? RE: breeding a small mare to a larger stallion

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Mar 18, 2004
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North Ga.
I'm just asking this out of curiosity....

Now, being from the big horse world, I am used to hearing about a 15.2 hand mare getting bred to some 17.1 hand stallion, and giving birth with no problem. I was always told that when you breed a smaller mare to a larger stallion, the baby will always grow to what the mare can handle, but just grow faster, and for a longer amount of time to "catch up." However, I have heard several Mini mare owners say that they wouldn't breed their mare to some stallion because he is 2 inches taller, and it would be dangerous for the mare. I'm not trying to start anything, I'm just wondering what makes it different for minis then big horses and ponies.
I think a lot of it is that with Minis being so small, there's just that much less room for error. Think of it in relative size--17hh is 68", while 15.2 hh is 62". This is a difference of only 6", or 10%. If you have a 28" Mini mare and add 10% to her height, you've got not quite 31". A Mini mare may be able to carry a bigger foal, but she may not be able to deliver that foal, and it's simply not true that a mare can regulate foal size to the extent that it will "always" be small enough for her to carry AND deliver.

And, it isn't just height to be considered; some stallions are taller but long legged & fine boned. Other stallions may be smaller (that is, less tall) and yet they are very thick set & heavy boned.

edited to add: I personally have limitations on what size stallion I'd breed one of my "big" mares to also. There's no way I'd breed a slim, refined little mare of 15 or 15.2 to a great big heavy boned warmblood stallion. (as one example--not picking on warmbloods!!) I've known of some very small mares that were bred to very large, heavy stallions & there were no foaling problems, but I've also known of a couple large breed mares that had to have the foals cut up before they could be delivered.
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I would quite happily breed, for example, a 14.2hh QH mare to a 16.2hh TB. I would NOT do it the other way round- or if I did I would do it carefully and after due consideration and having looked at foals etc.

I would and have bred a 30" mare to a 34" stallion- a maiden, too, without problems- remember this mare is 28/29" your way of measuring- The mare is well built, the stallion is fine and long legged. You have to look at why the horse is the height he.she is. In this case the mare is short because her legs are short, she is deep girthed although by no means a "heavy" mare. The stallion is 34" because his legs are long- the resultant foal is medium height , nice long legs, though, and born in two minutes flat!!- Oh and a tiny foal born- about 16"
I bred Lucky Four triple Tuff who is 31.30 to a 28" mare and got a beautiful tiny colt with no delivery problems but "Tuffy' is a very refined stallion a heavy boned stallion would be more of a problem.

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