Breeding a thoroughbred can be both exciting and daunting experience. There are numerous considerations when selecting the right stallion for your mare, for example, are you breeding to race or to sell, and what is your budget and expectations?
What Attributes to look for in a stallion?
When choosing a stallion for your broodmare there are many questions you need to ask. You need to consider not just the genetic lines and physical type of both mare and stallion but also the financial considerations as well.
Some of the more important questions to ask, when selecting the right stallion are:
- Conformation – Is the stallion a good impressive physical type or does he have any conformation faults that maybe passed onto the foal?
- Pedigree – This is where it’s important to do your research. Is the stallion a suitable match for your mare and has it been a successful cross in the past?
- Temperament – does he display good behavior and are his foals of a nice nature?
- Compliment your mare – if your mare has any conformation faults will the stallion help correct these faults. If your mare is bred to be a sprinter or race over more ground will the stallion’s pedigree suit her and enhance that or have a negative impact?
- Service Fee – Is it within your budget and set to market value?
- Terms of cover – do they provide a live foal guarantee, when will the service fee be payable?
- Travel Costs, fees and agistment – Where is the stallion located, what costs are involved in getting your mare there?
- Fertility – Does he have a good fertility rate and regularly return a good percentage of positive pregnancies tests in comparison to mares he covers?
- Previous breeding record – How many mares has he served and over how many years? Of his foals already racing, what success have they had on the racetrack; provided they are old enough to be racing.
- Sale ability – If you are breeding to sell what prices have the yearlings been making at the sales and are they getting a good return compared to the stallion’s service fee?
- Previous progeny – Try and inspect foals from previous years and see if the stallion produces a nice, correct well developed type.
What you should Avoid in a stallion
- Bad behavior
- Poor conformation – check for any conformation faults, some may not be of a concern, but it’s believed some things can be passed onto the foal such as parrot mouth and leg deformities.
- Low fertility – you don’t want to send your mare to a sub fertile stallion only to find out towards the end of the season he has a low percentage of pregnancies.
- Poor results – If the stallion has been at stud for numerous years and is not producing the winners on the racetrack it’s probably best to avoid. If he isn’t getting winners, he won’t be making good results in the sales ring either.
- Not supported – If he hasn’t been supported with good quality mares in previous seasons or serving a decent book every year it probably suggests he isn’t the best producer.
- Pedigree – As mentioned previously it’s important to make sure the stallion you select has a pedigree that is a good match for your mare. If he has a weak family line, he is probably not going to give you the quality foal you are looking for.
Selecting the right stallion is not an easy task, but can be very rewarding especially when you watch your horse win its first race or the hammer fall in the sale ring for that price you where hoping for. Remember research is key, not just assessing the stallion’s statistics and pedigree but his physical type as well all are so very important. There a plenty of professionals out there that can help you with any if not all these things.
Written by Selena Phillis