How to Pick the Right Stallion for Your Mare

To produce the most valuable foal possible, it is vital to have a stallion that complements your mare, her qualities, and genetic make-up. The most sought after stallions often have a limited number of mares to breed each year, and some stallions are only available on certain dates. We’ve also included some considerations that could impact your breeding program. This is an important decision, so be sure to plan ahead!

  1. Genetic testing: All animals can carry genetic diseases, so it is important to know if your mare and stallion are carriers. These genetic conditions can range from manageable to fatal for the foal. The diseases listed below have the potential to be detrimental to a “normal” life for your horse and have simple tests available to rule them out.
    1. Quarter Horse genetic diseases:
      1. HYPP (Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis)
      2. PSSM 1 (Polysaccharide Storage Myopathy Type 1)
      3. MH (Malignant Hyperthermia)
      4. HERDA (Hereditary Equine Regional Dermal Asthenia)
      5. GBED (Glycogen Branching Enzyme Deficiency)
    2. Paint Horse genetic diseases:
      1. LWO (Lethal White Overo)
      2. Splashed White Overo 2 & 3
      3. CSNB (Congenital Stationary Night Blindness)
    3. Arabian genetic diseases:
      1. CA (Cerebellar Abiotrophy)
      2. LFS (Lavender Foal Syndrome)
      3. SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency)
    4. Warmblood genetic diseases:
      1. WFFS (Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome)
      2. Hydrocephalus in Friesian Horses
  2. Price of foal versus potential value of foal: This is a very important consideration if you are looking at your foal as an investment. If the foals from a similar mare/stallion combination typically sell for less than the cost of making the foal (stud fee, semen shipping fees, vet fees to get your mare pregnant, cost of foaling mare out, etc), that is not a good combination. For example, an unproven stallion that you can breed your mare to for free can produce a foal that might not be worth much monetarily and this “free” deal may not be a good investment.
  3. Physical attributes and compatibility: Breeding your mare to a stallion that will compliment qualities is paramount. Knowing the stallion’s production record and how its offspring perform, compared to the mare’s, can hep you decide if they make a viable cross. In the thoroughbred industry, utilizing the TrueNicks database can help compare your cross to others in the industry.
  4. Timing of breeding: If you desire a foal that shows early in its life, the closer to January the foal is born the better. Early foals are considered vital in the thoroughbred, halter horse, and western performance industries. The earlier in the year they are born, the more time for growth and learning the discipline before performing. If you are wanting the foal to be ridden or shown later in life, this becomes less important as the horse will catch up in growth by four years of age.

If you have any questions about how to choose a stallion to best compliment your mare, or you would like to schedule an appointment for breeding, foaling out, or other services, feel free to give our office a call at (979) 324-5822. We would be glad to serve you!

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