In the wake of dwindling sales and shockingly low prices, a group of New Forest breeders has taken steps to make foals more attractive to buyers.
The breeders have decided to geld, passport and halter-break some colt foals before offering them at the final Beaulieu Road sale of the year (28 November). This new initiative comes in an attempt to boost interest, with prices dropping to just £20 on some occasions.
6 colts will be consigned to the sale in this way to test the water. “We wanted to try and make these foals a more attractive prospect for buyers,” said breeder Robert Maton.
Normally colts are sent to the sales entire and Forest-bred foals have had minimal – if any – prior handling. But sale prices have been at an all-time low, also leading to welfare concerns about the animals’ ultimate destinations.
“We thought that if people realised they wouldn’t have the expense and stress of having to geld the colts themselves, they might be prepared to pay a more realistic price,” said Robert.
“Plus we will know they cannot be used for breeding in the future — licensed or unlicensed — and this is vitally important when the market is so limited and we are trying to control the numbers of foals being bred.”