What to consider before breeding from your mare

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    • Your mare may have great sentimental value, but if she’s lost you money for the past four years, keep her as a pet.
    • Decide what you intend to do with the foal. If you’re looking to sell then you can’t ignore the market’s demands. If you don’t produce a well-conformed, reasonably bred animal by a fashionable sire, the odds are stacked against you. A good-looking mare with a decent temperament from an improving family will help your case.
    • The market’s views on stallion are enormously fickle. You’ll struggle if offering something by what’s deemed a “cold” sire when you come to sell. Don’t over-cover your mare by going to a stallion she doesn’t merit.
    • There’s very little scope for profit at the lower end of the market and you’d be better off owning 20% of a £100,000 mare than all of one worth £20,000.
    • If you’re breeding to race your own horses, then you have much more leeway. There are plenty of uncommercial, winner-producing stallions and the most successful operators in the long run are owner-breeders who have developed their own good families rather than looking just for profit at the sales.

    This is an extract from a feature in the bloodstock special in the current issue of Horse & Hound (3 February, 2011)

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