What have you got to lose?

There is an old adage whispered in the breeding world…

“Don’t breed what you can’t afford to lose!”

There is more than one way to unpack that statement.

This is not aimed so much at commercial breeders, whose entire enterprise is contingent on breeding, and who undoubtedly have considered all the implications, and are hopefully well insured, but more at first-time breeders, one-time breeders, and small setups.

The most obvious consideration, of course, is the financial aspect. There is huge cost involved, from vet work and cover fees, to the added nutritional requirements of a gestating then lactating mare, not to say the foal as it grows.

If you cannot afford to adequately cover everyday costs associated with PROPERLY caring for a mare and foal, to say nothing of the unexpected costs that could arise due to potential illness or injury, you should not even contemplate breeding.

It is your responsibility, once you choose to start this journey, to ensure your mare and foal receive the best care.

Whether you breed your childhood crossbred pony just for fun, or your medal-winning purebred showjumper to start a dynasty, they all deserve the best level of care.

There may be hidden costs involved that you wouldn’t even think to consider. What if you decide your mare would be better off foaling down at a stud or clinic? What happens when it’s time to wean, and you don’t have facilities to separate mare and foal, or if you don’t have a suitable playmate for a weanling?

There is another aspect that many people don’t deliberate. They get so caught up in the romance of immortalizing their mare, in the excitement of the perfect foal…

What about the worst-case scenarios? Can you afford to lose your mare? Or the foal? Or even both?

This is not meant to rain on anyone’s parade, as I’d be the first to advocate for the magic of foals.

But what if your mare is one of those who experiences a problem during foaling, and you lose her? Can you stand that level of risk? Is your desire for a foal worth losing her?

It is the most natural thing for an animal to reproduce, and most of them manage better than you’d think.

But you have to think about it all going wrong, where you are left not only without your mare’s progeny, but without her too.

And what about the emotional cost of losing a month old foal to colic, or a weanling to a paddock injury?

There is a risk, and an emotional cost, involved in losing any horse, but the weight can be a lot heavier if you have loaded dice.

When you talk to people who have made a successful foray into breeding, they will tell you it’s wonderful and worth pursuing.

But if you talk to someone who has lost a mare or foal, or both, they may just tell you it is a risk they wish they had never taken…

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What have you got to lose?

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