Breeding your mare for profit or for personal use is a huge undertaking both financially and physically. If you are thinking about breeding your mare this year, here are a couple of things to consider before the deed is done.
Once you have decided to breed, you must think of all of the potential cost. Have you prepared for the financial burden that you are about to undertake? There are a few categories to think about when trying to determine the complete cost of breeding. There is the stud fee which can range between $500 and $5,000 depending on quality of the stud. Next there are breeding fees, including veterinary fees, semen collection, and shipment if you choose to utilize artificial insemination. You also have to plan for the total cost of caring for the mare throughout gestation and the cost of the foal after birth. They both will need vaccines, farrier services, and deworming. After that if the foal is for personal use, you will not have to worry about auction or selling fees, but if this foal is for profit that will need to be included in your budget.
After preparing your financial plan, you will need to assess your mare. Does your mare have the ability to get pregnant and maintain a foal throughout the entire gestational period? To make sure you will need to perform the multi step breeding soundness exam to ensure that her body is fully equipped and healthy enough to safely carry a foal to term.
Once you know that your mare is able to foal, you can start to evaluate what stud is right for your situation. Many people often want to try and breed for color as the first priority. However, you should prioritize structural correctness and breeding for soundness to obtain a healthy foal. Another factor to look for when selecting the stud and a broodmare is temperament. Temperament is often overlooked, but is an important factor in determining how well your mare will do during pregnancy, and it will be a good indicator of the foal’s temperament as well.
Consider why you are breeding this particular mare? Is it because you are looking for something specific in a riding horse? If that is the case then your best option might be to purchase a horse instead. There are many horses that are of good quality that go unwanted and then possibly fall into the wrong hands and are neglected. Instead of breeding your mare and bringing another horse into this world, you may be better off saving another. Chances are it will not be exactly what you are looking for, but it could be close enough, and certainly less costly than breeding.
If you are still set on breeding your mare here are several articles that go into detail about cost and knowing when your mare is ready to be bred.
Financial Success in Breeding:
Breeding Soundness Exam: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/12623/shed-ready-breeding-soundness-exam