Dodgeville, WI (PressExposure) April 10, 2009 -- Breeding good quality mares to good quality stallions produce that great foal we are all looking. No matter what breed of horse you plan on raising the importance of quality always comes first. Whether you are looking for raise a foal to become that great trail horse, show horse, family horse or pet you always need quality. When I think of quality I think of quiet, good minded, good conformation, strong bone and feet, kind eye, willing to please attitude and athletic ability. We believe you do need these qualities in both the sire and the dam to get that all around good foal. It's always nice to add a little color for instance if you prefer a buckskin, palomino, dun, black or nice paint horse.
When you have a mare and are looking for a stallion to cross with her you need to consider many things. One of our first is the conformation of the mare and what we want to improve. Then you look for a stud that has some of the same good qualities your mare has and then some of the qualities in the stud that are needed to make that great foal. For instance, if I had a mare that had a more common head I would try to find a stud that has a smaller more refined head. If I had a mare with a short neck maybe find a stud with a little longer neck if that is what you want to improve. Disposition is one of the main qualities to look for when breeding and should never be over looked. You will hear people say "I have a mare that is nasty or unfriendly so I don't enjoy riding her ...I'll just use her as a broodmare". This is wrong and if people would think about it why would you want to breed a bad disposition and have that horse produce foals that could carry on the same bad quality?
It's also very important to consider the facility you have when raising foals and whether or not you have the time to care for both the mare and foal. If you are breeding for an early foal you have to consider shelter and whether or not you can keep the foal warm enough in bad weather. Foals are healthy outside and if the timing is good for you it is always nice to have them foal in May when the grass is green and the foal can be outside or depending on what state you live in and the climate. Many breeders that show like to have the foals born as early as January and February so they have a head start for the showing season. Many have heated barns for the early foaling mares or foal blankets to keep them warm or of course if you are in the warmer climate areas this might not be a concern. Overall, there is a lot to consider when deciding to breed your mare.
Every breeder has their own way of worming, vaccinating etc. We like to worm the mares and give them a 4-way (Eastern,Western,Tetanus,Flu) shot a month before they foal and then worm the mare the day after she foals. We normally will worm the foal at day 7 and then every month until they are a year old. We recommend that you get with your veterinarian to get a worming and vaccinating schedule that works for you. It is very important to keep the foals wormed on a regular basis to avoid colic and to stay healthy and strong. Again please consult with your veterinarian for the correct vaccinations and wormers.
Imprinting the foal is very important. This consists of spending time with the foal and touching it all over will build trust and the foal will soon consider you a friend. Putting a halter on the foal and leading it around when it is young is much easier than when it is older and too big to handle. Touching the legs, ears and feet always helps to keep the foal tame and trusting people. The foal will rely on their dam for the first week or so but as the foal grows older will start to explore their surroundings. It's very important to keep things out of the stall and pasture that the foal can get caught up in or hurt on. It is best to have a safe fence or stall with not sharp edges or places where the foal get their head caught or hurt.
One of the most important things to remember is to not breed for quantity but for quality. There are too many unwanted horses in the world and when deciding to breed make sure you are aware of the responsibilities and care needed for these horses. Raising a foal is a joyful experience and can be very rewarding.