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More pasture breeding questions. Update 5-16-13

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  • More pasture breeding questions. Update 5-16-13

    As our preferred breeding season approaches (we had snow one week ago!) we are considering pasture breeding our new-ish TB stallion. He is a "maiden" as are the mares we are going to breed. He is well socialized with a QH pony companion and none of the mares are known to be hostile...but still, I'm worried.
    Soooo - do those of you who PB do any sort of leg protection on the stud, wrap mare tails, "tranq" either of the horses, hand breed the first time?? Suggestions welcome. We have always live covered (TB's, you know), but have always hand bred. PB would be soooo much easier if it works. Thanks.
    ***********
    Well today was the day. The only non-maiden mare has been in a good heat for 3+ days and the temp today with drizzle was quite pleasant...as opposed to freezing/snow two weeks ago or 91degrees two days ago!! We teased the mare (stud's first touchy/feely) and he was very interested (giddy), but polite and well mannered. We hand bred them once (he was dead accurate on the first try!) then since both were so "cool" with the whole deal, we just turned them loose in a "safe" 4 acre paddock. They spent the best part of the afternoon breeding, but between times, they grazed side by side. At evening feed (stud always comes in at night at this time of year) we fed them both in the pasture with their own buckets and when the mare finished, she came to help the stud finish his feed...then they went back to grazing and picked at their hay. So all in all it was a VERY successful experience considering that they are both Thoroughbreds !! I think we'll add another mare tomorrow!!
    Last edited by crosscreeksh; May. 16, 2013, 10:14 PM. Reason: word deleted
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

  • #2
    We pasture breed a couple of our stallions, but I would not put maiden mares with a maiden stallion. I would first put him with a mare that can teach him the ropes so to speak. Then if all goes well and he minds his manners, you could introduce the maidens to the mix. Sometimes, however, if you have more than one mare in with the stallion, they will gang up on him and keep him away from a mare he is trying to cover. You will have to monitor the situation to see how they dynamics work. My stallions love living with their mares so it can be a happy situation. Best of luck!!
    Quicksilver Farms, LLC
    "Welsh Hunter Ponies"
    Welsh Sec. B Stallions and
    Fancy Show Pony Prospects
    www.quicksilverponies.com

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by quicksilverponies View Post
      We pasture breed a couple of our stallions, but I would not put maiden mares with a maiden stallion. I would first put him with a mare that can teach him the ropes so to speak. Then if all goes well and he minds his manners, you could introduce the maidens to the mix. Sometimes, however, if you have more than one mare in with the stallion, they will gang up on him and keep him away from a mare he is trying to cover. You will have to monitor the situation to see how they dynamics work. My stallions love living with their mares so it can be a happy situation. Best of luck!!
      "THAT" would be a good plan....however...I sold my two super EZ mares last year...the kind who just flat LOVED to be bred!! My only other older mare can be a witch!!! Not for a newbie at all, so I am left with only young mares. I have one mare who was "accidently" bred when the mares got out of their pasture...the ISH stud jumped his gate and was found grazing peacefully among the mares. DH never even mentioned the event to me until 11 months later the obese mare was checked in foal!!! Neither mare nor stud had a mark on them, so I guess beginner's luck won out. All the mares are very mellow and fell madly in love with a gelding pony that was in their pasture last year. I don't plan to put the stallion with the mares, but select an "in heat" mare and put them in a neutral pasture. See how that goes, then add another mare. Never a whole pack of mares at once. Do you wrap the mare's tail?? We always wrap and wash the vulva, but obviously that is not possible after the first cover.
      www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
      Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by crosscreeksh View Post
        Do you wrap the mare's tail?? We always wrap and wash the vulva, but obviously that is not possible after the first cover.
        No wrapping, washing, or leg bandages -- we just get out of the way! With my first stallion who was older and socialized but had never been bred, we did do some collections and hand breeding before a mare came along who was a good candidate for pasture breeding, and they sorted it out fine. My second stallion came to me as an already experienced pasture breeder.

        I guess if I had a maiden stallion and the opportunity, I might want to hand breed him the first time or two, just so we can get over the silliness and make sure he knows which end is which before he's on his own.
        Originally posted by HuntrJumpr
        No matter what level of showing you're doing, you are required to have pants on.

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks for that info!! I'll probably wait for the "oops" mare to come in and hand breed her. At least ONE of them will know what to do!! The good news is that the stallion is very well mannered and easy to handle. He has learned from the pony what a squeal and a tail swish means!!!
          www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
          Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

          Comment


          • #6
            We always hand breed the maiden mares first, then if they seem OK with that we will let them live together. If you are breeding several, it works better to let the mares have their herd established before the stallion is introduced. But do some hand breeding first so the poor guy knows what to do.
            Patty
            www.rivervalefarm.com
            Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts

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            • #7
              I would agree to do first few as hand breeding - for above stated reasons but also because maiden stallions sometimes need help to find the right spot. If they don't find it on their own they can get frustrated and discouraged. Sounds silly but very true. So you essentially need 3 people - mare handler, stallion handler and a "helper" for the just in case.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by _SSM_ View Post
                I would agree to do first few as hand breeding - for above stated reasons but also because maiden stallions sometimes need help to find the right spot. If they don't find it on their own they can get frustrated and discouraged. Sounds silly but very true. So you essentially need 3 people - mare handler, stallion handler and a "helper" for the just in case.
                After breeding TB's for over 30 years...DH...the Stallion "man" doubles as our helper!! Some TB stallions...especially the older "OT boys" can be dumb as a post!! I think our new boy has a good grip on anatomy, but we still plan to hand breed a few times.
                www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                Comment


                • #9
                  First the risk for the stallion is always huge...that is why it is not done much. The stallion can die. The stallion could have a fractured leg or damaged reproductive organs...a long list of terrible things can happen...they are not looking out for their health when first presented with a herd of mares. We put a stallion out with a herd of 10 mares. He was kicked very hard a couple times before he learned the mares are not so helpless and they are not just a big butt to jump. This stallion is 17.2 hands with 11 inches of bone...a big tough guy. He was kicked hard enough to permanently lame him if it would have been on the knee. He also ran a couple non-dominant mares down though other than that he injured no mares. He was exhausted...he bred 10 mares in 2 weeks and all were in foal. All the time with the mares some stallions often will eat nothing or very little and will drop all their weight. It was not pretty. We established the mares herd weeks in advance. Trimmed feet etc becuse you were not going to micro manage while the stallion was out as it is too dangerous. We brought the big dominant mares into heat before turning him out so half the herd was in heat. On the plus side half of these mares were over 20 years old and were not so easy to get or keep in foal. They were all in foal by the second week we believe and with the stallion with them for 3 months the difficult mares hung on to their pregnancies. This year presented with his first in hand collection...he was a bully for the first collection last year...he was a gentleman...even on the shy side. The mares taught him fear. He will be better, more subtle, this year as they do learn a lot but he will still be kicked and bullied by the mares and some will love him. Perhaps what you really want to do is pasture cover your mares individually. The risk is there but the mares herd dynamic is taken out of the equation. If you are worried about your stallion that is good becuse it is something to be afraid of. It is also dangerous for you to manage the herd...stay out of the pasture...let them be. It can be much worse than going out in a big herd with an apple everyone wants and are willing to kick for...people become pretty puny. It is scarey. PatO

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks Pat. I do understand all of these risks. Of six broodmares...we only plan to breed 3, maybe four and will NOT be just turning the stud loose with them to fend for himself!! We will take all precautions possible, but I was asking if there was more we could do. I (mare handler for the past 30+ years) was almost killed by a client mare last year. She was an older mare who had always been bred LC. She was vet checked ready to ovulate...teased "ready" and stood like a statue until the "very polite" ISH stud went to mount. I had a lip chain on her and when the stud raised up, she struck me with her front feet, knocked me to the ground and trampled all over me as she left the area!! Kudos to Seattle Blues...HE did not run over me, but backed right off and stood. Long story short...with heavy sedation by a vet and every technique we had ever used...said mare was sent home unbred!! According to the previous covering stallion's owner... that behavior was "normal"!! Soooo we are not breeding ANY outside mares anymore and are looking toward a safer way for all concerned to accomplish the act of breeding only our own well handled mares. I was just looking for "insider" advice from others with more PB experience on additional precautions that could be taken.
                    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                    Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a bit of a different take on this; I would hand breed the stallion to one of the more laid back submissive mares then leave him with her in a separate pasture to figure out mare heat and when NOT to annoy a mare.

                      I would introduce him to the whole rest of the herd when they are NOT in season so he is not highly interested in pushing in with them: if some are in heat and others are not, they will protect their herdmates from 'the stranger' and he could suffer severe injuries if he has raging hormones; the herd could end up demolishing your fencing in running battles, etc. how big are your pastures - 20 acres is not too small for a new stallion to avoid being attacked or allow the mares some distance from him.

                      How large a harem will he need to deal with? More than 4 with a novice stallion and older, tough maiden mares will wear him to a frazzle with all the infighting, or jealousy and he may just 'pick one' and ignore the rest and there goes your breeding season.

                      Removing a herd sire from his harem later can be a problem, too. Worse than weaning foals!

                      I'd be sure on the turnout day whenever it is, that you have a way to run horses into smaller catch areas in case something goes seriously wrong - condition the mares to come into a smaller paddock to eat a grain meal, for instance. And keep a watch on them for about 4 hours with several people handy on the gates.

                      All this precaution may be unnecessary and he will move into the herd and be welcomed all around; I'd rather not be sorry I didn't do something when it comes to 1,000 pound valuable horses.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        I added an update to the OP.
                        www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                        Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just wanted to say, congrats on the success of your pasture breeding introduction. We do both pasture breeding and hand breeding with our stallion. Sort of the same situation as you, in that I doubt we will be doing much if any, outside mares. We KNOW our mares and how they react, and now into our second year, we KNOW our stallion too. I'm often alone at the farm when it's time to cover mares, since my husband works long hours at his job. We would either have to hire someone tohelp me, or we do what we did, and pasture breed. TBs are wonderful in my opinion.

                          Sheila

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Old age, old bodies (ours) and busy schedules made the PB option appealing if not a bit scarey for us. I spent a lot of sleepless nights pondering this option as well as thinking of all the worst case scenarios. The main problem was that we didn't really know how any of the horses would act. The stud is a maiden and we've only had him 1.5 years and all but one of the mares is a maiden. We used to have "known" stock...horses we had owned for a lifetime. NOTHING went wrong, though!! The stallion was amazing for a "first timer". Seemed to have read up on the matter and didn't get stupid, frustrated or aggressive. The mare settled right in and I fed them at the fence last evening instead of bringing the stud in the barn. I checked them before bed last night and they were quietly grazing. When DH fed breakfast...they came right to their correct tubs and ate. Today they have grazed, stood in the run-in shed and just hung out. PERFECT story. Hope the other mares are as good.
                            www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
                            Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma

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