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Breeding a mare with Neuro Issues

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  • Breeding a mare with Neuro Issues

    I am really struggling with the ethics of this, but trying to MYOB. Hoping to either know my fears are unfounded, or be kicked into action.

    Horse has ok breeding. Young, not approved as she hurt her neck before she could go to inspection. Small, but a nice enough mover, and good minded girl.

    Horse shows neurological symptoms oddly similar to mine, which I think is why this is hitting me so hard. Things like unable to deal with cold (shivers even blanketed in not that cold weather), over reaction to sensations (shakes voilently), sometimes falls down in the field for no apparent reason.

    So owner doesn't have a tonne of money and wants a horse to ride, so got a new one. Needs to get this one off her bill, so looking for a breeding lease home. her hope is that in the year horse will get better. (I keep hoping that for myself, but I keep getting worse.)

    My worries are: carrying the foal will strain her spine and make her worse off, but that the person who has spent the money breeding her, will have some rights to keeping the mare going so they get their foal...or that the owner of the mare will have to reimburse them some costs if they have to abort the baby or put the mare down.

    What are the "laws" regarding the rights to the unborn foal vs the mare?

    Not sure how much the person coming to see her to lease her knows about her condition...let's face it, neurological issues aren't well understood by human doctors, and even less so by vets.

    Torn between hoping I am worrying for nothing, and thinking that mare is going to suffer horribly trying to carry a foal and give birth.

    Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

  • #2
    I have a mare that is very, very slightly neurological. She cannot swing evenly from behind, but that's really the extend of her symptoms. She does not fall down and she is not dangerous to handle.

    I have serious concerns breeding HER. There is no way in hell I would breed a mare as profoundly affected as the one you are describing.

    However, there are no LAWS that would prevent your friend from breeding the mare. The mare is her property and she may do with her as she wishes, as long as she provides the very basic care required by the animal welfare laws. (Food, water, shelter.)

    As the mare is not yours, there's nothing at all you can do. Perhaps you can voice your concerns, depending on your relationship with the owner. If she's not willing to listen, then it's time to butt out. (Unless, of course, you are willing to take the mare on as a pasture pet?)

    Frankly, I would investigate euthanasia for a horse that was falling down in the field with little hope of recovery, especially if I had to "get her off the bill."


    • #3
      I think it is one of those things that you never know until you try but I sure as heck wouldn't try it. Agree with the euth if breeding is the only other option.
      McDowell Racing Stables

      Home Away From Home


      • #4
        Oh how terribly sad Any horse that is falling down just walking in a field should be humanly euthanized IMO. It would be horribly cruel to breed her.

        My neurological mare also had a "funky" immune system that resulted in some odd medical issues. This caused very unexpected reactions to things like vaccines, anesthetics, etc. I would never, ever risk breeding her given the unknowns.

        I just cannot believe how people think...
        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


        • #5
          I personally, would consider breeding a mare like this to be unethical, inhumane, and unreasonable!!! Just how desperate are these people to make this poor mare pay her own way as a broodmare??? With the numbers of unwanted HEALTHY horses in the country, is breeding this mare really necessary??
          Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


          • Original Poster

            When the horse was first hurt, I thought she should put it down...but you know how people are...everyone else was trying to cheer her up and tell her not to give up hope...so I feel a little like a doomsayer.

            I think she is just trying to put off the inevitable hard decision of putting her down...or not having a riding horse until this mare's condition is more stable (I think she should be in a barn...or Florida... until she can handle the cold better..but that costs $$$). She IS a good person, but I think she just doesn't want to make the hard decision, or make personal sacrifices.

            My worry legally was more if the mare's condition got a lot worse say, 6 months into pregnancy. What rights and liabilities would the mare's owner have to put her down or terminate? The potential breeding lease person is doing AI with frozen semen, so will have considerable money invested by then. Even with a live foal guarrentee, there would be the vet bills, board/feed bills, shipping fees and so on.

            Glad you feel as I do though. This is really getting to me, so I think I have to say something more. Now what to say?
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


            • #7
              Originally posted by CHT View Post
              My worry legally was more if the mare's condition got a lot worse say, 6 months into pregnancy. What rights and liabilities would the mare's owner have to put her down or terminate? The potential breeding lease person is doing AI with frozen semen, so will have considerable money invested by then. Even with a live foal guarrentee, there would be the vet bills, board/feed bills, shipping fees and so on.
              This is completely between the owner of the mare and whoever leases her to breed. All of this should be outlined in the contract detailing the relationship, and this scenario is one of many reasons why a contract detailing "what ifs?" is exceedingly important when one enters into a breeding lease situation.


              • #8
                Imagine how you may feel if she falls on her foal or steps on it...heartbreak city and another ruined life. Plus you cannot be sure if there was a genetic predisposition to this injury. Deffinitly do not breed this mare. She may recover and devlelope new nerve pathways that make her able to stand and be safe...or she may be worse. She may injure her head in a fall. Dont breed her till she is able to stand and not fall down any more at the very least. She does not sound special enough to breed anyway. Broodmares should be excellent to be reproducing not average or mediocre. Sorry..........


                • #9
                  I am also in the camp of not breeding her. It just doesn't sound safe for her or her prospective foal.


                  • #10
                    to bad it is not the OPs horse. Sounds like breeding may happen anyway and it is a sad thing. Mare and foal are at risk for further injury
                    Draumr Hesta Farm
                    "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                    Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm


                    • Original Poster

                      No, not my horse! Horsie and I just share symptoms.

                      Owner has someone coming up this weekend to see her. Horse would be going 3 hours away, and bred by frozen semen to a stallion a full hand taller than her. Horse is young, and it would be her first foal.

                      I was hoping that I could come up with a potential liability issue to warn her about to help her change her mind.

                      Hopefully I am worrying for nothing...but I don't think so.

                      I let her know I was concerned about the ethics/end result of her doing this, and hoped she would reconsider. We will see.
                      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                      • #12
                        is she disclosing all of this mare's issues to the leasee?
                        Draumr Hesta Farm
                        "Wenn Du denkst es geht nicht mehr, kommt von irgendwo ein kleines Licht daher"
                        Member of the COTH Ignorant Disrepectful F-bombs!*- 2Dogs Farm


                        • #13
                          I definitely would not be breeding a mare like that. There are WAY too many horses out there and just because it is able to be bred does not me it should be.

                          I would worry that the added strain and stress on the mare could really put her into some health risks and by default risking her unborn foal.

                          Sometimes the kinder thing is the hardest thing to do.

                          I would have a hard time keeping my mouth shut on this one and if it were me I would be explaining all the possible negatives that could result from breeding her.


                          • #14
                            Do you know the vet the owner uses and does the owner trust the vet? Would it be possible to talk to the vet and ask the vet to talk to the owner about how this is a cruel and unwise idea? Or is there another trusted third party that could talk to the owner?

                            I feel really sorry for this poor horse. As others have mentioned, it just seems like there are any number of ways that trying to breed this mare could go badly wrong.


                            • #15
                              Many years ago a client sent a mare to our farm (we trained race horses) to board. Mare already had a foal at her side when she arrived and undisclosed or known by the breeder (breeding farm did not mention it) the mare was SEVERELY neurological...to the point that walking off the van at our farm her LH was stepping all over the handler's feet as he walked at her head!! We immediately informed the owner, but at that point there was nothing that could be changed...we just tried to keep her and her foal safe and quiet. The mare's condition continued to deterioate to the point that she could hardly get to her feet after lying down. One day while DH was at the track 20 miles away the mare, in her attempt to stand, lurched forward shattering her LF leg like a chicken bone. The poor horse had to stay in that condition until a vet could get there from 20 miles away to euth her. Not a nice memory. To say nothing of the three month old "orphan" we were left to care for. Nope...too many healthy broodmares to breed!!
                              Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                              • #16
                                Never would breed a mare with that condition, minor or severe. Ever.
                                Practice! Patience! Persistence!


                                • Original Poster

                                  Well according to her, the vet has ok'd breeding her. I believe this as vets (and human doctors) seem to have a poor understanding of spinal injuries, so I think it is just that the vet sees that the horse's original injury is healing well, so should be fine to breed.

                                  The fact that the vet cannot explain the other issues seems to only concern me...but then I don't think the horse has had any "episodes" around the vet.

                                  I know that she is letting the person talk to her vet, which is good. Not sure if she is telling her all the issues or not, but I don't think she is omitting things she feels are relevant...I just don't know if she thinks the recent issues are relevant, or things that will heal too.

                                  Hopefully I am wrong, and that the horse will continue to heal and get better...I just wish she was allowed to do that first.
                                  Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                                  • #18
                                    UGH - this is a sad sad situation to be in...Perhaps the best you can do is to tell the owner how unsafe it isto mom and prospective foal to try and breed her- review the many things that could happen. And tell her that it is also her obligation to fully disclose the mare's health to any prospective lease candidate, otherwise she is likely to be faced w/ a lawsuit to recover costs, etc if something happens. I may be way wrong but I find it hard to believe that a live foal guarantee would cover a mare that is basically not OK to begin with?
                                    One could only hope that anyone who thinks about taking her will consult their own vet first... If she has falling issues now, you would think the added weight of the foal would only make that worse.
                                    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........