Breeding my 28" maiden mare

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Connie P

Well-Known Member
Dec 1, 2002
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Armada, Michigan
I have a gorgeous 28" black and white homozygous mare (Scott Creek Whirlwind) in avatar, that I so want to breed to my 31" pretty refined overo stallion (Magic Mans All Izon Me). I really think they would create a spectacular foal.

She is a maiden mare and I am just SO afraid. I am really looking for others peoples experiences with breeding the tinies. I know there are no guarantees when you breed period.

I am SO paranoid that something horrible will happen to her.

I could always take her to the university when she is ready to foal and if something goes wrong they could just go ahead and do a c-section.

Please share your experiences with tinies.
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You really need to look at the background of the stallion. Do you know if he has small in his background? Also look at the she big boned or small and refined?

I would be afraid to breed 31" with big in the background to a 28"refined mare whether a maiden mare or experienced mare. jmho
Hey Connie the way I've been taught about this is to consider the width of the horses, not just the height. Consider the heaviness of the bone of both horses. The three inch difference in height would come into play (for me anyhow) but moreso I'd look to see if the mares overall bone structure was thicker than the stallion. For instance I have a small maiden mare (31.25) but she is built like a brick sh*t house.....she's old quarter horse style, wide front end and huge hip, and thick thick think large boned so even though she is small as in height, I bred her because my stallion's bone structure is ultra fine boned. To convince me more, I went back into the sire and dam's history and grandsire and grandam's history to check on them also cause I am a worry wart.
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I know MANY people have positive experiences, but my one and only experience with breeding such a small mare was a total disaster for me, and enough so, that I swore I would never own such small mares again, even though I would love to! Dystocias can happen with any size mare, but I feel it is less likely to happen with a little larger mare...just my thoughts, and nothing scientific or medical to back them up.

The mare I am referring to was a 28.5" mare and she was bred to a 31.75" stallion. The foal was in a sitting dog position and it was a nightmare for the mare, myself and the handful of vets and assistants trying to get that foal out of her.

I am not saying I would not breed to that size stallion(ie. the size difference), I have just chosen not to breed that size mare again, due to my not having competent vet assistance available in such an emergency.
I guess I would say why would you take a chance? Yes, there is always a risk when breeding anysize but how important is it to you to have a foal? You mentioned you could bring her to a university to foal out, that is no guarantee that she can be saved if there is a problem. Maybe I have a different take on owning horses then most, I just don't see the point but that's me, I wouldn't risk the life of one of mine but to each their own. Good luck if you choose to breed her.
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We had one 28" mare that was our boss mare of 16 horses. She was our smallest and smartest (most of our mares were 31" to 33"). I had at one point decided not to breed her because she never grew to be more then 28" (her grand-sire was Little Kings East Acres Golden Jubilee) I even emailed Robin for her opinion and she loved her and sent me a great picture of Jubilee. When she was five I talked to my vet about her and she performed an exam and told me she felt she had plenty of room and would feel comfortable if I decided to breed her but I was still nervous about breeding her. We had a 28" stallion that ALWAYS produced very refined foals for us. Our 28" mare was moderate in bone. After much thought/prayer we decided we would go ahead and breed her and by the following spring I was a nervous wreck when she was getting close to foaling. Well, she had a super easy, text book delivery and an amazing foal (love the gold melody x egyptian king cross) She ended up being our best brood mare not just because of her easy breedings/deliveries but her foals were some of our best. She settled every year after the first breeding (stallion only bred her once each spring and she settled) and continued to have easy, text book deliveries. Our biggest mare of 34" however ended up with dystocias I had to correct almost every year and she was the one I thought would be easier. This has been our experience but can't say I would ever be comfortable breeding a small mare. IMO I would have a vet exam your mare for his/her opinion and also make sure if you are going to breed her your chosen stallion for her throws refined, small foals consistantly. These are just my thoughts/opinion. Its a tough decision thats for sure.
We have a variety of sizes here, and have never had any foaling issues with the smaller ones (knock on wood). In fact, one of our best producing mares was 27.5". The two dystocias we did have were with a 33.5" mare. However, it's the inside of the mare that is going to determine her risk factor regardless of external features like height or bone density. You sound pretty nervous, so I would recommend having a full reproductive exam on this mare to determine how "roomy" she is inside. Is the stallion you are going to breed her to proven?

Also, just a suggestion, but have you considered talking to her breeder (Joanne)? She's pretty much at the top of the field for reproduction in minis, and I bet she wouldn't mind giving advice on one of her own.
I lost a mare that was 28" in a dystocia connected incident.

She had foaled before, two normal sized foals, normal deliveries, etc.

The stallion was in the first two cases 30" in the last case 27".

The problem is not the size of the mare/stallion etc but how much room you have to work in if something goes wrong, and, I can tell you, the answer in the case of a tiny mare is, "Not much"!!

We did an autopsy and the foal was tiny, and dead (which was the WHOLE problem!!) and absolutely NO way we could have got at her, she was jammed solid...and I have lived through some hairy foalings, I can tell you.

If you are this worried, I have to ask, "Why would you risk it??"

I know I never shall again.

I would have a good repro vet do an exam first, and determine how "roomy" she is. I've bred a few under 28" mares with normal deliveries/no issues but I also have a couple who won't be bred ever on my vets advice (one is actually 29" but very narrow pelvis). Lots of things to consider - as someone said, it becomes an issue if things go wrong and there is very little space to correct a problem.

I am a scaredy cat too. I have a filly who is 26.5 (perfect conformation-not a dwarf) that I will never have enough guts to breed. That is fine, she has a job here (parades, nursing home visits, vacation Bible schools,etc) and a home for life probably, because I am afraid someone will breed her to some huge stallion. My stallions are small boned and about 31. to 31.5, but I still think that is a stretch for her. When I bought her, I thought she would get at least 30" but it is just never gonna happen.

That being said, I own a mare who is now 33.5, out of a mare who was 28 and a stallion who was 33.5" (if the registry papers don't lie). To me that takes more guts that I have.

My luck just hasn't been all that great lately and it would just kill me to breed a horse and lose her over my stupidity when there are enough horses here that are better suited for the job of broodmare. Little Ruby can babysit the fillies and just enjoy being a horse all her life.
I will add that I do have a 28" mare and she was maiden last year and we had no problem at all. I stayed with her every minute of every contraction. I bred her back this year........I felt her and she was showing signs (not as dramatic as the year before) but as a safety I quickly ran inside to get the foaling equipment and by the time (not even 10 Minutes) I returned outside she had presented me with a beautiful baby colt.

Now she is quarterhorse built...and is 7 years old.
I have a 28" mare I have bred with no problems. She was not bred until she was five and she is not a narrow refined mare. The first year I bred her to a tiny stallion I had at the time and she foaled with no problem. She has had two foals by Lucky Four Triple Tuff ,who is about 32" but very refined, with no problems at all. I have had some nasty dystocia's with 33-34" mares so I think if you are careful with the stallion you use than it is sometimes just a matter of luck, if the foal is out of position than even big mares can have problems.
The breeders of your mare, Joanne and Larry Ross, did a talk a couple of years ago that I was lucky enough to attend.

Larry said to look at the refinement of the stallion. For instance a Arabian or a Thoroughbred type stallion would be better than a Quarter horse type. You want a stallion that is very refined so that nothing gets stuck. If Izon is producing quarter horse type foals I WOULD NOT breed her to him. I would look for a very refined stallion that is producing refined foals.

We have a few mares that are your mares size. In the photos your mare looks to have an ample hip. THAT is what I look at with these small mares. In my experience, most veterinarians, unless they have a large miniature horse practice, would be able to help you decide this matter.

Best of luck and PM me if you need additional help.
Her hip looks good to me too.

Can someone tell me exactly what is involved in the repro check - what exactly will they do to her to determine if she would be alright?

Izon has produced 100% refinement so far, but there are alot of taller horses in his pedigree.

I really am leaning towards just leaving her be, but I think I will contact Larry and Joanne and see how they feel as yes they are her breeders and are just wonderful helpful people! Wealth of knowledge there.

Thanks everyone - I sure appreciate the comments!


She is six years old this year.
I think you are on the right track in going with refinement. To me, it is not the height that should be the concern, but the refinement. Think of all those nice sport ponies (so popular in VA...) that are out of Welsh mares by TB stallions!

My advice about breeding is do not breed a mare you cannot live with yourself if you lose. That has got to sound harsh, but I lived through it.

I planned honest to God since 1999 to produce foals and bred my first mares in 2007. Here in 2008, my first mare to go into labor was one we lost. The vet was here from pitch dark to dawn trying for hours to save her to no avail. The guilt I felt was crushing but with perspective, since you cannot know the future, I would have made the same choices again. She was a very nice mare, the stallion is very nice... they were a good match.

You never think you will lose your mare, and you rarely will. But a breeder has got to go into it realizing that the worse case scenarios do sometimes happen.
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Scott Creek Whirlwind - 28"


Magic Mans All Izon Me - 31.50"

I really think he is refined enough and just by looking at her I would say her rump and hips look good, but I am still worried.

In fourteen years of breeding miniatures I have only lost one foal. Unfortunetly I lost the mare also.

I will do some more research and talk with Larry and Joanne and have the vet do an exam and just do as much homework as I can.

I also just purchased another stud colt in January that I think would be a great fit for her also and he might mature smaller and has smaller horses in his pedigree so maybe I will just wait until he matures.

I'm in no hurry - just researching at this point.

Thanks again everyone.
Connie, you know Flash Point's dam is just 28" and Pointer is her first foal. She had no problem foaling even when bred to 31.75" Harts Tip Top Flash. It made me nervous, but it was definitely worth it!

I do have a 27" mare now that I am trying to decide whether to breed or not. But while I'm trying to make up my mind, I have decided to show her.
She just attended her first show over the weekend and is heading to the Central Championship Show in August and hopefully, the AMHA World Championship Show.
I am not going to say you should or should not. That is a decision you have to make for yourself. I will say that the only mares I have had to have birthing problems were in the 32 inch range and one of them was bred to a stallion in the 28 inch range. A disaster can occur with any size mare (not saying the danger does not increase with the smaller ones). Breeding is always a risk. If you would be "devastated" or "not able to forgive" yourself if something went wrong, don't breed her (or any other mare).

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