There are many things to consider before breeding a mare, and horse owners should invest a significant amount of time in weighing the pros and cons of such a decision. There are both good and bad reasons to breed, and owners must honestly analyze how realistic bringing a new foal into the world is for their individual situation.

Responsible breeders carefully consider multiple factors when selecting horses for breeding. These include health, soundness, conformation, athletic ability or performance history, disposition, and pedigree. Not all horses should be bred.

The costs associated with breeding are numerous. The stud fee, which can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, is only part of the overall picture. Many of the costs associated with breeding are incurred beforehand.

Owners should pay particular attention to obtaining proper medical care for their mare. A veterinarian should conduct a thorough exam of the mare to ensure that she is physically healthy enough to possibly withstand the stress of pregnancy and motherhood. Even during an uneventful and otherwise “normal” pregnancy, the mare requires regular checkups in addition to her regular vaccination and deworming schedule.

Her feed and water intake levels will also increase over the course of the pregnancy, so owners should be prepared to absorb the increased cost of feeding and/or the increased cost of boarding. In addition to the veterinary costs for the mare, many newborn foals will require specialized medical care during the first few weeks of life which may also be costly.

Owners should truthfully examine exactly why they want to breed their horses. It can be very difficult to make a profit on the sale of a foal, as the initial investment in breeding and raising it often outweighs what the animal will be worth to others. And owners should consider what they will do with an offspring if they are unable to sell it, including the training involved to be able to increase its chances of marketability in the future. Owners may even want to consider microchipping options in an effort to create a safety net for that horse in the future.

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