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Purchasing a mare with breeding rights retained by previous owner

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  • Purchasing a mare with breeding rights retained by previous owner

    I am interested in purchasing a mare that is a bit beyond my price range. The owner and I discussed a lower price with the owner having the option of getting a foal from the mare in the future. I am interested in the mare as a riding horse but would hope to breed her at some point in the future. I am an experienced small breeder and have produced premium foals. The mare is very good breeding stock and I am comfortable with managing a broodmare and foal but I have only bred my own mare and then sold the foals when they were on the ground. I am wondering if others have made this kind of arrangement when purchasing a horse. I'd like to know how it worked out. Do you think that this can be a win/win situation or is it likely to turn into a losing proposition for one of the parties involved? Input would be appreciated as I am not sure that I am considering all of the pluses and minuses. I realize that the request to put the mare in foal could come at an inopportune time but aside from that, is there anything else I should be thinking about? As well, how do you write this up as part of the sales contract?

  • #2
    1) insure the mare
    2) There needs to be a time frame spelled out
    3) spell out who is paying what breeding fees and expenses for this mare

    I think it COULD be good for all if the owner gets a foal back and you get a mare out of your pricerange that you really want.
    Personally I would want to get the breeding part out of the way sooner than later. Get her, breed her and be done with the strings attatched. If she turns up subfertile you know now too. If this is a breeding to be collected down the road when the current owner decided they want a foal it could be so long she is infertile, or in the middle of when you decide you want to be showing her.....all kinds of things to go wrong.
    Best case scenario: owner breeds her, you foal her out and then return the foal or owner breeds her/gets a foal and you get the mare after she foals out. Least room for things to go wrong that way.....
    I have seen mares sold with owner retaining the foal often enough but not a mare sold with a "down the pike" breeding FWIW...........
    Providence Farm


    • #3
      My answer in one word is "no". What happens if she wants the first foal and the mare dies, what happens if she dies before she gets her first foal. I guess you can spell things out, but trying to enter this type of contract this month and all the loopholes me and the new owner found, in the end it was just not something anyone could be comfortable with. I know as a mare owner, I'd just want to own the mare. If the mare came to you in foal and she wanted that foal. That would be something and maybe less complicated. Is she going to pay all breeding costs, stud fee, vet, etc? Are you out the care when the mare is in foal. What if the foal is stillborn or she looses it, do you then lose two years use of the mare? I'll stop now.
      Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
      Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
      & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt


      • #4 done it several times - but usually just with broodmares, We agree when the mare can be bred for the seller - within a certain time frame. If the mare is in foal for the seller, there must be insurance and you must be the beneficiary. Decide who will pay vet expenses other than repro work, and for what ( what if she needs colic surgery, etc) ET is also a possibility - but again, set a time frame. The seller must pay all expenses associated with breeding

        In my contract, if the mare dies before she can be bred, the seller does not get any money back for her unused breeding and if she cannot use the breeding in the set period, she loses it also.


        • #5
          I would think if all the I's are dotted and the T's crossed it could work out for both parties.
          Insuring her would be a must.
          I think an ET would be a great way to go as well, it wouldn't effect the mares training as much as taking off 18 months to have and raise a foal.
          If everyone is on the same page I think it could be a good arrangement and a way for you to get a top quality broodmare that you might not have been able to afford.
          Good Luck
          Worth A Shot Farm
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          • #6
            Another word: never !
            I am not responsible for spelling misstacks - just my PC
            2017: March: Filly by Lissaro - SPS Don Frederico - SPS Prince Thatch
            May: Finnigan - Sandro Hit - SPS Rouletto


            • #7
              Two words: never ever!!!

              Dealing with horse people is hard enough as it is. Trying to set up a bullet proof contract for breeding purposes or whatever you can come up with is not a good idea.

              I'd go for another mare if I were you.
              In riding a horse we borrow freedom!

              Photography by. Eventing Photo and my fun farm at YouTube


              • #8
                has anyone ever done this before?
                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


                • #9
                  Yes. I've sold mares and retained breeding rights. My wife has frequently done this with dogs she's sold too.

                  Ensure you have a contract that is very specific about such as giving notice for when the option might be called upon, how often and costs, insurance, compensation or alternative for temporary loss of use etc.

                  For the buyer it's a way to get a discount or a reward for having such as a high value performance or well bred horse and to be associated with it and what it produces. Often the new owner would take either a discount on the purchase price at the start of the association and sometimes also a %age fee from the sale of the foal if that ever comes about. Sometimes the mare may return to it's previous owner and be paid for whilst it's foaling. That's what I've done in the past when the option has been called on with a mare. So again, that needs to be clarified. Additional benefit is also that the new owner gets to guaranteeing stay in contact and have the support of the old owner. Obviously this is only an advantage if the old owner is reputable and knowledgeable. It also should be taken as an indication that in the opinion of the current owner, this horse is worth wanting an interest in.

                  For the seller it's a way to ensure there's a degree of control about what is done with the mare. Often "breeding terms" state that the old owner decides what stallion is used. So the seller might well be considering said mare as part of a long term breeding strategy but doesn't have to hang on to it and can sell it if there's still an option of getting one of it's offspring sometime in the future.

                  When I dispersed my stud farm due to my cancer treatment, I sold quite a few with retained breeding options. I wanted to retain options on mares that I'd put decades into producing and some which were from lines that my father and grandfather had before me. I didn't want to lose the lines and hoped that I would be in a position to continue later. In the meantime though, these were high level performance mares and to have them turned out to grass whilst I was in hospital for over 6 months and then ill for a further 5 years would have been such a waste. So I let them go but got the chance of having a foal back. However we have also sold and retained breeding rights which in effect is only to prevent breeding the horse or dog without permission. That sort of thing happens when a breeder might be concerned to protect their reputation. Prevents indiscriminate and ill thought breeding of young stock which in time gets touted around with a "This came from ........"

                  I don't know what the intended terms and conditions are for this mare but it's really important to have them clearly defined from the start.
                  Last edited by Thomas_1; Feb. 1, 2009, 05:23 AM.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by alexandra View Post
                    Another word: never !
                    Ditto. I like a clean transaction, no strings attached. Suppose you try to breed her and she doesn't take? Were you planning to stipulate in the contract how many tries would be acceptable before you would be released from that obligation? What if the mare loses the foal, or dies herself due to a pregnancy / foaling complication? And don't forget the mare would be effectively on maternity leave for much of her pregnancy and through weaning - that is 1 year +.
                    Roseknoll Sporthorses


                    • #11
                      I personnally would do it and try to draft up the best contract possible and hope for the best.

                      But I am also in the starting stages of my breeding program and thus in no position to just say "the heck with it, I'll give you $10K++ for the mare instead".

                      I can totally see from this point of view that sometimes, we, the ones with not-so-deep-pockets, have to deal with a higher level of risk in order to get to the next level...
                      Breeding & Sales
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                      • #12
                        Don't do it!

                        I've done this before, and it was a nightmare. We were in desperate need to move some horses due to a major financial crisis, and I agreed to do this (per a friend's suggestion) against my better judgement. I wrote out a VERY specific contract, had the mare insured, and agreed that if the new owner would provide me with two foals (by stallions of my choice) within a five year period (and I got to pick when), the mare would be hers. The new owner was to pay for the insurance and for all of the mare's health, farrier, vet care. We had paid the first insurance premium, we wanted her covered before she shipped out, and we were the beneficiaries if the mare were to die before we'd received our foal, and it stated in the contract that the new owner was to reimburse us for that premium. It took her TEN months and a lot of nasty emails for her to reimburse us. By then the next premium was due (which she was to pay for) and any trust between the two parties had been destroyed. Due to the many things my family was dealing with at the time, it wasn't worth pursuing in small claims, and we GAVE the horse away.
                        Fade to Grey Farm
                        Eventing, Foxhunting & Connemaras


                        • #13
                          a third....never! I don't want to own anything that is not completely mine. I have purchased a stallion from someone who wanted to retain breedings and I was unwilling to do that. so we agreed ( in writing) on a set price for breedings should the stallion remain a stallion and be offered for outside breeding. that seemed to work. maybe you could do something similar say...first foal offered for public sale a a specific price. a bit more complicated but maybe some version of that could work for you. good luck!


                          • #14
                            I bought a mare I am still competing with that had a clause in the purchase contract regarding retained breeding. There is a time frame involved plus it can be vetoed but us the current owner if it interfers with her competition schedule.

                            I don't think the old owner will ever cash in as she has fibro myalgia and is selling off all her other horses at the moment.

                            As long as this mare (now 14, purchased at age 8) is sound for competing, she won't be bred by us either. Once she is finished competing, there is a long line of people wanting her for broodmare status. We've no intentions of ever breeding her as she doesn't fit into our breeding program but does fit well into our competition program (partially exclusive programs).
                            Check out our horses at

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                            • #15
                              the owner of my mare tried to add this to the sale and I told her "That's like selling a car and still expecting to drive it."
                              She dropped that and I bought the mare.

                              It was a dealbreaker for me.
                              3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375 10582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706 79821480865132823066470938446095505822317253594081 284811174502841027019385.....


                              • #16
                                I personally wouldn't want any strings attached. There are way too many "what if's." If it is a really motivated seller, and one willing to barter price, I'd think there would be a way to reach an agreement without the strings.

                                Figure out the costs....breeding rights, one would be paying for OVER a year of board+medical+farrier+misc on this mare while she cooks, delivers, and mothers the other persons foal. What if something happens to the mare during this time, OR the foal? Are you expected to give up another year + if she loses the foal to rebreed? Once you can put a number on this, say bare minimum 300/month board (or whatever) for 16 months + 500 medical/farrier (again low end) you are at $5300. Is she willing to knock THAT much off the price? And again, that is the LOW end of what it would cost you out of pocket for this "deal"
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                                • #17
                                  I'm still saying no and would like to tell you what happened after I paid a rider to try out my horse with a future career as a showjumper in mind. I drove my horse to his stable I paid accomodation and all other costs but after two weeks he decided my horse wasn't talented enough for him and told me to come get the horse.

                                  I sold of my horse and two years later when my former horse was at his peak and competed international eventing (!) the first rider called me up and told me I had to pay him money cause he made my horse what it now had become!
                                  The same guy that told me my horse had no talent didn't react until the horse was in the hands of an Olympic rider and did more than well in eventing. I told him to go xxxx himself and this is how this story ends. Still he did try to cheat me and with some other person he might have been able to do that.

                                  My point is that this is how people work when they see an opportunity arise. Considering the legal system you guys have I wouldn't dare to put myself at risk entering an agreement in purchasing a mare with breeding rights or the other way around.
                                  In riding a horse we borrow freedom!

                                  Photography by. Eventing Photo and my fun farm at YouTube


                                  • Original Poster


                                    Thank you so much for your very thoughtful replies. The posters here certainly raised some important points to consider. I recommended that the seller follow the thread as I have. We have come to an agreement that does not include breeding rights. If the little sweetie passes the prepurchase vetting, she will be on her way to me. I am beside myself with excitement!


                                    • #19
                                      Congratulations! I also agree that it is preferable to have no strings attached. As everyone else has pointed out, there are so many things that could go wrong (mare has difficulty getting in foal, mare loses foal, sick foal, mare dies...). Plus, what if you agreed to do this and then something in your financial/personal situation were to change and you either couldn't follow through or needed to resell the mare?


                                      • #20
                                        I agree with everyone else that I wouldn't enter into this sort of situation with a stranger.

                                        However, when a mare I bred became available at what was an extremely inconvenient time financially for me, this is the agreement we came to. I paid some cash, and I owe a foal back. But the seller is a dear friend, we have a long history of sharing resources, and alternatives are available if plan "A" doesn't work out for whatever reason.