When I was chosen as a Rising Star, back in edition 4, one thing I discussed in my interview, was how I wanted to share my learnings as I go on in the equine industry. This article is definitely me doing just that!
I’ve just bought my first broodmare!
Since I was a kid, I had made up my mind about what I wanted my future career to be. I wanted to breed horses. Specifically, showjumping horses.
Now, breeding show jumping horses is no easy feat. I had to think about what I wanted my first foal’s future to be, in order to buy the right mare. Did I want my foal to become a CCI2* eventer? an advanced dressage horse? a riding club horse? the possibilities were endless! But I’d be lying if I said I wanted anything, other than a showjumper.
I was adamant that I wanted my foal to have the pedigree and potential to become a top-level showjumper. A horse that had the scope to go on someday to jump in the 1.40m classes and beyond!
I have no doubt that the first thing that popped into the heads of the horsey folk reading the above, was something along the lines of ‘is this girl for real?! What bank did she rob?!’.
Well…I did not rob a bank! And yes, I am for real. Because, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
You see, I had, what to an 18-year-old like myself, was a decent sum of money! The cost of a tipsy trip to Ibiza for example! This was the grand total of 5k to be exact! Left to me by my dad when he passed away. Of course, I got the very wise financial advice from my mother! to use it for education! But my choice was obvious, I had to blow it all on a broodmare, to really make my father proud!
Keep in mind that this money wasn’t all for buying the mare. It had to cover the cost of veterinary services (A ton of those!), the stud fees as well as courier fees if the stallion is abroad. I know I’ve probably left something important out of my budgeting that will no doubt, at some later date, give me a rendition of Will Smith’s big moment at the Oscars!
By participating in the Teagasc Young Breeders Programme, I was given the opportunity to visit Ireland’s top breeders all over the country. Through this programme I got to know some very helpful and influential breeders who kindly offered to help me pick my mare.
After all that was done…here I am! Finally, with my very own broodmare, ‘Bolero’ (Affectionately known as ‘Miss B’).
Bolero’s cons & pros ↓
❌ Her biggest con is that she’s 16 years old.
I probably won’t get more than 4 foals from her before she retires from her broodmare duties. The older she is the more likely she is to meet difficulties during her pregnancy, which younger mares would be less likely to experience.
❌ She is16hh.
I have to consider what height I want her foal to be from a sales point of view. Ideally, I want a foal to stand in and around the 16.2hh mark when grown, so that in the future it will be a suitable height to accommodate various heights of riders. This means that because my mare is on the shorter side, I need my stallion to make up the height. I’m finding this difficult to find in the warmblood world, as the majority of stallions I’ve been researching stand around 16.1hh.
✅ She has had previous, healthy foals via artificial insemination (A.I).
✅ She has a phenomenal pedigree! With Concorde as her sire, Indoctro as her dam sire and a wealth of 1.40+ level horses throughout her bloodline.
✅ She has a great temperament. Temperament is something I’ve seen overlooked by some breeders. A vital part of the foal’s early life, is to ensure it does not pick up unsavoury habits from its mother. After all, the foal will be copying everything its mother does!
✅ Her confirmation is quite nice. She has a very good angle to her shoulder, her back isn’t too long or too short, she has a good length neck in front of her, and her legs are all matching pairs i.e., her knee, hock, cannon, fetlock and pastern are aligned on both sides. If you were to put a piece of string from one knee to her other knee then the string would go straight across and would not have to angle upwards or downwards to get to the other knee.
I hope you enjoy coming along with me on this journey. I’m really excited to share my learnings about breeding as they progress, with the Grassroots community. In my next update about my broodmare (who will hopefully be in foal!) I will talk about stallion selection and the stallion I have chosen for Bolero. I will also go into detail about the veterinary side of breeding, particularly A.I