Foal Season Reality Check

It’s that time of year when all the gorgeous foals are hitting the ground. Cute baby photos of foals taking their first steps, galloping round lush green fields and falling asleep in their owner’s arms are everywhere! And here I am looking at my gelding wondering why he isn’t a mare!

I love the idea of analysing my mare, choosing stallions and awaiting the birth of my new foal and then all the cute cuddly bits what come afterwards. This time of year makes me day dream about all the fun and cute stuff what comes from breeding your own horse.

But this morning at the yard, while Scottie was having his feet done, a couple of girls at the yard were riding their homebred baby in the school and quickly brought me back to reality. Their horse is such a sweatheart, but she is incredibly bouncy from excitement and lack of experience, so much so that the owners know they are going to bounced off at some point!

Watching them this morning quickly reminded me of all the hard bits what come along with breeding your foal. The naughtiness, the teaching them everything we take for granted with our older horses like ‘walk on’, ‘stand’ and ‘don’t eat me!’ Yes temperament is partly genetic, or at least taught by the dam, but behaviour is very much down to how you manage and handle your young horse. If you aren’t on top of things you could quickly have a really rude, bolshy foal!

And that’s just the behaviour issues, putting your mare in foal is putting the mare at risk of complications. You could lose your lovely mare. You could put all the time and money in just for the foal not to make it to term. And even if everything goes well and your mare gives birth to a healthy foal, most insurance companies wont touch them until they are at least 6 months old. That’s plenty of time for them to break themselves and require a hefty bill!

After this flash of the reality of breeding a foal, I look at Scottie and am pleased I have a gelding and can’t be tempted to breed. For as much as I love the idea of breeding my own horse and would love to do it in the future, I know it’s not for me right now and will continue to enjoy all the gorgeous photos!

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