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Old 03-25-2007, 04:27 PM  
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How old is to old to breed your mare?

I was wondering, if you have a good sound mare, how old is to old to breed this mare? Let's say she's sound and in great shape, has wonderful pedigree and a beautiful temperment. Where does her breeding days end?
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Old 03-25-2007, 05:06 PM  
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Re: How old is to old to breed your mare?

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Originally Posted by bstappys
I was wondering, if you have a good sound mare, how old is to old to breed this mare? Let's say she's sound and in great shape, has wonderful pedigree and a beautiful temperment. Where does her breeding days end?
It would depend on the mare. I've seen plenty of mares produce well into their twenties. But they were used often and were in terrific shape, or they were on 24-hour turnout in a hilly pasture and kept in shape that way. I've also seen mares that were almost 20 that had a heck of a time giving birth because they weren't in good shape.

I'd have the vet do a good breeding exam on her and go from there.
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Old 03-25-2007, 05:30 PM  
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I actually have a mare coming in to be bred-AI only that is a 15 year old maiden.
I believe the theory is that a mare that has had a foal when younger has a more elastic uterus whereas an older mare's gets a little more fragile. But a vet can advise you.
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:28 PM  
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Personally, I don't like breeding older mares, but that's just my quirkiness. I just prefer young, vigorous broodmares - they seem to handle the nursing better and don't draw down as much, and have fewer problems. I usually breed them at 3 the first time for a foal at 4, and retire them after about 6 foals, usually around 12 or 13.

That's just me, though - I don't like to wear them out and when I'm done breeding them they still have a nice long life ahead as family horses wherever I place them. Like I say, I'm a little quirky about it, but I always worry if I breed them till they are 20, I might not be able to find a good home for them.

But, I have seen lots of mares in their twenties foal healthy babies and have no problems at all. As has been said, a lot depends upon the mare.
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:33 PM  
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My sister still has the first broodmare she ever bought. She's had her since she was a weanling, and I think the mare is 23 now. She'll be having what will probably be her last foal this year.

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Old 03-25-2007, 06:43 PM  
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I say depends on the mare also. Personally my oldest"broodmare" is 16 but I only breed her every other year now, I think the "rest" in between is good for them when they get some age on them, plus she is also a good riding horse and we ride her on her "off" years

I know mares that have had a baby every year of their lives after the age of 3 and never an issue. Many up into their 20's. So have your vet examine her, and if your happy with the check-up, then I say do what your heart desires. But personally I dont think mares should be put through it after their teens.
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:50 PM  
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Depends on the mare.

The big ranch's with large remuda's breed them well into their 20's.

If the mare is breeding sound, in good health, I see no problem breeding a older mare for one or two more foals.
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Old 03-25-2007, 06:57 PM  
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Here's a good story about older mares.

My cousin bought an older cutting mare (previously used as a broodmare) to get back in shape and show in high school rodeo. She used her a lot, went to state finals on her, and did really well. She had not had a foal in some 8 or 9 years, so when they went to get her in foal to Montana Doc, she didn't take. (Lo and behold, Montana Doc died before they got her in foal. He didn't get very many mares in foal the year he died, which leads me to believe his motility wasn't very good at his old age... but anyway, I digress!) In the hope they could get a foal out of her at all, they bred her to their Mr. Robin Boy son and got a solid black filly the spitting image of her mother. She had the easiest delivery, and was a great mama, and was never the worse for wear. She was 25 when she delivered the foal, and went on afterwards to be a great lesson horse for years until she was put down at 32 due to complications of a nasty hoof abscess (freak accident). They didn't push their luck and breed her again after that filly, they simply wanted a replacement for her since she was such a great mare. I would consider her, at 24-25, to be in as good of shape as most 12 year old mares.

Now, on the contrary! A lady I used to work for had a 19 year old arabian mare. They bred her to their stallion in the hopes of getting a good foal. The mare was in pasture condition, kept in a small pasture with 2 other mares, and the pasture was flat. She was never ridden much, and if she was it was by kids getting lessons once a week or so. She had a horrible time delivering the foal, and I don't remember the specifics, but it scared the owner so much that she never bred the mare again (which was probably a good thing!).

So it can go both ways. Like I said, I'd start with a thorough evaluation of the mare's condition and a breeding exam. Older mares will often be harder to get into foal (especially if they are maiden or have been left open for several years), and will require more special care in their pregnancies, possibly in their deliveries, and definantly while they are nursing their foals. Remember - healthy mares make healthy babies, which is why Face made such a good point about breeding young mares.
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Old 03-25-2007, 09:55 PM  
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It very much depends on the particular mare in question.
I bought an older ex cutter that was used as a turnback horse till she was too great with child in between.
She loved working and loved raising babies.
She settled easily-even with shipped semen-and she was a heck of a producing mare.
2 of her colts were exported to Europe back in the days when they did not routinely export overseas.
She had my colt when she was 21 and a friend took her on when we had a military move. She had a fabulous filly at 23.
She had 14 foals. She always looked 10 years younger than what she was.
SO the short version is that some mares will retain their vigor and their health when bred in later years...and then some do not.
Case by case.
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Old 03-26-2007, 03:29 AM  
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I agree - depends on the mare. We normally retire ours at 20, we breed every two to three years with a year off - and they are ridden during that year off - so that they can retire at 20 usually as great first time or kids horses..
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Old 03-26-2007, 05:23 AM  
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Have your vet perform a breeding soundness exam. My mare had never been bred before and she was 18 yrs old. She carried and foaled without any problems. I now have a healthy coming two year old in the pasture.
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:09 AM  
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I got a nice black appy mare by default back in the 80's. Ebony was 24 and in foal. She had a beautiful bay/blanket colt. No problems. I had a fellow contact me about her because he raised Appies and really wanted a foal out of her. He bred her and got 3 foals out of her and she lived to be in her 30's. She did always have hills to climb and stayed fit.
I had a mare have foaling problems at 6.
So as everyone says it just depends on the mare.
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Old 03-26-2007, 03:26 PM  
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We'e breeding Lacy, my 23 yo Pintabian, this year. It will be her last time. She's in wonderful shape. Her mother had her last filly - Lacy - when she was 26!
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:16 PM  
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Thanks Guys,

All the info was great, now my two Appy mares will be going to the vet for their checkup so hopefully they both are in great shape to be bred. One mare is 12 and the other is 7, both have had a foal a piece, before we owned them. Thanks, I'll keep ya'll posted.
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Old 03-26-2007, 08:26 PM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bstappys
Thanks Guys,

All the info was great, now my two Appy mares will be going to the vet for their checkup so hopefully they both are in great shape to be bred. One mare is 12 and the other is 7, both have had a foal a piece, before we owned them. Thanks, I'll keep ya'll posted.

Thats not old. I thought you were meaning well into their teens and into their 20's.

The 12 is in her prime and the 7 is young still.

Good luck.
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Old 03-26-2007, 09:59 PM  
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Your right Snickers, but these two mares are my Appy foundation breeders, and I don't want to over work them. Around here in the desert, to see a mare at the age of 40 is not too old for these baked brain people. I just want to do right by my little girls, they are my pride and joy, and such pretty Appys.

Thanks for all the great input!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:09 PM  
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I don't agree with it but there have been mares at a cartain public place i know of (no names) that are bred until they are 25+ and then put down after the foal is weaned because they are of no more use due to thier health, (they are bred every year). I think it is a personal decision depending on the condition of the horse and your ability to care for a foal and assure it a good life. JMO
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Old 03-26-2007, 10:44 PM  
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That's a terrible thing, I don't plan to breed every year, maybe every other or every two years, I still want my girls to have human contact and riding and stuff, not just for breeding and then dipose of them, how could someone do that kind of thing? I love my girls too much for that. That's why I asked about how old is to old. When's it's time for my girls to stop, then I want to let them retire and enjoy life.

bfoley, you and I think alot alike.
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Old 03-27-2007, 08:49 AM  
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I agree bstappys .What they are doing is wrong, i think that the profit has gone to thier heads and they no longer see the horses on the farm as animals. I especially felt bad for the last mare i saw, she was 26 and was on her last foal (as the one before this one wasa horrible term and delivery) and they still bred her back, they figured she wouldn't make it all the way through this birth anyways. poor mare But I'ts obvious that you care for your gilrs much much more than that!! (You should post some pictures of your Appy Mares!!!!) I bred my arabian mare once and the pregnancy was just too hard on her so she was never bred again, its that simple. I ride her regularly and she is 22 now and has had a wonderful life with many years ahead of her, i like to think she know she will never be sold. Good luck with your breeding, keep us updated from the stud prospects to the foals!!
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Old 03-27-2007, 09:08 PM  
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Thanks, I'll try to figure out the bucket thing, so everyone can see my girls, and maybe their husbands, and then their babies.
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