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Pasture breeding questions

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  • Pasture breeding questions

    Starting a new thread so my questions wouldn't get lost in the OT about stallion turnout.
    We have ALWAYS live covered due to breed requirements (TB's) and we sometimes let Puchi's Rambo loose in a paddock with one of the Irish/Clyde mares, but as we get older and are only breeding out own mares I've been thinking about pasture breeding our new, VERY sane TB stallion to our mares. Two years ago we had an "accidental" foal by Seattle Blues (ISH) out of one of the painted TB mares. Apparently the broodmare gate was left unlatched and the mares got out in the barn yard. DH found Blue loose (jumped his gate) with the mares grazing in the yard. NO drama or hysterics, so we never gave it another thought until one of the mares started being bigger and bigger!! LSH...vet confirmed pregnancy, shots were given and the resulting OOPS was born a month later. Both stud and mare were maidens and neither had a hair out of place. Was that just dumb luck or what???
    To those who pasture breed....Do you put the mare/mares in the stallion pasture or a neutral pasture. Our mares are on 35 acres...not a safe turn-out for a new meeting. The stud and ALL of my mares (escept one) are maidens ...did you hand breed at first or just let them work it out??? I'm worried about the stud getting hurt as he learns. His friend Dandy has taught him manners about rough play and he's darn quick to get out of the way, but still.....
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

  • #2
    My stallion has only pasture bred - I do not have a second experienced horse person to handle for in hand breeding. I only breed my own mares though. He was turned out with geldings previously, so well socialised. I turned him out into the mares field, the two mares were dominant, older and used to live cover and he was turned out with them as weanling. The mares will gang up on him if he is rude, larger area is better so that they can get away from each other, and no one gets trapped in a small space. There will be a lot of noise, posturing, and probably a few bruises until he learns his place. I would not have done it with a stallion that had not been raised in a herd or with outside mares or maiden mares. It worked well for me, I have a happy stallion, who is bottom of the pecking order and knows to woo the ladies first. He also does not associate me handling him with breeding, handling is work time, turnout is for romance. Others will tell you horror stories of how it can go wrong, it is a risk and not something to take lightly.


    • #3
      Mine is turned out with a herd of whatever mares are being bred that year. I can put mares in and take mares out no problem. I can take him out to ride without issue either. Pasture bred stallions are so chill about life in general.


      • #4
        I pastured them next to each other first over a hotwire to socialize first. We have 2 10 acre pastures to turn out in after that. More room is better to get away if needed/someone is not agreeable. Our current stallion is turned out with 1 mare for company as he stopped tolerating a gelding when he turned 4/got too rough with the squabbling. She put some manners on him right quick.
        Providence Farm


        • #5
          We will put two or three mares into the "honeymoon suite" and let them settle down, start grazing and find the water tank. Then Mr. Studly goes in. He is silly at first, bucking and farting and letting the ladies know he is there. The mares usually stand and watch him until he settles down. If he acts too pushy they will let him know who's boss, usually all it takes is an evil look to keep him humble.

          We take him out to hand breed mares with foals and mares that are too witchy to him. He is pretty mild mannered and we don't want him getting hurt.

          The only thing I haven't felt comfortable with is leaving mares with foals in with the stallion. Our breeding pasture is only about 3-4 acres and I don't feel that is enough room. Just too much risk from the odd kick.
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          • Original Poster

            Thanks for all good advice. Do you put the mares out with the stud when they are IN heat or before they come in?? Also...what breeds of stallions are you all dealing with?? We have a TB, but he has lots of sense and self preservation. Our mares are TB or ISH's. The stallion's companion pony is not the least bit studdish, but when I put him in the mare field the "women" go wild over him!! I can tell what mares are "in" or close with the pony and know when the mares will be less likely to try to kill the stud!! DH and I have always done all of our own breeding/handling and our stallions have been very good. This is a new/maiden horse. I alway held the mares...DH the stud, so when I rode/trained or handled the stallions they knew there was nothing "romantic" coming. Two years ago we bred one outside mare to Seattle Blues, the ISH stallion. Owner said the mare was a "sweetheart" to breed and handle. First heat she was, but came back into heat and was examined as open. Owner brought the mare back...she teased IN, stood perfectly and when the stud approach she went ape-sh**, kicking, screaming and ran right over me, knocking me down HARD, stomping all over me and left the breeding pen. The "bad" was that the stud was in mid air - at that point right over my body!!...the "good" was that Blue stopped dead in his tracks and did NOT touch me!! We tried 3 more times - with vet administered tranquillizer, and a twitch to no avail. When the stud got within 40 feet she attacked!! We ended up sending the mare home - unbred. Talking to the previous covering stallion owner...that was typical behavior for that mare. Well THANKS!! I could have been killed!!! That experience has certainly changed my outlook on breeding LC to strange mares...that's why I'm looking into pasture breeding!! I appreciate the info.
            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


            • #7
              My tb stallion grew up with other colts and mares in the same pasture. He learned manners very early on before the hormones kicked in full time. Now he can't handle the entire herd at one time. I tried several times and he runs them too much. When one goes to get a drink of water he has a fit and tries herding her back. Then some of the others wander, and it is just too much for him to handle. He gets turned out with one mare at a time. I put him out with them when they are in heat so there is no fighting.

              I don't have help around the farm for breeding so pasture breeding is easiest and safest for me and my horses. I only breed my own mares, no outside mares ever.
              Derby Lyn Farms Website

              Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


              • Original Poster

                Originally posted by Derby Lyn Farms View Post
                My tb stallion grew up with other colts and mares in the same pasture. He learned manners very early on before the hormones kicked in full time. Now he can't handle the entire herd at one time. I tried several times and he runs them too much. When one goes to get a drink of water he has a fit and tries herding her back. Then some of the others wander, and it is just too much for him to handle. He gets turned out with one mare at a time. I put him out with them when they are in heat so there is no fighting.

                I don't have help around the farm for breeding so pasture breeding is easiest and safest for me and my horses. I only breed my own mares, no outside mares ever.
                Thank you.
                Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                • #9
                  My stallion has a barren old mare as a permanent turn out buddy, mares to be bred go out not in heat and are turned out with him daily until they foal. If I rebreed they go back out at about 3 weeks, when the foal is big enough to stay out from underfoot, after foal heat, before the first ordinary heat. The mares seem to appreciate having him to entertain the foals - he likes to play. The mares generally ignore him if he trys to herd them, if they herd up over a threat around the foals he will patrol the perimeter.


                  • #10
                    When he went out with a herd of 11 a few of the mares(the most dominant) were brought in heat so he for sure had mares that would be available and in standing heat when he went in. The herd of mares were established first in the pasture they would be in...get all their fighting done and the hierarchy established before the stallion goes out. He had all mares in foal on the first heat BUT he was beat up as he had to learn mares NOT in heat might kill you. He had 2 mares he would NOT leave alone and they were bottom of the order and meek mares they had to be removed. We found you can not add a mare or mares to the herd after it has been established as the mares will keep the added mare away from the stallion. Mares rule don't kid yourself. It is the mares herd and the stallion lives there...and doesn't get to or won't eat much and they can injure him severely or even kill him. He will/may be beat up, he will/may get very thin, he will learn a lot and be better the next year. The mares also learn and it does help if mares have had a stallion with them before. We left him with the mares for 3 months as one of the advantages of keeping a stallion with mares is the presence of the stallion means you don't need to give Regumate and his presence helps get mares by that 3 month time to keep them in foal. The herd has many old mares and mares that are there because others couldn't get or keep them in foal. A stallion in the herd will get and keep mares in foal. It is important to realize it is dangerous for you to go out in this herd. Leave them alone, you do have to watch for injuries but there are little things that are safer to ignore because going out in the herd is just not safe. And again it is less the stallion than the mares. something like two mares pushing for your attention attracts the stallion and you now are in the middle where the rules have changed. The pasture is about 10 acres with no trappy objects...big and square. The stallion will/may patrol the fence and not eat even if the mares are in foal. The next year he will be more relaxed. Over the seasons some stallions can come out and go back in. My stallion is very big and high drive...mares still rule. He was very happy to be taken out of the herd for winter as it is not as peachy a job as he imagined but he was very happy to do his job too. Watching the herd dynamics is facinating. PatO


                    • #11
                      OP you might contact some of the pony breeders - i know many of them pasture breed and keep more than one stallion (so juggle herds etc)


                      • #12
                        I posted on the other thread about pasture breeding ou guy.

                        We've only pasture bred our guy twice--last year was his first year at stud and he bred 4 mares, 2 open (1 maiden), and 2 with foals at their sides which were hand bred. The first mare he bred was my alpha mare who was a maiden. She's extremely alpha, but not a beyotch if you know what I mean. We put her out in his paddock to look around, then brought him out a little while later and turned him loose. They worked it out with only one tiny scratch on his side, and one bite mark on her neck.

                        My biggest advice would be to really KNOW your horses. I've had my mare for over 10 years so know how she reacts to new horses and how she reacts when she's in heat even though she's never been bred.

                        Our stallion came off the racetrack at age 5, so hadn't been socialized probably since he was a yearling. He sold at auction as a yearling (or it might have been an early 2 year old--I don't remember now) and then again for over $400,000 at the 2 year old in training sale in Ocala, so it might even have been as a weanling that he last had physical contact with another horse. He's a real low key, mellow guy, so I really didn't expect any problems with turning him out with a mare. Now when we turned him out with a gelding for the first time, I was more leery, because of all the stories you hear. Of course that went well too.

                        Just be careful, observant, and don't do it the first time by yourself! (Of course, I did, so take that advice as you will--lol) Have a helper with you just in case. And of course this post is just my experience. Like everything else with horses, YMMV, and I'm sure someone else has a story about how pasture breeding is unsafe and the worst thing you can do.



                        • #13
                          My one fellow had pasture bred before.... However sometimes there is a little glitch... The mare he was pastured with was a total hussy. Wouldn't stop pestering him and he got to the point he was exhausted and couldn't perform. She didn't catch the first heat but did the second after she was taken out and only bred every other day on her next heat.

                          Now he gets hand bred and goes out with the mares after they have all caught. This year he is living with the boys as I have a new stallion coming in who will cover the girls, not him.

                          I'm very lucky he is such a good lad!
                          Wonderful ponies for family or show!


                          • #14
                            My big guy was a doll to breed, both in hand and on his own, in the pasture. He was off the track, so had had limited socialization. He pasture bred both my own and outside mares, but mare owners knew, understood and were ok with the risks. That being said, I think he got the brunt of things. Worst any mare got was some lost hair on her neck or back from him mounting them. He, on the other hand, got his butt handed to him if he even considered stepping out of line. Darn mares. Lol. I didn't breed him a lot, so he only had 1 or 2 mares at a time. I could take him or the mares out at any time, with no issues. Handling him was a breeze, I would use him to tease other mares, going to outside studs, and after teasing even the biggest hussies, he would walk down the barn aisle right past other mares on crossties without batting an eye. You know, the way a stud SHOULD act. Lol. I could add mares at any time, in heat or not. He was more bluster and noise than anything else. He thought he was a BIG BAD STALLION until a mare gave him the evil eye. Lol. And i left mares in with him for as long as it was convenient for me. usually until their 9th or 10th month, for my own mares. A d then he got turned out with one of the geldings. never an issue. I sure do miss that big ol' goofball. Sigh.
                            Different Times Equestrian Ventures at Hidden Spring Ranch


                            • #15
                              Mine is a TB. I put the mares in before they are in.


                              • #16
                                It seems like most everyone puts the mares out with the stallion prior to the mare coming in. What are your experiences with this?

                                I find that my stallion pesters the mare too much, or the mare kicks at the stallion. If I put the mare in when she is ready they get their thing done and then there is peace.

                                I also like what Chestnut Run wrote about knowing your horses. I know my stallion and how he will react. I know my mares. I never just throw a new mare out in the pasture with him until I know how she reacts in a normal herd, or how she acts when being teased.
                                Derby Lyn Farms Website

                                Derby Lyn Farms on Facebook!


                                • #17
                                  I want the mares to feel free to tell him off on the first meeting, it keeps him humble, and he doesn't think every new horse is a cheap date. I do turn the new mare out with just the other mares first so that they can sort out their pecking order first, and they do back each other up if he is a pest.
                                  It is nice to actually discuss this, I have met a lot of people who are quite convinced that I am a negligent owner because the evil stallion is going to savage my mares and kill the foals, especially when they find out he's a tb.
                                  On a lighter note, the field they were in had one spot visible to the road, and just as the school bus dropped off the brand new from the city neighbours 5 and 7 yr old they decide to breed right there. Might have been an interesting after school chat that day.


                                  • #18
                                    Sometimes we will hand breed a mare, then put them together. Especially maidens as sometimes they are really afraid of him mounting. If we hold them that first time, they are OK after that.
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