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To breed or not to breed - need some advice from some first time breeders....

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  • #41
    Maybe it's the educator in me, but I tend to respond to people considering a new and exciting venture with encouragement. OP, it sounds like you have a nice mare. I'm not sure I agree that breeding her will change her heat cycles, but I understand wanting to replicate her good traits. I applaud you for asking for advice. If breeding becomes a part of your horsey life, don't ever stop asking the kinds of questions that will make you a better breeder.

    I've become a bit bemused by these "I'm thinking of breeding my mare" threads. Yes, there is huge risk and not every mare is perfect. But everyone starts somewhere and the risks involved have been well laid out in this thread alone. We lament the lack of breeding/ bloodline knowledge and culture in the US, jealous of European families who've been breeding for (human) generations, yet we so frequently discourage the interested newcomer. Perhaps the OP will decide, having contemplated this thread, not to breed her mare. Certainly a fine decision. But perhaps she is embarking on something that will turn into the passion we breeders share, a passion that will evolve into a breeding program she'll be able to pass on to her children. Can we imagine that?
    Kendra -- Runningwater Warmbloods
    Home of EM Raleska (Rascalino/ Warkant) and Donatella M (Furstenball/ Jazz Time)
    'Like' us on Facebook


    • #42
      I read this thread and am wondering why I am able to get mortality insurance on my mare! You guys have had some terrible things happen. I'm sorry. I have watched breeders for years and seen one mare die (a couple foals). We are all colored by our experiences.

      I would suggest medical/mortality insurance if your mare isn't already insured, OP. You have just one to insure and I think it is a good idea (vs. many on here with many mares where it maybe doesn't work financially). I also agree it is probably going to be cheaper to buy what you want already on the ground. And that goes up if you are boarding off your property. But I'm not going to tell you not to do it.
      DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


      • #43
        I would love a foal from DD's mare. She has had a foal but also lost one at 7 months before we bought her. Then I think about not the expense but the possibility of her dying during labour or after labour as her dam did with her.
        Not worth it for me. We might look into ET for her but she will never carry a foal to term herself. Just too risky.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks to all who shared their experience. I've decided not to breed her - yes partly because I don't like the risks - particularly of losing her BUT also because of what a few posters said. I need to have a solid foundation of people - repro vet, supportive trainer, friends educated in breeding and a place where I was 100% confident in my mares care. It would be a lonely road to travel without the support of all these important people. Oh and yes my mare is insured trottrotpumkin - also thank you Runningwaterwb - that was a very nice post...


          • #45
            It sounds like you've put in a lot of thought to this, which is very wise of you. We've seen many hormonal mares have hormonal offspring, and their offspring, and so on. If you decide that you later really want to have the breeding experience, perhaps stack the deck in your favor with a different mare? Best of luck either way!
            Last edited by password; Mar. 16, 2013, 02:03 PM.


            • #46
              Originally posted by horse_crazyi View Post
              Thanks to all who shared their experience. I've decided not to breed her - yes partly because I don't like the risks - particularly of losing her BUT also because of what a few posters said. I need to have a solid foundation of people - repro vet, supportive trainer, friends educated in breeding and a place where I was 100% confident in my mares care. It would be a lonely road to travel without the support of all these important people. Oh and yes my mare is insured trottrotpumkin - also thank you Runningwaterwb - that was a very nice post...
              Aw, thanks! Congrats on your decision and best of luck with your mare.
              Kendra -- Runningwater Warmbloods
              Home of EM Raleska (Rascalino/ Warkant) and Donatella M (Furstenball/ Jazz Time)
              'Like' us on Facebook


              • #47
                I'm breeding my mare this spring. She has had 3 foals in the past, before I got her. All are doing beautifully and one even competed at Spruce Meadows. She is boarded with my trainer who has carefully bred and looked after her own foals and used to work at a breeding barn. I have a repro vet involved that is less than 5 minutes away and we got her pre approved for breeding by him. Lot of thought went into this. I've seen the results of horses that my trainer has worked with since foaling, every interaction with them is a training session and they are bomb proof. I found a stallion that had everything I want in temperament, athleticism, and conformation that would complement hers with the help of my vet and my trainer. I even have the person who will eventually start him/her picked out after seeing more than 20 of his started horses able to work quietly and willingly with all 3 gaits and a dead on stop. All the pieces are in place. But I'm still afraid and as the date for the breeding draws closer, I get more worried. I love this mare and I want nothing to happen to her. If she was maiden, I wouldn't do it. But she is a proven broodmare and her past owner has said she was the easiest mare to breed and foal she's ever had, so I have this history to lean on. I worry though. I say good luck to you. Be ready for every and any complication and make sure that in this economy you are financially secure. I'll be right there with you in the same boat.
                A horse will save me


                • #48
                  Originally posted by catzndogz22 View Post
                  Yikes! From the responses here, you'd think that 9 out of 10 equine pregnancies end in disaster and heartbreak. One poster even implied that 2 out of three pregnancies resulted in the death of the mother, foal, or both. (The Monty Hall problem is Statistics 101, but in the poster's example, you don't have the opportunity to choose the other door to improve your chances of a good outcome.)

                  I'm pretty sure the success rate is higher than that. Otherwise, there would be no horses for us to ride at all.
                  Believe you were referring to me. I was not in the least implying only 1/3 pregnancies are totally healthy. I was trying to give a gambling analogy that each breeding is a game of risk and you have no control over when those risks strike, because they will strike. 85% of the breedings result in happy foals (and that might even be a bit high, it might even be closer to about 75%). So, what happens to the other 15% (0r 25%)? These are the first term abortions, mid-term abortions, late-term abortions, the at-term stillbirths, and uber expensive complications. Some mares rupture things when they push that baby out. Some mares suffer nerve injuries that are permanent.

                  I can give some real-life risks though: When I was 15, I worked in a European Hanoverian facility. The risks following one career brood mare: First foal, a filly. Died at birth from foaling complications, nearly lost the mare. Mare got a year off. Second filly, fractured her pelvis as a yearling and was euth'd. 3rd foal, a colt. Was approved stallion. 4th foal, a filly. Couldn't stand for 2 weeks, through much rehab they finally got her standing and nursing, she went on to become FEI eventer. 5th foal - aborted. Mare hemorrhaged, nearly died. 6th foal, a colt. Approved stallion. 7th foal, colt. 2year-old licensed stallion, then broke his leg. 8th and last foal - filly, made it to 4 before nearly killing herself jumping out of her pen.

                  In my own small group since 2005 - I have had 1 foal go FEI dressage, 1 filly get nicely started under saddle, then somehow managed to puncture her knee capsule, 1 colt break a pastern bone a week after judges deemed him a stallion prospect, now a pasture pet, 1 colt born with red bag and had to be euth'd. One mare dropped dead after being bred to Briar. One mare hemorrhaged 12 Liters of blood post foaling and somehow managed to survive, and now I have one pregnant mare who became allergic to a vaccination and has nearly died. A friend of mine in the last 2 years has lost one mare, 2 pregnancies, and 1 yearling. Hmmm. So, you really think the stats are all that skewed to the negative?

                  When everything goes well, it's great and the vast majority of pregnancies and births are just fine. But, when they do go bad, they go very bad, very quickly... and bad can quickly descend into horrifying in just the right circumstances. You never know when Murphy decides today is your day, because when he's not visiting your farm, you know he's busy at someone elses. And that's just the facts of life.

                  Giving birth is the real deal when it comes to walking the line between life and death and it doesn't matter what species you are. People in 1st world countries have lost memory of just how serious the process is - because now for humans we have things like anesthesia, cesarean sections, and drugs to help the process and ease the pain and doctors to help with forceps or vacuum-assist when the woman gets stuck and let me tell you, since I work in healthcare, a LOT of women get stuck and need these interventions. Even still, a mother (of any species) in the throes of labor is walking a line. Literally. In humans, some 3rd world countries 1 in 100 women die during childbirth or complications following, let alone their babies, except the sub-saharan regions which are noted to be 1 in 6. Be thankful you live in Germany, UK, Canada, USA, and the like. In the USA, 9.1 women died per 100,000. But I guess the family that suffered the loss really doesn't care about the stats, hey? To them, it was a total loss.

                  With horse breeders, it is the same. It doesn't matter if you have 100 mares and 98 of them foal out safely - then you had to fight for 1 with everything you had, and 1 you totally lost. The one you lost pierces your heart. The one you had to fight for nearly bankrupted the farm. THAT is the message everyone is trying to get out.

                  I am not kidding around when I say BREEDERS TEND TO BE GAMBLERS. A breeder is accepting of the high stakes poker game they've committed to.
                  Last edited by rodawn; Mar. 16, 2013, 06:18 PM.
                  Practice! Patience! Persistence!


                  • #49
                    Also keep in mind that Depo makes it much more difficult to get a mare in foal and can do damage to the uterine tone. The competition mares I have had who lived on deppo for long periods of time were some of my most difficult and expensive to get in foal. I have used the ingectible regumate with great success; however, the 30 day must be shipped overnight so be prepared to buy many months at a time and keep in the refrigerator (and the 14 day shot gave 1 of my mares terrible reactions).
                    Expecting 2017 foals by Vagabond de la Pomme, Cornet Obolensky, Zirocco Blue, Catoki and Christian.


                    • #50
                      I would never breed a mare with these issues despite how lovely she looks.

                      Originally posted by horse_crazyi View Post
                      Thanks! I can see why people say not to breed - particularly the part about possibly losing the mare. Funny how you hear stories about horses accidentally breeding - producing some funky horse and everything turns out fine - foaling etc. Then you hear about horses who receive the ultimate care and bam something bad happens. I'm leaning toward not breeding but it is something I'll be sad if I never get to experience.

                      Anyway - what are people's experiences with breeding and helping with heat cycles? When in heat my mare show's very obviously - squirting, pinning ears, biting her sides etc. She's flaky to ride - spooky and difficult on the ground (will strike out - stallion like - when another horse is near). When not in heat she's manageable - but one must be careful as she'll fire out in the cross ties at neighbors and possibly try to kill other horses in the arena - it's a bit of a hit and miss as some days are worse than others. She is super sweet with humans (as long as no other horse is near) which is fantastic.

                      She is currently on weekly depo which "seemed" to be helping the first 5 days of the week - but I've noticed as we've moved closer to spring the depo seems to not be helping. She had an injection yesterday and today - squealing, kicking in her stall, pinning ears, trying to kick neighbors, spookiness. She has not pee'd so I'm not sure if she is possibly coming into season again. Vet has suggested up'ing the dose of Depo to fix the issue. Regimate is not an option as I will not handle it (particularly if I'm going to get pregnant) and my trainer will not have her people (even male grooms) touch it - period. So that's that....
                      Ladybug Hill--Hunters and Ponies
                      WWSD? (what would Suerte do?)