Breeding Contracts

What should your horse breeding contract include?

It's wise to include the following elements in every breeding contract:

  • The parties of the contract - The owners of the mare and stallion should execute the contract. This section should include the address and phone numbers for both parties.
  • Stallion - The breeding stallion should be clearly identified, along with his AQHA registration number.
  • Location of the stallion
  • Mare - If the breeding contract is designed for one particular mare, include the mare's AQHA registered name and registration number.
  • Breeding fees - Include the breeding fee amount in the contract. You should also specify the method of payment.
  • Fees and expenses - Address all potential fees - mare care, veterinarian and farrier fees - and make them the responsibility of the mare owner. Transported semen involves costs for purchasing or renting containers, as well as the time for return of rented or borrowed containers.
  • Guarantees - Most breeding contracts contain a "live foal" guarantee. Any such guarantees should be included and clarified in the contract.

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  • Type of breeding allowed - The type of breeding - live or artificial insemination with cooled or frozen transported semen - should be addressed.
  • Time of breeding - Most breedings are purchased for the upcoming year. However, some mare owners plan farther in advance. To avoid a potential dispute, the contract should include an expiration date.
  • Rebreeding rights - While breeding farms strive to settle all mares, some mares simply don't take. A well-written contract should identify a mare owner's right to rebreed.
  • Sale of breeding - Allowance and circumstances concerning selling a breeding to a third party should be addressed.
  • Condition of acceptance of a mare - Many breeding farms require certain immunizations and tests prior to a mare's arrival. At a minimum, the contract should require the mare owner to provide proof of inoculations, a negative Coggins test and health certificates upon the arrival of the mare at the farm.
  • Entitlements of the mare owner -- Upon paying the breeding fee and breeding the mare, the mare owner is entitled to a signed application for registration of the foal.
  • Refunds - The contract should address whether the stallion owner will allow any refunds, and if so, under what circumstances.
  • Liability waver - The stallion owner should include a liability waver covering potential liability to the mare owner.

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  • Death or injury to the stallion - The breeding contract should address the potential death or injury of the stallion. Options include refunding the breeding fee or allowing the mare owner to breed to a different stallion.
  • Lien/security interest - This provision will give the stallion or farm owner a lien and security interest in the mare and resulting foal for any unpaid breeding fees, mare care, veterinarian or farrier bills. This protects the stallion owner or farm owner if the mare owner doesn't pay.
  • Equine Activity Liability Act - Because the breeding contract also serves as a boarding agreement in some situations, your state's equine activity liability act language might be required in the contract. Check your local laws for requirements.
  • Jurisdiction/Venue - The stallion owner should include a provision stating that local jurisdiction and venue are required if a lawsuit is brought after a dispute. Similarly, the stallion owner should provide that his or her home state's law applies to any disputes.

Remember that each state has a different interpretation of validity of contracts. It's recommended that breeders contact their attorneys to draw up a contract to meet their individual needs according to state laws. "When I draft a breeding contract, I find out what state my client is in and I go to that state's statue. I specifically put that language in the contract so they will get the full benefit of the contract," says equine lawyer Michael Beethe, who provided these tips.