I thought I would write up a little article on the pros and cons of breeding to an outside stallion. I have had great experiences breeding to an outside stallion, and I believe it gives my breeding program the cutting edge. Utilizing an outside stallion is a trend that is slowly picking up in the mini world, but is very common place with the large breed horses (quarter horse, arabian, etc).
1. REDUCED STING FACTOR.
We have all had it happen to us. You cruise the internet, you fall in love with a horse, do your research, and buy him sight unseen. The horse arrives at your farm, unloads off the trailer and.. Oh. Humm..... Is this the same horse from the photographs? Are you sure?... Unfortunately the horse looks nothing like you had anticipated. The realization sets in that you paid cold hard cash for a dishonestly represented horse. For us here in Canada, shipping a horse up from the states usually can cost upwards of $1500 for each horses transport. Add to your purchase price & transport cost: the tax, brokerage, exchange, etc. and you have taken quite a kick in the pants.It's happened to most breeders, including me. Think of all the money you may have (or have!) spent on finding that perfect stallion to fit your mares. By using an outside stallion I cut down my "sting risk factor". It's not measurable of course, the money you 'could' have spent. But I believe a person could save money in the long haul.
2. OPTIMIZING YOUR GENETIC POTENTIAL AND GETTING TO YOUR END GOAL.
Take a look at your mare herd. Who is the shining star? Who is that one mare that you just can't miss? Who can you breed your mare to that will take her to the next level? Do your research. What are you looking for to compliment her? Movement? Check. Expression? Check. My intention is to breed for a foal that will be better than it's dam and sire & could compete at the world level. I want to create MY ideal horse, in the least amount of generations I can. Does every carefully planned breeding result in a gorgeous show foal? No, of course not. But I try to set myself up for success. The option of being able to use an outside stallion allows me to reach new heights. Whatever you're looking for, you can find it in an outside stallion. He is proven, he has notable bloodlines, and great foals on the ground that are making a name for themselves. You are custom tailoring a great match. You have the mare. Now find the puzzle peice that maximizes her potential.
3. TRYING OUT NEW TRENDS THE EASIER WAY
If you're a trendy sort of person, breeding to an outside stallion with your prize mare allows you to get a taste without taking the risk and buying an expensive weanling out of that stallion... (AKA: re-read Pro reason #1).
4. REDUCED HASSLE.
Let's face it. Stallions can be a real pain in the butt to handle and keep. And since minis are so small, miniature horse breeders tend to keep a few of them because it's easy. I come from the opposite pool of thought where I believe less is more. By sending my mares to an outside stallion, I don't have to have a seperate pen that doesn't share any fencelines for the extra stud. I don't have the extra chores to do twice a day, 365 days a year. I don't have that horses farrier or dental bill. I just send my mares to booty camp for a few months of the year and they come back happy.
5. OVERALL, MONEY WELL SPENT.
You've picked your top mare, sent her out to a top stallion that will enhance her best features, and hopefully she is ultrasounded in foal and carries that foal to term. When baby comes out, hopefully it will be everything you've dreamed of. And who knows? Maybe one of those foals will be your next herd stallion!
1. ALL OF THE NITTY GRITTY COST.
Stud fees can range anywhere from $300 - $10,000+ for a breeding. Don't forget to add mare care: which is a cost that is often on an additional, per month basis. For a mini mare, expect $100 a month and up for mare care for at least 2 months, most likely 3. An ultrasound is a smart thing to have done before you bring your mare home, and expect to get that vet bill (under $100 ). Also consider the transport cost of bringing your mare to & from the stud farm. Oh wait-- dont forget tax!
2. BEFUDDLING THE ACRONYMS & GARAUNTEES.
Make sure that both parties are clear with what is expected in the arrangement. Ultrasound in foal is an agreement that the mare will leave the breeders farm confirmed in foal by ultrasound. Live foal garauntee means that the breeder will offer a breed-back option if the mare doesn't carry the foal to term or loses the foal at birth-- but if your mare loses her foal and you choose to send her back, expect to pay mare care again.
3. WORKING WITH ANOTHER FARM.
Most horse people that offer customer services (such as studding) are wonderful to deal with. But this is not always the case, and that is why testimonials & recommendations are always a plus when looking to send out your mare. But it's not always about the host farm: be on your best behavior. You and the stud farm are embarking on a partnership. Both parties should have glowing reviews at the end of breeding season.
Before your mare is sent out to be bred, have her thoroughly inspected by a vet for any venereal diseases. Also, get him to take a look at her general cervix health to make sure she is sound for breeding. Before she is sent, get insurance put on your mare for what she is WORTH in your breeding program, not just what you paid. Accidents can happen at the host farm, and you gotta make sure your butt is covered.
Sending a mare to an outside stallion is a great way to get an infusion of a certain bloodline into your herd. When thinking about sending your mare away to be bred, consider this: How much would you pay for your next show horse? Sometimes, that money is best spent on investing back into the herd you already have.