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Discussion: Lease mare. Select stallion. Mare owner handles the rest.

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  • Discussion: Lease mare. Select stallion. Mare owner handles the rest.

    I have a colleague who wanted to bounce an idea off of me the other day. Of course, my opinion is one opinion, so I thought I'd enlist the idea of other breeders or potential breeders to see what they thought.

    My colleague has a few hundred horse from his own breeding program. I suspect he is on his fourth generation, or perhaps beyond by now. He has drawn on some of the best pedigrees from the world. His operation is based on a piece of property which is over 800 acres in size.

    Over the years he has been able to accumulate a worthwhile band of broodmares. There are roughly 70 proven mares. There are also some youngsters which have not been assessed or tried yet which are broodmare candidates. He generally has about 30 - 45 foals each year. Most of them are by his own stallions. He is now ready to change up the program a bit.

    Here is what he had in mind:

    #1 Mare Selection - What if a prospective breeder leased a mare of his choice from his broodmare band. One could select from pedigree and mare inspection scores. Credentials of previous offspring based on foal futurity scores and evential careers could also be used as assessment. First hand assessment of the mare and any foals at her side are always welcome. This mare would be leased for the breeding season by the prospective breeder.

    #2 Stallion Selection - The prospective breeder would supply the semen of their choice. They could of courses select from any stallion worldwide.

    #3 Insemination - The mare owner/lessor would keep the mare at her home location and would be responsible for the insemination of the mare. This way, any idiosyncrasies of the mares would be taken into account, providing good efficiencies. Also, the mare owner/lessor could know that his mare was maintained to his standard.

    #4 Foaling Out - The mare would stay at her home locations for full term, and foal out at home according to the proven standards of the farm.

    #5 Foal Acquisition - The prospective breeder could choose to take delivery of the foal at weaning or they could choose to let the foal grow up in a natural environment among its peers until it is time to start them into training.

    So that is the preliminary thinking in a nutshell. What do you think? Are there elements of this that you find appealing? What doesn't work for you? What would you recommend instead? How would you want to see this priced to make it work for you?

  • #2
    There are breeders who already do this, and I think it works out well. In some cases, they require you to pick from their selection of stallions (and all have multiple stallions). They tend to call them "designer foals", since the buyer gets to pick all the components. You might have your friend check with a few who are already running this kind of program.
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    • #3
      I would want to know the conditions of the farm, and talk to past and present empoyees of farm. What is fencing like? worming program of all horses? farrier work? innoculations etc. - basic husbandry of the whole operation. Honestly, sounds very puppy mill with that amount of horses.

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Originally posted by HXF View Post
        I would want to know the conditions of the farm, and talk to past and present empoyees of farm. .
        That's fair enough. They have had many clients throughout the year's including an annual repeat customer who stood on an Olympic podium in the past. In fact a horse of their bloodlines made it to the Olmympics just this past month.

        It's a vast operation with 800 acres for the horses to live on, which is certainly a living condition to be envied by many breeders. I suppose it is hard to imagine that a single broodmare pasture exceeds the size of many farms for anyone that is not familiar with such luxuries. They also have a bed and breakfast operation, so I imagine it could make for an interesting weekend getaway. Lots of opportunity to scrutinze and make first hand decisions.

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        • #5
          When people lease my mares, that is pretty well how it goes. I have only had good experiences with this method.
          On the other hand, on the two occasions I did allow a mare to leave the farm, she didnt come back like she left, so I wont do that again.
          Your way is good.
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          • #6
            I seriously considered a lease of that type for this breeding year. I knew the person and was quite confotable with the level of care that would have been provided and that the foal would be well cared for.
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            • #7
              Be that as it may, olympic horses and all, I would still want to see first hand their animal husbandry practices, if they had been reported to the SPCA, worming practices, how the horses are handled etc.

              I have a pretty high standard of care and would want similar. If you are comfortable after a full and complete investigation, then it should be no problem.

              I am familiar with a farm of similar nature and numbers. Enough said.

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              • #8
                Assuming everything checks out, I would love it!!! The only problem is I have chosen my mares as carefully as I choose a stallion. I guess I should say, if your friend had my mares, I would love it! :-)

                How wonderful to have all those acres for the horses. I'm very curious to know where this place is! I live in an area that is not horse breeding friendly. No repro vets, no experienced help.... takes the fun out of it. I would like not having to worry about that.
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                • #9
                  There is a breeder like this around our area ( I have a very good feeling that we are speaking of the same place) and I would personally be concerned about the level of care provided by anyone who has this many horses on this amount of land. In fact, I know of one mare who was sent to such a place (possibly the same place) to be bred and she ended up drowning in the dugout because that is the water source (horses should never have to drink from stagnant pools of water)...among other things.

                  It is just too hard to provide personal attention to mares and foals when you have that many horses on so much land unless you employ 100 people or so to care for them every day.
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                  • #10
                    Donella, that doesn't sound good. If the farm/ranch doesn't have adequate help or proper facilities, I wouldn't get involved. The best way to be sure would be to visit before signing on. The handfull of ranches of that size that I'm familiar with are very well staffed and have onsite repro facilities including a foaling barn that is attended around the clock.
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                    • #11
                      I know of a few barns of that size (in different disciplines) that run very well. They have top notch facilities that were designed to be able to easily/efficently care for that number of horses. Ofcourse, most do have help with most of the grooms responsible for feeding/grooming around 20 horses/ day each, and the ones I know have it divided into 3 seperate areas (mares.. foaling and breeding and the foals, youngstock, and stallions). Each area has a manager that oversees the whole portion, and then each area also has the specialists for that portion (i.e. youngstock has trainers, mare barn has repo techs, stallion barn has both, etc).

                      Anyway.. I like the Custom Foal option.. it seems like a really great idea for him, to ensure that their is a market before breeding. I would probably offer people a discount if using a farm stud vs an off farm stud though (jmo), like x amount off the stud fee, or even a percent off.
                      "Sadly, some people's greatest skill, is being an idiot". (facebook profile pic I saw).

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by Donella View Post
                        It is just too hard to provide personal attention to mares and foals when you have that many horses on so much land unless you employ 100 people or so to care for them every day.
                        Ha ha ha. I can assure this is not the case. This particular operation is based on rearing young in a natural environment. Horses live out and have acres and acres to roam on. I have done a small amount of marketing work for this breeder, and the pictures of the mare and foal pastures are amazing. I have seen an image of a herd of approximately 30 horses in a pasture which is so big, that there are no fences for as far as the eye can see. Another picture showed them drinking from a natural source, that was a lovely, large sized running stream, which was accessible from a shore with a river rock bed. Talk about an organic lifestyle.

                        Obviously mares and foals are checked when required, but this lifestyle is not that of a showhorse which includes confinement and overhandling. (It always saddens me when young horses are reared in the unnatural environment.) The best equivalent to this operation that I have seen is Paul Schockemoehle's Lewitz stud in Eastern Germany.

                        But all this aside, lets assume for the sake of this particular discussion you did the due diligence - something good consumers should always do - and the environment and care met your standards.

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                        • #13
                          I really like the idea as well - are you going to tell us who this breeder is?
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                          • #14
                            Unrequited, before I would venture on marketing for this farm, I would highly suggest spending time there and witnessing the operation. I would suggest talking to past and present employees and customers (a broad base of past customers) to give you an idea of how to market.

                            To answer your question about care, if I had invested money in top bloodlines, I would not want a "show horse" life for him/her. I would expect herd socialization and would be willing to accept the consquences of that. BUT, I would want the foal checked on every day, the foaling attended, IgG levels drawn, regualr worming and health care checks in the entire herd. I would like the foal reasonably handled (halter broke, leads well) And as Donella mentioned, access to clean WATER. I would expect the broodmare to have reasonable care, innoculations, worming etc. according to AAEP guidelines. Trimming would be lovely for broodmare, but I would reluctantly forgo that.

                            The idea is admirable, I strongly believe in letting a horse be a horse. My show horses and 2008 foal and broodmare live together in a herd environment on 20 acres - 24/7 turnout. I wish you luck in determining a marketing plan for this farm - we need more foals raised in an environment as you describe.
                            Last edited by HXF; Sep. 28, 2008, 11:44 AM.

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                            • #15
                              We have done this for years at Sonesta Farms. Has always worked out well for us and the one getting the foal. In fact, there are several here on COTH who have foals from our program.
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                              • #16
                                Unrequitted....if we are talking about the same place..have you actually been out there? Because I have seen photos too that make it look like horsey heaven, but this IS the same place where the mare drowned. I probably shouldn't even say this, but the way the horses are kept ie fencing ect is not considered by most people that I know to be acceptable...basically it is thought that they are overun with way too many horses than they know what to do with and I know someone who works up there occassionally...there is NOT personalized care given to the broodies.
                                You coudlnt pay me enough to have a mare foal out there....thats all I can say.

                                Actually, this same person always has horses in the auction year after year that are like 8 years old and greenbroke because they simply do not have enough help to get their horses started in a timely manner.

                                That being said, they do have alot of nice bloodlines and I certainly dont mean to imply that they are abusive or neglectful of their horses, but for me and most breeders I know, we like to be there for the birth of the foals, do the IGG, put the disinfectant on umbiblical, make sure there arent any problems. We like to moniter feed intake, check and handle foals every single day, bring them in at night ect ect. Yes, here they will be fed and they will get the basics, but that is about it. So if you are ok with that, then I think the deal would work out well for you.
                                www.svhanoverians.com

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  To be clear. I am not marketing this nor is there a deal of any kind with me. I am discussing a concept with the permission of the breeder. It's an idea he had that he wanted to bounce around. This is a smart group of breeders and prospective breeders so I said I'd bounce it further.

                                  Donella, I have no idea where you reside and who you are discussing, but for the sake of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, let's not jump to any conclusions and instead let's stay focused on the concept being discussed. Like I said, before, should anyone choose to undertake an agreement, I would expect they would exercise their due diligence.

                                  Now back to the discussion. What would anyone expect to pay for this type of service?

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                                  • #18
                                    I suspect that kind of concept will work. People are seeking out custom foal options already but finding the right mare is a challenge. If this owner has a very broad mare base they would have an advantage.

                                    I think a lot of people would love to be breeders, but don't have the facilities to make it happen. The option to raise the foal until riding age would be an added bonus. Most boarding barns are not well suited to raising foals. Leaving them with other foals at the breeding farm makes a lot of sense.
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                                    • #19
                                      I think there would havet to be a good contract, just like in any lease.

                                      The broodmare I'm leasing this year is owned by a very good friend of mine. And we agreed to board her at my trainer's house. She will stay there for the duration of the lease.

                                      I was responsible for taking her to the vet's to get bred, and for the necessary ultrasounds.

                                      The agreement was that we would a certain vet, which both of us very much like, but is different from my normal vet)


                                      I personally wouldn't do it. Like mentioned by other posters, what if it's a very dangerous place, and you get caught paying even more vet bills because the mare is always getting caught in the fence/finding ways to rip herself open?
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