The words responsible and breeding should be an inseparable pairing in the horse industry. The successful future of a foal depends heavily on the investment of the breeder to financially project costs from conception to sale or lifespan of the horse if it is to be kept. Research, research, research. The homework list is a long one including choosing a mare and stallion with great conformation and temperament, investigating their performance records, checking fertility rates, health records, offspring records and more.
The breeder should also educate themselves and plan ahead. Impeccable stable management and genetics knowledge combined with understanding special nutrition and healthcare requirements for the broodmare, foal and breeding stallion are all prerequisites to breeding horses responsibly.
In the following article, Dr. Moira Gunn of Paradox Farm and Doug Nash, two experienced and successful horse breeders formerly from Glengate, have taken the time to share some of their vast knowledge. Dr. Gunn had a recent cause for celebration when Lexi Lou, bred by Paradox farm, received the 2014 Canadian Horse of the Year award after a string of wins including the Queen’s Plate and the Oaks. Nash was the farm manager at Glengate (formerly Cantario Farms) for almost 30 years. Glengate consisted of three farms housing 80-100 mares, eight stallions and yearlings. In addition to servicing 1,200 mares annually with their own stallions, Glengate collected, shipped, froze, evaluated, imported and exported semen for 125 to 140 stallions of all breeds and disciplines. Nash has also shared his knowledge as an instructor for Equine Guelph’s online Growth and Development course.
Both breeders were candid discussing one of the most important considerations − ensuring financial means to see the horse through to a purposeful life. From stud fees to reproductive health exams and specialized nutrition, there is much to consider in calculating the bottom line. Stud fees can range anywhere from $200 – $200,000. When discussing logistics, Nash gave an example, “If you are breeding for profit you would not spend over $3,000 in stud fees if your broodmare is worth $10,000.” Nash also expects private operations will not incur less than $14,000, excluding the stud fee, in costs leading up to a yearling sale. In commercial operations this number would be closer to $17,000 or $18,000. Gunn explains daily costs of boarding just a broodmare vary widely and range up to $40/day.