I see I see; springtime is out there and every other horse owner’s mind spins around not only competition season starting but also around an upcoming foaling season. Picture of having a little one running on your fields is more than tempting and yes, purchase a little tiny foal halter for your next champion as well. However, there might be several things to consider in this decision-making process, so let’s go through them.
Even though you might be more than satisfied with your current place, real question is- is it suitable for your (understand your mare’s) future needs? Or maybe this is the right time for a switch you have been waiting for, as we all know how hard it is to find a good stable fitting all your needs. Look around in your area while passing some pastures if you don’t spot a hidden gem, ask your fellows or your veterinarian, they might know a place you never heard about, but it is specialised in breeding. Keep your eye on the schedule they have in there, look at the quality of hay, attitude of the employees, amount of beddings or maintenance of the paddock/ field as this will become a place your mare will spend the most time at. Look if the fencing is secure enough and if there aren’t any hazardous objects in the field. When paying it a visit, don’t forget to ask some questions! My list would consist of:
- What time do horses daily spend on the field?
- Do you turn out horses even when the weather is bad?
- How often are they checked?
- How often is it possible to serve their feed?
- Is there a shelter in the field?
- How do you maintain the field in the winter?
- How many horses are together in one paddock? How do you divide it?
- Is it possible to rug my mare when necessary?
- Do you provide vet or farrier assistance when needed?
- Is it possible for you to assist at the birth?
- How many horses have been born there?
- Would you mind serving a supplement to the mare when needed?
- How big is the foaling box?
- What is the water source like in the field and in the stable? How does it work during the wintertime?
…and I could go on. I recommend writing down a list of your needs and what the day of your mare should look like, so you don’t forget anything important.
If you are not a breeding pro and studying the pedigrees at night, knowing thousands of Holstein lines by mind or you don’t visit stud shows on a regular basis, don’t despair. You can still contact a reliable person, either from one particular stud that seems to have few interesting stallions or a breeder you feel you trust. I believe they will be happy to help.
You can and should also do research by yourself. Focus on what strengths your mare has and in connection with her siblings, parents or progeny, what is it she can pass onto the offspring. Is it her comfy gallop or long legs? Search for photos and videos in online discussions or Facebook groups and ask people that have a horse from the same father as hers. The same basically applies to a father. What do you want to enhance? Do you need a stallion refiner? Do you need a great mind?
Search for his videos and analyse movements, eagerness to perform and the results, with regard to the rider riding him. Sometimes you might find an amazing stallion in hands of not an absolute professional, which might be a match and would signalise your foal might be well rideable one day. On the other hand, an amazing horse but only wearing a strong bite and ridden only by a strong man does not necessarily need to be your cup of tea. Look at the posture, body framework, hooves and their quality or how do the legs overall look like, if it is an older horse. Legs, which aren’t anyhow swollen, and firm tendons should predict good x-rays, which is also something you want your foal to be gifted, right? If possible, I recommend seeing the potential father in person and talking with people that know him, they might give you a nice look into his daily behaviour.
Also, when having a maiden mare (and old horseman would agree with this) it is said that it is better not to put the heaviest type and tallest stallion on a smaller mare the first time, due to possible problems with a foal being too big during the birth.
Try to put together all pros and cons and… pray. In the end, even if you do an excel sheet to compare all the possible stallions (like I obviously did) and have all the experience in the world, it is all just magic. So, dream big, choose that dreamy stallion of yours, provide your mare the best care and believe all will eventually work in your favour. What else to keep your eye on? And how to manage this “best care”?
Stay tuned for more and let me know if there is a particular topic you are curious about!
PS: If you are a german speaker, you might appreciate blog of Anissa about the groundwork practices with horses and foal life too! Click here to read: https://bit.ly/foal-story
Nice one, when can we expect a second part? 🙂
Hi and thank you for your interest! I guess by tommorow it should be out, gonna keep you updated 🙂