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Reproduction Bulletin Board » General Mare Questions - Volume 1 » Reproduction « Previous Next »

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Posted on Monday, November 27, 2000 - 02:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Can someone tell me the prime years to breed a mare? I am interested in buying a brood mare, but am not sure how old is to old. Thanks

Posted on Monday, November 27, 2000 - 02:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The "prime" years are from about 5 to 12. Many, if not most mares will however continue to be capable of having foals into their twenties.

Older mares tend to have more problems with delayed uterine clearance or a lower quality endometrium than do younger mares. Oocyte quality tends to be poorer also, which leads to a higher incidence of early embryonic death. This means that the amount of work involved in getting and keeping an older pregnant tends to be greater.

Posted on Tuesday, February 13, 2001 - 12:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I learned in my equine reproduction class (The University of Findlay - Findlay, Ohio) that a mare is considered "reproductively efficient" from age 6 years to 12 years. So, plus or minus a year, Jos is correct. The reasoning behind why is also accurate.

Heather (
Posted on Sunday, August 12, 2001 - 10:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I tried breed my 12 year old TWH mare to a 26 year old TWH. It was a live foal guarantee, and she didnt settle last year, so we were going to try again this year. I asked the guy if he has had his stud checked for fertility recently, and he said no because he had a yearling on the ground. Well, that makes the yearling conceived two years ago, which would be three this year, which is plenty of time for him to become sterile. He refuses to get his stud checked, so I wanted my money refunded. I am taking him to court for the stud fee now. I believe that if he is telling me I am getting a live foal guarantee, he should have his stud checked or give me my refund. It is a long trip each time to breed her if he is not certain of his stud's capabilities.
I am looking for any information that will help my case. I know I am doing the right thing, but want more to back me up. Do you have any info that will help me?

Kelly (
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 02:52 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Heather- You are absolutely correct. Chances are, his stud is not very fertlie, if at all. Do you have a signed breeding contract?

I have been an expert witness in many equine cases. He can be liable for all of you expenses, not just the stud fee. Hit him with every expense that you have incurred including boarding during the breeding seasons. What state are you in?

Ask him for the breeding records for the past 3 years. Check with the registry for stud reports and foal registation papers. Let him know that his vet will be call on for testimony. Have two or more expert witnesses ready on your behalf. They should be breeders or equine repro. specialists. You can look up many facts online to support your position. There are some good links and articles at the main board of this site.

Every competent breeder will have his stallion checked at the onset of breeding season. It is routine to take sperm counts, especially with an older stallion. They could also have been over breeding this horse. How many mares did they have booked, and how many did he actually settle?

A well written letter including all of this information should get his attention. If you give him a gracious way out, he should take it.

Heather (
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 02:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have heard you help many people here. I actually did write him a letter, several times, with no response on his part. I told him that I thought he owed me my fee back, or I would have to leave it up to the courts, and no response. So my court date is tomorrow. I am shakin in my booties, even though I know I deserve to win.
To my knowledge there were no other mares he was breeding. He hand bred her twice/day, and had her anywhere between 2-5 days. He had her I think for two cycles. As much as I know he could have not bred her at all! He blamed my mare, so I got her ultrasounded by one of the tops around here, and he said she is perfectly prepared for breeding.
I am from South Dakota.
He had a blue roan yearling out of his stud that I loved, and told me that if she didn't settle we could work the fee toward the purchase of the yearling. Well, when she didn't settle, and he wouldn't give me my fee, I asked about the yearling. He says now he is going to keep him on for his breeding program. The crazy thing is this: He had been trying to sell everything!! Including the old stud and the yearling, everything, but now he is staying in the business. He has been complete lies from the beginning!
Anyway, I better get to searching the site. If there is anything else you can do for me, please do so. It is time somebody stands up to this guy.

Kelly (
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 06:02 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Heather- It is a shame that this happened to you.

You can find breeding contracts online from the A.Q.H.A. site. Use them to show a standard in the business. I. E., live foal guarentees, etc. If you do not have a written contract, a verbal agreement of the standard should be accepted as well. He did not warn you that it wasn't. You expected the industries standards, this was implied by his promises and further guarenteed by his offer of the yearling. It is important that the judge understand that you were lead to believe that the stallion was able to successfully breed a mare. You were also lead to believe that all of the usual guarentees were implied. The offer of the yearling was additional "bait" for you to pay for this breeding.

I would print out breeding protocols as well. From mare coverage to sperm counts. Have the information ready.

You NEVER cover a mare twice in one day, NEVER. Not only will the mare most probably have an inflamation response, but that old stud would not be up to it. Even a young virile stallion can not service twice a day for long periods of time.

He obviously needs the yearling because his stallion is going sterile.

Have all of your vet bills, and feed or boarding fees, transportation costs, etc., ready to present to the judge. You are due those as well. You many not have kept this mare to breed, if you had known that it was useless. ( get it? )You could have sold her except that you wanted a foal. Now she is a year older and worth less money without a foal. You could ask for depreciation on her as well. He has wasted your time and time is money.

Good luck, stick to the points and do not get emotional. Do not react to that man, and speak directly to the judge. Have your points written down in order, and be specific and short in your answers. You have truth on your side, you will be alright.

Heather (
Posted on Monday, August 13, 2001 - 10:25 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I can't find in the AQHA where the breeding contract is. Help me!!
My father and I wrote up a list of expenses and we have him at $570. My father is one of the witnesses that says it was an LFG.
Hope to hear from you before I leave

Noble Knight (
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 05:12 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Heather, I assume you are hearing this case in small claims court. You can not call his vet to testify unless he agrees to do so. I think repro specialists are not feasible unless they are a friend doing a favor because they are usually paid for their time, probably a sizable portion of what you will be asking for. You must prove your case. The judge will probably ask some specific questions like:
Was it one cycle or two; Does or should the stallion owner have a second chance to cover the mare; What evidence do you have that shows the stallion is sterile, age is not evidence; Did you ask in advance if she didn't have a foal if you could get your money back; Do wild horses or pasture bred horses only breed once a day or they don't get pregnant; Do you really mean that you don't want this horse if she isn't pregnant and, if that's the case why didn't you sell her when you found out she wasn't pregnant;

Heather, be as honest and accurate as you can. Judges can see a lie or exaggerated story almost immediately. They also don't like plaintiffs asking for excessive amounts or what if's.

I think you have a strong case with merit on the ill manner in which this guy treated you by not answering your letters or trying to work the problem out. I don't think a judge will force you to do business with him (re breed) because he seems rude and insensitive. I would suggest that you ask for the stud fee, court costs and wages lost to be in court. DON'T ASK FOR ANYTHING MORE UNLESS YOU CAN PROVE THAT THIS GUY IS A LIAR AND A THIEF AND KNEW THE STALLION WAS STERILE. Unfounded accusations about the guy or his stallion will only make YOU look bad. Vet, travel, and boarding (he did provide boarding seemingly satisfactory) are incidental costs and are usually not awarded unless you can prove the loss by deceit or gross negligence. As far as damages for "I bought her to breed, she is not bred and is now worth less" is really out there and frankly sounds quite dishonest unless you are a serious breeding farm.

If this guy is promoting his stallion in any way, he should have had the stallions fertility checked before the breeding season. It's not required but it is the standard and good business. If he's a small breeder and hasn't had any problems he probably thought he had no need to after only one try, or was it two. I think you may have jumped the gun a little when you asked him for a fertility test after one try, not if it was two. Most contracts require the mare owner to submit a vet exam stating that the mare is healthy and able to breed after an unsuccessful free re-breed to the stallion before money will be returned.

I would suggest you approach the judge on these lines - I paid Mr. ** a stud fee of ** to breed my mare last year. We agreed that if she did not have a live foal I could use the fees paid towards the purchase of his colt. She did not settle and this year I questioned the fertility of Mr.** stallion and asked if I could use the fee to buy the colt. He refused and said that my mare was the cause so I had a vet check her and the vet said she is perfectly capable and healthy, here is the report. I tried to contact Mr ** and wrote letters to him with no response. Unfortunately it has ended up here and at this point I do not want to deal with Mr. ** and would like my money back.

I know you are nervous and probably madder than a hornet at this guy. Be strong and stick to your guns. Above all be honest, fair, and reasonable and you will prevail. I wish you well.

Kelly (
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 09:40 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

#1- This is the SECOND year that you have attempted to breed to this stallion. If he can not settle a mare, then ALL of your expenses of vet bills, travel etc., are due and owed to you on the basis that you were decieved.

#2- Age IS a factor. 26 is very old to be a fertile breeding stallion. Not impossible, but at that age, anyone with due diligence would have checked their stallion before entering into a "live foal" guarentee. Many horses are dead at that age.

#3- If your mare is insured, you can recover her cost, bases on past sales of foals and their prices. Therefore, a broodmare is valued for having babies. She is 12 years old, and every year that she is open is a cost that you can not recover. This would be very helpfull if she has had any foals that have been sold in the past.

#4- Horses are the least fertile of domesticated stock. You were not breeding a wild horse, it is a FACT that that a mare of her age is most likely to experience an inflamatory response that would endanger the viability of what sperm was there,( among other problems )if she were indeed breed twice per day for 5 days. This is a good point and you can back that up with articles on this site. To the judge, (who most probably does not know a whole lot about breeding) it would appear that this man was really trying to get your mare bred by doing so. You can turn the whole case around by proving that this method is unsound, and he obviously does not know what he is doing. He represented himself as competent to get this job done, and he isn't.

#4- It is possible that you could have sold this mare in foal for more money than if she were open. She could have had 2 foals by next breeding season by keeping her. Yes, you have lost money and the mare is now older and without a foal. It can be equated monetarily. You could have kept this years foal and sold this mare in foal this year. You never know what your situation will be, you may well decide by next year that you do not want a horse or a foal. It is about protecting the options that were taken from you by his deceit.

#5- Stick to the industries standard and you will prevail.

Good luck, just because you were not aware of all your choices and rights at that time, does not make you lie or are exaggerating, because someone had shown you now. I have yet to loose a case. Bring all the information that you have available to you and use it.

Heather (
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 08:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

To all of you who are wondering about the court case-I lost. Yep, the judge favored for him. I about blew a gasket, he was lying through his teeth, saying that he took us inside to look at pictures of his stud, claiming he never guaranteed to settle my mare. But how can there be a LFG if he doesn't guarantee stettling? Isn't that where it starts? If he guarantees a foal, doesn't that mean settling her first? He showed as evidence some sheet stating his views on breeding, ex. live foal, etc. I explained I had never seen anything of that sort, nor talked to him about this. He was rather rude. We never had a contract, just a verbal agreement. I was new at this when I went to him, and thought he knew what he was doing. Well, I learned much since then about the equine world, and he got his butt reamed about not getting a contract to me, since he was the professional. I found out he didn't get him checked because he had settled two mares after mine, which he never told me about, or even tried to. Well, I assume he settled them, but everything else was lies.
So thank you all for the help you gave me, I really do apreciate it.

Kelly (
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 09:46 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Heather- Now you know, if it isn't in writing, it wasn't said. This was a hard lesson. I wish that I could have been there with you!

I doubt that stallion settled anything. But, as you can see,"expert" testimony does have a bearing on things.

Consider it a lesson and move on. You will never be in this situation again. So many people think that they are "professionals" in the horse business. Things like this happen every day. Do not feel like you were at fault because he took advantage of you. But remember, nothing happens by mistake, this may be a blessing in disguise!

Heather (
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 10:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It was a great learning experience, and am glad I learned it. It could have been much more to lose, so I am thankful. I am moving on and purchasing a weanling quarter horse, and am seeking advice on training and feeding. Any advice here, or places to go to find out?
Thanks for everything.

Kelly (
Posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2001 - 11:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Feel free to contact me at I know a lot of people and I raise Quarter Horses myself. This time, have it your way!!

Ric (
Posted on Friday, October 05, 2001 - 10:28 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a mare that is due in January. I started her under lights last November, bred her in February and all has gone well. My question is: now that I have her foaling when I want her to, how do I keep her here? Will she automatically start her cycles after foaling or will she "shut down" until spring? If I need to use lights again, when should I start using them? My vet told me not to start using lights until she foals, but that seems a little too late. I have read a lot of information on how to get a mare to cycle early (and it was rather easy), I just have not found much on how to keep them foaling early. Feel free to contact me direct at Thanks.

Warren Faulk (
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 01:30 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Would appreciate any advice concerning producing
a hinny.

Kelly (
Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 - 12:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Warren- I train and breed horses, mules and Mammoth Jacks. The biggest problem is to find a stallion that will successfully breed a jenny. Because a jenny is built differently than a horse, many stallions do not like to breed them. Many horses do not even like the sight or smell of a donkey!I would suggest A.I.

With A.I., your chances are much better for conception. It is much easier to breed a jack to a mare. That is why there are more mules than hinnys. Is there any particular reason that you are wanting a hinny?

Michelle Sweeten (
Posted on Friday, June 07, 2002 - 03:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I am planning (1-2 years) on breeding my mare for a mule. I have never had a foal before, and neither has the mare for that matter. What are some things I can look for, any tips for breeding, getting the foal here,etc. I am breeding for a saddle mule.


Posted on Thursday, October 09, 2003 - 09:44 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Dumb question. I know mules are "sterile",
but can someone tell me why?? What makes them different? At the breeding farm I work at, a fellow brought his draft mule in for a pregnancy check. I was like yeah right. She is pregnant!! Due in February 2004...What's the deal?

Posted on Tuesday, October 14, 2003 - 09:35 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Horses and donkeys are like people and monkeys, genetically similar but different. Obviously horses and donkeys are a bit more similar that humans and monkeys, because they can procreate. I think it is the genetic differences that make the offspring know, they are similar enough to make offspring, but something goes haywire in the production of reproductive organs. I have heard of the rare instance where a fertile offspring is created, but it is a genetic mutation I would think, and certainly the exception, not the rule.
I saw a report on animal planet not too long ago about a "Liger", they crossed a lion and a tiger with mule like results. Beautiful cats, but sterile. What was more intersting was that they said in those species, I think it was the male tiger and the female lion whose genes controlled growth potential (I think that was it, although it may be the opposite...), so they crossed a male lion with a female tiger, and the resulting offspring were the largest cats in the world. It was pretty interesting...

Posted on Wednesday, November 19, 2003 - 03:58 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a 13.3 hand pony mare and a 17.2 hand stallion. My question is if I breed my mare to my stallion will she have trouble having the baby? Or will the baby's size be determined by the mother's size? Thanks

Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2003 - 12:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My understanding has always been that a mare will not produce a foal that is bigger than what she is capable of delivering. But I don't know how reliable that really is.

Posted on Tuesday, December 02, 2003 - 04:17 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I know of a farm in Maine that did the same thing. They had a 17.1 hand stud that they bred to a pony mare in hopes of producing a sport pony. He is on the studs video. That said, I would certainly worry. It is said that a mare will not grow a foal bigger than she can handle, but it is worrisome. No one ever wants a dystocia. I would probably be more worried about the baby outgrowing the mother while it should still be nursing!

Janet George
Posted on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 06:39 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"It is said that a mare will not grow a foal bigger than she can handle,"

My vet certainly does not believe that - he gets to deal with the nasty foalings when a foal is just too big to come out!

Everytime he sees one of my rather porky mares, he springs gloom and doom about fat mares with oversized foals - and getting them out in pieces!

So far (touch wood!) I have not had any problems but them my smallest mare is 15.2 to a 17 hh stallion.

I certainly would NOT risk such an extreme. Yes, some people may get away with it - but the ones that don't sure don't do around boasting about it!

And - of course - unless you use AI - there HAVE to be considerable physical risks to the mare in covering her with a huge stallion!

Posted From:
Posted on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 08:33 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I am trying to find out what the youngest age is for a foal to be breed. I am hoping that someone can help me. Thank you.

Liz H
Posted From:
Posted on Saturday, September 04, 2004 - 11:24 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Breeding a Foal? You must be kidding. Right?

I would not breed any mare who is not phyiscally and mentally mature.

You do not just breed a mare or filly because she is cycling. The fact that the filly/mare has started cycling is in no way and indication that she is ready to breed or that she should be bred.

Posted From:
Posted on Monday, December 06, 2004 - 11:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a crazy question. I had my vet out to check my mare to see if she was pregnant. I just bought her and they said there was a chance she was pregnant. Well anyway she did a rectal, and said "well she might be, her uterus feels bigger then it should." As she kept going she pulled her arm out and said she's not, she's open. I have no experience with Mares, she is my first, but she certainly looks pregnant and my farrier thinks she is. Can a vet make a mistake like that? Thanks for the help.

Posted From:
Posted on Tuesday, December 07, 2004 - 07:59 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I just bought a mare who was supposed to be open. She was vet checked at one month post breeding and the vet felt nothing. It is now 5 1/2 month later and when my mare was vet checked for pregnancy wellness exam ( since she supposedly didnt catch with the stallion last spring) she is 5 1/2 months pregnant!/. The vet can make mistakes! Ultrasound is the way to go !

Liz Hardy
Posted From:
Posted on Saturday, December 11, 2004 - 01:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ultrasounds can only go so far.

Once the fetus falls off the pelvic shelf you will not be able to confirm pregnancy by ultrasound

I think the time frame for this is between 90-120 days after which the fetus can not be seen by ultrasound til it grows much larger.

An Estrogen Assey test might be a better way to confirm pregnancy after 120days.

Posted From:
Posted on Monday, December 13, 2004 - 10:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A friend of mine had a vet miss a pregnancy with ultrasound at 16 days. It happened because the embryo was way up in the horn of the uterus and our vet is small! Even the previous taller vet almost missed finding the embryo of the mare's previous foal because of where it settled.

Renee (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted From:
Posted on Monday, April 25, 2005 - 08:07 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have just bought a mini mare that was i was told had been served by a lovely mini stallion (had run with him for a month). I had her preg tested at approx 35days from the date she was apparently taken out of his paddock, and she was empty. I was not too worried about this, as i have my own stallion, and although it is getting late in the season (AUS) i still have a chance to get her pregnant with him. I have been hand seving them, and i have noticed that the stallion is having trouble findng the vagina. He tries several times, but cant seem to get low enough or on the right angle, and i have had to direct him each time. He is a few inches taller than the mare, but i didnt think this should make the job so difficult. The vet told me that there was no reason that she shouldnt have settled to this other stallion, she is in good health and still cycling well. So i am presuming that the other stallion had the same problem. Is there any reason that this stallion would be having so much trouble? This is his first year at stud, but he hasnt had any problems with any of my other mares!?! I would love to know any input..

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