What constitutes an “old” mare in breeding terms, and what increased risks might a more senior mare face? Selene Scarsi investigates the challenges and advantages of breeding from older mares
One of the UK’s leading reproduction vets, James Crabtree, director of Equine Reproductive Services (UK), admits that “how old is too old?” is a question he is asked a lot when it comes to breeding from mares.
“The truth is, each mare is an individual; it also depends on the breed, as thoroughbred and warmblood types tend to age more than native ponies. But, generally speaking, a mare’s fertility starts to decline at around 14 to 15 years old,” he says.
The first thing to bear in mind is that breeding – carrying a pregnancy and delivering a foal – will always represent a risk, regardless of age.