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foal observes for behavior in the outside world. She is the teacher, mentor and leader for the newborn to learn how to deal with his world and with other creatures, including humans. If a mare is a challenge to be caught, is difficult for the vet or farrier, then chances are very good that the foal will be the same. If your mare was problematic as a riding horse, stiff back, hard mouth, fearful or shying, once again, the foal has a very high probability that those traits are going to be present. Some of these issues can be addressed with proper handling as youngsters, but a foal from a mare without issues does not need to have them addressed.

A stallion produces many offspring and as breeders, we can evaluate what he brought to them because of the numbers. A mare produces one foal at a time and over her lifetime, very few compared to the stallion. Her con- tributions are larger in the overall picture but harder to evaluate.

Breeders strive to improve the parents of their offspring. But breeding is like playing the craps table in Vegas with Mother Nature being the house–very difficult to win and always impossible to predict. So be sure when you go to breed your mare that you are going to be happy with a clone of her.

One other caveat: please remember if you are breeding, that the economy is tough right now. The cost of the stud fee is the cheapest part of the equation. The day to day care, food, vet care and unplanned costs can sink a breed- er fast. Plan for the unexpected, hope for the best, but always remember that life happens. Divorce, your health issues and finances can force a sale of a foal that you planned on keeping for life. So don’t breed Sweetie if she would be difficult to place herself because chances are, her foal will not be any easier to sell or find a home for.

About Maryanna Haymon: She has been breeding Warmbloods for 18 years at her farm Marydell Farm in Columbus, NC. She stands the Hanoverian stallion Don Principe (Donnerhall/ Prince Thartchxx/Durkheim) and breeds seven to 10 mares every year. Marydell Farm won the prestigious USEF Breeder of the Year award for 2007 and has produced many USDF Horse of the Year Champions and Reserve Champions along with 10 top young horses over the years.

WT

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