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Safely sire out a stallion?

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Joanna Cooke

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Hey all! Just wondering if anyone has any info on how to safely (and successfully) sire out a stallion? I would like to start doing it with Buddy, (my miniature palomino stud), but, frankly, I’m not sure where to start. I’ve read things about contracts and having the owners of the mares test the mares for certain diseases before breeding the two, and a lot of other stuff that isn’t very clear to me. I would just like someone to maybe explain it all to me, and maybe share how they go about it? That would be fantastic and much appreciated! Thanks!
 

Maryann at MiniV

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We did it for awhile and it turned into a pain (for us). First, it's best if your Buddy is Proven already. Has he sired any foals? Sometimes a mare owner likes to see what he's "thrown", so pictures are nice. Contract is a MUST. The mare should have a vet check and be up to date with vaccinations and worming, which would be stated in the contract. It's good to know if the mare is also proven or a maiden. Are you planning to hand breed or pasture breed? If hand breeding, the cost should be more. Oh, and has Buddy been shown and won ribbons? When promoting him, that's good to mention. There would also be a charge for Mare Care in your contract. The charge depends on whether you plan to stall her or just let her be in with your fellow. We used to charge between $2.50 to $3.00 per day for Mare Care. I don't know how much people are charging THESE days.....probably more. Also, you need to agree on how long the mare should stay with you. Do the owners want to take her home as soon as you know she's been covered? OR do they want to wait and see if she comes back into heat, in case she needs to be covered again? And FINALLY, do you want to offer a Live Foal Guarantee? The Guarantee would be they get the stud fee back but not the mare care if the mare doesn't carry to term and birth out a live foal.... OR they get a free re-breed.

We've had problems all along the way with "outside breeding". Just warning you. If you need to know the pitfalls we experienced, I'll post again.
 

Joanna Cooke

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We did it for awhile and it turned into a pain (for us). First, it's best if your Buddy is Proven already. Has he sired any foals? Sometimes a mare owner likes to see what he's "thrown", so pictures are nice. Contract is a MUST. The mare should have a vet check and be up to date with vaccinations and worming, which would be stated in the contract. It's good to know if the mare is also proven or a maiden. Are you planning to hand breed or pasture breed? If hand breeding, the cost should be more. Oh, and has Buddy been shown and won ribbons? When promoting him, that's good to mention. There would also be a charge for Mare Care in your contract. The charge depends on whether you plan to stall her or just let her be in with your fellow. We used to charge between $2.50 to $3.00 per day for Mare Care. I don't know how much people are charging THESE days.....probably more. Also, you need to agree on how long the mare should stay with you. Do the owners want to take her home as soon as you know she's been covered? OR do they want to wait and see if she comes back into heat, in case she needs to be covered again? And FINALLY, do you want to offer a Live Foal Guarantee? The Guarantee would be they get the stud fee back but not the mare care if the mare doesn't carry to term and birth out a live foal.... OR they get a free re-breed.

We've had problems all along the way with "outside breeding". Just warning you. If you need to know the pitfalls we experienced, I'll post again.
This is a lot of great info, thanks! He is proven, he sired a couple of foals ( that was with another mare before I got him, so I'd have to somehow get pictures of his previous foals again). I plan to pasture breed, and he hasn't ever been used for any kind of showing or anything, nor is he registered. He is just an overall good-looking stud with some pretty color.

If I do decide to do this, can I just get a contract template off the internet? And, because you seem really knowledgeable with all this stuff, I would appreciate being walked through how to formulate the contract and all that, if you would be willing. I found a contract at this website Horse Breeding Contract and some of it is not very clear...

The mare could be stalled or kept in the pasture, I figured I might leave that up to the owners, and just give them the rates for each option (keeping her stalled would cost a little bit more than letting her stay in a pasture all the time). And what would you suggest on how long the mare should stay with me? Or is that better left up to the owner as to how long they want me to keep her? Also, if the owner wants to wait and see if their mare comes back into heat, in case she needs to be covered again, would I charge more? And not really sure about the Live Foal Guarantee...

I would like to know why it turned into a pain for you, and about the "outside breeding" issue you had.
 

Dragon Hill

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One thing to keep in mind when you have a mare there is you are responsible for her health and well being. If she gets injured in anyway, loses weight, founders if she's too fat, etc. you may be the one taking her to the vet and responsible for paying the bill. Just something to think about, especially if you allow long term mare care.
 

Joanna Cooke

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One thing to keep in mind when you have a mare there is you are responsible for her health and well being. If she gets injured in anyway, loses weight, founders if she's too fat, etc. you may be the one taking her to the vet and responsible for paying the bill. Just something to think about, especially if you allow long term mare care.
You are absolutely correct, which is why I don’t plan on doing mare care for more than a few days at one time. I will have to consider that though, as I’m thinking through all this stuff. Thanks!
 

Maryann at MiniV

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Just read the Breeding Contract.......WHEW! It sure covers all possible situations that could occur. If I were you, I'd use that example as a BASE and take from it what pertains to your situation and plans. Be prepared to keep the mare longer than you anticipate.

Our headaches with breeding outside mares included:
1. Mare ended up having a uterine infection that was not picked up by a vet, so she didn't settle. We gave the owners several free breedings before the infection was discovered........ The mare owners then demanded the right to switch mares for yet ANOTHER free breeding. We didn't have that situation covered in a contract and refused, which made the owners VERY angry.
2. Mare carried to term. (This was a totally different mare and owner situation.) BUT the owners did not provide adequate care to their mare during her pregnancy and she had a distocia birth with the foal not surviving. They didn't even have a vet come out. Again, that was a hard lesson learned.
3. Mare was left with us for breeding and the owners vanished. To this day we don't know where she is. (We have several mares who came to us for just BOARDING and the owner disappeared!.... ie, phone number no longer active, and they moved with no forwarding address......)
 

Joanna Cooke

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Just read the Breeding Contract.......WHEW! It sure covers all possible situations that could occur. If I were you, I'd use that example as a BASE and take from it what pertains to your situation and plans. Be prepared to keep the mare longer than you anticipate.

Our headaches with breeding outside mares included:
1. Mare ended up having a uterine infection that was not picked up by a vet, so she didn't settle. We gave the owners several free breedings before the infection was discovered........ The mare owners then demanded the right to switch mares for yet ANOTHER free breeding. We didn't have that situation covered in a contract and refused, which made the owners VERY angry.
2. Mare carried to term. (This was a totally different mare and owner situation.) BUT the owners did not provide adequate care to their mare during her pregnancy and she had a distocia birth with the foal not surviving. They didn't even have a vet come out. Again, that was a hard lesson learned.
3. Mare was left with us for breeding and the owners vanished. To this day we don't know where she is. (We have several mares who came to us for just BOARDING and the owner disappeared!.... ie, phone number no longer active, and they moved with no forwarding address......)
Yeah, the contract was a lot. I was this 🤨 pretty much the whole time I was reading it, lol. That all sounds crazy, though! So some people ended up dumping their mares on you?? That’s terrible! And all that does sound very stressful, it’s definitely making me think twice about all this... Honestly, I don’t even know how many people would want to have Buddy sire their mares around here. I have one friend who might want to, but other than that I don’t know if anyone else has miniatures and they don’t already have their own stud. Well, thanks so much for all your help, and, if you don’t mind, I’ll let you know if I have any more questions!
 

arrelle

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This is going to be harsh, but honest, so take it or leave it.

You shouldn't breed this horse. There are two main reasons people stand a stallion: one is to make a quick buck, and the other is to better the breed. You're effectively going to do neither.

Financially, most of the time, if you're doing it responsibly and not just being a backyard breeder - you won't make money standing a stallion. Between the care that goes into it, the time and money to prove not only the stallion but his foals, and the liability you hold over mares it's a money pit. That old adage rings true: "How do you make a million dollars in the horse industry? Start with two million."

Regarding improving the breed, you say the stallion is "proven" but then in the very next line you say that he's both unregistered and unshown. What exactly has he proven, then? That he has testicles and motile sperm? Not exactly ground breaking. If you don't even have pictures of his previous foals, I'd venture to say that they're probably also unregistered and unshown.

A pretty color is a BS reason to breed. Straight up. Full stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

I say this as someone who has shown APHA and been a long time breeder and owned an AQHA stallion. I *LOVE* color and I absolutely ensure the best odds of color when I breed my paint horses, so that they can get full registry papers - but I do not do so at the expense of bettering the breed. First and foremost, if you're going to produce a foal, there needs to be a plan as to why you're putting a foal on the ground - and then there needs to be an explanation as to why you've made the cross you have. Are you trying to shorten the back? Does the mare need a better hock? Could the sire have a slightly better tie in to their neck? Once all of those questions have been answered, THEN we look to color markers to make final decisions.

There are SO MANY liabilities that come with producing foals, it scares me that you're basically doing it because he's palomino and is intact. There are already more horses than there are homes; I won't fault anyone for breeding if there is a purpose - I have several friends that have bred grade horses that are either gritty 1D barrel horses or top jumpers.. they're breeding to produce more great horses in sports where papers aren't required. Showing isn't everything, but it's probably the most widely accepted "proof" that the horse has the mind to go out and behave in new settings, follows the breed standard when judged against peers, and has that "it factor" that other people are able to see. "He's pretty and a pretty color" is such a backyard, irresponsible breeder line that my jaw is honestly on the ground.

I guess it's because I've experienced the heartbreak of losing mares and/or foals when things go wrong, I can't imagine anyone doing it solely for the money. When things go right, it's wonderful; but, the couple hundred you'd get for a "stud fee" doesn't even come close to covering the heartache when things go wrong. And if you breed long enough, they absolutely will. You risk injury to both your stallion and the mare every time they are covered, and then the mare has the added complications of any pregnancy mishaps. It's not rainbows and butterflies; it's the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and thousands of dollars to do it right.

I'm not saying your boy is awful or terrible or anything like that, I'm just saying he probably shouldn't be covering mares based on what you've mentioned in this post. I'm sure he's lovely - if he's the one in your avatar then he looks delightfully sweet. But, that alone isn't a reason to breed him - as there are hundreds of sweet horses already that don't have homes. If you REALLY want to breed him because you truly believe in him as a sire that can better the breed, spend the time and money to go get him hardship registered and start proving him in a show ring. Go buy one of the foals he's already produced and get that one registered and start showing it. Prove that they're good minded, willing, and pretty for the average owner and you'll be far more successful.
 

Joanna Cooke

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This is going to be harsh, but honest, so take it or leave it.

You shouldn't breed this horse. There are two main reasons people stand a stallion: one is to make a quick buck, and the other is to better the breed. You're effectively going to do neither.

Financially, most of the time, if you're doing it responsibly and not just being a backyard breeder - you won't make money standing a stallion. Between the care that goes into it, the time and money to prove not only the stallion but his foals, and the liability you hold over mares it's a money pit. That old adage rings true: "How do you make a million dollars in the horse industry? Start with two million."

Regarding improving the breed, you say the stallion is "proven" but then in the very next line you say that he's both unregistered and unshown. What exactly has he proven, then? That he has testicles and motile sperm? Not exactly ground breaking. If you don't even have pictures of his previous foals, I'd venture to say that they're probably also unregistered and unshown.

A pretty color is a BS reason to breed. Straight up. Full stop. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

I say this as someone who has shown APHA and been a long time breeder and owned an AQHA stallion. I *LOVE* color and I absolutely ensure the best odds of color when I breed my paint horses, so that they can get full registry papers - but I do not do so at the expense of bettering the breed. First and foremost, if you're going to produce a foal, there needs to be a plan as to why you're putting a foal on the ground - and then there needs to be an explanation as to why you've made the cross you have. Are you trying to shorten the back? Does the mare need a better hock? Could the sire have a slightly better tie in to their neck? Once all of those questions have been answered, THEN we look to color markers to make final decisions.

There are SO MANY liabilities that come with producing foals, it scares me that you're basically doing it because he's palomino and is intact. There are already more horses than there are homes; I won't fault anyone for breeding if there is a purpose - I have several friends that have bred grade horses that are either gritty 1D barrel horses or top jumpers.. they're breeding to produce more great horses in sports where papers aren't required. Showing isn't everything, but it's probably the most widely accepted "proof" that the horse has the mind to go out and behave in new settings, follows the breed standard when judged against peers, and has that "it factor" that other people are able to see. "He's pretty and a pretty color" is such a backyard, irresponsible breeder line that my jaw is honestly on the ground.

I guess it's because I've experienced the heartbreak of losing mares and/or foals when things go wrong, I can't imagine anyone doing it solely for the money. When things go right, it's wonderful; but, the couple hundred you'd get for a "stud fee" doesn't even come close to covering the heartache when things go wrong. And if you breed long enough, they absolutely will. You risk injury to both your stallion and the mare every time they are covered, and then the mare has the added complications of any pregnancy mishaps. It's not rainbows and butterflies; it's the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and thousands of dollars to do it right.

I'm not saying your boy is awful or terrible or anything like that, I'm just saying he probably shouldn't be covering mares based on what you've mentioned in this post. I'm sure he's lovely - if he's the one in your avatar then he looks delightfully sweet. But, that alone isn't a reason to breed him - as there are hundreds of sweet horses already that don't have homes. If you REALLY want to breed him because you truly believe in him as a sire that can better the breed, spend the time and money to go get him hardship registered and start proving him in a show ring. Go buy one of the foals he's already produced and get that one registered and start showing it. Prove that they're good minded, willing, and pretty for the average owner and you'll be far more successful.
Ma’am, I appreciate your honesty, and I will be honest as well by saying that I didn’t think siring out a stud was such an ordeal, because I had really just hoped to make a little extra money right now if possible. I hadn’t even considered doing it until a friend of mine asked if I would let her breed her ponies with him, and that’s when I thought I might go a little farther with it all. But, ma’am you forgot one important part of having horses, and that is as pets. A lot of people do not care about having a prize-winning, registered, purebred horse or pony to have for their grandkids to ride. They want one that’s sweet and kind and will be a pet. And that’s why I have two ponies and breed them. They are my babies! I love them to death and I don’t care that they are not registered or purebred or all fancy shmancy. I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the experience. Do you know how long it took me to get my parents to say yes to me breeding and raising the ponies? Do you know that I tried my best to save up every cent from everything JUST so I could buy them? I was able to do it, and no I don’t have the money or the means to take them to shows and treat them like royalty, because you know what? They’re horses. They LIKE being horses! They like being able to run around their pen and eat their hay and be. A. Horse. I treat them as best as I can and they’re happy! They love me and they love life. My mare is pregnant and about halfway along. She is going to have a foal sometime in March or April and you can’t stop that! I’m going to treat her foal the way I treat every one of my other animals - with love and respect and I’m going to train her well and I’m going to sell her as a pet so that she can grow up to be loved on by another family. I understand everything that can go wrong with breeding and birthing and foals, and I am preparing myself for heartache if something happens, but these animals are also just that, animals, they are God’s creatures and I leave their care in His hands, because they came from Him and will go back to Him. Whether you believe that or not doesn’t matter, it’s what I believe. I also understand how passionate you are about all the other horses in the world that don’t have homes or need someone to care for them, I ache for all those horses too. But you can’t help them all! There are ALWAYS going to be horses that do not have homes or someone to love them or care for them rightly. But, I at least played a part in that. I got two ponies, my stud who just needed some more love and my mare who looked like hell when I first got her. I worked my butt off fixing them up and working with them, and they have come farther than I could have ever hoped. So here’s MY bottom line. I get that you were being honest, but I didn’t need that. All of your harsh comments could have been kept to yourself, ma’am, and you could have just told me that you don’t think it’s a good idea for me to sire Buddy out. That was all that was needed. And it should make you happy when I say, I had decided not to sire him out before you wrote all the reasons I shouldn’t. So thank you for your opinion and I hope I haven’t insulted you in any way with what I said. If I did, I apologize.
 

Dragon Hill

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Ah yes, to breed or not to breed, that is a whole can of worms. Soundness of mind, soundness of body, beauty, color. Registration papers are no guarantee. The show ring is the traditional way of proving worth. It is no guarantee.
 

chandab

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If you should still decide to help out your friend, and breed her mare(s); friend or not, still have that breeding contract and protect yourself from all those what ifs mentioned here, and even some not even thought of.
It's a huge can of worms to open, if you decide to open up to offering breeding to the general public; but it's a decision only you can make based on a possible "market" in your area for what you have to offer.
I chose not to offer my stallion to outside breeding, because of all the aforementioned issues; he is registered and from good stock, but has not been shown, mostly due to my location (I'm too far from mini shows, and have no time to travel and be gone to go to said shows). And, I flat out don't want the headache or responsibility of someone else's horse on my property (I'd be a nervous wreck over the what ifs).
 

Joanna Cooke

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If you should still decide to help out your friend, and breed her mare(s); friend or not, still have that breeding contract and protect yourself from all those what ifs mentioned here, and even some not even thought of.
It's a huge can of worms to open, if you decide to open up to offering breeding to the general public; but it's a decision only you can make based on a possible "market" in your area for what you have to offer.
I chose not to offer my stallion to outside breeding, because of all the aforementioned issues; he is registered and from good stock, but has not been shown, mostly due to my location (I'm too far from mini shows, and have no time to travel and be gone to go to said shows). And, I flat out don't want the headache or responsibility of someone else's horse on my property (I'd be a nervous wreck over the what ifs).
I am in the same place with the showing stuff. I think it would be cool to show the ponies, but I would have to learn A LOT about it all and there would be a ton of other obstacles to overcome for me to be able to do that. I also relate with the whole nervous wreck thing😄, I was a big fat stress ball when I first got the horses and I still kind of am, lol, I don’t like leaving them! I don’t need the stress of trying to breed Buddy to outside mares considering I’m already under a good bit of stress with my mare being pregnant, and with all the school and church stuff that I do.
 

arrelle

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As another aside, since this has been bothering me more than it should --

a lot of what I say on public horse forums is partially for the poster I'm replying to, and partially for the viewers who are reading but not interacting.

I'm responding here not necessarily as a follow up to siring a stallion, but as a follow up about the horse industry in general to people who are reading this thread. I went through the OPs post history the other day, just because I wasn't sure what level she was at after reading her response to me. There are several red flags in addition to those listed above and I want to outline them, not as a witch hunt, but just for people reading and asking themselves these questions.

If you are starting a business, whether it's standing a stallion or breaking colts, or anything else in the horse industry - you open yourself up to a lot of liability. In most cases, to enter a valid breeding contract - you must be at least 18 years old for legal purposes. If you are trying to sign paperwork for anything - buying a horse, selling a horse, sending a mare to a stallion to breed, etc please ensure that the person on the other side is a legal adult for your own protection.

If you have horses - whether they're show horses or pets, the best practice is really to have emergency funds available for them because... they're horses and they like to try to kill themselves at inconvenient times. Some people have savings, other people have access to credit cards. Some people may not spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on their care because they are livestock, but having the ability to call the vet when needed is really critical. It's cruel to own an animal and not be able to care for it when it gets hurt or sick.

If you are breeding horses, the above becomes doubly true. I lost a mare/foal to a bad dystocia two years ago. We rushed to the hospital to try to at least save my mare, and despite the best help I had and hundreds of dollars of vet bills afterwards - we lost them both during the birth. A girlfriend of mine had a foal born this year that came out nose first - she had to spend 45 minutes giving him "mouth to mouth" as he was stuck in the birth canal while he painfully squeaked during every contraction while waiting for the vet, because she couldn't get his front feet up by herself. Both the foal and the mare ended up at A&M's hospital; after three weeks, the foal died anyway. The hospital bill was five figures. While not everyone would be willing to go that far, you'd at least be on the hook to get the vet out to help get the foal positioned to come out. I mean, I guess a bullet is cheap, but that's a horrifying thought.

I want as many people as possible to enjoy horses. I wish everyone could have them. I've been around for many years and I know some people like them as pets, some people show them, some people use them as therapy animals. But, as with anything, if you're going to have it - please be able to care for it. I am very, very concerned when people start breeding horses that they acquired "because the owner agreed to give her to me for free". To anyone reading, the purchase price of a horse is the cheapest part of ownership. If you cannot afford to purchase a horse, please do not consider breeding additional horses. I think a lot of people enjoy the abstract concept of cute little foals and furry little muzzles (which truly ARE great), but they forget that they're legitimately creating a life - and they owe it to that foal to give them the best opportunities in their life, since the breeder is responsible for creating it. It isn't something to be taken lightly.

With anything in life, I do appreciate folks that are full steam ahead and gung ho about their passion. However, there's also something to be said about not putting the metaphorical cart before the horse. If you get started in anything - let's say miniature horses, since that's the crux of these boards - start slow. Take lessons. Watch DVDs. Find a mentor that you can ask questions to. I always tell parents that approach me about their children starting riding lessons - let them take lessons in a variety of disciplines. Maybe they like jumping, maybe they like reiners, maybe they'll join me and get a cute miniature and enjoy driving. Gain experience and as you discover what you like, dig in deeper.

It scares me when people have owned their first horse for less than six months and they're talking about standing him to the public as a stallion. (As a side note - whoever sold a first time owner a breeding stallion and then gave them a free, bred mare should probably have their head examined. To people reading - that's akin to putting your child in a Ferrari when they learn to drive.) There's that old adage that says, "The more you know, the more you realize you don't know." I think that's true with most things in life and especially horses. I've grown up riding hunters, and to this day, I tell parents not to buy a horse for their kids until they've consistently done six months of lessons and then probably leased a horse for a minute. Not because I don't want them buying - I really, really, really want more people in the industry... but because I want to ensure they enjoy it and make the best decision for "long term" happiness. I want to make sure the kids enjoy doing the hunters, or find out if they prefer the jumper ring. I want to make sure the kid likes to ride horses that have a big motor, or find out if they're more confident with a horse that needs a kick ride. Some kids prefer being on big horses, others prefer ponies as long as they can hold off puberty and the inevitable growth spurts that let them lock legs under a pony's belly. You simply won't know until you are able to try it.

You don't have to do everything "all or nothing", in fact - a lot of times it's better to learn little first and then grow from there, or you might miss some important details. When it comes to breeding, having a trusted team increases the odds of a successful birth so very much. Knowing the signs of placentitus, knowing what to do if you get a red bag foal, how to do an IgG test, etc.

Everyone has a first time for everything. But setting yourself up for success gives you the best odds of a good outcome. Luck favors the prepared, and I think it's more important to be honest about the realities of what you might face instead of instilling false rah rah feel good responses to a red flag festival. It's important, especially online, to really dig into the context of any question presented - it's not that I want to get into the can of worms of to breed or not to breed - but I can't in good conscience give straight answers on how to safely sire out a stallion if I don't know the rational behind it. In this case, it's a minor who appears to have needed to ask permission to purchase said stallion and whose only mentor appears to be a backyard breeder. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit. I would rather be "the bad guy" who presents the realities of the decisions that a young person is making, than have said young person be patted on the back the entire time and several years down the road say, "Man, I wish someone would have told me the implications of those decisions I made when I was younger."
 
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