How To Breed A Horse

Breeding a horse means arranging for your horse to do the deed with a horse of the opposite gender, or for your horse to be inseminated.

Basically, breeding your horse is getting your horse pregnant (if it’s a mare), or allowing your horse to get another horse pregnant (if you have a stallion), so that little baby horses (foals) can be made. 

How to breed a horse

If you own a mare, it essentially consists of arranging for the right stallion to impregnate her, so that she becomes pregnant and has a foal.

It might seem like quite a simple thing, but there’s actually a lot to think about, especially because breeding usually involves choosing the right horse, in order to get the best possible foal down the line. 

Although it seems like all you have to do is let two horses loose on each other, you need to take a lot of different factors into consideration, especially the health of the mare, and whether it is the right time.

After all, many things can go wrong in a pregnancy, and the same goes for pregnancy in horses! You want to be careful, and make sure that everything is safe and under control. 

If you want to know exactly how to breed a horse, specifically, your mare, then keep reading. We’re going to guide you through the process, with everything you need to take into account!

How to breed a horse

The Step-By-Step Process For Breeding A Horse

The process of breeding your horse can be different, depending on the way you are going about it. After all, there are different methods! However, we will give you the general steps for the standard way of breeding a mare. 

Here is what to do, on a general basis: 

Determine Whether The Mare Is Okay For Breeding

The first thing you need to do, before you even start thinking about breeding your mare, is checking her health to determine whether she’s okay for breeding or not.

What is her overall health like? What condition is she in? Is she up to date on vaccinations and veterinarian checks?

Has she had any severe injuries or illnesses? Make sure to check everything! If your mare isn’t healthy and in good condition, then she can’t be bred, as it would be far too dangerous for her. 

The other thing you need to check is whether she’s at the right age for breeding. Although a mare can start breeding at 18 months of age,

it is best to let them fully grow and develop before they breed. Usually we would recommend waiting until the mare is three or four years of age. 

And if the mare is quite old, consider whether it is even worth trying to breed her, as the older the mare is the harder it will become for pregnancy to be successful. 

Arrange A Breeding Soundness Examination

When it comes to breeding your mare, you 100% have to get your trusted veterinarian involved.

In fact, before procedures are set in place, you should book a breeding soundness examination, so that the vet can check that the reproductive system is in order, and that there are no concerning problems to be found. 

This examination is vital to evaluate whether there might be any problems or complications with a pregnancy for this particular mare, so don’t skip it! 

If there are problems, then talk to the veterinarian about possible solutions, or think about breeding a different horse instead. 

Analyze Your Mare’s Cycles And Track Ovulation

In order to successfully get your mare pregnant on the first try or two, it is important to time it well.

This means that you have to start tracking the mare’s cycle, to figure out when your mare is ovulating, and therefore when is the best time to bring the stallion over or go through the insemination. 

Your veterinarian will be able to help you with identifying the right signs and keeping track of things! Ideally, the best time of year to breed a mare is June, July, and August. This way, the foal will be born in May or July, 11 months after the pregnancy begins.

How to breed a horse

Contact A Breeder And Set A Date

Once you figure out the optimal time for breeding your mare, it’s time to set a date. For this, you will have to contact the breeder that you are using, whether it’s a stallion that is going to be brought over, or an artificial insemination procedure. 

Make sure to have everything ready beforehand, and to have gone through all of the important information with the breeder in question. 

Check For Pregnancy

After the artificial insemination, or after the mare has come into contact with the stallion, it’s time to check for pregnancy. With a stallion, it is worth having them together for a couple of days, so that there is a higher chance due to repetitive encounters! 

The veterinarian will be able to tell you whether the mare is pregnant or not. If she is, then you proceed to the next step. If she isn’t, you will have to try again, waiting until she is in heat once more. 

Care For Your Pregnant Mare

If your mare is pregnant, make sure to talk to your veterinarian about any special care, or any special dietary needs. It might be that you have to supplement her food with something extra! 

But as a general rule, you can treat the mare as normal for the first two thirds of the pregnancy, and she can even be ridden. It is during the last third of the pregnancy that she will need special treatment and care, to ensure everything goes smoothly. 

Have A Veterinarian On Call For The Labor

Make sure to know what to look out for, so that you can notify your veterinarian upon the first signs of your mare going into labor. Don’t intervene, and make sure that your mare feels comfortable and safe, undisturbed. 

Things To Consider When Breeding A Horse

Here are some things that you should consider when breeding a horse, with aspects that you need to plan beforehand and prepare for: 

  • The breeding method (you will have to choose between using a stallion to impregnate the mare, or using artificial insemination) 
  • The cost! You have to pay to breed your mare, and there are different expenses such as the veterinarian examinations and interventions, the artificial insemination or stallion used, and more! 
  • The date and time! You have to plan ahead for breeding, contacting whoever needs to be contacted so that the procedure can be arranged and organized in a smooth way.
  • Make sure that your mare is in good health throughout the entire process! Always have a veterinarian on call, just in case, and make sure you are paying attention to the behavior of your mare, to ensure nothing is wrong. 

Final Thoughts

Breeding a horse might seem as easy as “mare meets stallion, and a baby foal is created”, but in reality, there is a lot of planning, and many different things to consider!

From ensuring that the mare is in good health, to choosing the right method, to tracking the mare’s ovulating cycle…and much more! 

Make sure to plan everything ahead, and to talk things through with your trusted veterinarian.

Catherine McDowl
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