with Robert Booth, BHS Stage 5 Accredited Professional Coach
As another side of the equestrian business here at Rodgebrook Horses, we run a small stud with our own stallion and broodmares. The stallion was bought as a foal based on his excellent jumping bloodlines and the broodmares we have retained from our past working mares that have proven to be good competition horses and also with good bloodlines.
Some people are put off of breeding a foal by thinking it’s too complicated and fraught with problems – and yes, while things can go wrong, with the help of a good stud and vet it can actually be very straightforward.
Many studs now offer chilled or fresh semen from their stallions for artificial insemination, which means your mare can be inseminated at home with the help of your vet or you may chose to send the mare away and let the stud handle it, which will include livery fees and extra costs.
Of course you do have to put in a bit of work yourself and to be aware of your mare’s cycle, as knowing when she is to come into season gives you time to plan and pick your stallion. Remember the stud fee is only part of the cost, and sometimes it’s more important to choose the right stallion to suit your mare rather than be guided by the price.
There are other things to take into consideration when looking through the stud books, and the terms and conditions can change everything. Some studs offer a pregnancy guarantee or your fee back and some offer a free return next year, some offer concessions to graded or proven mares, some give you a limit on how many doses you are allowed and there are extra costs of collection fees and postage. Foaling down is a natural process and the after-care of the mare and foal is minimal, rarely causing problems – but again the stud and your vet are always there to help if needed.
By the time you’re reading this, we will be well on the way to breeding our next foals, sending some pending foals in the post and transporting around the Island. Whether you want to retain your beloved mare’s line, or are more interested in an investment for future sale, there is a buoyant market for sport horses at the moment, and there is nothing more satisfying than watching a newborn grow up into a young horse out there competing.
Robert Booth is an equine trainer for Rodgebrook Horses. Visit their website at www.rodgebrookhorses.co.uk or telephone 01983 521870.