Breeding my stallion possibly within the next year...what to consider??

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Lil Timber Buck

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For those of you that have breeding stallions, how old were they when you let them breed for the first time? I already have people asking to breed to my stallion and he just turned 2 in June. I don't feel comfortable yet with his level of maturity. Also, they are asking if I will breed him to a mini donkey to get a mule. How picky are you when it comes to what he can breed to? Does that affect his breeding to a mini horse in the future?

What do you charge normally? My little man has GREAT bloodlines (AMHA, AMHR-can also be Falabella and Pinto), but has never been shown nationally at all. Any shows that we go to he normally does very well in halter and other classes. We have not done a true AMHA show yet for points. I was thinking somewhere around $200.

Is there a method to it? Is there some cue you give him to let him know to get ready to breed? My husband said that once we breed him, I might have a lot of trouble showing him around mares. Right now, he doesn't really get that upset around them. Have you had this problem.

Clearly, I will not consider breeding him until I am 100% confident in him, 100% confident that I am handling him and the mare properly and 100% sure of everything else. These are baby steps. Thanks!
 
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amysue

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I will breed an exceptionally nice horse to my own mares at three years of age and not stand him to the public until he is proven and I have enough examples of the offspring that he produces to make informed decisions on to whom he gets to cover. Breeding to a jenny will not effect him in any way or change his ability to cover mares. I refuse to service mares that display and conformational issues, deformities or possess any known genetic defects. I also refuse to offer service to individuals that I know have a history of not properly caring for or raising up their foals. From a business perspective, you may or may not consider servicing only registered mares. Conformation and gait are the main factors that I use to decide who my stallions service. As for the stud fee: price him according to his bloodline and conformation, show record, experience level and of course the prices in your area. $200 sounds right to me. You should consider if you are going to charge a booking fee, to hold that mare's place in your stallions calendar. You need to decide if you are going to offer a live foal guarantee and if so, what are the stipulations. You also want to consider how you'll offer the service ie. live cover, pasture breeding vs. handle breeding or will you purchase an AI permit. Also, will you keep mares for a whole month or just the week of their cycle, what will you charge for board/ mare care. How does your insurance policy feel about taking in other people's mares and are you covered? As for cues...nature will take care of this. Mares will usually only stand and accept a stallion when in full heat and are ready to be bred. Some mares do not stand well and need additional handling to ensure no one is injured from her kicking. I put splint and bell boots on both horses when being bred, I wrap mare's tails too to prevent injury as well. It may take him a bit to find his "technique" and learn what he is supposed to do, but he'll figure it out. It is a possibility that stallions will become herd bound or possessive around mares in breeding season when allowed to dominate a herd (usually when pasture breeding is used). So you will have to handle him a lot and teach him manners if he is going to be used for breeding and still shown. If breeding does not work out, geld him and show him. If he turns out to produce quality offspring, then you will have to be sure your show and breeding schedules do not interfere with each other (ie. you are missing shows to service mares or have to blow off clients to go to a show) as breeding is tiring, as well as showing to a horse and if he is too stressed, he may not stand or his production will suffer. You're on the right track. Good luck.
 

ohmt

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The number one thing i ask people is what their expectations are. If they are wanting a National halter contender and my stallion doesn't have the conformation to compete at that level, then I would say no. Same for movement, temperament, etc. It is your stallion's name on the line so carefully selecting not only the right outside mares, but also owners is crucial. Do they have the means to provide the necessary care for mare and foal, especially if expensive vet care is needed? Are they willing to sign a contract?

Another thing to consider is the danger to your stallion when breeding. Also to the mare-have the owner get insurance. Most people that don't do outside breeding came to that decision due to the risks.

He will probably act more studdy, but proper handling is key and he will learn quickly. I use a certain breeding pen. My stallions know as soon as I put them in there that a mare is coming. I do all breeding by myself so they know the cue "back". They have to wait til i can get in and position the mare. I always start them nose to nose and then let the stallion go to her side and so on. If they try to hop on before they are ready I do push them down. Having an excellent relationship with your horses and knowing how they react and them knowing how you react makes all the difference. I would not do outside breeding until I had crossed a new stallion on my own mares. Then I know what he produces and also his behaviors.

Breeding a donkey to him is tricky-I have never had a stallion offer to breed a donkey. They have a different smell to them and most stallions don't like it. I know there are some out there though so you won't know til you try.
 

paintponylvr

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I bred my stallion to my own mares first - both stallions were experienced pasture breeders before I purchased them. BUT my own mares were much larger at first, so they had to be caught and handled. Also, not only do I wrap the mares tail - she gets washed with warm water and Ivory liquid and rinsed. If she produces manure (some do!) before she gets bred, she gets washed and rinsed again. Her rump gets washed to both sides of her tail and between her hind legs (basically anywhere he's going to be in contact with her from behind if he "misses"). I don't own breeding hobbles, but do know how to tie up a hind leg to reduce kicking, if necessary. When I started they didn't have mini breeding hobbles and now...? I don't bother. I have twitched mares and used a chain on them as well if needed. I now require that a mare be halter broke, leadable, tieable and I have to be able to touch her (to allow for cleaning, wrapping the tail).

My stallions wear a "special" halter with a stud chain that I run thru their mouths at breeding time (yes, I do work with them with it so they understand it and don't freak out. Freaking out from new equipment sometimes completely destroys the "desire" - one of mine was a shy breeder and if that desire was ended it took forever to "get it back" at first). It doesn't take long, they learn that when that halter comes out, it's time to go courtin'. I also determine a safe place for breeding ahead of time, trying for few distractions, few to no spectators. I try to pick a place that I can "keep" forever as the breeding area. I will tease the mare with a fence between her and the stallion and he also gets washed with warm water and ivory soap and rinsed. I wash the belly in front of the scrotal opening, the whole sheath, the penis and testicles. I do this before every cover but it is especially important between mares.

Now, I love having a heavy wooden fence that the mare can be cross tied in front of. She can't go forwards but can still swing her hindquarters around, so you do have to be careful. Some will kick the stallion handler on purpose! Or I have a set of stocks that I put her in that she can't even move her hind quarters side to side (mine isn't really sized right for the smaller mares - it was built for mares 12-15 hh for my Shetland boys to be able to reach when they stood on a ramp that was also behind the mare when she was in the stocks).

I generally work with the stallion from the left and also the mare from the left - simply because most horses have had the most handling that way and it was easiest. He is introduced to the mare at her head. They can "talk" and strike all they like, though I do try to keep them from striking at each other directly. If you've already teased the mare, she knows what's coming and things will be "OK" if she's ready to breed. He may try to mount from the side, generally striking and pawing if/when he does - I don't yell or hit or yank on him, but tell him "you're not ready" and pull him sideways off of/away from her. I let him smell, sniff, "talk", nibble - he does get corrected for biting or kicking. WE work our way back - some are still ready, some aren't at this point. He has to be fully ready, when he is I say "OK", before I will allow him to mount at her rear (I do let him start slightly from the side). If he shows a tendency to strike or paw at the mare while mounting, he's pulled off and away - my mares were always both ridden or driven and back injuries aren't wanted! Then we try again. Usually the first several "goes" with a youngster were long, drawn out affairs as he learned what was allowed and what wasn't. I REALLY appreciated mares that taught good pasture breeding habits! If he's mounted and "can't seem to find the spot" - I gently grasp him and guide him into the mare.

Being able to handle him at this point helps a lot, LOL. My 2nd stallion wasn't used to this - his eyes would jump out of his head and he'd leap away and Oops, byebye. Might be an hour before I could get him to mount the mare again... I don't know exactly how they felt, but I sure got frustrated with this the first couple of years with him. The first year, even when he didn't "miss", we didn't settle any mares he was bred to. I decided that if we didn't settle mare (s) I bred the 2nd year, that he'd be gelded... Needless to say, one mare did settle. Finally I had mares that were his size and didn't have to help him and he was much happier that way - it's a dance even today with him - 6 years later. Then we settled on a way that worked for both of us - the mares that were his size I washed and covered with him by hand for at least the first cover. Then they get turned out into his pasture with him - easier for both of us. With a larger mare or with an outside mare (I haven't had any for him), we'd do all hand covers.

Contract - I have a very basic one that includes mare care and stud fee blanks that I filled in. I didn't used to have insurance, now - I would have to think about that... I had a $50 non-refundable booking fee and a $200 stud fee (at the time). Most of the mares coming to us used the same hay we did, they provided their feed while the mare was at our place and I fed her. The mare stayed at least thru the heat cycle, several stayed longer than that. I DID want at vet proof of a negative culture (that doesn't always show if a mare is clean or can support a fetus thru a full pregnancy, just means she's clean of infection drainage that will affect your boy), negative Coggins, Rabies and EWT. If they had received other shots, I wanted to know when (strangles then was a live vaccine and I didn't want a mare newly vaxxed w/ it on my property since I didn't give it). Now, I also require WN. I don't necessarily state that they have to have Flu/Rhino (most did) - now, I probably will... Plus will be keeping them away from at least my babies and mares. Next year I have no foals coming - so not an issue.

Next year, will do $100 non-refundable booking fee & $250 on a jr stallion that isn't proven yet - have two mares lined up for him. Will be breeding to a couple of my mares first to teach him and then to make sure not doing "blanks". He has been shown in halter (doesn't have his HOF yet), has awesome movement for what we want and is starting driving training now. I'm actually pretty excited right now over him. He'll be 3 next year. He developed study characteristics and lots of screaming "idiotness" while with a show trainer. He was a complete and blithering "idiot" when I brought him home in July. He's pastured with a bunch of geldings and other junior stallions and has junior fillies in the pasture next to them. Not the best scenario - it has been a bit problematic - the other boys have taken a bit of a beating, but he's also learned to get along with them finally and now, some of them go after him as well. This may change next spring when the mares start coming into season! We have started a proper stud pen for him and will have to have it finished, but for as long as possible, I want to leave him out with the boys. I just feel that it's more healthy for everyone.

My first stallion learned rather quickly that he had two jobs - one was working: either driving or being ridden. Two was running with his mares & breeding. When he wasn't wearing his "breeding" halter or turned out w/ the mares - he was required to "be quiet". Once he learned this - our daughter often trail rode him w/o anyone even realizing that he was a stallion for several years (to this day she still asks where she got the 6' height gene from!). He was even utilized in a beginner rider program (but he was on a lead or lounge line and by himself in the arena then). We did take him to various events with other horses and he wasn't a problem. Kids loved him when we used him as a lead line pony for day cares, churches and Halloween events. When our middle daughter took lessons on him at a local stable - he was ridden in the arena with other ponies/horses (from our place), but not with other horses of any sex that he didn't already know. Our current stallion hasn't completely learned this yet - this year, maybe because we haven't bred any mares, he wants to talk to anyone anytime he's led out of his pasture - breeding halter or not. He gets corrected for that. He stops. He's been pair driving with both a mare (she hasn't been in season yet when hooked w/ him, that may be interesting) and his 3 yr old gelded son. He's been better behaved and quieter than his son!!

At shows, you will need to correct him for talking and for dropping (I use "no" and "EH EH" for talking and tap his penis firmly with a crop, whip or lead line and say "put it away" or "away"). They learn. You do have to watch for striking hooves and other "careless handlers"... I don't want someone allowing their horse of any sex getting close to my boys and inviting problems (actually I don't like anyone letting horses get into another horses' space. I'm really bothered by what I see at some of the shows I've attended the last several years).

The only thing I know about breeding donkeys and horses is this - if it's a female donkey (jenny) to a male horse (stallion), it's not a mule - the result is called a hinny. It is more horse like than a mule will be - both the noise they make (more like a whinny?), and their manes and tails and body appearance. If it's a female horse (mare) to a male donkey (jack) - it's a mule and is more donkey like in appearance and sound (brays). Both sexes of either hybrid is generally sterile but males are still castrated/gelded. Some have become pregnant or sired offspring. I don't know if the hinny has the same personality traits that a mule has, but I know that I'm not a mule person, LOL.
 

Minimor

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When hand breed with a stallion I use a different halter on him--he soon learns that particular halter means he gets to breed, any other halter means he must behave himself and not think about breeding. I've never needed to use a chain on a Mini--never even on our Morgan stallion when he was breeding, but on the big horses sometimes you do need a little more "muscle" that a chain can give. Now with Ice Man I just take the mare into his corral. He knows to stay back until I indicate he can approach. I check the mare from outside the corral first, to make sure that she is receptive. I expect the stallion to talk to the mare, then swing over beside her, then from there move back to where he can mount, slightly from the side. Once he is finished and dismounts I swing the mare to the side so that she isn't in a position to kick him. It's all very quiet & mannerly.

When it comes to breeding outside mares I do strongly recommend a contract. If you are offering a LFG be explicit in the terms. Set out just what the definition of "live foal" is--I used "foal that stands and nurses"--because you do not want someone coming back to you for another breeding after their foal suffered some accident and died at the age of two weeks. (and yes, there are those mare owners who are likely to try something like that!) My contract specified a 3 year term on the LFG. If the mare didn't have a live foal after the first year of breeding, the mare owner was allowed to bring the mare back or to substitute a different mare. If there was no foal after 3 seasons of breeding, the contract was ended. Honestly, there would have been something seriously wrong had there been no live foal after 3 seasons! I also suggest putting in a clause that the contract is non-transferable. Mine has this wording, and it saved us once. Mare owner had a still born foal the first time, so brought a different mare back for breeding. Meantime he sold the mare, and new owner took possession after the mare was bred and left our place. The mare came up open the next spring, and the new owner came after us for a refund of the breeding fee and for the refund of the mare care (which she had never paid to us). I turned it over to our lawyer, who wrote her a letter and sent her a copy of our contract. She had no leg to stand on--she had no dealings at all with us, she dealt only with the mare owner--and because of the non-transferable clause in our contract she could make no claim on us, not even for a return breeding. That non-transferable clause is very important IMO.
 

Lil Timber Buck

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This is FANTASTIC information!!! This is the exact reason I LOVE this site!!!! All of your responses will be printed and kept in his breeding files for reference and a checklist of things to do. I can't wait to be as good at this as you ladies are!!! THANKS
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sfmini

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The only stallion on our place who is breeding pasture breeds. He knows when they are at their most fertile and gets the job done. He is a gentleman, loves the babies and will share his grain with them. I may use my old Bond Peppy Power son one last year. He is a jerk, no pasture breeding for him, and I muzzle him to breed. He gets pretty happy when the muzzle comes out. I know, he needs more training but he is in his twenties, hasn't bred a mare in years so if we get one more foal from him, we're good.

I also have a stallion who was started pasture breeding with very experienced mares and they trained him very well!
 

rabbitsfizz

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Both my stallions breed in hand (under protest with Carlos, I admit!!) or pasture, Ariel went out with four mares after he had set them in hand, this year and they had foals, the only thing he has not done now is see a foal born! I never use a chain or anything- a certain halter, yes, and a certain place, too, as that is important and means you can make sure they are both safe. I do this on my own, but even if I had help I should still tie the mare up, if she is held she could break loose, or swing round at the wrong moment. If she has a foal on her I put the foal in the stall and tie the mare up outside where she can see and touch her baby, but baby cannot accidentally get under foot!

A contract is something you HAVE to have- to protect yourself if something goes wrong.

I have to tell you that I only ever got grief from outside mares, it is not a thing I would do now, really not even as a favour- my mares have never hurt me but I have had some HORRID outsiders!!

You need to remember that, if the mare has a bad foal, the mare owner will blame the stallion, The fact that their mare looks like the wrong end of a barn will never occur to them. It is definitely YOUR stallion's fault and they will tell everyone, on Facebook, on Twitter- you name it!!

Be warned.....
 

HGFarm

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I dont stand to outside mares normally for several reasons.......... What someone mentioned above about the fact that if anything goes wrong- it's gonna be the stallions fault, or the stallion owners fault. I have friends that were sent a couple of mares that would not settle at home but when they couldnt be settled at their farm either, due to whatever unknown problems- it was passed around that it was my friend's farm that was inept. So, first and foremost, it's the people I dont care to deal with and the issues that come with it. I would require the mares be cultured as 'clean' by their vet (and provide documentation from the vet to you) so you know they are not bringing in any infections or other diseases that could possibly ruin your horse's breeding career.

You need a contract advising that any vet bills for the mare are the responsibility of the mare's owner. Also any farrier work, or anything that needs done while they are at your place. Also decide how much for board. It makes extra chores for you in the way of clean up, feeding, handling the mares and stallion, and the paperwork that comes with it at the the end filing stud reports, providing breeders certificates, etc...

I would require the mares be halter broke (you'd be surprized!) What kind of diet are the mares on, or do they have any special needs you will need to go out of your way for?

People think they just drop the mare off, and pick it up pregnant but there are a lot of responsibilities for the stallion owner they dont even think about.
 

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I used to stand several of my appaloosa stallions for stud, and have a great contract that worked for me over many years. It's very detailed, and don't laught, but it's 6 pages long and spells out everything I've read above, plus some additional things that I included for my protection and the protection of my stallions.

I don't breed to outside mares anymore, but that was by my choice, in that I have chosen not to breed myself in the last several years because of the market and the economy. I am also very protective about the number of foals a stallion sires -- choosing to not "mass produce" the number of foals a stallion sires. This is a personal choice, one that I'm sure all don't agree with, but I think there should be some "exclusivity" in owning offspring from stallions.

If you PM me your regular email address, I'll be happy to share a copy, if you'd like.

~~Diane at Castle Rock
 
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Jean_B

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I have both hand-bred and pasture-bred over the years, and that was dependent on the stallion. One of my stallions in the past was pretty nasty to his mares after he got the job done, so he was always hand-bred. He didn't pass that trait on....just the way he was.

I rarely will stand a stallion to an outside mare. If they want a baby sired by one of my boys, they can buy it from me. Why give someone an awesome baby for a few hundred dollars, when you can get a lot more for a live foal? Also, by limiting the number of babies out there sired by my boys, and if they are very desirable....it keeps the value up there. On the rare occasion that I will take in an outside mare, she must be halter broke, stand well while tied, have a negative culture within the last 30 days, and I am extremely picky about the quality of that mare. I have turned down mares because they just weren't good enough, conformationally. I don't want any "dogs" out there sired by my boys. It's my reputation on the line as a breeder.

And by the same token - I don't take mares to other stallions, because there aren't any guarantees that the result would be something I want in my barn, no matter what the pedigree. Yes, I have bought bred mares over the years and have been VERY fortunate with the results, but if you know what you are looking for - buying a live foal or yearling or whatever....you know what you are getting.
 
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targetsmom

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We have people ask to breed to our stallion but there is NO WAY we would consider it. I do not want to deal with outside mare care (we don't have room for one thing), or telling people that their mare isn't what we call "select", so no, we won't accept your mare, or dealing with any of the many things that can go wrong. What if a mare kicks your stallion and renders him infertile? It CAN happen. What if the mare gets injured by your stallion? Do you have insurance to cover all these things? As other said, you need a contract that covers every possibility, so add a lawyer to your expenses. And what if the resulting foal is a dwarf?? Has other abnormalities? Yes, your stallion will be blamed. Have you considered costs of advertising? If I was to even consider breeding to an outside mare, I would figure I would need to charge at least $750... but then it would not be worth it to me. For a $250 fee you may get the person down the street with a butt-ugly, un-handled mare that they would love to get a cute foal out of. Will someone paying a $250 stud fee be willing and able to provide the negative culture on their mare that you should require in order to keep your stallion free of disease?
 

Marty

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For whatever its worth I'll go::Everyone loves their bloodlines. Nice bloodlines are all over the place so don't let that alone talk you into taking the breeding plunge. The norm in these parts is that if anyone has a stallion, people want to breed any mare to it thinking they'll make a buck on the offspring. It could be your stallion or mine, or another one up the road, doesn't matter as long as they think its a pretty color, any two ends that fit will do. When I had my stallions here, the locals came out of the woodwork wanting me to breed their scrub mares. I had no intention of getting the heck kicked out of my boys and risking danger to them or ME and also infection by some "dirty mares" which haven't even been checked. For a couple hundred bucks here and a couple there, It wouldn't be worth it to me to have my place turned inside out with all the liablities. It could very well cost you; and the legal contract you have drawn up may not be worth the paper its writting on when there is a wreck. .At this point in time I wouldn't even suggest getting your own mares with things as bad they are either. Heck, we've had super nice double registered proven show horses at rated shows in rescue for years before they could get adopted.

I think Timber's as cute a button and love the way you enjoy bringing him to the local shows. You always have fun there with him and that's what it should be about. Its a lot safer and much more fun than breeding. Good luck in your decision.
 

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