What to look for in a broodmare?

Mochi

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16 April 2018
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Hello HHO, I have a question regarding choosing potential broodmares to purchase. Ideally I'd be breeding to raise a jumper/hunter jumper/dressage horse, with the main focus on jumping up to 110. I like my horses to be more on the sensitive side, without being spooky, I'm not sure if there's a word for that. :p The mare I have in mind is a Selle Francais/Palomino/Fresian cross who's been very successful in both dressage and jumping. The owner has told me that she has produced a lovely foal (with her head, frame, and color), and that the mare herself has the scope for 105 classes. I have asked for proof of a foal but the owner is currently travelling so I have yet to get a reply.

I understand that when breeding a lot of it comes down to luck, that a perfect pair does not always make a perfect foal, and also a lot of it would depend on the stallion used. However, I know the mare is very important, so I would love some tips on choosing the correct mare physically and mentally. What should I be looking for if I go to try this mare, or any mare in particular? What should I watch out for and avoid? Any advice at all would be much appreciated, thank you!
 

be positive

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I have never been really involved in breeding but if I was planning on doing so I would want to use a really well proven mare of a type I liked, that had been genuinely successful to a reasonable level ideally above whatever I wanted to do because you never know if you will need to sell and it never does any harm to have a bit of extra scope.

The mare you describe does not sound as if she has been successful to any degree, if she "has the scope for 105 classes" I guess she has not jumped to that level which to my mind is within the capability of most horses so I would question her success and ability and want proof of her record as the seller may be exaggerating, see if they have any videos of her competing so you can see how she is out and about assuming she is not currently competing.
I would want to know her veterinary history, soundness is so important, as she has had a foal finding out more about that would be useful and finally but as important as anything else, if not more so, her temperament needs to be really good and conformation as correct as possible.

I am guessing she is palomino and that may be part of the attraction, if you go and see her try not to be swayed by a pretty colour, you need to like her but colour should really be the least important consideration in the equation other than possibly ruling out one you don't like.
 

Mochi

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16 April 2018
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Poiters, France
To find a mare above my level is a good tip, one I will take into consideration thank you.

As for this particular mare, her owner lets her local school take her out to competitions a few times a month, and she has done very well. She was regional champion in dressage a few years ago, and has had success in jumping. The photo in her ad showed her competing at the 75/80cm level. The problem with the jumping is not her fault but rather her breed. In France to compete in anything above 1 meter is considered an amateur class rather then a club class. French regulations require horses competing at amateur level to be fully papered, basically pure bred or registered with a particular breed, which she is not as she is a cross. I have asked the seller whether she can be registered. I have also asked for her SIRE number which can tell me her competition results on the FFE website.

I will definitely ask about any issues she's had in the past. I don't really have an eye for conformation unfortunately, what kind of things should I be looking for other then good proportions? For instance I read that an athlete needs a good sloping shoulder, does that have any relevance here?

As for color, while it's something to consider for the show ring (as she will also be my riding horse), as a broodmare her color is the least of my concerns.
 
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For me, I'd discount this mare. I'd be looking for a proven broodmare, that has her progeny competing/doing what you're looking to do. I'm assuming it's your first time breeding too - so you'd want to look into having the guidance of a professional. Maybe contact stud farms, and see if they have any broodmares for sale. Also consider keeping the broodmare on livery with them.

Conformation is absolutely important in a broodmare (and sire nonetheless). Granted, it doesn't guarantee a good foal but it does definitely help. For me, I'd want almost "perfect" conformation, unless the mare has a good competition and soundness record herself.

Would you not consider buying a foal/youngster rather the breeding? It's a very expensive thing to do, let alone the need to have a huge amount of knowledge and experience to breed.
 

ihatework

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My advice is, if you are breeding for a lower level amateur allrounders horse then a) don’t do it, b) if you are going to don’t use this mare - she/her offspring will be completely non commercial if it doesn’t go to plan.

Honestly, you are better off just going and buying a backed 4yo that is looking to be the type you want.

I can completely understand the sentimentality if breeding from a nice but ordinary mare that you have owned for years - but this mare is not that.
 

be positive

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My advice is, if you are breeding for a lower level amateur allrounders horse then a) don’t do it, b) if you are going to don’t use this mare - she/her offspring will be completely non commercial if it doesn’t go to plan.

Honestly, you are better off just going and buying a backed 4yo that is looking to be the type you want.

I can completely understand the sentimentality if breeding from a nice but ordinary mare that you have owned for years - but this mare is not that.
With the extra info I certainly agree with this, I don't see any point in breeding something that will not have any commercial appeal, that may not be what you want when it does arrive, with all the expense involved you really would be better off finding the youngster you want that is already on the ground whether it is a foal or older at least you can see what you are getting.
 

Mochi

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16 April 2018
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Poiters, France
Thank you all for your answers, you have good points. If I was looking for only a broodmare then I definitely would look for proven mares and go from there. Right now, however I am looking for a riding mare to compete with and then breed later down the road. This mare is a little older so that breeding plan would be sooner then I originally intended. That is why I was not considering getting a young horse right now, as Im not currently prepared to have a green youngster on my hands. Does this alter your opinion on the mare?

Commercially I understand the difficulties, if I did need to sell the foal I might have trouble as the foal would be out of an ordinary mare, however I have a lot of local schools that would love a higher level horse and if it doesn't get that far then a lot of people would love a young leisure horse. That's if absolutely necessary, the plan is that the foal would be my new riding horse, I have no inclination to sell it.

I do have a couple of stud places near me that I can contact and possible stable her at. I would just like to say that I am a firm believer in breeding only quality, and so far this mare seems to have it. The registration problem is an issue that I hope can be sorted out, but we will have to see. I'm certainly going in with eyes open and am not going to be swayed by color or sentimentality. If it's not a good idea to breed her (ie, the quality of the foal will not be good) then I won't get her, as she is too old for my purposes. Would photos perhaps help?
 
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Thank you all for your answers, you have good points. If I was looking for only a broodmare then I definitely would look for proven mares and go from there. Right now, however I am looking for a riding mare to compete with and then breed later down the road. This mare is a little older so that breeding plan would be sooner then I originally intended. That is why I was not considering getting a young horse right now, as Im not currently prepared to have a green youngster on my hands. Does this alter your opinion on the mare?
If I've got this right: primarily you want a nice all-rounder to have a bit of fun on with the hope to breed from her down the line? If that's right, and from the other bits you've said, no my opinion remains the same - I wouldn't consider this mare. Especially as you've mentioned that she's too old for your purposes.

If I were in your shoes, I'd buy myself a horse to have fun on and if then I still like the idea of having a foal/youngster - I'd buy one on the ground already.
 

Mochi

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16 April 2018
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Poiters, France
Mochi - out of interest, what have you decided?

Unfortunately for now, its a no go. The mare herself is as lovely as I can determine without actually seeing her. I got more photos of her both her and her previous foal, and both were very nice. Papers wise the foal I planned to breed from her would be able to go to the level of competition I wanted, so there was no problem there. I was really excited to go try her out. However after discussion me and my family have decided its too big of a gamble financially. She's at the top of our budget, she's 4 hours away so just to see her would be a lot of money on top of that, which is not a problem but my parents don't like that she doesn't have papers so they're less inclined, and she's considerably older then we were hoping for. Then once we get her here we either have to get another horse immediately (probably older, but then that comes with problems of its own. There's quite a few miniatures around that are affordable that are younger but I'm not sure how kindly a 15.3 whos been in a group all her life would take to one maybe two minis), build some sort of box for her, then we have to think about tack. Its just not a leap my parents are willing to take for a non papered older mare.

The only thing I can think of that may reverse that decision is that the owner is anxious to sell quickly as she is in the middle of moving, so she may offer a deal? I don't know, but for now its a no, much to my regret. She really is a super little mare.
 

sport horse

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Buy yourself the nicest horse you can find for what you want now, giving preference to a mare. If at some time in the future, after she has done all the competitions you require, she has stayed sound and has shown you she has a wonderful temperament and you have the facilities, and can afford to breed and keep a foal from zero to 4 years old at least, you can think about breeding from her.
 

cundlegreen

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If you can't afford time and money to go and see this mare, then you certainly can't afford to get into breeding. It also sounds as if you're a youngster, so take the good advice on here, and buy a nice horse you can enjoy now.
 
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