Breeding

Score Your Mare

Rate your mare's breeding condition.

This condition scoring system will help you determine if your mare is in optimum breeding condition. Moderately fleshy to fat mares cycle earlier in the year, have fewer cycles per conception, a higher pregnancy rate and maintain pregnancy more easily than thin mares. A condition score of 5 or less in lactating mares means they don't have enough stored fat to support reproduction. Mares in marginal or poor condition are less likely to breed successfully.

Considering artificial insemination? Get the facts with AQHA's FREE Artificial Insemination Fact Sheet. Topics include instructions on impregnating a mare using cooled or frozen semen and registering a foal resulting from this breeding method.

The scores are:

  1. Poor. The backbone, ribs, tailhead and the bony protrusions of the pelvic girdle (hooks and pins) stand out. The bones of the withers, shoulders and neck are noticeable. No fat can be felt anywhere.
  2. Very thin. The backbone, ribs, tailhead and pelvic bones stand out.  The bones of the withers, shoulders and neck are noticeable.
  3. Thin. The backbone stands out, but fat covers it to midpoint. Fat can be felt over the ribs. The backbone and ribs are noticeable. The tailhead is prominent. Individual vertebrae cannot be seen. Hook bones are visible but appear rounded. Pin bones cannot be seen. The withers, shoulders and neck are accentuated.
  4. Moderately thin. The horse has a crease along its back and the outline of the ribs can be seen. Fat can be felt around the tailhead. The hookbones cannot be seen. The withers, neck and shoulders do not look thin.
  5. Moderate. The back is level. Ribs can be felt, but not seen. Fat around the tailhead feels spongy. The withers look rounded, and the shoulder and neck blend smoothly into the body.

Mare and stallion owners alike will benefit from AQHA's FREE Artificial Insemination Fact Sheet! This handy tool offers an in-depth look at this popular breeding method.

  1. Moderate to fleshy. A slight crease down the back might be visible. Fat around the tailhead and over the ribs feels soft. There are small fat deposits along the sides of the withers and neck and behind the shoulders.
  2. Fleshy. There might be a crease down the back. Individual ribs can be felt, but there is noticeable fat between the ribs. Fat around the tailhead is soft. Fat is noticeable in the withers, neck and behind the shoulders.
  3. Fat. There is a crease down the back. Ribs are difficult to feel. The area along the withers is filled with fat, and fat around the tailhead feels very soft. The space behind the shoulders is filled in and some fat is deposited along the inner buttocks.
  4. Extremely fat. Obvious crease down the back. Fat appears in patches over the ribs and there is bulging fat around the tailhead, withers, shoulders and neck. Fat along the inner buttocks causes the buttocks to rub together, and the flank is filled in.