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Firstly- do you need to breed a foal. There are many foals already out there and choosing an existing foal means that you get to choose what you want- colour, gender, expected temperament and get a good idea of height. Putting a mare in foal means many of these are unknowns. Furthermore the cost of purchasing a healthy foal may be less or at least not more than the cost of getting a mare in foal, looking after her through to foaling and the risk of something happening to the mare or the foal. Most foalings are successful but there are known risks.
If you have a mare that you wish to get in foal, our stallion has an amazing temperament and correct conformation. However at least 50% of what you get comes from the mare. Before deciding to breed your mare please consider:
- Is your mare physically and mentally suitable to breed from? Both temperament and conformation issues may be passed on to your foal.
- Do you have a plan for the foal? There are many good horses out there for sale or that end up leading short lives because no-one wants them. If you can’t provide a home for the foal for as long as it takes to find a good home at a price that will ensure the foal is valued, perhaps now is not the right time to get your mare in foal.
- Have you thought through the possible vet costs involved if something goes wrong before, during and after foaling? Vet costs can be considerable so plan ahead
- Do you have suitable facilities in which to raise a foal and have you the experience, or access to someone with experience, so you can ensure the foal has the best possible start in life.
If you have answered yes to the above questions we are very happy to help you - either with a service to our stallion or if he is not suitable, introduction to others who may have a stallion to meet your needs. We may also have or know of others who have foals already available or due in the near future.
Before signing a service contract for any stallion:
some points we think are important to consider.
- Have you met the stallion or talked to knowledgeable, objective people who have? Look beyond pretty colors, masses of feather and mane, and talk of special, fabulous or quality blood lines. Many of the very good quality UK show horses do not have known pedigrees and feather and mane can depend a lot on where the horse is kept (stable versus paddock), and the grooming time available. Most importantly does the stallion have: 1. a temperament you like and 2. correct conformation for what you wish to do? Everything else is a bonus. These two are essential.
We recommend you go and meet the stallion, see him handled, handle him yourself and then make a decision to use him or not.
- If your mare has conformation faults (and very few horses are perfect), does the the conformation of the stallion complement this or does he have the same faults- which are then likely to passed to the foal. For example if both stallion and mare have straight shoulders or long backs it is likely any foal will too.
- If a stallion is stated to be a particular height, and this is important to you, ask to see an RAS height certificate or at least visit the stallion. It is easy to over or under estimate height and the only accurate way to know is through an official measure. If the height of the parents of a horse are stated- ask to see their height certificates as well. Remember it is unusual for a foal to be bigger than both its parents. Also remember that the genetic make up of Gypsy cobs is very variable with regard to height. So a small stallion may produce much larger progeny and a large stallion much smaller progeny than themselves. Height genes is GCs appear to be fairly unpredictable.
Does the contract have a Live Foal Guarantee/ return service if not in foal clause?
Payment: how much? what do you pay for ? what happens if your mare does not get in foal? when is payment required? A deposit for handling is usually required, but many studs do not expect full payment until the mare is confirmed in foal. Remember this handling fee covers the time of the stud. If your mare does not get in foal, this is usually and reasonably not refundable.
When do you start to pay for grazing and how much?
Are there conditions attached to the contract? e.g. gelding clauses.
What do you have to do? AI vs live cover? vet scans? PG? send the mare to a stud for a time- if so handling and facilities- how far away is the stud, can you visit easily, can you get references from people who have sent their mare to that stud? Consider feed provided/available, fencing, group or individual paddocking, experience of the handlers, use of restraints when serving etc...
Stallion DNA verification. Who are the parents? Is the stallion you are using verified to the parents he is said to be by?
Stallion soundness and genetic testing. Has the stallion a soundness certificate from a vet stating he is clear of obvious faults. Has the stallion been tested for PSSM1. This may not be an issue as the mutation appears not to affect cobs, but may be something to consider particularly if your mare is from one of the more affected breeds (eg QH). See our links page for information about PSSM1.
Is the stallion registered with the NZGCA? If not your foal will not be eligible to be registered either. This is important if you wish to show the foal. (The NZGCA has rules around eligibility for registration- if you are not sure- ask first).
Colour testing: if you are wanting a particular color or pattern, or NOT wanting a particular colour, check the stallions color genetics against your mare's in the color calculator (see links). If you don't understand colour genetics very well this tool makes it simple and accurate.
Massey University offer color testing- worth doing if you want to definitely know your colour options - website on links page.
Feel pressured at all? Take some time to think about it and don't commit to anything you are not truly happy with. Reasonable studs will accept that choosing which stallion to use can be a difficult decision and that you may change your mind a few times. They will let you do this and not pressure you to choose their stallion - but will help you explore options to reach a decision that is right for you and your mare.
Does the stallion have progeny already around for you to view? Seeing what type the stallion leaves to mares similar to yours may be helpful.
FINALLY AND IMPORTANTLY : do you have the information you need? Have you spoken to others who have used this stud/ stallion? Were they happy with the foal/s and the service they received?