Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Breeding Season Decisions for the Small Arabian Horse Breeder

Well, it's breeding season again and time to be paying close attention to the Arabian horses that are going to be bred. As a small breeder, how many mares I plan on breeding fluctuates based on how many horses I've sold the previous year and what I think I'm going to get sold the current year.

This year has been a difficult year to figure out because last year the birth of the twin Arabian foals really messed up my business plan for the year. Most of my time and energy went into saving the twins. I didn't get horses trained or in the show ring to get them sold. That left me with a larger number of horses than usual at the end of year. It doesn't take but a little ripple in the business plan to end up with horses of riding age stacking up without the training it takes to go show. Last year was much more than a small ripple.

The current trend in the Arabian industry is that the horses don't usually sell until they are well started in their show careers. Everyone wants a finished or soon to be finished show horse. That's the one thing that's really difficult about breeding Arabian horses for the show market. Only long time established breeders or connections to big name farms seem to be able to sell prospects. Once I get those connections established by getting broke horses into some of the larger training barns in the country, I will be fine. The quality and disposition of my Arabian horses will move me quickly into the realm of known breeders. In the meantime I'm at my maximum for the number of horses we can realistically care for and train.

Ideally, I wouldn't breed any horses this year but somehow I can't even imagine a spring without new foals. I don't know that Dave and Lindsay can either so I've decided to breed at least one, possibly two mares. The only reason I would be inclined to breed two is I know myself well enough to know that I tend to go a little crazy breeding the year after I've only had one foal. I tend to breed everything I can get my hands on. Granted that makes the stallion pretty happy but it can also cause a big ripple in the business plan.

To be continued..............

Part 2


  1. It's good that you think rationally and know yourself well, because responsible breeding is important to the horse industry in more ways than one.

  2. I agree with the first post. Glad to see responsible breeding plans. I know around here there are way too many backyard breeders that don't have the training skills that you do or the facilities and they put out a poor product that doesn't amount to anything.

  3. Have you discussed this with the mares? :)
    I had time today to groom the foals and wondered how sad I'll be next year when we don't have any babies anymore. It's not my barn or my decision.

  4. LOL on the stallion being happy.

    I have told Larry that I am not breeding any mares this year. The three that are coming back from Iowa will be bred to a Palomino World Champ and I will live with that because I have always wanted a Palomino. No guarantees that I will get one, the mares are a Chestnut, a Bay and a Sorrel, but who knows. He has pretty much accepted it I think which takes a weight off my mind because he was not happy at first. Wea re going to geld the one yearling this week and the next one to be done will be ther older Tobiano stud. He will be a much happier horse as a gelding. Next year we will re-assess the situation and decide if we will breed any for 2009 foals. A few of my aquaintences who also regularly breed 7 or 8 babies a year are not breeding this year. I am going to miss the babies but I will have to live with it LOL. No cute photo ops. The abolishing of the slaughter houses is having its affect on the industry and there are so many unwanted horses out there I just dont know what to think.