, handled, taught manners, early training, etc. My homebred youngsters are such a pleasure to be around and are just how I want them as far as manners, etc -- and I love that. So I think that is a big advantage there to raising your own.

          Another important question is if you have access to/own a really good quality mare that is worthy of being bred. Remember that the mare is a huge part of the equation in breeding, so you really will not want to go forward unless you own/can lease/borrow/whatever a mare nice enough to produce what you are looking for.
          Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
          Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony


          • #6
            Oh my! There is alot to learn about breeding and foaling -- which you will quickly find out if you dive in! If you decide to go for a young horse -- as in not old enough to ride -- or if you breed one -- there are boarding situations to figure out that are appropriate but many that are not. A show barn is not an ideal place (usually) for an in foal mare or baby. Take your time and find out a bit about what is involved, if you have access to a nice mare that is breeding sound and if you like her or what she produces! Look at the dressage horses you see on a daily basis or at shows and find out their lineage so you'll learn about your own preferences. How is your guy bred? Maybe something similarly bred would suit you? Or you could talk with someone knowledgable about what type horse you like and see which lines might work. There is alot to learn about bringing up a youngster and handling/starting -- that is not the same as a trained horse at all. Good luck -- dive on in!


            • #7
              Breeding is definitely not for the faint of heart and under the best of circumstances, the worse possible case scenario can happen.

              For instance, we had a really fabulous maiden mare who had a text book delivery of an equally perfect colt and two days later, they were struck by lightning and killed. Absolutely freak incident (we would have called it heat lightning in the midwest ... no rain, just sudden lightning strikes and it was all over). Truly broke my heart.

              Don't mean to sound like the voice of doom but it is hard to plan for all the "what ifs" that are involved with breeding. AND in the best of worlds, foals should grow up with other foals. Gives them a mentally healthy start to life.

              A quick answer ... you can get a lot of bang for your buck right now for foals already on the ground.

              Good luck ... wish you the best whichever way you go!
              Jan Marquardt
              Walkabout Station - www.walkaboutstation.com


              • #8
                I've done midway, I bought in utero
                Forgive me, between French, English, and German, I'm sometimes completly lost


                • Original Poster

                  Lots to think about for sure and the more I think about it, the idea of waiting and not knowing what I am getting would drive me crazy.
                  The mare I have access to is nice, but im not sure if she is really nice enough to breed for what I want. I think I want to look around some more at babies, and if I revisit the breeding thing I will post pictures and videos of the mare.

                  I have experience starting babies from the ground up so that is not a problem. SO it sounds like realistically, I should get a baby, insure it, and go that route.

                  Thank you COTHers for talking some sense in to me. Although looking at the stallion videos and dreaming of a foal has been fun, i'm pretty sure i'm not there yet =)


                  • #10
                    Unless you own (or can lease) a really nice mare, I think you would be better off buying a young horse. Aside from the costs of breeding, vet bills, boarding or feeding your mare until she foals, you then have another 3 to 4 years before starting your young horse. Basically, you have to look at breeding your own as a five year plan. We lost our first foal to samonella (no idea how he got it). Our second foal, who is now 2 years old, is really promising, but we have more than $15k invested in her. I would seriously consider buying a nice 2 or 3 year old.


                    • #11
                      If I had to do it over again, I would do a custom foal. I would pick the stallion AND the mare. Then get a full nights sleep 11 months later.


                      • #12
                        It really is a buyer's market right now; if you are specifically looking for a dressage horse you can get something quite nice for 7-10k. It seems that the prices have not been going up much from weanling to 2 yr old and practically not at all from weanling to yearling.

                        In your situation I would probably identify a bunch of nice weanlings, best you can find in your price range and then wait a bit and if they are still available as yearlings you can buy them for practically the same money but they are one year closer to being rideable and still young enough for you to bring up "your way".


                        • #13
                          Having watched a good friend over the past 4 years paying board and professional training for a filly that really isn't the horse she wants, I'd say buy, too. In this case the mare is wonderful, what I hear so many say, but the foal is not a clone.

                          If you are in the market for a young horse, my daughter's trainer has 3 broodmares and has 2 foals a year. Right now she has a drop dead gorgeous 2 year old gelding, a stunning 4 year old mare, a lovely yearling and 2 exceptionally nice weanlings worth looking at. Not only have these horses been bred for performance, temperament and trainability has been considered in all mares and stallions. All the horses are handled daily from birth and are very, very easy to handle. They're in Vermont if you are interested, pm me. They are Oldenburgs.
                          Last edited by ptownevt; Aug. 21, 2011, 11:03 AM. Reason: added breed
                          "The captive bolt is not a proper tool for slaughter of equids they regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck fully aware they are being vivisected." Dr Friedlander DVM & frmr Chief USDA Insp


                          • #14
                            Breeders are funny folk, but it's definitely NOT for the faint of heart.

                            Check out this thread: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=315047 where breeders tell their tales of woe.

                            You are either cut out for this sort of thing or you are not.

                            It is NOT the most efficient and cost-effective way to get a horse.

                            That is NOT why Breeders breed. They are trying to match some picture of perfection in their brain with a live creature.

                            I started out breeding because I wanted to "breed the horse I can't afford to buy." Well, at this point, I could have bought Totilas for what I've spent (not really, but close...).

                            Not that I would trade any of it, but it sure hasn't been easy.

                            You might have great luck and get a high quality foal who stays healthy and problem free till they are grown....you might spent $8000 and still lose the foal or even the mare. It DOES happen.

                            In other words, it is NOT without risk.

                            So if the goal is just to buy a new horse, by all means go BUY one....even for your budget there are lots of nice 2yrs out there...maybe even older if you really shop.

                            Plus some breeders will take payments, this would expand your budget somewhat, especially since you still have a horse to ride.

                            This is an opinion coming from a breeder....it can be a REAL long road from picking out the stallion & mare to producing a lovely animal who is ready to be ridden.