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Rolling the Dice; Raising a Planned Foal Vs. Purchasing the Horse You Want
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Rolling the Dice; Raising a Planned Foal Vs. Purchasing the Horse You Want

To some, money is no object especially when you are passionate about your hobby.

If you have been a horse owner for some time likely you have learned the costs associated with keeping a $500, $5,000 or $50,000 horse are nearly the same. The upfront major purchase cost is what will get deep in to your wallet.

An option to getting the horse of your dreams is to raise it yourself. This blog will not focus on the decisions to make associated with bloodline and pedigree research or the type of foal you want. Nor the cost of the stud fee as this varies greatly. This is merely a look at where your hard earned money will be going associated with raising a foal from start to finish.

For some they see that champion steed winning tri-colored ribbons and dream they will one day own such a beauty putting them in the winner's circle. That is wonderful dream. They may inquire if the horse is a breeding stallion because that is the horse they want to take a gamble on with their mare.

In today’s market the stud fee is just the stud fee. Some breeders will also charge a handling fee. If your mare must go to the stallion then there will be boarding costs. Some farms are negotiable on this. At most they would prefer your mare arrive 2 weeks before her heat cycle and stay at least 30 days after to ensure he is pregnant.

As a side note to mare owners with no stallion around, just because you saw her urinate in the pasture is not necessarily an indication she is in heat. If you don’t really know her cycle then have your veterinarian check her. More cost. If the stallion you choose is a carrier of something like SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency), then your mare will need to be checked for that as not to pass it on to the foal. More cost. If the stallion owner offers A.I.(artificial insemination) then your mare can stay home but note there are collection fees, shipping fees and a container deposit. Then there is more cost for the veterinarian to perform the insemination. Please know that a mare’s conception rate is 65%-70%. If your mare falls in the 30% category then you have to do this all over again less the one time stud fee . Also, some stallion owner require the mare be “flushed” prior to the breed process as basically a preventative measure to any potential infections interfering with fertilization.

Once your mare is pregnant most veterinarians recommend a pneumabort shot at 5, 7 and 9 months of the pregnancy. More cost. Then your mare can just be cared for as normal with perhaps supplements added to her diet. If your mare has a history of want to abort the foal then a daily dosage of Regumate will help.

At delivery time, will you stay on foal-watch or will you hire some one? Definitely have the vet out as soon as possible to make sure the foal received enough colostrum. If not, more cost. There many other factors to consider that are rare but do happen. Visiting with your vet to see if your mare is physically suitable to carry a foal to term will help to discover these “hidden costs.”

Now that the much awaited foal is here. No doubt the enjoyment you will receive from watching its playfulness and grace will be priceless. But once it is weaned then there is definitely another mouth on the grocery bill. Now comes the long process of raising the foal over the next 2 to 3 years before it will be able to carry you.

This blog really is not meant to discourage you. I have raised many foals. Some mares had breeding issues from live-coverage and A.I. and many didn’t have any troubles. Yet there is sill no possible way to fully guarantee that the resulting foal will be exactly what you want the first time, second, third and so one; even if you use the same mare and stallion.

So ask yourself, it is worth the time, energy and expense to roll the dice?

Disclaimer: Of Horse! and sponsors do not endorse nor validate the accuracy of a blog post. Each article is the opinion of the blogger.

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  1. Danielle de la Mont
    Danielle de la Mont
    I think more people should consider things like this before deciding to breed. The choice should be made fully aware of the costs vs. rewards.
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