Cash Conscious

Use these tips to get your mare in foal without breaking the bank.

Compiled by Kristin Syverson

To breed your mare on a reasonable budget, follow this advice.

Have her checked early.

A month or two before you start breeding, have your mare ultrasounded for reproductive health. That way you can find out if she’s got any issues such as a uterine infection. If you diagnose it early and can treat it, she’s more likely to be ready to breed on time.

Breed during her natural season.

People want early foals for a number of reasons, usually competition-related. But if you don’t care when that foal arrives, consider breeding your mare when nature planned.

Mares begin cycling when their pituitary glands are triggered by longer daylight hours. So, to get them to cycle early, breeding farms put them under lights starting in November to lengthen the days their eyes detect. If you do nothing, she’ll begin cycling in April as the days lengthen naturally. And you won’t have the added effort and electricity bill.

When your mare starts to cycle, how will she be bred? Download your FREE copy of the "Artificial Insemination" fact sheet to learn the ins and outs of this increasingly popular choice.

Keep her current on vaccinations and de-worming.

It’s a no-brainer. Vaccinations and de-worming are inexpensive, simple ways to prevent big health problems that will prevent your mare from getting in foal, much less carrying that foal to term. If you’ve never given shots yourself, ask your regular veterinarian to show you how and save that farm call.

“Fat is a beautiful color.”

That’s an old saying on breeding farms because old-timers knew that mares “on the gain” seemed to cycle better. But if your mare is obese, the reverse is true, so don’t overdo it. A mare in good health and carrying good weight simply cycles better. And the better she cycles, the better the odds are of her catching quickly.

Pick a fertile stallion.

The better his “soldiers march,” the faster your mare will get in foal. A truly good stallion manager/owner will be honest about a stallion’s fertility because it’s good long-term business to get mares in foal, period. Always ask other people who have bred to the horse, too, or ask your veterinarian. And remember, with every stallion, his fresh semen is more fertile than his cooled, and his cooled is more fertile than his frozen.

Breed closer to home.

Your ideal stallion might be six states away, but it can be more expensive to breed via shipped cooled semen or frozen semen, especially if your mare, or the stallion, has fertility complications: It requires more reproductive management. If you are worried about your budget, check out the quality boys in your neighborhood. Some breeding farms will let you haul your mare in and out for breeding. But only if it looks like you manage her well – in other words, you’ve had her ultrasounded, she’s carrying good weight and is current on vaccinations and de-worming.

When breeding your mare, it is importnat to be familiar with all the options. AQHA's "Artificial Insemination" fact sheet is a FREE tool for you to learn everything from fertility rates with AI to the requirements for registering the resulting foal with AQHA.

2008 AQHA World Show Coverage on the Universal Sports Network

Didn't catch the show the first time around? You're in luck! The Universal Sports Network will re-air coverage that includes cow horse, reining and cutting highlights. These horses are true athletes! It's pretty amazing to see them in action. Universal Sports Network Broadcasts: Wednesday, February 19 – 9:00 am EST Thursday, March 1 – 9:00 am EST